December 6, 2003

The Gap Theory Flood and the Age of the Earth

Please read Prophecy Updates 148A through 148F before reading this Update. Up until the time that Bishop Ussher, in about 1634, added up the genealogical dates in the fifth chapter of Genesis, and gave them as proof that the earth was created in 4004 B.C., people did not particularly care how long the earth had existed. They just read the first Scripture in the Bible, and believed it. That satisfies me, but it does not seem enough for a number of people, so I have given you an account of what I believe concerning the how and the when of creation, as I interpret it from the account in Genesis. However, what I consider important is that God created the earth, not when and how he did it.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

It is highly unlikely that God intended to wait until 1634 to reveal the age of the earth to an Irish Archbishop named James Ussher. I don’t believe that the genealogical ages from Seth to Noah were intended, or can be used, for calculating the age of the earth. The Hebrew words used for “son,” “daughter,” and “begat,” may involve a distant or an immediate descendant. Merrill Unger, in his “Bible Handbook,” gives several reasons why one should not use Bishop Ussher’s calculated age of the earth as factual. They are quoted as follows:

(1)    The Hebrew terms “begat,” “son,” “daughter,” are used with great latitude and may involve a distant as well as an immediate descendant.”

(2)    The ten generations from Adam to Noah and the ten from Noah evidently aim at brevity and symmetry, rather than unbroken father-to-son relation.

(3)    Abbreviations due to symmetry are common features of Scripture genealogies (as in the first chapter of Matthew).

(4)    In the recurring formula: A lived ____ years and begat sons and daughters, and A lived after he begat B ____ years and begat sons and daughters, B may not be the literal son of A. (the identical Hebrew word “ben” is used for son, grandson, great-grandson, great-great-grandson, adinfinitim). The age of A is his age when his descendant was born from whom B was descended. So an indefinite time interval may therefore be intended between A and B.

Believe me when I tell you I have heard all the arguments that come from cross referencing Old Testament and New Testament genealogies in an attempt to prove man was created in 4004 B.C. And I have tried to be open and honest with God and myself in attempting to discover from the Scriptures exactly when Adam was created on this planet. I cannot tell you from the Scriptures when Adam was created. All I can do is to give you an estimate based on what I have seen in the fossil record of what I believe to be the descendants of Adam, and the latitude I believe allowed by God without violating the linguistics of the Scripture. I approximate, estimate, just plain guess, that God created Adam in the Garden of Eden some 25 to 30 thousand years ago. But if you believe God created Adam in 4004 B.C., I will certainly admit you might be correct. And if you do believe that the earth is only 6,007 years old, I have no problem with it. But if you tell me that God did not create the earth, or that he did not create Adam on the sixth day, or that he created Adam by a process of evolution from lower life forms, then I violently disagree with you.

The flood that closed the age of the dinosaurs, and their cold-blooded epic of geological time, occurred in the final sentence of Genesis 1:2.

Genesis 1:2 – 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.

In the discourse that follows I will attempt to correlate Genesis 1:1-3 with II Peter 3:3-8.

II Peter 3:3,4 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

This was the first single land mass continent that stood alone out of the seas and oceans of our planet. It was given the name Pangaea by Alfred Wegener in 1915 in his book, “The Origins of Continents and Oceans.” It correlates with II Peter 3:5.

II Peter 3:5 – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Genesis 1:2a – And the earth was (hayethah) without form (tohu), and void (bohu); and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

This is what the earth became when Satan rebelled against God. It was in this state for a very long period of time. After Satan had been given millions of years to create a living bios creature with a soul, he utterly fell on his face, and all of the created beings of God watched him fail. It was at the end of Satan’s failure that God flooded the earth, and wiped out the land dwelling creatures on the earth abruptly and suddenly. Thus Genesis 1:2a correlates with II Peter 3:6.

II Peter 3:6 – Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Genesis 1:2b – And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

This is when the Spirit of God fluttered over the surface of the flood that covered the earth, like a dove hovering over her eggs she previously laid to give them protection and warmth to come to life. This is when the waters began to recede off the earth, and it eventually became the divided earth much as we know it today. This verse correlates with II Peter 3:7.

II Peter 3:7 – But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Genesis 1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

This verse marks the beginning of the penetration of light that had only been able to keep the earth in a state of scattered, diffused, refracted, and reflected light for a very long period of time, but now it begins to break through the great cloud shroud around the earth, and marks the start of God’s six days of re-creation of his original creation marred by Satan.

During the re-creation God made most of what he made out of what was already here from his first creation. You will find the word ‘asah used in those cases. But he also initially created some things for the first time in the six-day re-creation. In those cases you will find the word bara’ was used.

I do not mean to be rude, or difficult to get along with, but because I got tired of having to try to tell people what I believed about creation in ten words or less, I did not address the subject in my 27 years of lectures in churches, seminaries, colleges, universities, and institutions of higher learning. I have seen as much controversy on this subject as I have on the rapture question. I am tired of controversy and flying dust among the brethren, and having to defend my positions in such a wide area of disagreement, so if you send me questions on these two subjects, you may not get an a reply. Let me put it simply: I believe that God created the heaven and earth, that he created Adam on the sixth day, that the days were 24 hours long, that Adam did not evolve through evolution, that Jesus was the second Adam who died for my sins and is my Savior, and that he is coming sometime soon for me. I really don’t have the time or inclination to get involved in something less important than what I have just stated.

Dr. L.D. Foreman was a close friend who encouraged me very early in my ministry to pursue the destruction of the earth by movement of the tectonic plates in the tribulation period. He asked me if he could include my material from Tectonic Chaos in the fiftieth, and last memorial, of his publication, and he included a lot of it in his anniversary publication. But there was one thing we differed on, and I discussed it with him at length in the cafeteria at the Texarkana Book Store shortly before his ill- fated trip to the Solomon Islands, where he suffered a fatal heart attack while baptizing one of the new converts. After Dr. Foreman published his book, “The Bible in Eight Ages,” certain topographical discoveries were made in Iraq, and I discussed it with him at length. Unfortunately we did not have an opportunity to continue the discussion after his trip to the Solomon Islands. I don’t know if I would have been able to get him to change his mind had he returned, but I do intend to present where I differed with him in one part of his book. Lord willing, I will put this out as Prophecy Update 149A.