Is there a time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? (Part 1)

Dr. Cornelis Van Dam

Evolution requires time and lots of it.  One of the keystones of evolutionary theory is that the earth has a history dating back many millions of years.  This presents a problem for Christians who find evolutionary theory persuasive, who accept it, or are inclined to accept it.  The problem is that, on a surface reading, Genesis does not seem to speak of a history of millions of years.  One of the efforts to resolve this has been to posit a lengthy gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  But how sound are the exegetical arguments for such a move?  In a two-part series originally published in Clarion in 1988/89, Dr. Cornelis Van Dam weighs the arguments and finds them wanting.  Today we’re pleased to share the first part.  Here Dr. Van Dam addresses two of the arguments in support of the gap theory:  1) That there is a distinction between the Hebrew words for “create” and “make,”  2) That the first word in Hebrew in Genesis 1:2 includes the element of sequential action.  You can find this article here — it’s also available in our Articles section.