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

Was the earth created from ice?

A study on 2 Peter 3 – Part I

Secular science describes the formation of the planet Earth from a condensation of dust from a solar nebula some 4.6 billion years ago. That alleged orb resulted in a hot rock spinning in space that eventually cooled enough to form oceans about 3.8 billion years ago. The evolutionary origin theory also describe it cooling even further to the point of a “snowball” due to the early faint sun, which presents a paradox. The sun – in its alleged evolution – had much lower power output resulting in at least 20 to 30% less sunlight at the earth’s surface, making subzero surface temperatures, hence entirely ice-covered. In fact, they claim 3 separate periods total glaciation of the planet during its history.

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Snowball Earth. Credit: MIT

What does the Bible tell us, in particular? Let’s look at 2 Peter 3. Continue reading

When will God reverse decay in the Universe?

In biblical creationist discussions and presentations we often talk about the restoration of the Universe back to its original perfect uncursed state that it had before the Creator destroyed the perfect paradise. That Curse was put on all creation and we see that the removal of the Curse is an integral part of understanding the message of the Bible, especially the gospel.

It was because of Adam’s original sin that the Universe was cursed and altered in a way that brought forth all types of imperfections in all living creatures, resulting in sickness, disease, mutations, death, violence and the many sins of mankind.

The usual image used to illustrate this is to show that sin caused the world to be corrupted but later God will remove the Curse and restore the perfect paradise of His original creation. See illustration below.

marred-by-sin

The world now is not that perfect world that God originally created. Death, pain, disease, suffering are intruders on God’s perfect creation. But the Scriptures give us hope, that through Christ, of the restoration of the world back to the same state in a new heaven and a new earth after Christ’s second advent. The world will be restored back to the same state that it once had before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.

Continue reading

The world is not yet even 6000 years old

Two years ago I wrote a post with a Table derived mostly from biblical texts showing that the world was a little over 6000 years old, or in 2014 precisely 6188 years old. Since then I have learned that one of those biblical periods I used was incorrect and as a result the age of the earth and the whole Universe, in fact, as of 2016, is only 5975 years. That is less than 6000 years and gives us only 25 years to the 6000th birthday for the whole creation. That would be worth celebrating! It would be so nice if that is when our Father in heaven has decided to send back His beloved Son in the Day of the Lord, when judgment comes upon the whole world (Revelation 20:11). But watch and pray!

The table of generations

In this new calculation, only the period of time, derived from Exodus 12:40, for the children of Israel entering Egypt to their exodus has been changed, based on new information. Then I derive a new creation date where I get 3959 B.C. for the year of the beginning. Continue reading

Mature creation and false information in starlight

Some biblical creationists argue for a mature creation as an explanation for the history of Genesis to align with modern cosmological observations. Don DeYoung1 is one who argues that such a view is not refutable, and he is quite right. But neither is any cosmology as really cosmology is not science.2 It is not subject to repeatable laboratory type tests that is normally required in science. Its goal is to reconstruct the history of the Universe, and in so doing cosmology is more akin to evolutionary biology or geology in which researchers must simply accept some facts as given. That makes cosmology more like a religion, a belief system, with its unprovable axioms upon which everything else is based.

De Young argues that all biblical creationist cosmogonies (i.e. worldviews) contain some level of mature creation, which I do agree with. The problem, though, which he does not address, is the issue of false information in starlight.

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Credit: ESA & NASA; Acknowledgement: E. Olszewski (U. Arizona)

We know that the Universe is very large. Light travels very fast indeed, yet light travelling at its measured speed travels one light-year distance in one year (by definition). The Bible tells us that the Universe is only about 6000 years old, but the distances light needs to travel from the most distant sources to Earth, since creation, is about 14 billion light-years. So DeYoung, and others like him, claim that God created the ‘light in transit’. He says that this explanation is valid as it is equivalent to the mature creation of our sun or even to adult forms of life created on Earth (i.e. Adam and Eve created in the Garden as adults and not babies or embryos). On some level this may be true, but the ‘light in transit’ remains a problem in terms of God’s truthfulness.

