Did the fall of Satan take place after Genesis 1:1?
The gap theory of Thomas Chalmers and its shoals
An open letter to Dr. Martin Ernst - Geologist
You never stop learning. The apostle Paul formulated this aptly: We discern by bits and pieces; and as each one contributes his part, the things mentioned in Scripture are recognized more and more clearly, and so I feel free and retain what is good. And the other thing?
The crux with the fossils
In your lecture on "The Age of the Earth and the Bible" (Part 2) on the " Wort und Wissen" channel, I think you proceed very skillfully by presenting enough scriptural passages from the Bible that are related to creation, the fall of man and death, in order to then postulate that the fossils could only have come into existence as a result of the Flood. I realized that it is actually a good and powerful argument for the doctrine of creation and at the same time an objection to the assumption of evolution, which takes death as a given from the beginning. As I understand it, the Bible teaches that death only came into the world after Adam's fall into sin, which is impressively documented by the fossil record.
Thomas Chalmers' gap theory
Now you conclude, sometimes more sometimes less clearly, that this also refutes Thomas Chalmers' gap theory. I would like to point out that the death attested by the petrifactions must not be confused with the fall of Satan, which theologians place between verse 1 and verse 2. As we shall see, the time periods before Genesis 1:3 can certainly be shortened if one is willing. However, courageously opposing the zeitgeist, as you do, is not everyone's cup of tea. Now, what information do we get from Genesis 1:2? "The earth was desolate and empty", or, as you render it, "formless and empty". (I will go into the translation variants below).
The devil's fall may well have taken place between verses 1 and 3 without leaving any traces on the earth. That Satan's fall is connected to the earth is attested to by two texts that are told to us as allegories in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. (Can these stories also be applied to Adam? Adam and the King of Tyre)
Where Satan fell already gives us a first indication of the timing
Let's take a brief look at the most important information from one of the allegories. In Isaiah 14 it says: "How you have fallen from heaven ..." The word shamayim is a plural word, so if we translate it literally, it should read: "How you have fallen from the heavens". If Satan has fallen from the heavens, then the next question inevitably follows: Where has Satan fallen or been cast down to? My understanding is that he was thrown to the earth, because at that time there was neither sun, moon nor any stars; all of these were only made on the fourth day. The earth is at the center of the biblical narratives, not the heavens, and so God's actions on it are described in many different ways. We can recognize his intentions from the texts, especially his plan with mankind. God begins the story in time and space with the creation of the heavens and the earth, whereby the earth is described as desolate and empty in the second verse.
But we are told something else in the beginning, it is the beginning of Satan's downward career. When he was overthrown in the beginning, he fell out of the third heaven and on through the second and landed on the earth and only on the earth, we learn from Ezekiel 28:17. The Lord says: "I have thrown you to the earth." Satan can therefore have been overthrown at the earliest after the foundation stone of the earth was laid. Incidentally, at the time of his fall there were only two heavens and one earth. The expanse of earth that God created on the second day of creation did not exist at that time.
In what state was the earth in the beginning?
The answer to this question will help us to determine the time of Satan's fall even more precisely. Let's take a closer look at the second verse of the first chapter, using three German translations and the basic Hebrew text. These are the translations by Hermann Menge from 1939, Luther's from 1545 and finally the Elberfelder from 1905, which I will use with the Strongs, and then the basic Hebrew text.
Genesis 1:2 - Basic text and translations
Menge Bible from 1939
And the earth was a waste and a desolate place, and darkness was over the broad flood (= the primeval ocean), and the Spirit of God was hovering (brooding) over the surface of the waters.
Luther from 1545
And the earth was desolate and empty, and there was darkness on the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters.
Elberfelder 1905 with Strongs
And H6440 the earth H776 was H1961 desolate H8414 and empty H922, and darkness H2822 was over H5921 the deep H6440; and the Spirit H7307 of God H430 hovered H7363 over the waters H4325.
Hebrew interpolated Study Bible HiSB (a module of the app "TheWord")
וְ·הָ·אָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָ·בֹ֔הוּ וְ·חֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־ פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם
All three German translations say: the earth was desolate and empty. The Hebrew terms for this are: Tohu and Bohu, which are marked in red in the Hebrew text above. What do the words Tohu and Bohu actually mean? What do the scholars have to offer in their dictionaries? First follow the Strong's according to Michael Michelson, then the Strong's of the three-man team Brown, Driver and Briggs, known as BDB for short.
Dictionary entries according to Michael Michelson
H8414תֹּהוּ tohu - noun, masculine;
1. a desolation (of the surface), i.e. desert;2. (figurative) a worthless thing;3. (adverbial) in vain;from an unused root meaning "to lie desolate".
H922 בֹּהוּ bohu - noun, masculine;
1. a nothingness, emptiness, void;2. (superficially) an indistinguishable ruin;from an unused root meaning "to be empty".
