Alice C. Linsley
There are gaps and overlaps in the flow of the biblical narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Some gaps are more controversial than others. None seem to be troubled by the gap of the "intertestamental period" (400-4 BC), the time between the Old Testament and New Testament writings. Sufficient texts exist from that period for scholars to identify some of its characteristics. The gap between Genesis 1-3 and the king lists of Genesis 4 and 5 is more controversial because we have only the biblical texts. These present challenges that we can address only when we recognize them.
If Genesis 1 reflects the seven-stepped pyramid cosmology of ancient Babylon, as is argued by Dr. John Walton, it relates to a time about 5000 years after the watery world of Eden. The word ziqqurat is derived from the Akkadian word zaqaru, meaning "to be high." In the ancient world, shrines and temples were located at high places near permanent water sources. These were perceived as the spatial sacred center between heaven and earth, just as high noon was perceived as the sacred temporal center. (Consider the solar imagery of James 1:17.) Pillars and obelisks also represented the connection between heaven and earth. Jacob's dream of that connection involved a ladder.
Although Genesis does not tell the whole story of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Nonetheless, we have reliable data about the early populations they describe. This has been confirmed by findings in many scientific disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, archaeology, DNA studies, migration studies and climate studies.
There is a gap between the story of the Garden and the king lists of Genesis 4 and 5. This is true whether Adam and Eve represent the first humans or the founders of the Horite Hebrew lineages. Adam and Eve are assigned to the world of Eden which extended from the source of the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates. That is a vast region. Presumably, it is also the region where Cain and Seth lived as Neolithic rulers.
There are overlaps in the biblical accounts also. Abraham appears in Genesis 12, yet he was a contemporary of Job whose story appears many pages later than the story of Abraham. Abraham and Job were Horite rulers and kinsmen. To understand the world of Abraham and Job it is best to read their stories back-to-back.
Sometimes the overlap of material is evident only through exploration of the themes. There are two stories of drunken fathers - Noah and Lot - and when these are read back-to-back we find a powerful critique of drunkenness and the failure of fathers to accept responsibility for their actions.
There are two passovers - one involving Moses in Egypt and the other involving Rahab in Jericho. When we read these stories back-to-back, we uncover the scarlet cord which symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
There is an overlap between the story of Judah going into Egypt during the time of Joseph's rule and the story of Judah having intercourse with Tamar in the region of Adullam.
The gaps and overlaps of the Bible invite us to delve more deeply into the text to understand what God is telling us. Inevitably, we find that the whole of the Bible is really about one thing: the Promised Seed/Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save repentant sinners, to defeat death, and to establish an eternal kingdom in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are ever glorified.
Related reading: Gap Theory or Gap Fact?; The Horite Confederation of Uz, Huz and Buz; Two Passovers and Two Drunken Fathers; Who is Jesus?