2 Peter 3 and the Flood

@PDPrice keeps bringing this up, and it is worth looking at more closely.

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”
‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:3-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What do you think about it @deuteroKJ, @jongarvey, @AllenWitmerMiller?

Sounds like this works quite well with a regional flood. I don’t understand how this clearly indicates a young earth. Perhaps @PDPrice can elaborate.

Look at the full scope of the passage. He equates the future judgment with fire directly with God’s past judgment with water. So if you take the ‘local flood’ interpretation here, then three major problems arise:

  1. Who are the ‘scoffers’ who are denying that a local flood happened in Mesopotamia? I thought that represented the modern-day consensus view to explain the flood legend.

  2. What does your belief in a local flood have to do with believing in Jesus Christ? It makes these things a complete non-sequitur.

  3. Do you believe God’s future judgment by fire is also going to be regional only?

I did not say local, but regional. Big difference.

  1. There is quite a bit there in that sequence that people scoff at, and it is not just about the flood. One can affirm a local flood while still scoffing at the idea God created everything and wiped out most of Adam’s descendants.

  2. The point of the passage is to recall that God has judged in the past, and so we shouldn’t be surprised he will in the future. The reference you are making to Jesus does indeed seem like a non sequitor.

  3. Why not confined regionally (the earth) to the descendents of Adam and Eve? Seems to work just fine. Who knows what’s going on for aliens on other planets outside our view.

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Sure, but Peter specifically says that these scoffers will be willingly ignorant about this deluge. Who is willingly ignorant that there was a regional flood in Mesopotamia?

The point of the passage is to recall that God has judged in the past, and so we shouldn’t be surprised he will in the future. The reference you are making to Jesus does indeed seem like a non sequitor.

Peter ties all these thematic elements together and unites them under the heading of ‘things scoffers will say in the last days’. I think they make total sense when you realize Peter is essentially correctly prophesying of the events of the last 200 or so years in the academic world.

"All things continue as they have" = gradualism and/or uniformitarianism

And gradualism = denial of supernatural & of catastrophism

Denial of supernatural & catastrophism = denial of Genesis 1 & 6 (denial of the Biblical worldview as the foundation for science and knowledge)

Denial of supernatural = denial of 2nd coming of Jesus Christ

Why not confined regionally (the earth) to the descendents of Adam and Eve? Seems to work just fine. Who knows what’s going on for aliens on other planets outside our view.

Well Peter specifically says the ‘heavenly bodies will melt as they burn’, so that would include the planet Zebes, and any other alien planets that might exist. Peter says it’s “heavens and earth” that will be judged, and this is a merism meaning “everything”.

That’s a huge stretch. In context, it’s referring to people who believe that Jesus will not return and there will be no grand day of judgement. That’s the continuation they’re talking about, not the continuation of slow geological processes.

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If so, I don’t know why Peter felt the need to bring up both the Creation and the Flood in the very same place in the context of those same scoffers. I don’t find it to be a stretch.

Really? It seems perfectly obvious to me.

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Wow, for claiming to be “biblical” the liberties you take in paraphrasing Scripture…I do not have the courage to match yours! What you are saying is not what Peter writes.

I’ll come back to this in a moment…

But first, let me piece together your views. It sounds like you are YEC, but end times are important to you too. It sounds like you are a pre-millennial (Premillennialism - Wikipedia) dispensationalist (Dispensationalism - Wikipedia) that takes a fully futurist view of Revelations, unlike even a partial preterist (Preterism - Wikipedia).

Did I get this right? If so, how important is this to you and have you considered other views? If not, can you please clarify?

You say you are a “literalist,” but that means different things to different people. Do you affirm the Chicago Statements? Do you mean historical-grammatical? What is the key academic source or statement that defines your hermeneutic?

I have no problem with literalism, to be clear, but I’d like you to write down and reference the rules you are using so I can meet you on that ground. Otherwise, not knowing the rules, seems like you are applying them willy-nilly. So, please do clarify.

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I’m not sure that Scripture was intended to be used to put together arguments as such. Moreover, it is simply enough to deny your premises (which is different than denying Scripture), as say that “gradualism = ~ supernaturalism,” to break the argument.

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For they deliberately overlook this fact … that by means of [the waters] the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

But first, let me piece together your views. It sounds like you are YEC, but end times are important to you too. It sounds like you are a pre-millennial (Premillennialism - Wikipedia) dispensationalist (Dispensationalism - Wikipedia) that takes a fully futurist view of Revelations, unlike even a partial preterist (Preterism - Wikipedia).

Since nothing I’ve said pertains to any of those questions, I’m going to respectfully decline to follow that rabbit trail. My view of this passage does not hinge on (or even pertain to) the issues of eschatology that you raised.

My argument is based upon a holistic view of the passage, not simply on that one phrase “all things continue”, so this contention is false. But in any case I think it’s a pretty safe premise to begin with; rejecting miracles and castrophies is very much linked, at least historically if not philosophically, with gradualism and uniformitarianism.

You interpretation does depend tightly on rejecting preterism.

2 Peter is talking about the judgement of God in apocalyptic terms, and this may be expanded in Revelations. With the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by fire (very local), maybe 2 Peter 3 and/or Revelation were fulfilled, at least in part if not fully. This would mirror pretty closely the notion of a local flood, and would also be observed as the “end of the world” from a Jewish perspective.

It turns out that the word “world” is a relative term in the original language and in English, and it does not usually (if ever) mean “all matter in the universe.”

So please do clarify if you reject preterism, and on what basis. If preterism is a live option, your argument fails badly.

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Sure, full preterism. But I would regard full preterism as a heresy outright. Partial preterists would not have to view this passage as already fulfilled, and indeed I don’t believe you possibly can view it that way.

Partial preterism reframes your reading to understand the judgement of God described here in 2 Peter 3 as fulfilled in the destruction of the Temple by fire. Yes, this also foreshadows the judgement of all people when we die, but the “end of days” already happened, and the Temple was destroyed by fire. The “world” being discussed here is the end of the Temple, and with it, the end of this “world.”

Remember, you asked,

Now there are two responses. Both the (partial) preterist response just given here. And also:

I don’t know any partial preterists that would apply that kind of reading to this passage. Peter is clearly talking about the final destruction prior to God’s establishing a new heavens and earth. Peter says the heavenly bodies will melt and the “heavens and earth” (not just earth) will be destroyed in this fire judgment. So that’s the opposite of regional or local.

Do you actually know any partial preterists? :slight_smile:

I’ll let others respond for now, and may circle back. I still need to know what you mean by “literal.”

Yeah, I know several of them.

I’ll let others respond for now, and may circle back. I still need to know what you mean by “literal.”

I think you may have mistaken what somebody else wrote about me for something I said myself. I don’t call myself a literalist. I advocate for the historical-grammatical hermeneutic and verbal plenary inspiration.

Great. Thank you. Historical-grammatical is often referred to colloquially as “literal,” but perhaps I did make a mistake there in thinking you called yourself this. My apologies.

Can you provide some references to how this hermeneutic works, in your understanding? Do you, for example, agree with the Chicago Statements?

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Yes. I believe in inerrancy as defined there.

Indeed so. But there is no evidence for any regional flood in the relevant area (presumably Mesopotamia and adjoining areas), only local ones. The regional flood is hardly more tenable than the worldwide flood.

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