It has been a subject of some debate as to whether "the earth without form and void" of Genesis 1, actually refers to a pre-existant earth prior to the one we currently inhabit; which was populated but destroyed for whatever reason(s). Is there any sort of proof or, shall we say, "solid spiritual logic" to even support such a notion?


There is a name for this theory of creation.  It is called the Gap Theory.  I believe that people have proposed the Gap Theory, which proposes a huge "gap" of time between the initial creation of the universe and the literal six-day period of (re)creation of the earth, in order to find a way save the literal interpretation of Genisis chapter one and at the same time make room for what science tells us, which is that the earth and the universe are very old.  Like I say in my book (Is There a God?, I believe that this theory does not really solve either problem very well.  First, it does not solve the problem of "saving" the literal interpretation of Genesis chapter one.  This is true because there is no scientific evidence whatever that this complete earth-changing cataclysm happened on the earth just a few thousand years ago.  There is no evidence for a formless and void earth several thousand years BC.  Second, it still contains obvious problems with the science.  Did dinosaurs live?  How long ago?  Did they live at the same time as humans?  How do we explain the fossil record?  There are a number of problems with this theory, as I mention in my book in chapter six.

 Like I say in the book mentioned above, one can accept the literal interpretation of Genesis One, with its literal six days of creation several thousand years ago, or one can accept that the time spans are metaphorical, not literal–that Genesis One is a broad description of how God created the earth, with the "days" being periods or aspects of what God did.  The Gap Theory, which seems to be what you describe does not fit either picture.  I do not believe it is my place to simply pronounce this theory dead on arrival.  You will have to think about it for yourself, but that is my thought on the question.  I do not think this theory is consistent with what we know from science and I can see no Biblical reason to prefer this idea.

 John Oakes, PhD

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