The coming new heaven and new earth

A study on 2 Peter 3 verses 10 – 18

This is the final part of a 3 part study. Part I and Part II are found here. I ended the last study of this chapter (in part II) with verse 10.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

It is worth repeating here that I do not believe that the phrase “the heavens shall pass away” describes the destruction of the starry heavens (all the stars and galaxies in the cosmos), but instead, at most, it describes a renovation of the earth and its atmospheric heavens, at the time Christ returns in judgment and to govern the earth. Read Do the heavens literally pass away or don’t they? and Scientific evidences in the Bible: Information or misinformation?

It seems to be the eschatological position of many biblical creationists that this verse means the destruction of the entire known Universe and that all the heavenly bodies will all be burned up in the final judgment. Then God will re-create an entirely new universe. However the destruction of the starry heavens I argue (as put here) is not necessarily required by the texts. Certainly a new heaven and new earth must mean God re-creates the environment of Earth and brings His heavenly city into the picture, providing real physical heavenly mansions for us all who believe. But that re-creation need not extend beyond our solar system. This is further evidenced by the idea that the Universe may be, in fact, eternal. God introduces His sustaining power to maintain it forever. Thus is not the result of an eternal big bang universe that had no Creator, not the result of the quantum fluctuation of a meta-stable false vacuum, but an eternal Universe sustained by the Creator Himself. So at some stage God reverses entropic decay in the Universe and maintains it forever.

The concept of literal restoration of the perfect creation on Earth and its environment is not incompatible with the biblical creationist message that is illustrated in the figure above. God initially literally created a perfect physical world/universe sustained by His power. But at Adam’s sin God cursed the creation bringing about various difficulties (to say the least) upon mankind and all living species on the planet. The greatest of these difficulties was death, spiritual death followed by physical death.

The death of humans and all living sentient beings has little bearing on the “life cycle” of stars and galaxies, which are little more than an arrangement of hot gases. So it is ill-advised to speak of the death of stars resulting from the Curse. Thus to suggest that supernovae only occurred post-Fall is grossly in error. They are the result of normal operational physics and I believe have little bearing on, or relation to, man’s actions. Whereas the Fall was the direct result of a man’s action to disobey the Living God. As a result we all inherited Adam’s sin. And thus we are in need of a Saviour.

The Universe though is a creation of God, for His own glory (Psalm 19:1). We have evidence in the scriptures supporting the idea that God will maintain the Universe (the Sun, moon and stars) forever. Psalms 148:3-6 and 89:37.  Continue reading

Time in the mind of God

A study on 2 Peter 3 – Part II

Part I can be found here.

Possibly one of the most quoted and most widely interpreted verses in the Bible in relation to the chronology of the Bible from Creation to final Judgment is the 8th verse of chapter 3 of Peter’s second epistle (letter).

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  (my emphasis added in bold)

Some have used this to re-scale the length of the Genesis 1 creation days from 24-hour days to 1000-year days. This feeble effort to try to get the creation chronology of the Bible to fit in with the alleged billions of years of the secular chronology is referred to as the day-age theory. But it makes very little sense as the second part of the verse reverses the order and thus using the same type of logic you would have to say that a 1000 years in the Bible really means a 24-hour day.

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Bust of Aristotle. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC; the alabaster mantle is a modern addition. Credit: Wikipedia (Public domain)

Another problem is an understanding of what time is. Since the Greek thinkers, like Aristotle, time has been given a linear deterministic feature where past, present and future are referred to in a real sequence. But that is not the way the Hebrew mind operated.

God’s consciousness is a world consciousness in which everything that takes place is treasured and held fast in the eternal and is therefore as indestructible as ‘matter’. Without a world consciousness, all the history of humanity and of the universe would end in nothing; for a people, however, for whom life and history is everything, the concept of a divine world consciousness is as necessary as the concept of eternal being was for the Greeks. For the Israelites, the world was transitory, but Jahveh [Jehovah] and his words (and deeds) were eternal (Isaiah 40.8).1

… the Semitic concept of time is closely coincident with that of its content without which time would be quite impossible. The quantity of duration completely recedes behind the characteristic feature that enters with time or advances in it.1 (Emphasis in the original)

