New Testament interpretation of Genesis in 2 Peter 3


#1

I think Genesis 1-11, the primeval history, is all allegorical and evolution true. Now, I was scrolling around on Wordpress and founds a creation blog that tries to claim there are thinks evolution can’t explain (apparently evolution is wrong because 140 mammoths died together in one place), but this is besides the point. They posted this extract of 2 Peter 3, which I find troubling in regard to its take on Genesis. What do you guys think?

2 Peter 3:3-7: First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” 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, 6 through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 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.

Does the NT think Genesis is literal? What would that mean? Open to all suggestions.


(James McKay) #2

It’s funny how YECs are adamant that 2 Peter 3:3-7 are all about creation, yet they are adamant that verse 8 has nothing to do with it.


(Laura) #3

Since some prominent YEC organizations accept evolution in the form of hyper-speciation in a short amount of time, I think this verse (if it means what some try to make it mean) would be just as troubling for them, as well as for those YECs who insist that the speed of light must be different than it used to be to “solve” the starlight problem.

But I’m not really sure that “all things” here is referring to something biological anyway, since creation doesn’t come into it until the next verse. That’s not to say it doesn’t puzzle me as well.


(Shawn T Murphy ) #4

The biblical story makes sense, if you know what the subject of the story is. Is the story about the creation of the universe, or something more important?

Did God really spend all this effort to create a place where man can suffer and be sent to hell for an eternity if we don’t follow the rules? Did He really send his only son to just be sacrificed? The problem with the use of only the bible is that it has no timeline references, so we need to rely on outside sources to provide scale.

The ancient philosophers had a vivid story of the gods, filled with heroes, villains and betrayal. This is how they told the story of our beginning. The beginnings that they described are akin to the beginning in John 1 and not Genesis 1. We will see that the Genesis beginning came much later.

First, God created heaven and the result of this creation is described by John in Revelations 4. His vision of God’s throne captures a glimpse of its magnificence, as it was in the first beginning, only light and not darkness. God gave Moses the same vision of His creation when he showed him the Menorah and told him to build one just like this. The Menorah is more than a candle stick, it is our heavenly family tree. The seven arms symbolize the seven Spirits of God. (“and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Rev 4:5) On the seven arms are a total of 24 knops, representing the 24 elders (Rev 4:4).

After the creation of heaven, and of our divine, immortal spirits, then came the need for the second creation. “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Gen 1:4. We had allowed Lucifer to corrupt us. The first born of heaven, the prodigal son, had wanted his inheritance. He wanted to be king, alongside of Jesus, in this vast heavenly creation. Heaven had grown so vast, that he thought (and we agreed) that it was big enough for two kings. This is the darkness that God separated from the light. God did not create darkness in the beginning, only after Lucifer defied God and we followed him did we create darkness.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev 12:9)
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Rev 12:4)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)

The beginning in Genesis is the beginning our restoration to heaven. God separated us from the light and cast us into hell. He created a place called Paradise, in the highest regions of hell as a first test. Adam and Eve were two the ten fallen elders, who had the strongest longing to go back to heaven. They were chosen as a proxy for all the fallen. They were told to follow one simple rule, follow only Jesus – The Tree of Life, and not Lucifer – The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could not be true to Jesus again, and were cast out of paradise.

So, God gave them, and us, a second chance. After Genesis 3, He created the material world as a proving ground to bring all his fallen children home, including the prodigal son. The bible is a story of great loss and of God’s love and redemption. God did not send his son to die at the hands of man. He sent Jesus to earth to show us how to resist Lucifer in our lives. Once Jesus showed he could resist Lucifer as a human, he could now confront Lucifer in the ethereal world. Leaving his body on the cross, Jesus descended into hell and fought his firstborn. Jesus’ victory over Lucifer allowed him to pass judgement over Lucifer.

We have third party verified dates some of the major characters in the old testament. And modern Christianity is unwilling to recognize them because they conflict with their world view.

