Today I want to consider the ruin/reconstruction version of the Gap theory. There are those that say that Genesis 1 is not referring to just creation but to a creation, ruin of that first creation, and a reconstruction. Proponents of this theory claim that there is a gap of time between Genesis verses 1 and 2. They also argue that the fall of Satan took place prior to verse 2 and a flood destroyed the original earth created in verse 1. Please note that this particular theory is different from those motivated primarily by a desire to accommodate an evolutionary process. There are those that also claim that God used the process of evolution to create the world as we know it. That argument is beyond the scope of the theory in question, but as we will see, there are arguments against one that also works against the other.
So for the ruin/reconstruction version of the theory, let’s look at a few points of contention. Proponents of this view make the claim that Genesis 1:1 records the creation of the original earth. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. So what I think is described in the whole chapter, they think is described all in verse 1. Now if that is not hard enough to believe, they say that Satan’s fall must take place before verse 2. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Part of their reasoning is that the phrase “without form and void” and the word “darkness” must indicate God’s judgment. This begs the question of how they would come up with such a thing. Now what happens is that they look to other places in the Bible where “without form and void” is in context of a previous destruction. Likewise they also allude to places where darkness is referred to in terms of evil or judgment.
Next they draw from passages that they feel demonstrate Satan’s fall and the result of that fall. One such passage is Isaiah 14:12-19 Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Here they say “Lucifer” is referring to the devil. They assume that he fell and his fall caused damage to the nations.) Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (They assume here that Satan wanted to be like the most High. However the surrounding context says otherwise.) Isa 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isa 14:16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; (Verse 16 is referring to a “man” – the King of Babylon – not a male fallen angelic being.) Isa 14:17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Satan did not make the world wilderness. This was the earthly king’s doing.) Isa 14:18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. Isa 14:19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. (Here we have one earthly king being compared to another.) Isa 14:20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. (Satan did not have rule over people. He could not have slain “his” people.) So verse 14:4 says who this passage is all about: Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! (From this we can gather that there is no reason whatsoever to think that this passage has anything to do with Genesis verses 1 and 2 since it is not talking about Satan’s fall but the king of Babylon.) Another passage used is Ezekiel 28:12-19 Eze 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. (Now I have heard at least one proponent of this view claim that it is arrived at by good hermeneutics but look first at who this is in reference to. Verse 12 makes it clear that this is talking primarily about the king of Tyrus. And beyond that, the surrounding context has this in a section where various other earthly kings ad groups are being discussed such as the king of Babylon ch 24, the Ammorites, Edomites, Moabites, Phillistines ch 25. Chapters 26 and 27 describe the city of Tyrus and its people. Then chapter 28 deals more specifically with the king of Tyrus and follows on in verse 21 to go on to talk about the city of Zidon. So why in all of this should we necessarily assume that God intends for us to understand that the lamentation given to the king of Tyrus is authoritative teaching about Satan and his fall? There are some like Scofield and Ryrie that have written commentaries that basically claim that these verses refer to Satan. One problem I see is that the Bible typically uses figurative language to refer to something that will happen in the future and not something that happened in the past. For me, even if you can prove this is talking about both the king of Tyrus and figuratively of Satan, it would be a foreshadowing possibly of the antichrist. But there is no need to be dogmatic about that because there are plenty of more clearly defined passages.) Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (This is where they say they can place the fall of Satan in Genesis. However, Eden can just be the area where the garden was.) Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (Anointed cherub could refer to an earthly king. The English meaning carries with it the idea of beauty and innocence while the Hebrew meaning carries with it the idea of a winged creature. Possibly like the one set to garden Eden.) Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Many presume this is Satan being perfect until he sinned but that is possibly presuming too much. It very well could be talking about the ways of the king. Also look at the next verse.) Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (Satan did not have merchandise but this would fit the king of Tyrus being that the city was known for its trade.) Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (The beauty mentioned here fits with the cherub analogy.) Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. (Satan did not have sanctuaries. Also multitude of iniquities and iniquity of thy traffick fits better with the king of a port city.) Eze 28:19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (How would the people have known Satan? This is referring to a king of earth. Notice also that there is no time frame given as to when Satan’s fall may have taken place. More on that later. So basically we have two passages where the bulk of the evidence points to them referring to earthly kings and absent of any time frames in reference to anything in Genesis 1.) Now I say that the ruin/reconstruction theory is strange and is not true for the following reasons. 1) There is no reason to read Genesis 1:1-2 as if it is not a straight forward account. There is no further revelation in scripture that adds anything in. 2) There is no reason to think that these five verses describe more than one day. Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (So from verse 1 to 5 we have the first day.) 3) “Without form and void” in verse 2 simply describes the earth before it had been further shaped. There was darkness because light had not been created yet. It in no way indicated that the earth had been destroyed…. in fact it was just the opposite. It was just newly formed in its raw initial state. 4) Isaiah 14:12-20 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are used to try to support this view but lack any time table placing events before Gen 1:2. They are also more likely referring to earthly kings. 5) The Bible elsewhere comments on creation. In Exodus we see the following: Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (The week of creation (7 days) was a pattern that God used. The Israelites were to rest the seventh day just as God had rested. This eliminates a gap otherwise the comparison is not a true one.) 6) There is no reason to think that Satan’s fall had direct physical ramification for the earth. God did not punish the earth or mankind for Satan’s fall. 7) It appears unlikely that Satan’s fall took place before the end of creation’s week when God declared everything good in his sight. Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (This is one of the stronger arguments.) 8) Proponents of this theory like to point out the word replenish as if the world had been destroyed and needed filling a second time. The word “replenish” in verse 1:28 means to fill. It does not mean the earth was destroyed and it had to be re-filled. 9) Sin and death came into the world through Adam’s sin in the garden. Rom 5. So therefore there could have been no sin that affected the world before Adam’s sin. 10) There could have been no death before Adam’s sin including death of any living thing. (This also refutes the idea that God used evolution.) Death was a result of mankind’s fall which brings us to one of the most important things that could be lost if the Gap is true. Let’s consider: 1 Cor 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Also, look at Romans 5 especially starting with verse 12. Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Sin could not have entered the world by any other than Adam. It was his sin that brought the curse not Satan or any other being. Satan was the serpent that brought the temptation. There is plenty of time between the end of the week of creation and the fall (Adam’s sin) for Satan to have fallen.) Rom 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (If we allow for the gap and a ruin/reconstruction view we do away with this “figure of him that was to come.” It becomes an odd analogy if there was sin prior to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden.) Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Rom 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Why take away one end of this equation? Judgment by one… Adam). Rom 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Sin and death came due to Adam and Christ has brought salvation for all should we choose to trust Him alone for it based on who He is and what He has done. (I Cor 15:1-4). If creation in Gen 1 is not true then couldn’t someone accuse the Bible of containg lies. If it contains lies then the comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ are suspect and the whole Word of God loses credibility. Why should it though based on unfounded imaginations and speculations? There is great damage potentially done to theology when we begin to mess around with the Genesis account. There is a reason why we are to balance and compare scripture with scripture using the more clear passages to shed light on less clear passages and not the other way around. I plead with those who may currently hold this gap view or anything similar to prayerfully reconsider based on clearer passages in scripture such as Romans 5. For the rest of us let us boldly proclaim the truth and lovingly seek to explain these things to anyone that may be placing a Gap where it does not belong. In Christ’s love, Jim Floyd