DIFFICULT TEXTS FROM GENESIS
Genesis 1:1,2--How Much Time Between "The Beginning" and Day One?
Genesis 1:5,8,12,19,23,31--Twenty-Four Hour Days or Geological
Genesis 1:1,31; 2:2-4--What About "Create" and "Make"?
Genesis 1:3-5,14-19--Was There Light Before the Sun?
Genesis 1:6-8--What Is the Firmament?
Genesis 1:28--"Replenish"--Was the Earth Populated Before Adam?
Genesis 1:11--Are These Chapters Literal or Mythological?
Bert Thompson, Ph.D. and Gary Workman, M.A.
From earliest times, man has been interested in the question of
his origin. And, it seems that this keen interest, rather than
declining, is increasing as time marches on. The question of
origins is of no little importance. If anything today merits our
serious study and consideration, certainly the question of origins
does. The matter of origins is not a "peripheral issue" which can
be dealt with after all other issues have been settled. This would
truly be a case of the proverbial "cart before the horse." On
this--our conclusion relative to the matter of origins--all other
issues find their foundation. The matter of man's origin, if
followed to successful completion, is in essence the matter of God's
existence. The further one carries the matter of origins, the
closer one comes to the matter of God's existence. The querist will
logically be drawn to the conclusion that if there is no God, then
nothing matters at all; if there is a God, then nothing else really
To discuss the opening chapters of the book of Genesis, as we
shall here, is to discuss the matter of origins, since Genesis is,
as the name aptly suggests, the "book of beginnings." Yet a
discussion of this subject, and this book, evokes strong reactions
among many people, for to many this is the thorny, controversial
area where the battle of "science versus the Bible" is being waged.
Far too many people have come to believe that the Genesis account of
origins and modern science are somehow opposed to each other. Some
would say they are even mutually exclusive one of the other. Though
true science and true religion are never opposed to each other, the
false theories of some scientists and the false ideas of some
religionists often are, and it is here that the conflict has been
both fueled and fanned. Science has made such great strides in the
areas of both knowledge and technology that many have come to
believe if science doesn't first "prove" something true, judgment
must be suspended and anything with which the sacrosanct scientific
method cannot deal must be discarded, ignored, or belittled. This
has generated the false philosophy of scientism which is so
prevalent in our society today. Furthermore, the end result of such
thinking has been the proliferation among religious people of what
has been called the "Double Revelation Theory."1 This false
philosophy simply states that there is a revelation of God both in
"nature" and in the Bible, and that whenever the revelation given in
the Bible is in "conflict" with that discovered through the
scientific method, the theologian must find a way to readjust the
biblical revelation so that it is brought into harmony with the
scientists' consensus, since "the Bible is not a textbook on science
and these problems overlap the territory in which science alone must
give us the detailed and authoritative answers."2
Intimidation is the name of the game! The Bible-believer is so
intimidated by the scientist with his flowing white laboratory coat,
volumes of impressive data, technical methodology, and fancy
instruments that he capitulates, giving up inspired testimony for
today's theories (which may, in fact, turn out to be tomorrow's
superstitions). While we ought to be all the more holding
steadfastly to the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God,
we are instead giving up inspired testimony for currently prevailing
One good example of such a happening has to do with the verses
from Genesis 1 and 2 with which this manuscript deals. In spite of
mountains of weighty biblical and scientific evidence to the
contrary, there are still many Bible-believers who subscribe to the
notion that the earth is billions of years old. Some even assert
that man is a "very recent newcomer to this planet,"3 the earth
having come into existence billions of years before man ever made
his appearance. Though some of these people may be unaware of it,
they have been influenced by the subtle pressures of evolutionary
geology and its advocates. The evolutionary scientists, who frankly
admit that they must have great expanses of time in order for
evolutionary theory to be true, have announced to the world
therefore that the universe is, in fact, very, very old.4 And, as a
result of evolutionary brainwashing, some religionists have adopted
the idea of the multi-billion year old earth and, accordingly, have
sought to press the Bible into an unholy alliance with current
pseudo-science. As Wayne Jackson has so well stated the matter:
"Undoubtedly the most popular argument advanced against
the credibility of the Mosaic narrative in Genesis is the
apparent conflict between the biblical record and the
claims of modern geology. The Bible clearly suggests that
the earth was created but a few thousand years ago, while
some scientists contend that it has been in existence for
some four and one-half to five billion years. The
solution to this problem has usually been either to simply
dismiss Gen-esis as an uninformed account of what ancient
men believed regarding the origin of things, or else, by
exegetical hocus-pocus Genesis is forced into harmony with
the assumptions of evolutionary geologists. Neither of
these methods gives satisfaction to the sincere inquirer
As sincere inquirers of truth, therefore, let us examine the
passages now before us in the light of true Bible teaching.
Genesis 1:1,2--How Much Time Between "The Beginning" and Day One?
In Genesis 1:1-2 we find the following statements: (1) "In the
beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (2) And the earth
was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and
the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." These verses,
and those that follow, discuss the creative activity of God. The
Bible-believer who desires, for whatever reasons (an attempt to
appear scientifically precocious?, an attempt to accept theistic
evolution?), to insert the millions or billions of years of geologic
time into the creation account must somehow fit this vast time into
Genesis 1. Since the first chapter of Genesis covers the creation
of all forms of life (including man), it is obvious even to the most
casual reader that the geological ages could not have occurred after
the creation week. Therefore, two alternatives are advanced by
those who seek to align evolutionary geology with the Genesis
record: insert the geological ages before the creation week, or
during it. In this section, we will deal with the attempt to insert
the ages before the creation week; the next section will deal with
the attempt to insert the ages during the week.
