RE: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 08:27:06 EDT

Concerning 2Peter, I know this horse has been beaten near to death, but I
did reread the chapter this morning. I believe George is right, in that it
is (or at least a main point) about judgment against the unbelieving and
wicked. And I agree with Phil that the question was not whether God _can_
step in dramatically, but that he does, or rather that he _will_ do so. I
believe the most important emphasis of the verse, which hasn't really been
discussed, is the admonition to the saints to be patient (not be discouraged
while they see the wicked prevail for a time) and to be repentant, so that
they are not caught up in the destruction of the wicked.
Starting in the 2nd chapter,
v. 3 ...whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not...
v. 4 ...for if God spared not the angels that sinned...
v. 5 ...and spared not the old world, but saved Noah...
v. 9 [then] the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and
to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished
v. 12-13 [these] shall utterly perish in their own corruption and shall
receive the reward of unrighteousness
3:3 there shall come scoffers in the last days, walking after their own
[The point of the scoffers was not that the scoffers necessarily didn't
believe God was powerful enough, or concerned enough. They were wicked,
walking in rebellion to God, and dismissing God in order to justify their
own wickedness. Cf. Isa 56:12; Psa 14; Psa 36. The point was not
essentially about their epistemological conceptions of God, or other
philosophical presuppositions or scientific ideologies, or other
multisyllabic 20th century theological terminologies. Peter was talking
about their hearts being full of sin. "Repent and believe, because judgment
is coming." The message is simple.]
3:9 the Lord is not slack concerning his promise
3:11 seeing then all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons
ought ye to be in all holy conduct and godliness?
3:17-18 beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the
wicked...but grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus
An appropriate message for this generation, regardless of one's view of the
flood or the science of evolution.
Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 3:33 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

George was arguing that the author of II Peter believed the flood to be
universal. Just because the final conflagration and the flood appear in the
same context does not mean that all the charactersitics of one must apply to
the other. George knows that, and so he was addressing it by providing a
very nice argument based on the original reasoning of the author to show why
the author must have understood ONE specific charactersitic of the final
conflagration to have also applied to the flood.
Where I disagreed with George is on what that ONE characteristic is. George
thinks it is God's power, His ability to effect a universal destruction.
George thinks the author's concern in this passage is to convince his
audience that God is perfectly capable of bringing about his promised
judgement on the earth, whenever the time is right. However, I don't think
the 1st century Christians were questioning God's power. I think they were
more likely questioning God's active involvement in the world, His readiness
to interrupt the normal flow of life in dramatic ways. The scoffers were
saying "ever since the beginning of the world, things have gone on just as
they always have..." Perhaps the scoffers thought that was because God did
not exist. Perhaps they thought God was not powerful. Perhaps they thought
he just didn't care to interrupt life in this world. Whatever the scoffers
thought, I doubt that the Christians were most concerned about God's power.
I think they were more likely worried about God paying attention to us here
on this earth. They were doubting that God would bother to step in, that
for whatever reason He just wasn't going to do it.
Whether or not George is correct in identifying God's adequacy as the
author's main focus, I agree that George's subsequent logic is correct. To
prove that God had adequate power to effect a universal destruction, the
author of II Peter could argue either from-the-greater-to-the-lesser or
from-an-equal-to-an-equal. He could not argue
from-the-lesser-to-the-greater, because that would be non-sequiteur in
proving God's adequacy. If the flood were merely local and non-universal,
then it would not serve to prove that God could bring about an event that
was global and universal. So I was not questioning George's impeccable
But I was arguing that the author had a different focus than what George
understood. I did not positively state what I believe in my prior post, I
only made a negative argument against George's position. So perhaps if I
state my position positively that would help clarify things quite a bit.
But first, here was the negative argument that I made. I showed that the
author already knew that the flood was the lesser in terms of the power
required of God to effect it. The eschaton will include the melting of the
elements, the actual destruction of the earth itself, not just the deaths of
the people who walk on the earth, and it will include also the melting of
the heavens, too. That requires significantly greater power than any flood,
no matter how universal the flood may have been. The flood was merely the
washing off of the surface of the earth, not the earth's substance actually
being destroyed. This is not mere speculat ion on my part: the overflowing
language that the author reserves to describe the final conflagration show
that he sees it as a much greater event than the flood. Hence, the flood
spectacularly fails to demonstrate God's power and ability to burn up the
whole world. So I don't think the author was really focused on proving
God's power to effect a universal judgement.
Now, here is my position stated positively, as an alternative to George's
position. I think the author was trying to prove that God does, despite
appearance, occaisionally step into the world in dramatic ways. It's not a
question of whether God _can_; it is a question of whether He _does_. As
such, the author was not restricted to arguing
from-the-greater-to-the-lesser nor even from-an-equal-to-an-equal. He could
have used examples that had much less significance than the final eschaton
will eventually have, as long as the examples show that God does
occaisionally step into the world to upset the normal flow of life in
significant ways. A flood that wipes out the entire Akkadian civilization
would be a perfectly good example of that. It need not be universal to make
the author's point.
I think that if we could talk to Pete today, and say, "did you know that the
Flood was only local? Do you want to change your argument against the
scoffers?" I think he'd say, "no, why would I do that? The Flood was still
a perfect example of how people think the world will continue along from
day-to-day without upset, and then God steps in with judgement and messes up
their plans. That answered the scoffers so that my audience would be
encouraged to not stop waiting on God." I don't see that his perception of
the Flood being universal or non-universal would have any affect on what he
wrote in that context.
I hope I did a better job of explaining the argument this time!

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 7:41 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

You said to George, "I believe the author's clear distinction between them
undermines your argument", in which you are referring to the subsidiary
point that the scope of both disasters was equivalent. But then it seems to
me that you went ahead and proved his essential point, which was that the
scope of the "last days judgment" in 2Pet 3:7 is intended to be universal in
You said,
"3. Then he [Peter] asserts that the present heavens and "earth" (land
again, not kosmos) are being reserved for a complete meltdown of the
elements. That is not the same kind of calamity that happened in Noah's
day, it is much greater! The future calamity will destroy the actual earth
-- the very ground beneath us, and not just the people (kosmos) who walk on
I agree with you, this does appear to be included in the intent of Peter's
statement. I don't see how this contradicts George's statement:
"The author counters by pointing to the flood in order to show that "the
heavens and earth" - the whole world - can be destroyed. I do not see how
that language about the coming destruction can reasonably be understood as
less than universal."
The only real difference in your positions on this point seems to be in
whether the elements are "literally" melted, or whether some other literal
fulfillment of a universal judgment, which George has expressed ambivalence
George had written previously: "I agree that "The Bible simply isn't
teaching us exactly what will happen at the final judgment, whether
geographically or otherwise." I am not insisting on the details of fire,
melting of "the elements" (or of what those stoicheia are - there are at
least 4 possibilities). I am simply pointing out the most basic point that
the writer is making - that the promised end is an end for the whole present
order of creation."
For what it's worth,
Jon Tandy

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Received on Sat Mar 31 08:27:38 2007

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