Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Heaven 32

posted by xscot mcknight

2 Peter may finally clinch the matter for our question:

2Pet. 1:18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
2Pet. 3:5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water,
2Pet. 3:7 But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.
2Pet. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
2Pet. 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

This book brings all the themes together:
1. The Voice of God comes from heaven at Jesus’ transfiguration (1:18). Here it is the place of God from which location God acts on earth.
2. God created the heavens (3:5).
3. The present heaven and earth will someday be destroyed (3:7). When? On the day of judgment. This could be the purgation of the earth of its sinful death-shaping directions, but that view is far from easy to demonstrate.
4. The present heaven and earth will be dissolved in a grand act of discerning, revealing judgment (3:10).
5. Then God will refashion it all as a “new heavens and new earth” (3:12-13).
There it is; perhaps the only text in the NT that puts it all together.
But, we’ve got some texts in Revelation for next week. And then we’ll look at the word “gospel” for awhile.



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Kyle

posted September 11, 2008 at 1:42 am


I’ve tried to write this comment a few times now, but struggle between articulating my thoughts and understanding this passage. Suffice it to say, I struggle with the texts pointing toward a future renewal of Creation at the resurrection as opposed to 2nd Peter which seems to imply a burn it up, start all over view of things.



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Luke Welch

posted September 11, 2008 at 8:14 am


I want to put forth several short arguments that Peter’s language is abnormal, and that he is using “apocalyptic” instead of literal language – therefore we should read restoration of the present earth as the norm, and “obliteration” as referring only to sin/disease/death…
1. The current creation is “GOOD”
Gen 1 – everything was called “good” and humanity is “very good.”
2. Noah’s Flood was cleansing (and destructive) but not ultimately destructive.
3. Daniel and Joel and apocalyptic writers use images like “sun, moon and stars falling from the heavens” and mean major upheaval – without meaning literal dissolution.
4. This is certainly not conclusive, but worth noting that Peter’s own other use of fire is clearly to “refiner’s fire” which restores, not destroys…
(1 Pet 1.6-8): In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith?more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire?may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.
5. Old Testament cleansing pictures (washings, cuttings, burnings) are always destructive only of the evil, FOR THE SAKE of keeping the rest of the thing from destruction. The cloth is washed, the piece is cut out… we move up from least to most destructive methods in an attempt to save the object.
6. Jesus use of fire with branches: only the dead branches are cut off, and then thrown into the fire, so that the good tree can remain. Then the good tree is pruned so that the living branches can flourish. (John 15 – a passage that uses CUTTING, WASHING and BURNING in one place).
7. Romans 8 says the CREATION ITSELF LONGS to be set free with the sons of God. It is in bondage to decay now – but our salvation is meant to bring liberation to the world. Because our sin is what’s really wrong with the world.
8. RESURRECTION implies continuity overcoming death. Could the world follow the same pattern?
WHAT DO YOU THINK? All comments are welcome… =)



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Mark O

posted September 11, 2008 at 9:15 am


This is only a shot at answering some of the questions raised, but here goes: We all agree that the text at least states that all evil will be destroyed. Now, it seems 2 Peter says that the heavens and the earth will be destroyed at judgement, and that God will make a new heavens and a new earth.
So the question is, is God going to renew creation, or destroy it and create a new creation? My answer is, both. If all evil and sin will be destroyed, there might not be much left of this earth. While I think Peter uses different images than other parts of scripture do, I don’t think they are contradictory…but it certainly raises questions and provokes us to think about what have to loook forward to. Nonetheless, we know it will be good and glorious.



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Dana Ames

posted September 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm


Luke (and others),
I found this in my internet ramblings:
http://www.luthersem.edu/ctrf/JCTR/Vol11/Middleton_vol11.pdf
I’m not saying Scot or anyone else is wrong, only that there’s at least one other legitimate way of viewing this passage.
It simply seems to me that if God has to destroy the creation and make it again “from scratch”, then “Ol’ Scratch” has succeeding in spoiling God’s creation. I don’t think Satan wins; I think God wins.
The refining, restoring aspect of judgment seems to fit better with what I’ve found from a couple of different sources to be the Hebrew/Jewish idea that judgment is about making things right. This also fits together better with what I understand to be the Eastern Orthodox view of how it will be when Jesus returns. Nobody is saying that evil will be ignored, but rather that God will bring the appropriate thing to pass, and the “magic” is deeper than we can imagine.
I find the refining/restoring view to be no more difficult to demonstrate than the “traditional” view- Blue Parakeet stuff again, imo…
Dana



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Ken

posted September 11, 2008 at 3:23 pm


How about them CERN experiments in Switzerland. Apparently we survived the first round.



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Joe B

posted September 15, 2008 at 3:31 pm


This passage and the discussion we’ve pursued provide another warning against an overly-technical reading of scripture.
Peter, Jesus, John the Baptist, and several OT prophets speak of the fire of judgement in a cleansing sense. But undeniably, scenes like the lake of fire bespeak an anhialatory judgement. A couple of verses even suggest an eternal blowtorch that does not consume.
We have to look at the story in panoramic scope before we commence the “Tastes great!”; “Less filling!” chorus.
Good work, Scott McK. And JC readers, I love your wonderful, insightful comments.



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