Question: Genesis 1:28 (KJV) in the King James Version (KJV) contains the expression ‘replenish the earth’. Some have used this translation to support the ‘gap theory’, also known as the ‘Ruin-Reconstruction theory’, which involves the necessity for God to re-fill the earth after a pre-Adamic race had perished as a result of a so-called ‘Lucifer’s flood’. Is this interpretation correct?
We have seen that Latin re- originally meant ‘again’ but then developed new overtones. Before the Bible was translated, repleo, the word that gave us ‘replenish’, normally meant just ‘fill’. Here are some examples from Latin authors:
- fill up the number of (Livy)
- what they lacked in votes they made up for in noise (Ovid)
- he filled the battlefield with men (before the battle) (Livy)
- fill veins with blood (Livy)
- filled the crowd with his speech (Virgil)
- civil law full of right knowledge (Cicero)
There’s another English word that comes from repleo. It is ‘replete’. We can say ‘I am replete’, using a politer word than ‘full up’ with food. It doesn’t mean ‘full again’.
Now as to the Hebrew word itself: it is male’, the simple verb ‘fill’. (Strong’s concordance No. 4390.) In its various forms it occurs 306 times in the Old Testament. Only seven times does the KJV translate it as ‘replenish’, but 195 times ‘fill’, ‘filled’ or ‘full’.