… time is for us an abstraction since we distinguish time from the events that occur in time. The ancient Semites did not do this; for them time is determined by its content. Time is the notion of the occurrence; it is the stream of events.1

This verse, 2 Peter 3:8, was written in Greek but by the Apostle Peter, a Hebrew. Therefore we should expect he writes with a Hebrew way of thinking. Reading the verse in context with those that precede it, it simply means that God does not view time the way we do.  In the preceding verses, it is made clear that God is not in a hurry to bring about the promised judgment. Judgment may not happen immediately but it will come at the time appointed. So God was telling the believers back in Peter’s time (and us now by extension) not to be too anxious because the Christ will return at the appointed time.

Considering that God is outside of time He does not view time the way we do. More than that; it is a Greek way of thinking to see time as a linear sequence. This verse reflects a Hebrew way of thinking to see time as the contents of the events themselves. To the earth observers the events may take thousands of years to unfold, in a linear fashion, but to the mind of God, and a Hebrew way of thinking, the events have already happened. They form a whole set, because what God says will happen, in our realm, has already happened for Him. Continue reading

AntiChrist Pope denies the Word of God

Last year (2014) the pope stood before the Church of Rome’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and declared that the Creator God  the Almighty Jehovah used evolution to create all living organisms on Earth.  Francis’ reasoning was along the lines that God is not omnipotent and could not create anything that He might like to and so He had to use evolution (a very wasteful process) to develop life on our planet.  God also used the big bang apparently to create the Universe because He was not powerful enough to do it by himself.

One online news source headlined it with “Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’ .” So Francis does not believe the plain reading of the biblical text. That means he denies the truth of Scripture. He denies the plain statements of the Lord Jesus Christ who said:

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” (Mark 10:6)

and Continue reading

From an atheist to a Christian

I describe in brief my path to meeting the Lord who saved me. He chose me. He changed my mind and caused revolution in my heart. Thank the Lord! All glory to God!

DR Sept 10 M


Related Reading

The Lord will overcome

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The rise of Islam in the West

I see this as the Lord’s doing, the same way He sent the Babylonians to carry away Israel into captivity (Jeremiah 29:1-14) or the way He used the Assyrians (Isaiah 10:5)  to chastise Israel for her sins. This time the chastisement is to the Christian Church (spiritually Israel) and again to the chosen people, the Jews, wherever they may be. I believe the Lord  Jesus will come again and restore His assembly of believers, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. And the Lord will Himself judge those who disobey His laws and murder innocent people. Continue reading

When I consider thy heavens

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  … 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  Psalms 8:1,3

These verses really struck me as significant as I read them this morning. Let’s look at these two verses carefully.

O YHWH (יְהוֹוָה Yhovah) our Lord (אָדוֹן ‘adown meaning ‘sovereign’)  who (meaning God Himself) hast set thy (your, singular) glory above the heavens. Psalms 8:1

God has set his own glory above that of the created heavens. And those heavens are a wonder to behold. Just look at some of the beautiful pictures of the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. Here I illustrate this (Fig. 1) with their July 30, 2014 picture of the Andromeda galaxy.

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Figure 1: M31: The Andromeda Galaxy.  Image Credit & Copyright: Jacob Bers (Bersonic)

Our own galaxy would look very similar to this one. With modern large telescopes we see a universe full of maybe 100 billion galaxies, many of which look like this one. But God’s glory is way above all of this.

When I consider thy (your, singular) heavens, the work of thy fingers ( אֶצבַּע ‘etsba` meaning ‘something to seize with’ but God does not have nor need real fingers, so it is figurative), the moon and the stars (and the latter must include the sun, which was not known by Earth astronomers to be a star until millenia later), which thou (you, singular) hast ordained (כּוּן kuwn meaning to ‘be erect’, stand perpendicular hence causatively to ‘set up’, literally to ‘establish’ or figuratively to ‘appoint’); Psalms 8:3

Continue reading

The seed of Abraham: the land of Israel?

(In the following all bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words, and my explanations. Unless otherwise stated King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

 Joel 3:1-2 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity [bring back the exiles, those who were in captivity] of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted [divided up] My land.

Continue reading