There is, I think, another point that needs to be recognized. All the
ancient philosophers insisted that there was no creation, it was
impossible. /Ex nihilo nihil fit./ There may be change in what exists,
but no start. Peter slips his Jewish outlook in in mentioning creation,
probably because trying to explain eternal matter would have been a
On Sun, 3 Sep 2006 14:30:52 -0400 "David Opderbeck"
Incredible. The really pernicious thing about this is that it contains a
grain of truth. Peter does refer here to philosophies that make God (or
the gods) aloof or unable / unwilling to intervene in the creation and
particularly in the affairs of humans. These "scoffers" derided the
Christian community's hope that Christ would return, judge unbelief, and
establish his kingdom. I wonder if Peter is responding here to
Hellenists or secular Romans who understood Roman society and government
to be something that would forever endure? Peter contrasts this with the
God who intervened at the Noahic Flood and who will again intervene
decisively at the second coming of Christ.
Materialist philosophy says something similar, although the laws of
nature are substituted for Roman rule, and the teleology is universal
heat death or something along those lines. But the underlying lie is the
same: the universe will continue on as they always have, so don't expect
(or fear) that God ever will or could intervene.
That's the grain of truth. The horrid thing AIG does with this is to tie
these false teleologies -- the triumph of Roman rule, or the grim march
of materialism -- to the historic Christian understanding of natural
laws. Christians historically have held that natural laws are regular
and discernible because they reflect God's unchanging rational nature.
When we see change in nature, that change occurs according to regular
natural laws. Obviously, Peter isn't rebuking anyone who believes God is
a rational and orderly being or that the universe God created reflects
God's rational and orderly character.
So this "exegesis" of 2 Peter not only misses the point of the passage
(and really the point of the whole letter), it also leads to a pagan
understanding of God and the cosmos -- an arbitrary god who is unable to
establish consistent rules for creation and a cosmos that is utterly
beyond rational comprehension, rather than a sovereign creator whose
works reflect his orderly nature but who remains free to act decisively
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Received on Sun Sep 3 23:14:24 2006
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