Dictionary entries according to BDB
H8414 תֹּהוּ tohu - noun, masculine;
1. formless, confusion, unreality, emptinessa. Formlessness of the primeval earth; (criticism: this is an interpretation)1. nothingness, empty space;b. that which is empty or barren (of idols), figuratively;c. Wasteland, wilderness of lonely places
d. Place of chaose. Vanity.f. Thing of nothingness.
H922 בֹּהוּ bohu - noun, masculine;
1. emptiness, desert, nothingnessfrom an unused root meaning "to be empty".
According to your own statements, you are using the Menge Bible, but unfortunately you do not name the version. I therefore assume that it is the "thorough revision 2020" - whatever that means, which was not revised by Hermann Menge, let alone authorized by him. His last corrected version dates from 1939, the year of his death. Hermann Menge would never have reversed his principles, because his aim was to reproduce the text accurately and in a differentiated way. In the version of the text that you present in your lecture, however, it says: "formless" and "empty". Such a revision not only tarnishes the text, but also Hermann Menge's reputation. The words tohu and bohu are nouns in Hebrew and, consequently, in his last version of 1939, Hermann Menge also translated them with the nouns a "desolate" and a "wasteland": "But the earth was a desolate and a wasteland".
At no time after its creation was the earth formless, as we shall see.
Theology - A Matter of Character*
In another lecture on the topic "Evolution and Creation 5/5: What does the Bible say about creation? Lesson 5)" on Youtube, in the channel Geo-Exx - Geology and Theology, you describe the thought processes of the English theologian Thomas Chalmers as a construction, so far, so good. However, you deliberately repeat the word "constructed" several times, so subtly, as if to suggest to the listener that the gap theory is only (somehow) constructed and, as you add later to increase doubts about the theory, you say: "All this is supposed to fit between verses 1 and 2! With this approach, I think you have not done yourself a good turn, and you have also discredited Chalmers as a constructor. I would have found it better if you had contrasted your own research results with those of Chalmers' theory in a factual manner. Your other videos are factual, well structured and informative. Allow for different interpretations on this topic as well, as you do in the genealogy in the video "Noah's Ark and the Flood".
Correct puzzling is not constructing
As I explained earlier, Satan was thrown to earth by God. When we are told of such an event, God definitely wanted us to ask questions such as: When was Satan thrown to earth? Why did this happen? Why are we being told this detail at all? And that is exactly what Mr. Chalmers does, he asks questions. When he raises the question of timing, he has asked a very important question.
(I suppose it's the long time periods associated with the fossils that give you a stomach ache, isn't it? Now I don't know what your doctor or pharmacist recommends against that, I recommend Bible puzzles).
As Christians, we are constantly challenged to put the pieces of the puzzle that God presents to us neatly together (has a tremendously soothing effect on the stomach). The Lord definitely wants us to better understand the fall of Satan and when the event happened. This knowledge is more urgent today than ever, as it helps us to correctly interpret the end times that have begun.
From the notebook of Satan
Did the fall of Satan take place between verses 1 and 3 of the first chapter of Genesis or not? After your lecture, I went in search of clues and collected the pieces of the puzzle, which, as always in the Bible, are scattered around, examined the texts and then arranged them chronologically in a notebook. During the final examination, further details came to light, which also found their way into the script before you. I hereby present you with a clear and unambiguous picture that will prove robust in the face of critical scrutiny.
Puzzle piece 1: In the beginning of the creation of this earth - Job 38
It speaks Yahweh, the God of Israel. The Lord asks Job: Who laid the foundation stone or cornerstone when the morning stars rejoiced together, when all the sons of God shouted for joy? Did Job answer the question correctly? We do not know. But we do know who the sons of God of whom the Lord speaks are. It can be taken for granted that they were not human beings, because they were not even created when the foundations of the earth were laid. And so we concluded: The sons of God are angels. However, we must not overlook one tiny detail of the text. It was all, but really all of God's angels who rejoiced and shouted, which means that Satan also rejoiced and shouted along with them.
Puzzle Piece 2: Pride arises in the heart of Satan - Isaiah 14
God says of him, "How you have fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the dawn! Fallen to the earth, overcomer of the nations! Satan is now on earth. What did he do after his fall? We read in Isaiah 14:17: "He made the world like the wilderness." Here we find the parallel to Genesis 1:2: And the earth became desolate and empty.
Puzzle piece 3: Details from the book that makes the invisible visible - Ezekiel 28
Yahweh speaks: You who were the image of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty ... a shielding, anointed cherub, perfect ... until iniquity was found in you ... I - Yahweh - have thrown you to the ground (literally: earth) ... have made you ashes on the earth ... and you are gone forever. The drama of Satan began with his fall to the earth after its foundation had been laid. In the end, Satan is reduced to ashes on this earth. (Addendum: Ashes are pure CO2 - carbon dioxide)
Three pieces of the puzzle paint a clear picture
(Puzzle piece 1) During the laying of the foundation stone, we see and hear Satan shouting and rejoicing together with all the sons of God. We can conclude from this that the earth was not "formless" at the time the foundation stone was laid, because "the stone of the corner", literally translated from the Hebrew, metaphorically points to a cornerstone, which has a three-dimensional geometric shape. From this we can conclude that even when the earth lay desolate and empty, its foundations remained undamaged. Ergo, the earth was never without a foundation and therefore never formless. For this reason, all three German translations correctly say: "wüst" or "Wüstenei". In puzzle piece 2 we then see how Satan is thrown to the earth. As we know, such an expulsion does not take place silently and certainly not without consequences. The earth is devastated by Satan's fall and lies in ruins for some time afterwards, its surface swept clean, as if after a storm. And because Satan will once again make the earth desolate, he himself will be reduced to ashes, as Ezekiel reveals to us in puzzle piece 3.
