Were Adam and Eve supposed to fill the planet with their descendants—or to refill it?

Were Adam and Eve supposed to fill the planet with their descendants—or to refill it?

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth … .” (Genesis 1:28a, KJV)

CMI’s speakers have noticed of late that in spite of the overwhelming array of biblical facts against it, the hoary old ‘gap theory’ (or one of its many variants) still occasionally rears its head in unexpected places. It basically involves the belief that the recent six-day creation in Genesis is really only a re-creation. This allegedly ‘second’ creation is supposed to have taken place upon an Earth that became empty, having once been filled.

To many people, this seems blatantly obvious from reading the verse above, which is from the King James translation. When I say I want to ‘replenish’ my kitchen cupboard, I mean that I want to ‘refill’ or ‘restock’ it. Which means that though it is now empty, it once was full.

By seeing the word ‘replenish’, people think (not surprisingly), “Isn’t God telling us that he wants Adam and Eve to refill the world? And doesn’t that mean that it had previously been filled, then emptied?”

But as any Hebrew interlinear Bible or Bible dictionary will tell you, the word translated as ‘replenish’ in Genesis 1:28 is the Hebrew verb מלאו(mil’û), which simply means fill. Not refill. Which is why most modern versions translate the word in Genesis 1:28 as fill. But this does not necessarily mean that the King James translators made a mistake here. They seem to have known what the Hebrew word meant, as shown by the fact that in most other places it appears in the OT, they simply translated it as ‘fill’….

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