“In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth. 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.” (Gen. 1:1-2)
One of the most popular movies that has ever been made is the film, Jurassic Park. The concept for the film is fascinating. The movie is based upon a brilliant team of scientists who have been able to take the blood found in an ancient mosquito and reconstruct the DNA to create a dinosaur. So successful is the work that a park is opened for tourist to come to on an isolated land to see these giant reptiles brought back to life.
Our minds thrill at the very possibilities of a Jurassic Park and yet the idea is not inconceivable. In fact, a Jurassic Park once existed somewhere in what is now modern Iraq along the Tigris and Euphrates River. Had we been present the week following creation, we could have gone with Jesus into the original Jurassic Park called then, the Garden of Eden.
There is no need to scoff at the idea of man being present when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The Bible teaches that man and dinosaurs were created within hours of each other. We can become even bolder and say that the dinosaurs flourished during the period from Adam to the Flood because of the warm and humid climate that characterized the entire pre-Flood world. The Biblical evidence that man and dinosaurs existed together is found in the first two chapters of Genesis. Dinosaurs were not extinct before Adam because we are told that he was given dominion over ALL the kinds of animals (Gen. 1:28).
When Jesus met with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, it is not hard for one to imagine they enjoyed together looking at all of the creatures both great and small which God had created. Besides the Genesis account of creation saying that man and dinosaurs existed side by side, there is the fascinating passage in Job 40:15-24) and Job 41:14-34. What is this behemoth that is spoken of? What is this leviathan that is so terrifying? Some of the great dinosaurs would fit these descriptions better than crocodiles or the hippopotamus.
In a broader sense of the term dinosaur (meaning “terrible lizard”) it can be argued that they are not yet extinct. According to the National Geographic Magazine, Dec. 1968, on the island of Komodo in Indonesia, about 1,000 large dragon lizards still survive. Some of them grow ten feet in length and weigh over 300 pounds. Any twenty foot crocodile should also still qualify as a “terrible lizard.”
The simple conclusion is that there is no need to reject the concept that man and dinosaurs once lived together. Jurassic Park is not so much the product of a fertile imagination as it is a reflection of biblical history in a modern-day setting. The problem is that the church has given up her biblical history. It happened along these lines.
When the discussion of dinosaurs and other related topics such as the age of the earth, seriously began to take place following the publication of The Origin of the Species in 1859, many Christians felt intimidated. Based upon fear of and respect for the new science of the day, concessions were made by the church regarding critical parts of the Bible. In the attempt to guard the Christian faith, vital parts of the teaching of the Scriptures were discarded.
This is the great paradox. Both then and now there are Christians who believe that by changing with the times and accepting scientific theories that conflict with the Bible, religious survival is more assured. That will not happen. When science and the Bible come into contact and conflict, it is the Word of God that shall live and abide forever.
Unfortunately, there are Christians who do not believe this. They want to accept the theories of evolution because it claims to be scientific. They also want to believe the Bible. How can the two be placed in some sort of harmony?
In the year 1814 Dr. Thomas Chalmers of Edinburgh University thought he found a way. He advocated and made popular within the Christian community an idea that the earth may be very old as evolutionary science contends. He also said the Bible allows for an ancient earth. Where? Said Dr. Chalmers of Scotland, there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. How do we know? Because the text says that the earth “was without form and void” and nothing that God creates is chaotic therefore, something must have happened to make the world become a wasteland.
With this type of presuppositional thinking, the door was opened for anything and everything to be poured into the theory to fill the gap. Dr. John Whitecomb explains. Most Christians who favor a time gap between these two verses believe that the original earth was populated with plants and animals (and perhaps even pre-Adamic men), and because of the Fall of Satan it was destroyed by God through means of a global flood, was plunged into total darkness, and thus became “waste and void.” The vast ages of the geologic timetable are thought to have occurred during this interval, so that the fossil plants and animals which are found in the crust of the earth today are relics of the originally perfect world which was supposedly destroyed before the six literal days of creation (or, rather, re-creation) as recorded in Genesis 1:3-31.
The GAP Theory
What can be said about this “Gap Theory” or, as some call it, “The Ruin-Reconstruction Theory”? The kindest thing that can be said is that it has some serious problems. Consider.
First, if the Gap Theory is true then the words in Genesis 1:31 must be redefined for the Bible says that God saw everything He made and it was “very good.” If the Gap Theory is correct then not only was Adam very late in coming to a world recently destroyed but he was also walking upon a graveyard of billions of creatures including dinosaurs.
