Probably one of the Gap Theorist's most relied upon passages is 2 Peter 3:3-7. Some of them claim it is by itself sufficient to "prove" the Genesis Gap to any "real" Bible Believer. Let's see,
3, Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5, 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:
6, Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7, But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
The Gappers see a pre-Adamic earth populated by Lucifer, the sons of God, angels and then Lucifer's flood of judgment covering both heaven and earth in these verses. Not only do they insist there was a cataclysmic destruction of both the heavens and earth, some even claim the craters on the moon were caused by this "war." We must grant that they have a vivid imagination.
First, the topic of the section in 2 Peter 3 is "scoffers" questioning the second coming of Jesus Christ, insisting nothing has changed since "the beginning of the creation" or time. This is basically "Uniformitarianism." In response Peter brings up the initial creation and then Noah's flood to show things can and do change in due time.
Peter's reply to the scoffer's gripe starts with them being "willingly" "ignorant." What is the scoffer ignorant of according to the Gap Theorists? Why it is something even they admit is not explicitly stated in the Bible. Now think about that a minute. How can a person be "willingly ignorant" of a Pre-Adamic flood of the entire universe that the Bible does not explicitly mention, God never explicitly revealed, and no one really tried to promote until 1800 years later? The Lord Jesus Christ never talked about it, the apostles never did either, the OT prophets didn't mention it...but they all mention Noah and his flood! Even Peter in the previous chapter mentioned Noah (2Pe 2:4-5), and also in his previous book (1Pe 3:20).
Peter says the scoffer should know "the heavens (plural) were of old" by the "word of God." This obviously is the creation week. This is easily proven in multiple ways. First, for the heavens to exist by the "word of God" then there should be a record of the Lord using words and speaking the heavens into existence. Where does this occur? Why on day two of creation week. There God speaks the "firmament" into existence and names it "Heaven." Can the Gapists produce a verse showing the Lord speaking a previous heaven into existence? You will starve to death waiting for one.
Next, notice the plural, "heavens." the fact that there are not two heavens mentioned until Gen 1:20 is another snag for the Gapists. In Genesis 1:8 the firmament makes what is now known as the second heaven where the sun, moon, and stars reside, and the first heaven, the sky, is revealed in Gen 1:20. Therefore, by very simple grade school reasoning one can conclude the flood Peter is soon going to mention had to occur AFTER Gen 1:20 or at the earliest AFTER Gen 1:8! This is the only reasonable scriptural way one can come up with more than one heaven.
Peter also mentions the heavens were "of old." "Of old" is simply a phrase that means something that has been around "a long time" without specifically stating how long. So how can we find out what Peter considers to be "old"? Just look in the previous chapter where he says,
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2Pe 2:5)
Isn't it amazing how the Bible explains itself? Here we have an "old world" a "flood" and a "preacher." Context is everything and Peter's point of reference for something "old" is the flood of Noah, and of course, the even earlier creation. Peter considers, as we do today and even David did centuries earlier (Psa 68:33), both the earth's creation out of water and Noah's flood to have been a long time ago, "of old."
Next in 2 Pet 3:5 Peter mentions how the "earth" was "standing out of the water and in the water." This is a rather peculiar statement, but where in the Bible does it best fit? Does it refer to a pre-Adamic deluge where the earth is allegedly floating like a fishing bobber in the "great deep" as the Gap Theorists claim or does it refer to the creation of "Earth" ("dry land") as it was emerging out of the waters in Gen 1:9-10? The correct answer is obvious. Gen 1:9-10 is the first time land and sea are both visible. There is no catastrophic pre-Adamic deluge even hinted with these words. This is referring to the initial creation of "the earth" or "dry land."
As for the earth being "in" the water, remember in Gen 1:6 where it says, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters"? The waters were divided with the firmament or heaven in between, then the next day the earth is formed out of the lower waters. Thus the earth can be said to be "in the water" in two ways: it is in the water as it emerges out of it to form land, and it is between the waters divided by the sky or firmament.
With 3:6 Peter says "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:" Even though Noah's flood was about 1700 years after creation, it was the same "world" that was "whereby" flooded with the same water of vs 5. Verses 5 and 6 are connected by referring the same water and same world upon the earth. The waters of creation were also the waters of judgment.
