First, we must look at each set of verses in the contents where they were placed if we are to understand:
It is not as easy to find the answers as you might think, however the answers are always in the chapter and verses immediately preceding of following the verse or verses in question. It will never be found in another book of the Bible, or distanced from the verses in question by two or more chapters. When you have found the meaning of a verse, then you may also find other places in the Bible which gives the same message, but each place must stand on it's own within it's contents. Other places in the Bible can confirm but cannot ever explain.
Now let us see if the claim that was made is valid, that is, true or false. We cannot start out with an assumption either way, else we would be looking to prove what we want it to say rather than looking for the truth of what it does say. Many a cult has been started by well meaning persons who either forgot, or did not know, this truth. I am constantly amazed at the arguments I hear about what the Bible is saying, while each side puts forth the exact same scripture as the proof scripture for their side of the argument.
First let us look at the first chapter of Genesis:
In answering the questions, we see that
God speaks throughout the chapter, and is telling man that He created everything in the past for man whom He created last and gave man authority over all that was made on the Earth. First the Statement in Genesis. 1:1 that He (God) created everything. And then He goes on to tell How he created everything (Genesis. 1:2). God tells us that He created everything in a very short time for the benefit of man.
Is there anything in this chapter which even remotely suggests that there was an earth before the one that we are now living on? No, there is not. So where did this idea come from? Several hundred years ago when man started to believe in evolution instead of God's word, man tried to fit evolution into the creation story. He claimed that there was a gap of millions of years between Genesis. 1:1 and Genesis. 1:2 which then allowed for evolution, or for the existence of a previous world which was then destroyed by God and subsequently is remade by God. Since then man even denies that God created anything and that if He exist, only made something out of what was already there. They say that God used evolution to make the earth and man. There are believers of this heresy because they would rather believe the word of men, who claim to be Scientist, than they would to believe the word of God. There are also those God fearing men who have been led astray by false interpretations of God's word. The first will be led straight into hell, the last may not have a belief in the gap theory effect their salvation, IF they do worship Jesus first and always.
Now lets go back to Genesis chapter 1. We start out with a writing style that was common. We first make a statement, then for emphasis, we then explain or expand on the statement just made. That is still used sometimes today. The Hebrews made use of it in the writings of the Bible as well as secular writings. We can see here that God first makes a statement that He, and He alone, created, that is, made everything out of nothing.
An example of writing style.
I make the statement "I made a table and chair" period. That says it all, it tells who did what. The statement is complete in itself.
Now I can expand on that statement by telling you how I made the table and chair. " I went into the forest and cut down a tree with my ax and cut the tree into boards with my saw. Then I cut and shaped the boards to make the table with it's legs and the chair."
Now I can again expand the explanation by telling you how I made the legs for the table. " I took a board, and after cutting it to the right length I made it square. Then I put it on a wood lathe and turned it to be round."
As you can see, that while the first statement is complete in itself. However, it was not true until after I had performed the work that I described, after the statement. I didn't have to describe how I made the table and chair in order for the first statement, that I made the table and chair, to be true. The only difference is the order in which I placed it in this example. It would fit perfectly well if I had placed the statement at the end after telling you the details of how I made it.
In the statement made by God in Genesis 1:1 would have fit just as well if it were the last verse of the chapter. Where then would the Gap be if there ever was one??
We can see this style of writing continuing into the second chapter. In Genesis 1:27 it says "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Note here that God has both man and woman completed in this verse without any details to explain. Now in chapter 2, God starts giving us additional details about His creating the Earth and Man. We see in chapter 2:7 and 2:21-22 that He has now explained how He made the man and woman that He spoke of in Genesis 1:27. The writing style is the same as that used in Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2+. This is a confirmation that chapter one does not have a gap whereby either evolution or another previous world existed.
ON TO JEREMIAH:
Jeremiah chapter 4 is used as a proof of a previous world. Quoted were verses 23- 28
Jeremiah 4:23 "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void;
and the heavens, and they had no light.
4:24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
4:25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
4:26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger.
4:27 For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
4:28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
This is interesting, but, what is it saying? The original claim at the start of this paper says that these verses prove that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 in which there was a previous world, made by God, which He then destroyed, with everything on the Earth, and remade into our present world.
The first step to finding the truth is to answer the questions we have listed above, using all of Jeremiah chapter 4. That will tell us if the above text from Jeremiah is being used within it's contents and therefore does have the meaning claimed for it, or if it has been taken out of contents, and therefore giving a meaning that it does not have.
In this chapter, God calls to Israel, reminding them of His great mercy but also warning them of His anger and vengeance. And finally Lamentations for Judah.
