QnA: What Is the Genesis Gap Theory?

R. Guntrum asks:

“What is the Genesis gap theory?”

My answer…

It’s a false doctrine that teaches that God created everything then destroyed it in the gap between Genesis 1:1–2, and that He then recreated everything. Many people will say that Satan’s rebellion led to this destruction and all sorts of mad speculation proceeds from that point. It is fantasy religion.

“Foundation” of Sand: Bullinger’s Katabole, Overthrow or Rebellion


“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 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.” – Genesis 1:1-2

To understand the Shepherd’s Chapel you’ll need to understand the influence of 19th Century theologian and hyperdispensationalist E.W. Bullinger. He was the one that originated some of Murray’s more pivotal false doctrines.

Case in point, the Gap Theory and the KATABOLE… which I consider to be foundational Chapel teachings.

Frequently you’ll hear the Chapel make reference to the “three earth ages” – the one that was, is and is to come. This model is simply not biblical.

In the New Testament Jesus Christ is VERY clear, there are only two ages: the one that is and the one that is to come…

This World (Gen 1:1)     Timeline of Events
World to Come (Rev 21, 22)


We can see that this is completely different from Bullinger’s model of three earth ages. This is taken from 2nd Peter…

“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: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” – 2nd Peter 3:5-6

Bullinger and Murray teach that the whole world was destroy by water in the gap between Genesis 1:1-2, prior to the six days of creation. Folks, it is very plain what Peter is talking about here…

It’s the antedeluvian world that perished by Noah’s global flood! Now you can understand why the gappers grasp to make the Noah’s flood a local event because evidence does in fact corraborate such a global flood. Do you see how catastrophic this error is now? 

This is directly from the Companion, click for a larger image…

bull1 bull2

This is from Bullinger’s Companion bible, italics and highlights are mine…


To arrive at the true meaning of this expression, we must note there are two words translated “foundation” in the New Testament:

(1) themelios, and

(2) katabole.

The Noun, themelios, occurs in Luke 6:48, 49; 14:29. Acts 16:26. Rom. 15:20. 1Cor. 3:10, 11, 12. Eph. 2:20. 1Tim. 6:19. 2Tim. 2:19. Heb. 6:1; 11:10. Rev. 21:14, 19. It is never used of the world (kosmos) or the earth (ge). The corresponding Verb (themeliou) occurs in Matt. 7:25. Luke 6:48. Eph. 3:17. Col. 1:23. Heb. 1:10 and 1Pet. 5:10. The verb is only once used of the earth (ge). Heb. 1:10. A comparison of all these passages will show that these are proper and regular terms for the English words “to found”, and “foundation”.

The Noun, katabole, occurs in Matt. 13:35; 25:34. Luke 11:50. John 17:24. Eph. 1:4. Heb. 4:3; 9:26; 11:11. 1Pet. 1:20. Rev. 13:8; 17:8; and the corresponding Verb (kataballo) occurs in 2Cor. 4:9. Heb. 6:1; and Rev. 12:10. A comparison of all these passages (especially 2Cor. 4:9, and Rev. 12:10) will show that kataballo and katabole are not the proper terms for founding and foundation, but the correct meaning is casting down, or overthrow.

Consistency, therefore, calls for the same translation in Heb. 6:1, where, instead of “not laying again”, the rendering should be “not casting down”. That is to say, the foundation already laid, of repentance, &c., was not to be cast down or overthrown, but was to be left — and progress made unto the perfection. Accordingly, the Noun katabole, derived from, and cognate with the Verb, ought to be translated “disruption”, or “ruin”.

The remarkable thing is that in all occurrences (except Heb. 11:11) the word is connected with “the world” (Gr. kosmos. Ap. 129. 1), and therefore the expression should be rendered “the disruption (or ruin) of the world”, clearly referring to the condition indicated in Gen. 1:2, and described in 2Pet. 3:5, 6.

For the earth was not created tohu (Isa. 45:18), but became so, as stated in the Hebrew of Gen 1:2 and confirmed by 2 Pet. 3:6, where “the world that then was by the word of God” (Gen. 1:1), perished, and “the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word “were created (Gen. 2:4), and are “kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment” (2Pet. 3:7) which shall usher in the “new heavens and the new earth” of 2Pet. 3:13.