Also, notice the change in words Peter uses much to the dismay of the Gap Theorists. In verses 5 and 7 he says "earth," but in vs 6 he says "world." What is the difference, you may ask? It can be a significant difference.
"Earth," as we have shown many times refers to physical dry land or the entire landmass. "World," on the other hand most often describes the people, society, kingdoms, or civilization that is upon the physical earth. The current world order. See the last part of Isa 23:17 for a clear example and also Isa 18:3. John 3:16 contains a typical NT example.
Obviously, since the earth houses the world, it can be said to have many of the same attributes as the world. However, the reverse is usually not true. As always, context determines how a word is used.
The Gapists try to claim that the "world" in vs 6 is the entire universe. They insist it is referring to both the "heavens" and "earth" of verse 5, but this is just more contrived doctrine. Want to know what Peter (and nearly every other NT writer) means when he says "world"? Just go back a few verses to 2Pe 2:5,
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;"
Does the "world" there refer to the entire universe? No, it does not even refer to the earth itself. It is the "world of the ungodly" with all its people, society, and ways that was not spared and thus annihilated. The same present evil world (Gal 1:4) Satan is the "god" of (2Co 4:4). Heb 11:7 says, "By faith Noah, being warned of God...prepared an ark...by the which he condemned the world;" that is, the world that breathes which includes humanity. This time was also called the "days of Noe" (Mat 24:37; Luke 17:26). It was a different time and world, but not a different earth or heavens. This is the way the term world is used throughout the New Testament.
Even though the world of the time was decimated, the "earth" itself was not really harmed at all by the flood. It was just covered with water for a while. The proof is the Lord did not have to re-create anything on or in the earth after the flood was over for the normal earthly processes to continue. Once the waters receded everything started growing again.
In vs 6 when Peter is speaking of the same "world" perishing by water, he is not referring to some imaginary annihilation of the physical earth and heavens, he is referring to the wicked people and their society (including the land animals) upon the earth being destroyed by the water in Noah's flood (Gen 7:23). Peter very easily could have said, "Whereby the [heavens and earth] that then was, being overflowed with water, perished," but he said "world" instead because he knew only it was destroyed. The "heavens and earth" have yet to be destroyed.
In vs. 7 Peter states "But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store..." Because of the way this verse is worded the Gap Theorists like to claim it declares the previous heavens and earth were destroyed and we now have a new heavens and earth, but that is just wishful thinking. They read the verse as, "But the heavens and the earth [which were destroyed in Lucifer's flood and were replaced by the heavens and earth] which are now...," (and they claim they do not read anything into passages.).
(This is what Genesis Gap Goggles will do to one's thinking. Like a Calvinist with his Calvinism, they see the Genesis Gap everywhere.)
Again, the passage says nothing about the heavens and earth being destroyed. It says a "world" (of people) "perished." The primary definition of "perish" is "to die." Living people "perish" (Joh 10:28; Act 8:20; 2Pe 3:9). The Lord said in Gen 6:13 He was going to end "all flesh." Peter saying "which are now" simply means he has jumped from the judgment of water in Noah's day to the coming judgment of fire of the current heavens and earth. He is talking about the "now" or current physical universe in contrast to the world or "days of Noe" of before the flood. Again, even though they speak of different worlds and times, the actual heavens and earth are the same as those "which were of old" in vs 5.
It is clear there were changes to both the heavens and earth because of the flood. The earth had never seen rain before and the heavens had never before produced it (Gen 7:11), but they are still intact with the same identity today. This is unlike the coming judgment where the heavens actually "pass away" and the earth melts down (2Pe 3:10) and a "new" heaven and earth are created.
That the heavens and earth before the flood is the same heavens and earth today can easily shown by considering just one other verse.
According the the Gappers timeline, these are the key events
This leaves the Gappers with three earths. The initial one, the one after Lucifer's Flood, and the one after the coming judgment by fire. However, the Bible only speaks of two earths. Rev 21:1 makes this quite clear,
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away
If we are now living in the "first earth," there is no place for another earth before Gen 1:2. They do not have a legitimate answer for this obvious problem. About all they can come up with is God simply doesn't count the pre-Adamic earth as an "earth." This simple fact alone should cause any believer much pause in considering their elaborate claims. Their Genesis Gap system cannot accommodate the simplest of verses without mangling them or explaining them away.