For over 100 years Bible-believers who were determined to
insert the geologic ages into the space before the creation week
studied Genesis 1 with the intent of doing just that. They came to
the conclusion that it is possible to place the geologic ages
between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This has come to be known as the Gap
Theory (synonyms: Ruin and Reconstruction Theory, Ruination-Re-
creation Theory, Pre-Adamic Cataclysm Theory, Restitution Theory),
and was made popular by such men as G.H. Pember (Earth's Earliest
Ages) and Harry Rimmer (Modern Science and the Genesis Record). The
Scofield Reference Bible also helped popularize the theory in its
footnotes on Genesis 1. In more recent times, a strange twist has
been given to the theory by John N. Clayton, who has given us the
Modified Gap Theory.6 The Gap Theory states that a vast "gap" of
time exists between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, which may be accommodated
to the geological time scheme of modern theorists. During this
supposed gap, there lived successive generations of plants, animals,
and even pre-Adamic men. According to this view, God destroyed the
original creation because of a Satanic rebellion and so Genesis 1:2
is translated to suggest that "the earth became waste and void."
The Gap Theory has been advocated, in one form or another, by
denominationalists such as Arthur C. Custance and others. Several
among the churches of Christ have championed the Gap Theory or
modifications of it. George Klingman said, for example, "Between
Genesis 1:1 and the next verse there is room for hundreds of
millions of years of time and countless myriads of ages...."7
Robert Milligan, in his Scheme of Redemption,8 takes a similar
position, as does George W. DeHoff in his Why We Believe the Bible.9
It is sad indeed that men must stoop to such "exegetical hocus-
pocus" to pervert the plain teachings of the Bible so as to
accommodate evolutionary presuppositions. The Gap Theory (and
modifications of it) are false!
(1) Exodus 20:11 (cf. Exodus 31:17) plainly states, "for in six
days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them
is, and rested on the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the
sabbath day, and hallowed it" [emp. added]. Notice all the
statement includes. If everything was made in six days, then
nothing was created prior to those six days! The Bible is its own
best interpreter, as always. This one verse demolishes the Gap
Theory and all modifications of it. More will be said on this later
in the section on Genesis 1:1,31; 2:2-4.
(2) Adam (I Corinthians 15:45) is called "the first man." That
excludes any pre-Adamic race of men. Adam was the first!
(3) At the conclusion of the sixth day, God saw everything that
He had made, and behold it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). If
Jehovah's original creation had become contaminated/destroyed
through Satan's rebellion--and thus the new creation rested on a
veritable graveyard of corruption--it is difficult indeed to see how
God could have surveyed the situation and then used the expression
"very good" to describe it.
(4) Gap theorists claim that the Hebrew word for "was"
(hayetha) should be translated "became" or "had become," indicating
a change of state from the original perfect creation to a chaotic
condition (v.2). Yet none of the scholarly translations of the
Bible so translate the verse. A few years ago, twenty leading
Hebrew scholars were polled to see if there was exegetical evidence
of a "gap" between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. They unanimously responded,
"NO!"10 In fact, noted Hebrew scholar J.W. Watts has even stated:
"In Genesis 1:2a the verb is perfect. It indicates a fixed and
completed state. In other words, original matter was in a state of
chaos when created; it came into being that way."11 Harold
Stigers, in his commentary on Genesis, states:
"The cataclysmic theory (also called the restitution
theory) respecting v.2 can have no place in a proper
translation. The construction of `became void,' etc., is
not justified by Hebrew syntax. When the verb `to be'
(hayah) is to be constructed as `became,' the addition of
the prepositional lamedh is required with the following
word to provide this meaning, and this preposition is
(5) We know the Gap Theory to be false because it infers death
and destruction in the world prior to Adam. This is in direct
contradiction to New Testament teaching (I Corinthians 15:21; Romans
8:20-22; Romans 5:12) which states that sin and death resulted from
Adam's sin. If the Gap Theory is true, Paul is a liar!
