>Yes, but remember this same Jesus referred to the flood as a literal event,
>whose literalness he placed in direct parallel to the literalness of His
>return (cf. Luke 17:26 vs Luke 17:30), and Peter likewise placed the
>literalness in direct parallel with Gods power to save (cf. 2Peter 2:4-8 vs
>2Peter 2:9). Maybe they did not have our present enlightened understanding
>of earth history though. But come to think of it, the next chapter of
>2Peter is a 2000 year old prophecy of the present state of things in 1997.
>How DID he know that in 1997 otherwise intelligent people would choose to
>ignore the biblical account of a world that was destroyed by water?
Just an aside here. I have always found the reference to II Peter 3
interesting. There are few passages in Scripture that have been more
variously interpreted. Among many post-millenial friends of mine this
chapter is interpreted as being FULFILLED not future revelation. How is
this? Well this passage is presumed to be referring to the destruction of
Jerusalem in 70 AD. The "heavens and the earth" passing away refer to the
passing away of the old covenant and the establishment of the new covenant
(from God's covenant people in the OT to the gentiles in the NT). So the
scoffers (mockers) referred to in v 3 are not us now but were the people
alive at the time who were apostate.
II Peter 3:6-7 (NIV - sorry don't have my NAS with me) By these waters also
the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the
present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of
judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Later a NEW heavens and a NEW earth are referred to. The earth that was
destroyed in the flood also brought about a NEW heavens and NEW earth in a
sense. But it was not the world itself that was destroyed it was the
people. The "heavens and earth" refer to the God's people. God did not
destroy the earth in ancient times just because of man's sins but because
his own covenant people rejected him. This is often the way of God's
judgement throughout the OT, it is when his own people rebel that he brings
the hammer down. So too in the NT it is when God' own people, the Jews,
reject him he brings destruction upon them in Jerusalem in AD 70. The Jews
are destroyed (note that not all are literally destroyed but most are and
symbolically they are) and a new heavens and earth replace them - the
remnant (ie. the faithful) and the products of the great commission (the
What does this particular interpretation of this passage result in:
1) I find a strange juxtaposition in vs. 6 and 7. Every post-mil person I
know is a firm believer in a literal global flood. Verse 6 mentions the
world being destroyed by water which is presumably literal H20 but in the
following verse the world is destroyed by fire yet this fire is not literal
but is symbolic of God's anger and jealously (Isa. 5:24,25; 24:5,6,19,20;
30:30-33; 47:14; Heb. 10:26-31 etc...). So the world destroyed in the flood
is the destruction of God's people but they believe it was the physical
world and ALL people as well yet the world destroyed by fire is not
destroyed by literal fire and not all the people are destroyed. I said this
sounded like a good Scriptural proof for a local flood since it only
required the destruction of God's chosen people saving the remnant (the 8
referred to in Matthew and II Peter 2) it wouldn't matter if the Chinese
lived! but that is obviously heretical reasoning.
2) In vs. 11 it refers to the elements being destroyed by fire. A
premillenial friend of mine tried telling me a couple of months ago that
this was proof the big band theory is wrong because it predicts the universe
is getting colder but his is proof that the universe will end in fire. A
post-mil (though not all post-mil views) see the elements as being the
trappings of judaism that are destroyed as part of the old covenant. This
point seems well justified to me when the other uses of "stoicheia"
(elements, basic first principles) are looked at. It might be tempting to
think Peter is referring to Greek thought and ideas and thus uses the
terminology "elements" but using the Scripture to interpret Scripture the
other uses of this word are to ethics, not physics. Galatians 4:3,9,10 -
elements are connected to the Old Covenant-style legalism, we are set free
from the bondage of the OC rituals and ceremonies but the Jews of that time
were desiring to be back under those "elements." Col. 28,20,21, and Heb
5:12 are the other used of this word in the NT.
It often strikes me that both premil dispensationalists and
postmillenialists are quite literal in their interpretations of Genesis
(past history) yet have very different hermeneutics when it comes to
eschatology. In a nutshell, I think this passage is not clear enough to be
used as a proof text to interpret other Scripture but rather the reverse is
necessary to make any sense of II Peter 3.
Postdoc, Dpt. Plant Biology
Southern Illinois University
Joel and Dawn Duff ,-~~-.___.
1457 W. Lake Rd. #4 / | ' \ Spell Check?
Murphysboro, IL 62966 ( ) 0
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org \_/-, ,----'
or email@example.com ==== //
/ \-'~; /~~~(O)
* * * * * * / __/~| / |
\\\/// \\\/// =( _____| (_________|
_/_/_/OPC homepage at: http://www.opc.org_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/