One of the several false doctrines of the Shepherd's Chapel is the teaching that all people had an existence prior to being here on earth in what is called the first earth age. According to Shepherd's Chapel, there are three earth ages:
- First earth age: Beginning of all things up to fall of Satan. This fall caused incredible destruction and waste. We preexisted in the earthly existence in soul bodies. Those preexistent ones who rebelled against Lucifer and sided with God are called the elect. Gen. 1:1.
- Second earth age: After the fall of Satan, God had to remake the world. It consists of Gen.1:2 through Revelation where all the world, except the elect, will accept the antichrist.
- Third earth age: Begins with the establishment of the millennium, proceeds through its end, and extends into eternity. During the millennium, the elect are in spirit bodies, not physical ones.
These "ages" are based, in part, on what is called the Gap Theory. The Gap Theory states that between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2 was a huge gap of time. The theory states that there was a great destruction in verse one and a great rebuilding in verse two. This gap is also claimed to encompass the geologic epochs in which the dinosaurs lived.
The Shepherd's Chapel teaches that we were created in the first earth age, a time before the fall, where we existed in the form of soul bodies. The problem with this is that there is no biblical support for this position. In fact, the Bible contradicts this soul-body idea.
"it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven," (1 Cor. 15:44-47).
Paul is teaching here that the first "body" we have is the natural, or the physical body. After that comes the spiritual body which is a resurrected body. Paul is telling us about our existence, about our bodies, and about the order of their existence. Clearly, the teaching that we had soul-bodies prior to this life is wrong. The Shepherd's Chapel position is simply not Biblical.