(6) Gap theorists assert that the phrase "without form and void" of
Genesis 1:2 (Hebrew tohu wabohu) can refer only to something once in a
state of repair but now ruined. To that Dr. John Whitcomb replies:
"Many Bible students, however, are puzzled with the
statement in Genesis 1:2 that the Earth was without form
and void. Does God create things that have no form and
are void? The answer, of course, depends on what those
words mean. `Without form and void' translate the Hebrew
expression tohu wabohu, which literally means `empty and
formless.' In other words, the Earth was not chaotic, not
under a curse of judgment. It was simply empty of living
things and without the features that it later possessed,
such as oceans and continents, hills and valleys--features
that would be essential for man's well-being. In other
words, it was not an appropriate home for man...." 13
With Gedney, we criticize the Gap Theory on these grounds:
"(i) it calls for an entire re-creation of the animal life
of the world in six days; (ii) it fails to explain the
orderly progression of the appearance of fossils; (iii) it
fails to offer any correlation between definite biblical
statements and geology, for the six days in the gap theory
refer solely to a creation of a few thousand years ago;
(iv) there is no geological evidence for the catastrophe
postulated; and (v) the Hebrew exegesis involved is
incapable of defence."14
Exodus 20:11 stands as God's own word on what He did--and how He did
Genesis 1:5,8,12,19,23,31--Twenty-Four Hour Days or Geological
Since evolutionary time cannot be placed before the creation,
and since it obviously does not fit after the creation, then some
advocates have suggested it occurred during the creation week, and
that the days of Genesis 1 aren't "days" at all, but rather
extensive eons of geologic time. This religious error has long been
popular with denominationalists. Bernard Ramm, for example, says
that people who believe in a six literal day creation are those who
accept the "naive literal view."16 Kenneth Taylor, paraphraser of
the Living Bible Paraphrased, in his popular book, Evolution and the
High School Student, advocates the "day-age" theory (as it has come
to be known). Wilbur M. Smith (Therefore Stand!) and Edward John
Carnell (The Case for Orthodox Theology) have both advocated the
false theory, as has Davis A. Young (Creation and the Flood), son of
the scholarly Edward J. Young. Jack Wood Sears of Harding
University's Biology Department has also been an outspoken advocate
of the day-age theory. Were the days of Genesis approximately 24-
hour days or eons or time? Make no mistake about it--they were days
just as we know them today. The day-age theory is false!
(1) Dr. Henry Morris remarks:
"If the reader asks himself this question: `Suppose the
writer of Genesis wished to teach his readers that all
things were created and made in six literal days, then
what words would he use to best convey this thought?' he
would have to answer that the writer would have used the
actual words of Genesis 1. If he wished to convey the
idea of long geological ages, however, he could surely
have done it far more clearly and effectively in other
words than in those which he selected. It was clearly his
intent to teach creation in six literal days.
"Therefore, the only proper way to interpret Genesis 1 is
not to `interpret' it at all. That is, we accept the fact
that it was meant to say exactly what it says. The `days'
are literal days and the events described happened in just
the way described...." 17
(2) We know the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24-hour days
because the Hebrew word yom, which is translated "day," is used and
defined in Genesis 1:5.
"As added proof, the word is clearly defined the first
time it is used. God defines His terms! `And God called
the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the
evening and the morning were the first day' (Genesis 1:5).
Yom is defined here as the light period in the regular
succession of light and darkness, which, as the earth
rotates on its axis, has continued ever since. This
definition obviously precludes any possible interpretation
as geologic age."18
And, amazingly, we discover when we begin to study the first chapter
of Genesis that we have a built-in scheme for interpreting the
length of each of these days, which proves beyond the shadow of a
doubt that these days were the same kind of days we know today.
Genesis 1:14 states that God created the lights to divide the day
from the night, and that they were to be for signs, for seasons, for
days, and for years. If the "days" are "ages," then what are the
years? If a day is an age, then what is a "night?" Marcus Dods,
writing in the Expositor's Bible, says: "If the word `day' in this
chapter does not mean a period of 24 hours, the interpretation of
Scripture is hopeless."19
(3) The day-age theory is false because whenever the Hebrew
word yom is preceded by a numeral, it always carries the meaning of
a 24-hour day. Yom occurs over 100 times in this fashion in the Old
Testament non-prophetical literature, and always the meaning of a
24-hour day is conveyed. Arthur Williams, writing in the Creation
Research Annual, says: We have failed to find a single example of
the use of the word `day' in the entire Scripture where it means
other than a period of twenty-four hours when modified by the use of
the numerical adjective."20
(4) In addition, whenever the Hebrew term yom occurs in the
plural (yamin), it always refers to a literal 24-hour day.
"When the word `days' appears in the plural (Hebrew yamin)
as it does over 700 times in the Old Testament, it always
refers to literal days. Thus, in Exodus 20:11, when the
Scripture says that `in six days the Lord made heaven and
earth, the sea, and all that in them is,' there can be no
doubt whatever that six literal days are meant."21
(5) The Hebrew phrase translated "evening and morning" is used
over 100 times in the Old Testament with the word yom. Each time it
refers to a literal 24-hour day. As Dr. Henry M. Morris states:
"The Hebrew words for `evening' and `morning' occur over 100 times
each in the Old Testament, and always in the literal sense."22 Dr.
Morris goes on to say:
"...The writer of Genesis was trying to guard in every way
possible against any of his readers deriving the notion of
nonliteral days from his record.
"In fact, it was necessary for him to be completely
explicit on this point, since all the pagan nations of
antiquity believed in some form of evolutionary cosmogony
which entailed vast aeons of time before man and other
living creatures developed from the primeval chaos. The
writer not only defined the term `day,' but emphasized
that it was terminated by a literal evening and morning
and that it was like every other day in the normal
sequence of days. In no ways can the term be legitimately
applied here to anything corresponding to a geological
period or any other such concept."23
(6) Had Moses wanted us to understand that these "days" of
Genesis were actually "long geological periods of time," he could
have so specified in a very exacting manner. Yet he did not. Moses
could have used the Hebrew word olam or the word d"r, both of which
would indicate indefinite periods of time. But he did not. He
could have modified the Hebrew word yom with the adjective rab (yom
rab--a "long" day), but again, he did not. And, as Larry Chouinard
points out, if God said He created everything in six days, but
really used six eons, wouldn't that make God a deceptive, tricky,
sneaky, deceitful God?24
(7) If the "days" of Genesis were not days at all, but long
geological periods, then a problem of no little consequence arises
in the field of botany. Guy N. Woods mentions this problem when he
"Botany, the field of plant-life, came into existence on
the third day. Those who allege that the days of Genesis
1 may have been long geological ages, must accept the
absurd hypothesis that plant-life survived in periods of
total darkness through half of each geologic age, running
into millions of years." 25
Indeed, if there were periods of "evening and morning"--as the text
so states--then how did the plant life live in extended periods of
(8) The days of Genesis 1 are plainly 24-hour days, because of
God's explicit command to the Israelites to observe the Sabbath.
