Question 78. Does the word translated “replenish” (ASV and KJV) in both Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 9:1 mean that Adam was to “replenish” a previous age of mankind that was destroyed in Genesis 1:2?

This question has to do with a view amongst some Bible teachers that there is a “gap” of eons of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

QUESTION:
I have a question regarding the different translations of Genesis 1:28 and 9:1. The ESV renders the verses this way:

1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, . . .”

9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

The ASV and KJV both use the word “replenish” instead of “fill.” Some commentators say that just as Noah was to replenish the earth that was destroyed by water, Adam was given the same command. He was to “replenish” a previous age of mankind that was destroyed in Genesis 1:2. Are you able to give me any insight on this?

ANSWER:
The Hebrew used in Genesis 1:28 and 9:1 simply means “to fill the earth” and does not, by itself, carry the concept of replenishing. Whether replenishing is implied must be determined by the context and not by the meaning of the word itself. In the case of Genesis 9:1, it obviously would refer to refilling the earth, but in Genesis 1:28, there is nothing in the context to imply that there was previously any kind of human race before the creation of Adam.


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Arnold Answers is a Question and Answer series with questions submitted by readers and answered by founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.