The GAP Theory – Right or Wrong?

June 14, 2011 at 9:51 AM 2 comments

There has been a good deal written on the GP Theory.  People either seem to love it or hate it.  I was reading an article by Ken Ham who intones what many have stated; that the GAP Theory essentially take ideas which he believes are outside of Scripture and overlays them onto Scripture.  This he says makes it possible to compromise Scripture.

The argument is that God stated that everything “was good.”  If it was good, how a GAP Theory have occurred?  Wouldn’t that make God a liar if He said everything was good, if things had not been good, but He had to straighten them out?  I can see how people can think that this is what the GAP Theory does.  I can also see that God may have been stating that everything He re-created from the GAP onward was good.  In this way, there would be no contradiction at all.

I will say this – I entertain the idea that the GAP Theory is a viable theory.  Am I convinced of it?  Nope.  Am I convinced it did not occur?  Nope.

Ham also mentions the Scofield Study Bible and the fact that it mentions the GAP Theory.  Funny how many things get blamed on Scofield.  Let me say that I attended and graduated from Philadelphia College of Bible (now Philadelphia Biblical University).  The school was joined by another school in the beginning years; a school started by Scofield.  Both schools together became PCB. 

People often get the incorrect perception that everything Scofield believed or even mentioned is taught as gospel.  That’s simply not the case.  Even with Dispenstionalism, some instructors believed in 7 dispensations, while others believed there were 8. 

With respect to the GAP Theory, a number of my professors did not accept it as viable.  Others did.  I don’t agree with Ham, that accepting the GAP Theory as viable somehow compromises Scripture.  While I understand that people consider fighting the GAP Theory as something that is very important, there are other things far more valuable to fight against.

Once people start claiming that some aspect of theology adds to Scripture, it takes on an importance of its own.  With respect to the GAP Theory, I’m not sure it’s important at all and I do not believe that by either believing it, it somehow adds to Scripture or makes God out to be a liar.

For instance, what if I believed through my study of Scripture that the Garden of Eden existed in several different dimensions.  The Bible does not say that at all, however, if I believe that prior to the fall, both Adam and Eve enjoyed aspects of Creation that we are not currently privy to, does that mean I am adding to or compromising Scripture?  Does it mean I am making God out to be a liar?

I personally believe that it was probably within the scope of normal living for Adam and Eve to transverse the various dimensions.  In other words, I believe their physical bodies were very much like the body Jesus had after His resurrection.  Was He a magician?  Did He go “POOF!” and disappear as Scripture indicates, or did He move from one dimension to another, in which case, people would only see Him when He stood among them in their dimension?

The answer to the question is “I don’t know.”  He could have simply de-materialized, or He could have moved from our dimension to another dimension (e.g. the spiritual dimension).  I fully believe that our glorified bodies will be able to do the same types of things.

Were these the bodies that both Adam and Eve had and enjoyed before they fell?  Is it possible part of the Garden of Eden spanned a number of dimensions and when the fall occurred, God set the angels around the Tree of Life, until that particular dimension closed?  Maybe, and maybe not.  Am I making a mockery of Scripture if I believe this?

In another instance, for the longest time I believed that while the Serpent tempted Eve, Adam was not around.  My belief was that the Serpent waited until Adam went off to “till the earth” or something similiar.  While Adam was away, the Serpent could have a field day with Eve and did so.

Once Eve succumbed to the temptation by the Serpent, off she went to tempt Adam and he succumbed.  Was I right?  I thought I was, until I began to read other scenarios where Adam was right there the entire time, you know, the big, silent type, who said nothing while he watched the drama unfold between Eve and the Serpent.

It seemed ludicrous to me that Adam would stand there the entire time silent, allowing Eve to be tempted, never once coming to her aid.  It seemed more plausible that Adam was not around and after Eve sinned, she went to find him and tempted him to follow her in sin.

Both scenarios are possible and to be dogmatic about one or the other is something that cannot really occur in my opinion.  If I stick with my original belief that Adam was away from Eve when the Serpent plied her with deceiving words, am I wrong?  If you think I am, then you are obligated to prove it.  Can you charge me with adding to or compromising Scripture because of my view?