God plainly told them not only what to do, but why to do it. The
Sabbath command in Exodus 20:8-11 can be adequately understood only
when the days of the week are considered to be 24-hour days. As Dr.
John Whitcomb observes:
"Genesis chapter one is explained by Exodus 20:9,11 when
God spoke to Israel and said, `Six days shalt thou labor,
and do all thy work.... For in six days the Lord made
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.'
Obviously God was speaking in terms of literal days. No
Jew in his right mind would think that God meant `six
indefinite periods shalt thou labor and rest a seventh
indefinite period.' God, of course, could have created
the universe in one moment, but as a matter of fact, He
stretched it out over six whole days in order to serve as
a pattern for man's cycle of work and rest."26
Again, if the days of Genesis are not 24-hour days, the whole
interpretation of Scripture becomes hopeless!
(9) Perhaps the most damaging statements, as far as the day-age
theory is concerned, come from Jesus' own mouth. Speaking to the
Pharisees in Mark 10:6 (cf. Matthew 19:4), Jesus plainly stated:
"But from the beginning of the creation, male and female made he
them." In other words, God made man (male) and woman (female) "from
the beginning of the creation." Paul affirmed exactly that in I
Corinthians 15:45, calling Adam "the first man." He called Eve by
name in I Timothy 2:13. If Jesus is right, then man and woman have
been here "since the beginning of the creation." If Paul is right,
man and woman have been here "since the beginning of the creation"
when they were "perceiving the things that were made" (Romans 1:20).
But the day-age theory, on the other hand, places man at the end of
millions or billions of years of geologic time. Both cannot be
true. If the day-age theory is right, Jesus lied! However, since
Jesus told the truth, the day-age theory is false.
Genesis 1:1,31; 2:2-4--What About "Create" and "Make"?
Gap theorists (and Modified Gap theorists) assert, in order for
their theories to be true, that the two Hebrew words asah and bara
in the creation account (meaning to "create" or "make") must refer
to different things, and can never be used interchangeably. For
example, bara supposedly means "to create," whereas asah means "to
make, re-make, or make over again." The conclusion we are supposed
to draw is, of course, that the "original creation" was "created"
while the creation of the six days was "made" (viz: "made over"),
not "created," since the original creation was no longer existent.
This is patently false. The two words are used interchangeably.
(1) Henry Morris points out:
"The Hebrew words for `create' (bara) and for `make'
(asah) are very often used quite interchangeably in
Scripture, at least when God is the one referred to as
creating or making. Therefore, the fact that bara is used
only three times in Genesis 1 (vv. 1,21 and 27) certainly
does not imply that the other creative acts, in which
`made' or some similar expression is used, were really
only acts of restoration. For example, in Genesis 1:21,
God `created' the fishes and birds; in 1:25 He `made' the
animals and creeping things. In verse 26, God speaks of
`making' man in His own image. The next verse states tht
God `created' man in His own image. No scientific or
exegetical ground exists for distinction between the two
processes, except perhaps a matter of grammatical
"The natural reading of the whole account surely
conveys the understanding of real creation throughout,
with no intimation that the actual story is one of
reconstruction of a devastated world. Finally, the
summary verse (Genesis 2:3) clearly says that all of God's
works, both of `creating' and `making' were completed with
the six days, after which God `rested.'"27
"If anyone is impressed by the fact that `made'
(Hebrew asah) is used in Exodus 20:11 instead of `created'
(Hebrew bara), the phrase `all that in them is' should
make it plain that the whole earth structure--not just the
earth's surface--is included in the entities that were
`made' in the six days."28
(2) Weston W. Fields, in his excellent book, Unformed and
Unfilled, sounds the death knell to this alleged argument based on
the Hebrew words bara and asah through the use of several passages,
only one (Nehemiah 9:6) of which we will examine here. Nehemiah 9:6
states: "Thou alone are the Lord. Thou hast made the heavens, the
heavens of heavens with all their host, and the earth and all that
is on it, the seas and all that is in them" (emp. added). Dr.
"While the passages in Genesis cited by one of the
lexicons...mention only the making of the firmament, sun,
moon, stars, and animals, it must be carefully marked by
the reader that in Nehemiah 9:6 the objects of God's
making (asa) include the heavens, the heaven of heavens,
and the earth, and everything contained in and on it, and
the seas and everything they contain, as well as the hosts
of heaven (probably angels).
