Wednesday, 19 February 2020
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 2 Peter 3:5
Peter, still referring to the “scoffers” of verse 3, and who dismiss the coming of the Lord as noted in verse 4, now says of them, “For this they willfully forget.” The idea here is that these people know something to be true, because it has been revealed to them, and yet they purposefully push that truth out of their minds. Instead, they forge ahead with what they know to be false rather than acknowledge the evidence which lies before them (such as evolution does concerning creation).
With this understood, Peter next continues with the thought from verse 3:4. There, he cited the scoffers. They said, “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” The act of creation is the subject. To expand on that, he cites the Genesis creation account with the words, “that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water.”
The translation here lacks the intent of the Greek. Four articles, not in the original, have been added. Rather, it says –
“that heavens existed long ago, and earth, formed out of water and through water – by the word of God.”
The water is the focus of the words. The earth obtained its consistency, or material substance, from the water. And it was by means of the water that it came about. With this understanding, the words can be more properly evaluated. Peter says that these things occurred “by the word of God.”
In the Genesis account, it says, “Then God said.” There is the spoken word, and it is followed by an action in the creation itself. This is also repeated in Psalm 33 –
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6-9
The Psalmist read the word of God, accepted it at face value, and repeated what God (the Lord) had done. However, these scoffers willingly and purposefully forget what the word says, denying the evidences around them as they speak of the creation. They deny the truth, and because of this, God’s judgment is ready to destroy them. This will be seen as Peter continues.
Life application: Those who scoff at the second coming of Christ fail to reason out the truthfulness and power of God. It is so much easier to bury one’s head in the sand than to acknowledge that there really is a God, that He really did create, and that all creation therefore is within His purview. If this is so, then the same God who did these things will fulfill His promises, including the return of Christ.
Peter’s return to the first chapter of Genesis is to remind us that God created the heavens and the earth. There was a time when these things didn’t exist in any form; there was nothing. God spoke these things into existence and then actively worked to form them into the universe and world we know.
One only needs to look at a tree to think the process through. “There is a tree; the tree didn’t create itself; the tree is connected to the ground; the ground is part of the earth; the earth didn’t create itself; the earth is in the universe; the universe didn’t create itself; all of this order came from somewhere; the universe didn’t always exist, but now it does; there must be a God; this God must be intelligent because the tree (along with all the universe) has order and beauty; I can perceive the tree and contemplate it; I must have reason and intellect; my reason and intellect must have come from somewhere; order cannot come from chaos; therefore God must be actively involved in the entire process – from the tree to me.”
As we continue to think on these lines, we can make reasonable deductions about God. These deductions will inevitably lead to understanding His nature. He must, by the very nature of who He is, be truthful. If He has said Jesus will come again, then this must be true. Naturally, a multitude of deductions which lead us to this point have been skipped, but the end result is that we are without excuse when we fail to acknowledge both the sovereignty and also the truthfulness of God. Think it through and have faith that God will fulfill every promise, just as His word states.
O God, surely You are in control. The splendor of a mere bumblebee tells us that You are wise and loving. How much more should we be able to trust You when we look to the rest of creation and see Your majesty displayed in it. May we never doubt that You are competent to fulfill every promise You have made…including the promised return of Jesus our Lord. Amen.