How about the scenario surrounding the Nephilim.  Oh boy, people get worked up over that one.  The idea that angels could somehow find a way to procreate with human women goes way beyond some people’s ability to believe!  They really get wrankled too and immediately quote the section where Jesus says that angels are neither married nor given in marriage (cf. Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25).  They take this to mean that angels are sexless or genderless.  I don’t take it to mean that.  I take it to mean that in heaven, the only marriage that occurs is the one between Christ and His Bride.

Do Christ’s words somehow mean that when I get to heaven, I won’t be male anymore?  That doesn’t make sense to me, mainly because I cannot picture a genderless individual.  Does that mean that I won’t be genderless in heaven?  No, it simply means that I can’t picture it now.

Ultimately, I think we need to be truly careful about implying that people are adding to Scripture, or are heretics because of what they believe.  It is really a form of demagoguery to suggest that all of these topics I mentioned (and many others found throughout Scripture) are the basis by which we decide whether or not a person is teaching or believing heresy.

Just because I might believe that the GAP Theory is viable and that once God began the restructuring process on earth again, He began to call things good does not necessarily mean that I am compromising or adding to Scripture.  There is some wiggle room there.

I know that some people make it their life’s calling to critique and call into question doctrines that they do not agree with, but that does not mean that they are correct.

It could be that God created and for millions of years, Lucifer and all the angels lived their existence in peace.  Then, one day, Lucifer decided that he was better than God and that caused a battle in heaven, from which Lucifer – now Satan – was cast out with his angels.

After this universe-tearing battle, God began to reconstruct.  At each point of His reconstruction (a literal 24-hour period), God said His work was good.  There is nothing there that contradicts the potential fact that the GAP Theory is viable.  It is only not viable to those who believe that accepting the GAP Theory violates God’s Word somehow.

If a tornado ripped through part of the United States, as many have done recently, the clean-up would begin and then the rebuilding.  As things progress, would it be wrong to say “Things are looking good!” at various steps along the way?  Would someone say that the people who were saying that were being untruthful?  I would hope not.

There are some extremely important doctrines in the Bible as we are all aware.  Salvation by far is the most important aspect of all that the Bible teaches.  There are also what many consider to be the Five Fundamentals of the Faith and they are:

  1. The virgin birth of Jesus
  2. The deity of Jesus
  3. The Inerrancy of Scripture
  4. The Blood Atonement
  5. The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

I suppose one could argue that believing the GAP Theory is actually doubting the veracity of Scripture, but that’s a stretch in my opinion.  Maybe this is way too simplistic, but I think if Christians spent more time evangelizing the lost and stopped arguing over aspects of Eschatology and elsewhere, just think how many Christians would actually be involved in the work of the Master full-time.

It’s something to think about.  What’s your opinion?  If you have an opinion on this and can state your opinion in one or two sentences with denigrating others, feel free to send your opinion along.  The purpose is not to debate, because I have NEVER seen anyone change their mind through debating.  If you have, wonderful, but I haven’t.  So, send y our opinions on these types of issues which I believe are peripheral to the five fundamentals of the faith.

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  • 1. Nelson Swiger Jr.  |  June 15, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    I guess the only thing that concerns me with some speculation such as the Gap Theory is that sometimes it takes on a life of its own and what was once a theory can for some become a fact without actual evidence. Also where do we draw the line on speculation, we can speculate on things that can lead to heresy if we are not careful. Speculation done right can lead us to seek out the scriptures and learn more about the word of God.

    • 2. modres  |  June 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

      I agree wholeheartedly, Nelson. Areas where the Scripture is virtually silent should keep us silent, or at least keep us from becoming absolutely convinced of something. I personally enjoy reading about the GAP Theory as well as other theories. It truly is impossible to prove many of these theories as fact and should never be taken as fact because of it.

      The difference between embracing heresy or not based on some unproven theory is whether or not people come to dogmatically accept a theory without proof of its truthfulness.

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