The parallels complement, underline and expand the puzzle
There is a vivid parallel of the desolation and emptiness in the Bible. In the prophet Jeremiah, we learn about this event, which will take place at the end of days, before Jesus' return. In chapter 4:7 it says: I look at the earth, and behold, it is desolate and empty; and toward heaven, and its light is not there. This sentence, unabridged, fits perfectly between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3. In addition, the verse provides us with a supplement and at the same time an explanation of why God first created the light.
Light and darknessSatan's fall had not only turned the earth into a desert and wasteland, the entire spiritual world was darkened. We can also say that Satan's light went out and this had an effect on the entire world, which is why it was necessary to switch the light back on right at the beginning, and God did this by creating light on the first day. As in the beginning, so also in the end. Jeremiah 4 points to the New Testament and in particular to the Revelation of John. Satan can appear like an angel of light, as the Apostle Paul warns. Esotericists, however, rave about this light because they are magically attracted to it and more and more Christians are in danger of being drawn into this seduction. We can already conclude from Genesis 1:2 that Satan's light is no longer a useful light, but actually only spreads darkness:
And the earth became desolate and waste, and darkness was over the deep. At this point, Satan is not in the heavens, but on earth. It is obvious that he is not spreading light and that is why it says: And darkness was over the deep.
And that Satan's supposed light is actually only darkness is explained to us personally by the Lord, who is also Satan's creator. Matthew 6:22-23: The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light; but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! We now transfer Jesus' explanations one-to-one to Satan. Satan, your eye is evil, therefore your whole spiritual body is dark. And because the light in you, Satan, is darkness, how great, O Lucifer, is your darkness.
In the end times, the circle of devastation closes, from Revelation 11 to the beginning of Genesis. The 24 elders announce the end with the following words: "Your wrath - the wrath of the Lord - has come ... to destroy those who destroy the earth." Rev 11,18 Satan, the old serpent, and his generation of vipers have already set out in our day to make the earth a desert once again. Things will only really get going when Satan is thrown down to earth again. Woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you and is very angry.
We know from people that they can do great harm in their raging anger, how much more so Satan. It will be worse than it has been since the foundation of the earth, because Satan will not come alone this time. Rev 12,9: And the great dragon, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Satan comes with a third of all the angels, but they no longer obey God but follow Satan.
You can already hear it and the sparrows are whistling it from their rooftops and those with open eyes and wide ears can already hear it, hear it or read it, for example here from those who have always been called "elitist evil". They are the corrupters of this earth. Anyone who listens and watches them carefully will shudder at what they are doing and want to do to the earth. They played the overture up and down in C minor for more than three years.
Yes, it is true, the bad news for the future of this world is that the earth will be desolate and empty - Jeremiah 4. Nevertheless, God has promised: "Behold, I make all things new." John confirms the words of our Lord, for he peeked behind the curtain briefly at that time to report what he saw: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth."
The fall of Satan must be placed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:3, partly because his fall serves us as a pattern for the times ahead. The fourth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah corresponds with the Book of Revelation. A careful study is worthwhile.
Dear brother, the real problem is not the gap theory, but rather the fossils, which are being talked into long periods of time. But if we shorten the period between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, even to a few hours if you like, because the fall of Satan took place in no time at all, then the small gap should be within the realm of the logically conceivable for you too. And if you then consider that the consequences of Satan's fall are geologically completely irrelevant because his traces were blown away by the wind, then the knot of your own reasoning will unravel by itself. What a certainty we can have, the next fall of Satan will also be completely irrelevant and without a trace for the new earth. My icing on the cake: Proverbs 30:18-19:
There are three that are too wonderful for me and four that I do not recognize:
4.1 3.1 the way of the eagle in the sky,4.2 the way of a serpent on the rock, (lasted 42 months)4.3 3.2 the path of a ship in the heart of the sea,4.4 3.3 and the way of a man with a virgin.
The way of the serpent also left no trace on the rock. I stick to it: God created in the beginning, in 6 days, from verse 3 and only after chapter 3 did death come. Before I forget, one more quick question: when else could Satan's fall have taken place? I look forward to a knowledgeable rebuttal, because it will continue to polish the gemstone. In addition: rebuttals are useful challenges, they stimulate the mind and keep it young and fresh and, furthermore, they promote Bible study.
United in the Lord, I remain for today
with kind regards
H. R. Rohrer
* Prof. Dr. Dr. Daniel Wachter - Quote from his lecture on 09.12.2017 at the STH Basel, Switzerland