"Now this is a very singular circumstance, for those
who have argued for the distinctive usage of asa
throughout Scripture must, in order to maintain any
semblance of consistency never admit that the same
creative acts can be referred to by both the verb bara and
the verb asa. Thus, since Genesis 1:1 says that God
created (bara) the heavens and the earth, and Exodus 20;11
and Nehemiah 9:6 contend that he made (asa) them, there
must be two distinct events in view here. In order to be
consistent and at the same time deal with the evidence,
gap theorists must postulate a time when God not only
"appointed" or "made to appear" the firmament, the sun,
the moon and stars, and the beasts, but there also must
have been a time when he only appointed the heavens, the
heaven of heavens, the angels (hosts), the earth,
everything on the earth, the sea, and everything in the
"So that, while asa is quite happily applied to the
firmament, sun, moon, stars, and the beasts, its further
application to everything else contained in the universe,
and, indeed, the universe itself (which the language in
both Exodus 20:11 and Nehemiah 9:6 is meant to convey)
creates a monstrosity of interpretation which should serve
as a reminder to those who try to fit Hebrew words into
English molds, that to strait-jacket these words is to
destroy the possibility of coherent interpretation
completely! Who, even among the most extreme gap
theorists, is willing to propose a ruin and restoration of
the entire universe and everything in it, including
angels? Yet, if asa can refer to recreation only, and not
to original creation, and if it must refer to working with
material previously created (as so many have maintained),
then it is just such an untenable position to which gap
theorists have pushed themselves."29
If gap theorists are consistent with their own usage of the two
Hebrew words, such consistency destroys their own false theory!
Such is the nature of error.
Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19--Was There Light Before the Sun?
In verses 3-5 of Genesis 1 we read that God created "light,"
divided it from the darkness, and called it "day." In verses 14-19
we read that God created "lights"--the sun, moon, and stars--"to
give light" and "to divide the day from the night." While it is
true infidelic scoffers would point to these passages as containing
absurdities and contraditions, it is also true that certain Bible
believers have attempted to solve the apparent discrepancy with
various untenable solutions.
It has been suggested that the sun, moon, and stars were all
created on day one as part of the "heavens" but could not be seen
because the watery earth was shrouded in the misty darkness of its
own vapors; then this darkness was partially dispelled when God
said, "Let there be light"; and finally the sun and the other
luminaries fully appeared when God removed the remaining cloud cover
on the fourth day.30
However, there could scarcely have been a dense blanket of
vapors hiding the sun because the waters were not lifted up from the
earth until the second day (vss. 6-8). Neither is there any
suggestion that the light created on the first day was anything less
than fully visible, for it removed the primal darkness for half of
each day. Also, if Moses had meant that on day four the heavenly
bodies were simply unveiled or brought to view, he could easily have
expressed that thought with the word "appeared," as in verse 9.
Moreover, the purpose of the creative activity on the fourth
day is stated in absolute terms--for heavenly bodies "to give light
upon the earth" (vss. 15,17), diffused or otherwise. Is the divine
activity of the fourth day reversed every time some clouds appear?
The obvious meaning of the language is that these luminaries did not
actually "give light" at all until the fourth day.
A variant idea is presented via the Gap Theory which claims
that the sun, moon, and stars were all created long ago in the
distant ages of a dateless past called "the beginning," but that the
original world was plunged into ruin and darkness because of the
fall of Satan and then reconstructed in the week of Genesis 1. An
early spokesman, G.H. Pember, said that "the very light of its sun
had been withdrawn; all the moisture of its atmosphere had sunk upon
its surface."31 This position has been maintained by notes in the
"old" and the New Scofield Reference Bible and was widely
popularized among fundamentalists by Harry Rimmer.32 This view has
been effectively dealt with elsewhere,33 but let it here be noted
that the Bible devastates the Gap Theory by telling us that the
entire creation was made in six days (Exodus 20:11) and that God
created darkness for the benefit of earth's life (Psalm 104:20-22).
Another view is that on day one God "created" the raw materials
out of which He "made" the heavenly bodies on the fourth day,34 or
that the sun, moon and stars were just not lighted until that day.35
These views are not destructive in themselves but tend to capitulate
to the untenable distinction between the verbs "create" and "make."
However, light apart from the sun would still be required on day
Analysis and Interpretation
"Let there be lights" (vs. 14) is identical in grammatical
construction with other statements of "Let there be..." in the
chapter. Therefore, the command can only mean that God spoke the
luminaries into existence on the fourth day just as He had created
the initial light on day one and the firmament on day two. Notice
also that God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of
heaven," an expression which could not have been used if they had
been there (though concealed) since day one. Then Moses records
that God "made" the lights (vs. 16) on day four, not that He just
made them shine or be visible. And then he said that God "set" them
in the firmament of heaven, which can only mean that they were not
there until that very day--created ex nihilo (Hebrews 11:3).
On the first day God said, "Let there be light" (Hebrew or)
whereas on the fourth day God said, "Let there be lights" (ma-or,
light-bearers).36 Therefore, God's first recorded statement created
independent light without a light-bearer. And since God instituted
the light-darkness cycle on that day, we must conclude that the
light came from a fixed direction and that the earth rotated on its
axis. In eternity there wil again be light without the sun
Genesis 1:6-8--What Is the Firmament?
The word "firmament" in Genesis 1:6-8 has given rise to the
criticism that the Bible erroneously and naively pictures the sky
above the earth as consisting of a solid dome. And thus the Genesis
account of creation is accused of being unscientific.