“The disruption of the world” is an event forming a great dividing line in the dispensations of the ages. In Gen. 1:1 we have the founding of the world (Heb. 1:10 = themeliou), but in Gen. 1:2 we have its overthrow.

This is confirmed by a further remarkable fact, that the phrase, which occurs ten times, is associated with the Preposition apo = from (Ap. 104. iv) seven times, and with pros = before (Ap. 104. xiv) three times. The former refers to the kingdom and is connected with the “counsels” of God; the latter refers to the Mystery (or Secret. See Ap. 192) and is connected with the “purpose” of God (See John 17:24. Eph. 1:4. 1Pet. 1:20).

Ample New Testament testimony is thus given to the profoundly significant fact recorded in Gen. 1:2, that “the earth became tohu and bohu (i.e. waste and desolate); and darkness was on the face of the deep”, before the creation of “the heavens and the earth which are now” (2Pet. 3:7).

Do these arguments look familiar? They should. This is the very foundation that Murray built his system of theology upon and guess what? It is of sand…

The reason why we know the KJV translators were correct in properly translating the greek word “katabole” as foundation because the old testament is replete with references to the foundation of the earth…

“Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” – Psalm 102:25


“Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” – Isaiah 48:13

The reference is obvious, it points to the events spoken of in Genesis 1:1-2. It logically follows that 2nd Peter was pointing to the same founding in Genesis 1:1-2. Therefore the KJV translators are CORRECT! Foundation is the proper interpretation…

Are you a Shepherd’s Chapel follower? Do you want to really learn what the bible means? Set up shop over this issue and dig – a landslide of error will come cascading off your mind by the grace of Christ…

Fantasy Katabole, Chapel’s False Foundation Exposed…


Another great article by Colby Braden of reformedthinker.blogspot.com… exposing the Chapel’s false teaching about the “foundation of the world”.

Refuting Shepherd’s Chapel – Katabole

A couple of years ago I posted some videos on YouTube. In those videos I tried to show some of the errors of Shepherd’s Chapel teachings. I also have a post on this blog where I briefly list and refute the false teachings of Arnold Murray. I believe more needs to be said to refute their claims more clearly. I have some posts that deal with their doctrine on Hell and Kenites (serpent seed) in more depth. In this post I want to discuss their doctrine of the Katabole and the Three Earth Ages.

One of the big oversights I can point out is how Shepherd’s Chapel followers misuse the Greek word katabolē (Strongs #G2602). Using hyper-dispensationalist E.W. Bullinger’sCompanion Bible, Arnold Murray weaves a false system of belief that there was an “earth age” before the one we live in now and in that age Satan rebelled and caused God to destroy it in what they call the “katabole” or the “destruction of the world that was”.

In the New Testament, Arnold Murray claims that when the word katabolē is used in the Greek it is actually a mis-translation in the KJV and should be translated as “destroyed” or “overthrow”. For example in Ephesians 1:4 when you see the word foundation (which in the Greek is the word katabolē) used in “before the foundation of the world” it should be translated as “before the overthrow (or destruction) of the world”. This, to them, validates their aberrant doctrine.

In the New Testament the word katabolē is used 11 times. 10 of those times it is translated in the KJV as foundation. The other one is the most interesting to our discussion and it appears in Hebrews 11:11.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11 KJV)

The word translated as conceive in this verse is the same Greek word katabolē that Shepherd’s Chapel claims should be translated “overthrow” or “destroyed”. This verse shows that the proper understanding of katabole does not follow Shepherd’s Chapel view but instead is consistent with the traditional renderings.

In the other uses of katabolē in the New Testament it is translated as foundation and is always in connection with the world. In Hebrews 11:11 when the word is used in connection with the birth of a child it carries the meaning of conceive. When used in the connection with the world it carries the meaning of founding or creating (conceiving the world). It does NOT carry the meaning of destruction, overthrow, destroyed, or ruin in any circumstance. The use of “laying down” or “throwing down” is only correct in the connotation of laying a foundation or creating not in the sense of destroying or judgment.

