Gap Theory Creationism

A form of Old Earth Creationism, the "Gap Theory" holds that there is a time span of millions of years between Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," and Genesis 1:2, "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." According to the Gap Theory, Genesis 1:1 describes the first creation and Genesis 1:2 describes the second creation.

Most often associated with Christianity, creationism is the belief that the universe is the product of a supernatural being. Creationism has become a more pronounced worldview category since the late 1800's when Charles Darwin's theory of evolution gained scientific and cultural traction.

Today the term "creationism" is applied to a variety of views about the origin of the universe, all of which share the belief that a supernatural being is ultimately responsible for its existence.

By definition all creationists believe in a supernatural being who is often referred to as the "Creator." However, adherents sometimes take different paths to arrive at their affirmation of creationism. Some creationists indicate that the origin of their view is their belief in God and the Bible, which should be interpreted literally. Other creationists testify that scientific inquiry, and particularly evidence that the universe was "fine-tuned," led them to their beliefs in creationism.

Key Aspects of Gap Creationism

The Fall of Satan

The Gap Theory argues that the first creation rebelled and this included the fall of Satan and his angels. This prompted God to judge the world, which occurred during the "gap," and suggests that Genesis 1:2 describes the affects of the judgment - that the world was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

Old and Young Earth Creationism

The first creation is millions of years old or whatever the scientific establishment says it is. Yet, the second creation is 10,000 to 20,000 years old, which is derived from understanding that the "days" in Genesis 1 are 24-hour periods of time, as argued by young earth creationism. Therefore, the gap theory has a way of explaining fossils that are said to be millions of years old and still hold that the earth as it is now known was directly created 10,000 20,000 years ago.

Unshaped and unlit

The terms"without form and void" and "darkness" are important terms in this view. It is argued that Bible-wide the imagery suggests God's judgment.

  • First, "without form and void" is used to describe desert-like places that have suffered the effects of judgment (e.g. Isaiah 34:11; Jeremiah 34:23).
  • Second, "darkness" is frequently used to describe places of God's judgment as well (e.g. Jeremiah 23:12; Joel 2:31).


Critics argue that the Bible never explicitly refers a "first" and "second" creation. Also, Genesis 1:31 says that God saw all that was made and called it "very good," which, if the Gap Theory were correct, would include the rebellion of Satan and the judgment of the first created order. It is also questioned why the first creation, given its age, did not include people as Adam and Eve were apparently part of God's second creation.