RE: [asa] The apostle warns of evolution

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Mon Sep 04 2006 - 09:08:42 EDT

The way I read it, Peter wasn't talking about secular philosophers at all,
but the entrance of heretical beliefs into the church in contradiction to
the teaching of the apostles. 2Pet 3:4 gives some of their words as "since
the fathers fell asleep" and "beginning of the creation". This doesn't
sound as if Peter is speaking of pagan philosophers, but rather those who
had a religious background. My thought on reading this passage is that
Peter was instead referring to Christian teachers who would come and (like
Origen) deny the literal, apocalyptic, return of Christ. Peter's reference
to creation, flood, and final judgment is used to establish the pattern that
all things (creation, judgment by water, and judgment by fire) are done by
the word of God, and are real events. This seems more an appeal to
Christian thinkers who already accepted the first two (creation and flood)
as real events, but who tried to spiritualize the second coming of Christ.
One of the reasons people like Origen spiritualized away the second coming
was their view that since it hadn't happened by the second or third century,
some of the apparent immediate statements (like "I come quickly") in the
scriptural texts needed to be understood spiritually, not literally. Peter
addresses this by commenting that one day with the Lord is as a thousand
years -- in other words, the timing of those immediate statements may be
spiritualized, but the actual event of Christ's coming will be literal. The
important fact was the event, not the timing. Funny that AIG can accept
this idea in the second coming, but not in the creation.
Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Sent: Sunday, September 03, 2006 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] The apostle warns of evolution

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 problem.
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 in history.

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Received on Mon Sep 4 09:09:06 2006

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