No doubt DeYoung, and those others who hold similar views, believe that God is 100% truthful, yet they see no problem with false information in the ‘light in transit’. DeYoung excuses it by saying that it is nevertheless true in the mind of God. But there still remains a problem.

In Psalm 91 (and other passages in the Bible) we are told that the heavens tell us of God’s workmanship. Is this also only in the mind of God? Is everything that is in the astrophysical heavens just part of a big light show, which has no reality, such as the reality we can discover with the rest of our senses here on Earth? I don’t think so.

So how do you justify ‘light in transit,’ which does not relate back to real events in the past history of this Universe? If you want to take the approach of the least number of assumptions, that is, using Occam’s Razor,3 a law of economy, then I would say that a time-dilation model or a time-convention model is a far simpler and better choice.4 For example, I could construct a cosmogony (description of the origin of the Universe) where our Creator God makes the sun, the moon, the planets and all the stars and galaxies on Day 4 of Creation Week, according to Genesis 1.5 But in so doing He slows the rate of clocks on Earth during that day only. Really that means he slows the rate at which time passes on Earth relative to elsewhere in the cosmos. He makes some galaxies initially and places them throughout the Universe, like unfurling a flag or tent. It does not necessarily involve any stretching of the fabric of space, or of time or of space-time. This Universe is not an expanding, but created static, with the galaxies essentially in the same locations now as when they were created 6000 years ago, as measured by Earth clocks. Continue reading

Our eternal universe

Much has been written about the Universe, with its alleged big bang origin 13.8 billion years ago,1 with its expansion forcing all galaxies away from each other. And about two decades it was ‘discovered’ that the expansion is accelerating driven by some very strange form of energy – dark energy – that acts like an anti-gravity force, which is stranger than fiction. Yet the big question remains. What is the ultimate fate of the Universe? Secular cosmology does not have a precise answer, and I describe several of their scenarios below. However I believe that the Bible has the answer to this question. That answer may seem to many to be contrary to known science, but the same could be said of the creation of the Universe from nothing, whether it be by the action of the Creator God, or by secular physics invoking some quantum fluctuation of a metastable false vacuum.

Big bang fate of the Universe

Some believe the Universe will eventually die in a ‘big rip’,2 where space is literally ripped apart. This is alleged to result from the unlimited acceleration of the expansion of the Universe due to an unbounded increase in some very strange stuff called dark energy, for which laboratory science knows nothing. In that theory dark energy eventually becomes so strong that it completely overwhelms the effects of the gravitational, electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces, resulting in galaxies, stars and even atoms themselves being literally torn apart, at their core. See Fig. 1.

Others believe that the Universe will end in a ‘big crunch’.3 “Their calculations suggest that the collapse is “imminent”—on the order of a few tens of billions of years or so—which may not keep most people up at night, but for the physicists it’s still much too soon.”4 The big crunch is theorized to occur when the vacuum energy density (cosmological constant) becomes negative due to a change in some hypothetical scalar field changing sign. Details don’t really matter because it is really just ‘scratchings’ on pieces of paper.

Fig 1

Figure 1: The theorised expansion of a closed universe from a ‘big bang’ to a ‘big rip’ (or ‘big freeze’) and a contraction to a ‘big crunch’.

Yet another option, they say, is that the Universe will end in some unremarkable heat death, where every physical process just peters out. This is known as the ‘big chill’, ‘big freeze’ or ‘heat death’. In that view, the Universe continues expanding while gradually all thermodynamic free energy is dissipated, meaning that all motion eventually ceases. Over a hundred trillion years or so, they say, it comes to a state of maximum entropy at a temperature very close to absolute zero, when the Universe simply becomes too old and too cold to sustain life. All that they expect to remain are cold dead stars, cold dead planets and black holes.

These three scenarios (Fig. 1) are what comprise the secular belief system, the worldview most widely held by cosmologists today. It is based on pure materialism, that matter and energy is all that there is. The atheists believe there is no Creator, no God who loves us or has any personal interest in our destiny. Their beliefs are really pagan philosophy.5 Continue reading