Without Form and Void: A Study of the Meaning of Genesis 1:2
An All-Time Classic on the Gap Theory
2nd Edition with Transliteration for the Layperson
by Arthur Custance
For any serious student of the Bible, the phrase, “without form and void” brings to mind the opening chapter of Genesis and the beautifully crafter, immortal story of God’s Creation of this world. Here we find God’s Revelation to us, a revelation that depends upon words, upon the words in the original language … in their most literal sense.
One might suppose that the rendering of Hebrew into English is a rather straightforward matter without any ambiguity whatsoever. But Dr. Custance shows that there are two permissible translations of the Hebrew associated with this phrase. Either God’s Creation was from the beginning, “without form and void,” or it became formless and empty.
It al depends on how one translates the connecting word, between verses 1 and 2, for the Hebrew word waw means “and” or “but” which then determines whether the verb should be was or became. So it is possible that Genesis describes either a work in progress or a disrupted work that became chaotic. Which English translation best fits the meaning of the Hebrew original?
In this scholarly analysis, Dr. Custance observes the rules of linguistics, of grammar and syntax, and also examines how words are used in the rest of Scripture. Thus, Dr. Custance demonstrates that there can be a gap in time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, a gap that allows for an ancient Earth, and a creation week that occurred only a few thousand years ago.
A well-respected Canadian scientist, and listed in the 1971 America Men in Science, Dr. Custance contends that we should not allow science to determine what Scripture says. Neither should we allow Scripture to determine what the scientist observes in the laboratory. Yet observed fact in the one cannot, ultimately, conflict with revealed fact in the other. Any conflict, then, is in the interpretation of the facts—not in the facts themselves.
This book is considered a classic to Christian apologetics and has been described as the best argument that has ever been written for the Gap Theory.