Definitions and Translations
Actually, the word "firmament" is the unfortunate translation
of the Hebrew raqia which means an "expanse"37 or "something
stretched, spread or beaten out."38 Inaccurately, the Septuagint
translated raqia with the Greek word stereoma which connotes a
"solid structure."39 Those uninspired men probably chose that word
because it reflected the current astronomical conception. It thus
came into the Latin Vulgate as firmamentum (a strong or steadfast
support) and thence into our English word.40 Brown, Driver and
Briggs allowed a poetic statement from the uninspired Elihu (Job
37:18) to influence their lexical definition of the expanse as
"solid," yet the word itself carries no such meaning.41
The Bible equates "firmament" with the "heavens" (Psalm 19:1),
using even the compound "firmament of heaven" (Genesis 1:14,15,17).
The true definition of the word was given by God on the second day
of creation when He "called the firmament Heaven" (Genesis 1:8). It
is further described when Isaiah says that the Lord "stretcheth out
the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell
in" (Isaiah 40:22).
"Heavens" is always plural in the Hebrew and, in general,
refers to the "heights" above the earth. As such, there are three
particular applications of the word in Scripture. There are the
atmospheric heavens (Jeremiah 4:25), the sidereal heavens (outer
space) where the planetary bodies are (Isaiah 13:10), and the heaven
of God's own dwelling place (Hebrews 9:24). The word "firmament" is
used in reference to two of these. Birds fly in "the open firmament
of heaven" (Genesis 1:20). And yet, the sun, moon and stars are set
in "the firmament of heaven" (vs. 17). The latter is equivalent to
the "empty space" of Job 26:7. Into this empty space God placed the
"firmament" of Genesis 1:6-8, the atmospheric heavens.
Analysis and Interpretation
When God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the
waters" (Genesis 1:6) on the second day, it was therefore not only
the creation of the earth's atmosphere but also the vaporizing of
much of the earth's water. In contrast to clouds and mists which
are located very low in the atmosphere, this water was taken up
"above the firmament" (vs. 7).42 Apparently this was an
antediluvian vapor "canopy" which possibly extended into the high-
temperature ionosphere.43 Such a canopy of vapor would be invisible
yet shield the earth from much of the cosmic radiation it now
receives, possibly accounting for the extreme longevity of those who
lived before the flood.
When the flood came, "the windows of heaven were opened"
(Genesis 7:11) and the waters which were above the firmament
condensed and fell as rain to the earth. Such an event would not be
impossible since all present atmospheric humidity, if condensed,
could only produce an average depth of less than two inches of
rainfall.44 We still have the firmament of Genesis 1:6. But we
should never forget that whereas the ancient world was "amidst
water" until the flood, "the heavens that now are" and the earth are
reserved for a fiery destruction (II Peter 3:5-7).
Genesis 1:28--"Replenish"--Was the Earth Populated Before Adam?
God commanded Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply, and
replenish the earth" (Genesis 1:28). The same command was given to
Noah and his family upon leaving the ark (Genesis 9:1). Because of
the word "replenish" and the fact that in Noah's case he was
commanded to refill a once-populated world, some have asserted that
the earth was also populated before Adam and Eve.
A recent defender of the Gap Theory is J. Sidlow Baxter who
speaks of "a cataclysmic change as the result of a divine judgment"
and "intimations which connect it with a previous testing and fall
of angels." He says that it is "easy to believe that in pre-human
eras Satan (as yet unfallen) may actually have been the rightful and
divinely-appointed prince of this earth, presiding over an anterior
species of beings."45 Baxter sees this "pre-Adamite rebellion and
judgment of Lucifer and associated angel-beings" as being given by
"veiled indications" in Isaiah 14:9-17, Jeremiah 4:23-27, and
Most Gap theorists speak of pre-Adamic beings as Satan and his
angels. The theory's most prominent spokesman, Arthur Custance,
denied that Genesis 1:28 refers to any pre-Adamic race of men.47
Yet, as an earlier champion of the Gap Theory, G.H. Pember referred
to "a preadamite race" and "preadamite man" which also belonged to
that primeval world with its own "sin-stained history." He even
went so far as to identify these beings as the demons spoken of in
the New Testament (which he distinguished from Satan's angels),
saying: "May not these demons be the spirits of those who trod this
earth in the flesh before the ruin described in the second verse of
Pember concludes that those beings were disembodied in the
flood and consigned to an abyssal (Luke 8:31) depth of the seas,
from which place they have continually wanted to emerge and inhabit
the bodies of men. At the end of time they will supposedly be the
first to come forth and stand in judgment, and that is why "the sea"
will be the first to give up its dead before death and Hades give up
the bodies and souls of men (Revelation 20:13).
Analysis and Interpretation
Gap Theory advocates might have been spared a lot of needless
speculation and error if they had been more careful to determine the
exact meaning of "replenish" in Genesis 1:28. It is true that
Webster's Dictionary quotes this verse under its definition of
replenish as "to repeople," and we admit that the etymology of our
English word is from the Latin re (again) and plenus (full), thus
meaning "to fill again."49
However, the Hebrew word malah bears no such meaning. It
simply means "to fill."50 And it is the very same word rendered
"fill" in Genesis 1:22 where God commands the fish to "fill the
waters in the seas." Neither does it mean "refill" in Genesis 9:1
but rather is simply equivalent to "bring forth abundantly" (vs. 7).
Not even the New Scofield Reference Bible (which supports the Gap
Theory) made an argument for pre-Adamic men on the basis of Genesis
1:28, and even changed its basic KJV text at this point (and in
Genesis 9:1) by substituting "fill" for "replenish." Other recent
translations, such as the RSV, NASB, and NIV have done the same.