In fact the proper Greek words used for “destruction” is apōleia (#G684) and the Greek for “overthrow” is either katastrophē (#G2692) or anatrepō (#G396). In Luke 6:49 we have the Greek word rhēgma (#G4485used for “ruin”. If Paul wanted to stress some sort of judgment, satanic overthrow, or ruined state he would have used one of those Greek terms.

A simple survey of how the word katabolē is used in the New Testament gives us a very clear understanding of its meaning.

All verses that use the Greek word katabolē in the New Testament:

Mat 13:35Mat 25:34Luk 11:50Jhn 17:24Eph 1:4Heb 4:3Heb 9:26Heb 11:111Pe 1:20Rev 13:8Rev 17:8

Here are some notes concerning the supposed “gap theory” of Genesis 1:1-2:

Shepherd’s Chapel students often argue that the word translated as “was” in the KJV and most English Translations of Genesis 1:2 should actually be translated “became” as in “the Earth became formless and void.” This, to them, proves the supposed katabole.

This theory of creation is commonly called the gap theory and it suffers from a number of hermeneutical problems:

Time cannot be inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 because verse 2 does not follow verse 1 in time. Verse 2 uses a Hebrew grammatical device that is called a waw-disjunctive. This is where a sentence begins with the Hebrew word for and (waw) followed by a noun such as the earth (erets). A waw-disjunctive indicates that the sentence is describing the previous one and does not follow in time. In other words, verse 2 is describing the conditions of the earth when it was first created. Hebrew grammar simply will not allow for the insertion of vast periods of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in which a supposed satanic fall took place.

Exodus 20:11 clearly teaches that everything was created in the span of six literal days. This passage  refutes any possibility of vast periods of time between any of the days of creation. This theory suffers from the problem of death and suffering long before Adam’s sin. Romans 5:12 teaches that death came by Adam’s sin. God himself said on the sixth day that creation was very good (Gen. 1:31), how could it be very good if there was sin and death before the fall of Adam?

Another argument you may encounter when dealing with Shepherd’s Chapel students is they will claim Isaiah 45:18 substantiates their view:

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:18 KJV)

The word in vain is the same Hebrew word tohu as used in Geneses 1:2 “without form”. Shepherd’s Chapel students will claim that God didn’t create the earth tohu but it became tohu (that is it became tohu “vian / without form” by the Katabole). But we must look at the context. The context here requires us to translate tohu as “in vain” instead of“without form”. Isaiah’s point here is that God did not create the earth without a purpose; He formed the earth to be inhabited by man. Genesis chapter one goes on to tell us how God formed the earth and created man and living creatures to fill the earth. Genesis chapter one records for us the whole act of creation and it was not completed until after the 6th day. Isaiah is not saying that God didn’t originally create the earth tohu “without form” on the first day, as Genesis 1:2 states, but that he didn’t create it without a purpose. God didn’t let the earth stay tohu but had a purpose and formed the earth for that purpose. The whole act of creation (from day 1-6) had a purpose and was not vain“tohu”.

The word tohu is used in several places in the Old Testament and it is translated 10 different ways in those places. In the Hebrew language it depends on the context as to how to precisely translate a word. Tohu is no exception. In Genesis 1:2 the context shows that the earth had no form to it yet so tohu is use to describe this state. In Isaiah 14:18 tohu is use to show that the whole act of creation had a purpose and was not in vain. There is no contradiction and this verse does not prove there was an earth age prior to this one.

Soli Deo Gloria! 

Were the Elect Justified in the World that Was?

the Chapel is a christian identity cult
the Elect justified during the first earth age?

(Rom 8:29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
(Rom 8:30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Shepherd’s Chapel betrays itself by how it interprets this scripture on the doctrine of election…

One of the hallmarks of false teachers is their insistence that salvation is the result of man’s righteousness or his good works. It is no different with Shepherd’s Chapel. They actually take this heresy to new heights. Let’s look at this verse from Ephesians:

(Eph 1:4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

According to the Chapel, “foundation” means “overthrow” and not an actual “founding” – God chose the elect before the Katabole, or the destruction of the first earth age. Which age was destroyed because of the “rebellion”. Forget the fact that Paul is actually talking to the elect of the Ephesian church…

Murray teaches that the “elect” are a small group of loyal believers who fought alongside God in the first earth age at the rebellion of Satan. As a result God “justified” and “glorified” them and they thereby earned the right to be “the elect”. He stresses that “justified” and “glorified” are in the past tense to prove his point.