Jeremiah chapter 4 starts with God speaking.
Jeremiah 4:1-2 God promises that if Israel will stop it's idol worship and turn again to Him that their nation will not have judgment brought against it and that the nations which surround them will bless the nation of Israel also.
3-4 God says, turn to Me or I will vent my fury against you.
6 If you do not return to Me, then I will bring destruction upon you by using the nations from the North of you.
7 I have already set them into motion and they are on their way to lay total destruction on you.
8 Jeremiah now speaks, warning the people to repent because The Lord is angry at them and has passed judgment on them. Destruction is coming and they can't stop it.
9 God speaks again. When the destruction comes on them that their king will die and all of their other leaders will be taken totally by surprise.
10 Jeremiah speaks. He asks, God, didn't you say that peace was coming? Are you tricking the people? This destruction will cut deep into their souls.
11- 12 God answers, What I send upon you is not to destroy you but to clean out the idolatry. And those that I send against you I will also sentence to destruction.
13 God tells Jeremiah that the destruction will be extremely fast in the very near future. Jeremiah cries out in anguish.
14 - 17 God tells Jeremiah to warn the entire nation of Israel that a nation from far off is coming and will surround and destroy them, because Israel has rebelled against God.
18 It will happen because of your evil ways, your wickedness that is deep in your heart.
19 - 20 God cries out in pain over the coming destruction of Israel as a nation because they have forced Him to judge against they. (They are God's chosen people)
21 God asks how long will they suffer before they will turn back to Him.
22 God says that His people are foolish because they have chosen to turn away from Him. They have chosen evil instead of good and they no longer know Him
23 - 27 Jeremiah speaks here as God gives him a vision that compresses time from the distant past to the distant future. This is made clear in ver 27 where Jeremiah says "For thus hath the Lord said" and ver 28 Where God says that He plans to do it and "will not turn back form it". This shows that the destruction will happen in the future from this point. And also in ver 29 where the people of the city will run for their lives. This again is in the future as shown by the word "shall" (future) and not the word "did"(past).
23 Jeremiah is shown the Earth (I beheld or saw the Earth) when God first formed it but before there was even light (Genesis. 1:2), Jeremiah is next shown what will happen to the earth in the future.
24 I saw the entire Earth shake from an earthquake.
25 I saw that there were no more men or birds on the Earth.
26 I saw The Earth that had once been fruitful was now a wasteland and every city on the Earth had been destroyed by the Lord God in His anger.
27 God then tells Jeremiah that in spite of what he was shown that God would not at that time totally destroy the earth.
28 God then says that the earth will mourn for it's loss and the Earth will darken but He said that He will do this to the Earth and Will cause it to happen.
29 God now tells of how, when He brings this destruction, that the people in Jerusalem will run out of the city and try to find hiding places in the country side and in the mountains. He continues with the statement that every city on the face of the earth will be abandoned at this time.
30 God laughs at them, no matter how rich, how beautiful, or anything else, you will have nothing to bargain with and so your life will not be worth anything. Everyone you meet will try to kill you.
31 God continues; You will cry out in pain as does a woman who is having her first child. God identifies here that it is the daughters of Zion, or the Israelites who will be suffering.
This continues in chapter 5 with God promising that at that time of destruction, if they can find even one (1) righteous person in Jerusalem that He will spare all of them for his sake. Like Sodom, they will not find one.
Now we can see that in chapter 4 of Jeremiah, that God is mostly speaking to the Israelites (or the Jews). He is pointing out their idolatry, and is warning them that He will destroy them if they do not give up idolatry and come back to worshipping Him. He has already declared His judgment against them and will carry out that judgment at some future time. They still have time to stop the judgment, if they repent and come back to Him.
The only thing in this chapter that showed the past was a vision that Jeremiah was given. The rest of his vision here had to do with the coming destruction. This is shown because it was shown in the vision AFTER the he was shown the start of the Earth and the fact that this chapter is speaking of the Israelites who are still with us. I now believe that it has been shown that the verses, quoted from Jeremiah and used in the claim, were taken out of contents to prove what was not true.
I believe that it can be noted at this point that not one of the Old Testament Prophets could distinguish the difference in time between what was to happen immediately and what would come to pass thousands of years later. This can be seen clearly when the Old Testament prophecies are studied.
We can now ask if there are any other scriptures which will confirm this interpretation of Genesis and Jeremiah.
We could go on, but I think that this has been sufficient to show that all of the claim, as stated at the start of this paper, is false.
By Rev. Jack Barr