The Bible does not support the idea that Satan and/or his
angels inhabited this earth at the time of his fall. It is not only
reading between the lines, but writing between them as well, to use
sections of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 for the origin and fall of
Satan. The devil (or Satan) is not referred to in either passage,
nor is Lucifer his name. Those passages denounce the kings of
Babylon and Tyre. Nor does Jeremiah 4:23-27 describe a primeval
destruction of the world but rather the prophetic overthrow of Judah
(II Kings 24:14). The whole idea of pre-Adamic beings, whether
Satan and his angels or a race of men or animals, living on earth
prior to the creation week of Genesis 1 and bringing death and
destruction is incorrect. The Bible says that Adam was the first
man (I Corinthians 15:45) and that death entered this world as a
result of his sin (Romans 5:12; 8:20-22; I Corinthians 15:21).
Genesis 1-11--Are These Chapters Literal or Mythological?
Throughout the Christian age there has been an inclination on
the part of some to regard portions of the Old Testament, and
Genesis 1-11 in particular, as something other than literal history.
For some, their reason for rejecting the Genesis records as actual
history is the extreme remoteness in time with which the accounts
deal. Others point to similarities in mythological literature of
the ancient Middle East. Some early Christians resorted to
allegorical interpretations in their fight against certain heresies.
Rationalistic refusal to believe in miracles has also accounted for
some rejection. The destructive work of Higher Criticism has led
many to consider much of Genesis as legend. The modern Neo-orthodox
school of thinking has influenced people to "demythologize" these
chapters and think of them only as parabolic. And then,
evolutionary presuppositions, geological concessions, and an
unwillingness to accept the Genesis chronology have caused non-
By way of a brief reply, we note the following: The legendary
accounts of creation among other nations, such as the Enuma Elish,
bear little resemblance to the Genesis record.51 And the fact that
there are myths or legends in existence does not mean that Genesis
is myth also. If Genesis 1-11 is historical, as it claims to be, it
is understandable that some trace of the creation story should have
been preserved in the literature of various nations. Neither are
the Genesis accounts said to be "like" anything so as to compare or
illustrate some spiritual truth in parabolic fashion, such as the
story of "The Good Samaritan." Also, it must be noticed that these
first eleven chapters of Genesis do not differ in literary style
from the rest of the book. All of it claims to be sober history.
The book of Genesis is the cornerstone of all true history and
was accepted as such by the inspired writers of the Bible, and our
Lord Himself. Notice the following:52 Adam is mentioned by name in
three Old Testament books (Deuteronomy, Job, I Chronicles), and Noah
is mentioned in three (I Chronicles, Isaiah, Ezekiel). There are
over 200 references to Genesis in the New Testament, over 100 of
which are from Genesis 1-11. In fact, each of these eleven chapters
is quoted or alluded to somewhere in the New Testament. And every
New Testament writer refers to this section of Genesis. Even Jesus
Himself referred to each of the first seven chapters of Genesis, and
neither He nor any New Testament writer viewed those narratives as
anything other than pure history.
If the account of the creation and the fall of man is rejected,
the whole Bible is undermined. If the first Adam is mythical, so
might be the "second" (I Corinthians 15:45,47). If man did not fall
into sin, why does he need a Savior? If evolution is the cause of
life, why should we look for a Judgment Day? If Genesis cannot be
believed, why should we believe Jesus or anyone else who accepted
In fact, however, these chapters of Genesis (and other biblical
references to them) are the only correct and satisfactory
information we have concerning "prehistoric" times. They do not
contain mythical suppositions, poetic fancies, parabolic
suggestions, or scant records leaving huge gaps in the actual lapse
of time. Rather, these chapters contain an accurate and
chronological account of the divine origin of all things.
1. For an excellent discussion of the Double-Revelation
Theory, see The Moon: Its Creation, Form & Significance.
J.C. Whitcomb & D.B. De Young. BMH Books, Winona Lake,
Indiana. 1978. pp 54-56.
2. Ibid. pp 54-55.
3. Clayton, John N. Does God Exist? Correspondence Course,
Lesson 8. South Bend, Indiana. No date.
4. Current guesses on the age of the universe, as voiced by
evolutionists, range from 4.3 billion to Sir Fred Hoyle's
"infinitely old." See: Christian News. March 19, 1979. p12
5. Jackson, Wayne. Fortify Your Faith In An Age of Doubt. 3906
E. Main St., Stockton, California, 95205. 1974. p 28.
6. See: The Source: Eternal Design or Infinite Accident? John
N. Clayton. South Bend, Indiana. 1978. pp 137-138.
7. Klingman, George. God Is. Gospel Advocate Co., Nashville,
Tennesse. 1929. p 128.
8. Milligan, Robert. Scheme of Redemption. Gospel Advocate
Co.,Nashville, Tennessee. 1972 printing. pp 23ff.
9. DeHoff, George W. Why We Believe the Bible. DeHoff
Publications, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 1974. p 27ff.
10. Henkel, M. "Fundamental Christianity & Evolution." IN:
Modern Science and the Christian Faith. Van Kampen Press,
Wheaton,Illinois. 1950. p 49. n 30.
11. Watts, J.W. A Survey of Old Testament Teaching. Broadman.
Nashville, Tennessee. 1947. I. p 16.