Second, if the Gap Theory is correct then death would not have been the result of sin. The Bible teaches very plainly that as by one-man sin entered into the world and death by sin (Rom. 5:12; 8:20-22).
Third, if the Gap Theory is correct and there were pre-Adamic men and women then great theological questions arise such as, “Did they have immortal souls?” “Where they sinners?” “Did they have a Saviour?” “Why did they die?”
Fourth, if the Gap Theory is true then we have no clear Word of God about original creation and we are left to theories.
Fifth, if the Gap Theory is true then no part of the Bible can be trusted for Exodus 20:11 says that within the six literal days of Creation God made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that in them is. God did not just make men, plants, and animals. He made the heavens and the earth and the seas!
While these arguments seem to be more than enough to abandon the Gap Theory, it must be admitted that the Gap Theory does have a basis of appeal. The Gap Theory supports itself by four main pillars.
First, the verb translated “was” in Genesis 1:2 (Heb. hayetha) should be translated “became” or “had become.” This different verb translation would allow for a profound change in the condition of the earth.
Second, the phrase “waste and void” (Heb. tohu wa-bohu) appears in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23 and speaks of judgment and destruction.
Third, darkness is a symbol of evil.
Fourth, a distinction is made between “created” and “made” which suggests that many of the things mentioned in Genesis 1 were simply remade or re-created.
In response to the first supporting argument, it can be said that the verb hayetha does not have to be translated “became.” There are only six instances in the Pentateuch where this verb is translated “became” (Gen. 3:22; 19:26; 21:20; Ex. 7:19; 8:17; 9:10). In each of these cases the context clearly shows that a change took place. In Genesis 1:2 there is no indication that a change took place. It can also be stated that this same verb hayetha appears 258 times in the Pentateuch and in each case is translated “was.”
The second argument is a little more impressive. Why did God create “without form and void.” Why would God create the earth in such a chaotic condition? How do we explain the phrase “tohu wa-bahu”?
The first thing is to admit that there are two other places in the Bible where the two words “tohu” and “bohu” appear together (Isa. 34:11; Jer. 4:23). In these verses the Bible speaks of divine judgment upon Gentile nations and upon Israel. Then there is Isaiah 45:18 which states, “the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste (tohu), that formed it to be inhabited.”
What are we to say about all this? There is a twofold response.
First, the Hebrew word “tohu” does not always refer to something evil. In Job 26:7 we read that God “stretcheth out the north over empty space (tohu), and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” We know that outer space is not basically evil. The word tohu can refer to a place that is conspicuous for its absence of life such as the wilderness or desert (Deut. 32:10; Job 6:18; 12:24; 107:40).
Second, the passage in Isaiah really teaches the purpose of creation. Notice the final phrase in the verse. “formed it to be inhabited.” During the creation week God worked in stages but always with a definite purpose in mind. He created the earth to be inhabited.
The third argument used to support the Gap Theory is that the darkness symbolizes sin and judgment (John 3:19; Jude 13). Since God did not say the darkness was “good” as He said the light was “good” (Gen. 1:4) it can be assumed that God originally created the world in light (Psa. 104:2; 1 Tim. 6:16) and Satan plunged it into darkness. The response to this is that physical darkness is not to be considered as inherently evil or as the effect of divine judgment (Psa. 104:19-24; Psa. 139:12).
The fourth major supporting argument for the Gap Theory is built upon a supposed distinction between the verbs “created” (bara) and “made” (asah). The argument is that God created three things: the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1), animal life (Gen. 1:21) and human life (Gen. 1:26, 27). The rest God merely “brought forth” from the earth following the catastrophic judgment of Genesis 1:2. The sun, moon, and stars of Genesis 1:16 were not actually created on the fourth day, but were simply made “to appear” through the thick dark clouds that covered the earth following its devastation.
The response to this argument is very simply. The verbs “asah” and “bara” are used synonymously throughout the chapter. There is no dramatic distinction between the two words in the creation account. We read that God “created” (bara) the great sea monsters (Gen. 1:21) and He “made” (asah) the beasts of the field (Gen. 1:25). In 1:26 God said let us “make” (asah) man in our image” but in the next verse (Gen. 1:27) we read that God “created” (bara)” man in His own image.