The famous verse, “many are called but few are chosen…” now begins to take on new meaning…

You see, there are 7000 “very elect” who form the order of Zadok and 144000 regular “elect” from the 12 tribes of Israel. But does the bible really teach this?

As with so many other scriptures Murray completely butchers the doctrine of election. According to Murray, the vast majority of saints who are redeemed ARE NOT ELECT AT ALL! But where does the bible teach anyone who has been justified that is not elect? IT DOESN’T!

First off, there is only one people of God, “one elect”, the CHURCH and they are elect according to God’s grace, not as a result of their efforts in the first earth age.

There is no “very elect” Zadok priesthood. Here’s one of the passages he uses to support this insane fantasy…

(Mat 24:24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

I think someone is “very” mentally challenged if they can wrest this scripture to support two groups of elect, the regular and an elite group. “Very” isn’t used in this sense at all in this text! Doesn’t matter to Murray though, he just keeps on plowing…

The Greek word for “very” is the conjunction “KAI”. Look at the way Jesus uses KAI in this passage…

(Mat 10:30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Jesus does not have in mind some separate group of “elite” hairs growing on top of your head… or maybe he does? It is the same sense that Matthew 24:24 uses “very”. But Murray needs “very” to refer to some elite group of 7000. They are VERY ELECT, not just elect.

Now we can begin to better understand WHY Murray took such an interest in original languages – not to get at the truth but to better wrest the text to mean what he needs in order to fashion his own religion.

Here’s what you need to know, and this blog is designed help you get free from this cult and begin to put your trust in Jesus Christ and not some man and his fantastical system of falsehood…

1.) There was no first earth age that God destroyed as a result of Satan’s rebellion. The “elect” of Murray were not “justified” in the first earth age as a result of their righteous performance. If you believe that I have a good feeling you may be on the way to perdition.

2.) The “elect” are one people of God from the beginning of time to our present day. There are a vast multitude of them. In the new testament they are called the church. They are elect according to God’s grace through faith in Christ, not of works.

I hope if you are caught up in this that God will grant you repentance and understanding of the truth – if you know someone that is snared by this teaching please direct them to this blog…


Katabole, the Overthrow, CORNERSTONE of the Chapel’s ERROR

The Gap Theory and the Katabole

To understand the Shepherd’s Chapel cult you have to understand the significance of what Murray refers to as the KATABOLE (Greek for ‘foundation’), or the Overthrow. This is a word in the new testament that means foundation but Murray with the help of another false teacher translates it as, “Overthrow”.

On the broadcast Murray makes much ado about the three earth ages – the first and second age are separated by this event called “the Overthrow” or Satan’s rebellion.

… it is for this reason, according to Murray, that God created this age at all!

Throughout the NT we see the word “foundation” being used – we are told it means the opposite of the way it is translated… huh? Instead of a literal “founding” we have something quite different.

“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” – Matthew 13:35

In most places “foundation” is the Greek word katabole, which we are told is an event that took place, an “overthrow” which was judgment and destruction of an age.

This Katabole is posited as taking place between in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Hence the term Gap Theory. Murray got this notion from theologian E.W. Bullinger whose Companion Bible was a mainstay. In fact, Bullinger’s false teachings had an immense influence on Murray and we will be drawing these out in time…

Bullinger had a series of appendices in his bible. Appendix #146 Bullinger gives us the nuts and bolts of a false teaching that I would consider to be the cornerstone of the whole delusional and wildly popular system of Murray…

Here is appendix 146 if you want to look at it…

The Overthrow occurred as the result of Satan’s rebellion in the first earth age. It’s the stuff that religious fantasies are made of. According to Murray you and I were in angelic bodies in some distant prehistoric period of time.

Satan fomented a plot to depose God and drew one third of the souls with him. He tells us that Revelation 12:4 is referring to this event in the first earth age…

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Revelation 12:4

God instead destroying the rebels just destroyed the age and decided to give us a probationary existence to amend our actions in the first earth age.

There is an immense system of fantasy religion based on these distortions. We will be overthrowing Murray’s foundational Katabole doctrine…