12. Stigers, Harold. A Commentary on Genesis. Zondervan. Grand
Rapids, Michigan. 1976.
13. Whitcomb, John C. "The Gap Theory." IN: And God Created
(Vol.II). K.L. Segraves, editor. Creation-Science Research
Center. San Diego, California. 1973. pp 69-70.
14. Gedney, E.K. "Geology and the Bible." IN: Modern Science
and the Christian Faith. Van Kampen Press. Wheaton,
Illinois. 1950. p 49. n 30.
15. An excellent and scholarly refutation of the Gap Theory is
to be found in Weston W. Fields' book, Unformed and
Unfilled, published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids,
16. Ramm, Bernard. The Christian View of Science and Scripture.
Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1954. pp 120-121.
17. Morris, Henry M. The Genesis Record. Baker Book House.
Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1976. p 54.
18. Morris, Henry J. Scientific Creationism. Creation-Life
Publishers. San Diego, California. 1974. p 224.
19. Dods, Marcus. "Genesis." IN: The Expositor's Bible. W.R.
Nicoll, Editor. Vol. I. Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1948. pp 4-5.
20. Williams, Arthur. IN: Creation Research Annual. Creation
Research Society. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 1965. p 10.
21. Morris, Henry M. Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science.
Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1970. p 59. Emp.
22. Ibid. p 58. Emp. in orig.
23. Morris, Henry M. The Genesis Record. pp 55-56.
24. Chouinard, Larry. "A Review of the `Does God Exist?'
series. IN: Christian Courier. Wayne Jackson, Editor. 3906
E. Main St., Stockton, California. August, 1975. pp 2-3.
25. Woods, Guy N. Questions and Answers: Open Forum. Freed-
Hardeman College. Henderson, Tennessee. 1976. p 17.
26. Whitcomb, John C. "The Days of Creation." IN: And God
Created (Vol. II).
27. Morris, Henry M. Studies in the Bible and Science. Baker
Book House. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1966. p 32. Emp. in
28. Morris, Henry M. Scientific Creationism. pp 236-237.
29. Field, Weston W. Unformed and Unfilled. pp 61-62. Emp. in
30. This view is taken by Harold Stigers in his book, A
Commentary on Genesis.
31. Pember, G.H. Earth's Earliest Ages. Revell. New York. No
date. pp 26,33. The first edition of Pember's book was
issued in 1876 and later revised and enlarged. An edited
edition, with additions, is available from Kregel
32. See: Rimmer, Harry. Modern Science and the Genesis Record.
Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1937.
33. See: Thompson, Bert. Theistic Evolution. Lambert Book
House. Shreveport, Louisiana. 1977. An able refutation of
the Gap Theory was also given by Bernard Ramm in his book,
The Christian View of Science and Scripture. See also:
Morris, Henry M. Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science.
34. This position is taken by C.F. Keil in his collaborated
work with Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Old
Testament. Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1949.
35. This is the view of H.C. Leupold in his work, Exposition of
Genesis. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1942.
36. Brown, Francis, S.R. Driver and Charles Briggs. A Hebrew
and English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Clarendon Press.
Oxford. 1962. p 22.
37. Davidson, B. The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon.
Harper & Brothers. New York. 1963. p DCXCII.
38. Maunder, E.W. "Astronomy." IN: International Standard Bible
Encyclopedia. Eerdmans. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1939. p
39. Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich. A Greek-English Lexicon
of the New Testament. University of Chicago Press. Chicago.
1967. p 774.
40. Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English
Language. Jean L. McKechinie, General Editor. Collins
World. 1978. p 691.
41. Brown, Driver, Briggs. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the
Old Testament. p 956.
42. Compare the phrase "above the heavens" in Psalm 148:4.
43. The mechanics of the "canopy" and "flood geology" are
expertly described by a hydrologist in The Genesis Flood by
John C. Whitcomb, Jr. and Henry M. Morris. Baker Book
House. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1961. p 59. See also:
Patten, Donald W. "The Pre-Flood Greenhouse Effect." IN: A
Symposium on Creation: II. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids,
44. Whitcomb & Morris. The Genesis Flood. p 121.
45. Baxter, J. Sidlow. Studies in Problem Texts. Zondervan.
Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1960. pp 189,190.
46. Baxter, J. Sidlow. Explore the Book. Zondervan. Grand
Rapids, Michigan. 1960. p 35.
47. Custance, Arthur C. Hidden Things of God's Revelation.
Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1976. p 314. His major
work defending the Gap Theory is Without Form and Void,
privately published in Ontario, Canada in 1970.
48. Pember, G.H. Earth's Earliest Ages. pp 35,67-73.
49. Webster's. p 1534. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk
Dictionary. Funk and Wagnalls. New York. 1977. p 564.
50. Davidson, B. The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon. p
CCCCLXXXVIII. See also: Brown, Driver, Briggs. A Hebrew and
English Lexicon of the Old Testament. p 570.
51. See the "Introduction" in Leupold, Exposition of Genesis.
52. I am indebted to Henry M. Morris, in The Genesis Record,
for much of this material.
This file may be copied, but is distributed on the understanding that
it will not be modified or edited, and will not be used for commercial
purposes. Further, it may not be copied without due reference to the
original publication source, author, year, and name and address of the
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, AL 36117-2752
Index - Evolution or Creation1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231