Now that we have a little scale to the OT, we can see how evolution fits into the story. The most prolific Christian scholar called it the restoration of all things. This is God’s plan that started in Genesis and will bring all the fallen back to the Heaven described in Revelations 4.

The goal of God’s material creation is to restore the fallen souls to their original virtue - an evolution from malevolent to benevolent. Evolution is God’s plan. What science fails to acknowledge about their observations of evolution is that all indications show it is also a beatification. The nature has not just evolved to be more efficient, it has become more harmonious, cooperative and less cannibalistic - more virtuous.

We have the benefit today to comprehend the scale of His Plan of Restoration. We know that much more than 13.7 billion years have passed since the Fall of 1/3 of Heaven. Use this knowledge to question the stories that people tell about creation. There is no conflict between creation and evolution, once you understand the reason for creation - restoration.


(Randy) #5

sounds like Ecclesiastes 1: 4-11–there’s a motif. Although–I think I wrote this by mistake–Peter is saying that God does move things, as opposed to our impression that He doesn’t.

also, didn’t 2n Peter get questioned a lot as to canonicity?
I know that is a can of worms. thanks.

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever…


#6

What is the name of your view/philosophy/religion and how do you know all this stuff?


(Shawn T Murphy ) #7

I consider myself a philosopher and philanthropist (Love of Wisdom and Love of Humanity). As per the guidelines of the founders of philosophy, I have studied mathematics, the natural sciences and the ancient philosophers. I have studied the history of religion and developed an affinity for the teachings of the people that were destroyed by society - Jesus, Socrates, and Origen of Alexandria.

After 9/11 I started writing moderate works to bridge the growing gap between religions extremists and intellectuals. I have published my works on Academia.edu and my books on GoodReads and Amazon. I am an active blogger on Quora.com


#8

I don’t know why some people twist this story into something that it isn’t.

Peter was responding to mockers who were asking “Why hasn’t Jesus returned by now?” Peter responded the world was created long ago, notice no mention of 6 days, and was destroyed in a flood, no mention of Noah. And God “is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness”. The promise is the destruction of the earth in basically God’s own time. So just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to happen at some point in the future. Why people want to make this a prophecy for today I haven’t a clue. And using the time back to creation as a commonly accepted period of “a long time” doesn’t make 6,000 years true either.


#9

I see. 


(Richard Wright) #10

Hello James.

I’m no YEC but I actually don’t think v8 has anything to do with creation. The context of, “a day is like a thousand years to the Lord…” is that Jesus is not coming back soon, so that more people can come to repentance.

To the OP’s question, I think the only way to properly interpret the passage is that Peter interpreted literally early Genesis. That doesn’t bother me and my view of the inspiration of scripture, but I’m sure for a lot of people here it would.


#11

I agree, it does look something like that the authors of 2 Peter 3, at the least, took a literal interpretation of Genesis. Not exactly sure how to square this out, since it’s clear to me from the scholarship that Genesis 1-11 is allegorical. Looks like I’ll keep looking. These kinds of problems aren’t new to me – it’s actually quite a surprise that I solved all the other major issues I had and hadn’t had any new ones for several months.

Also, @tornbetw2worlds, I won’t interact with your entire comment, but there are some things at the least I take issue with. For example, the Elam tablets provide some analogues with Abraham’s customs, but that’s far from enough to date Abraham to the period of the 23rd/22nd centuries BC. The archaeological site at Nuzi, a Mesopotamian city, also produced tons of tablets with just as many parallels to the biblical customs. Problem is, they date to the Late Bronze Age, at least 6 centuries later than Elam. This is probably because, the way it looks like to me, that the customs across the ancient near east were relatively alike (though not homogenous, there could be lots of local variation) and slowly evolved over long stretches of time. So the Elam tablets aren’t anymore evidence dating Abraham to the 22nd century BC as the Nuzi tablets are of dating Abraham to the 15th.

Emeritus Professor of Egyptology, Kenneth Kitchen, has suggested that Abraham lived in the Middle Bronze Age (20th-16th centuries BC) based on historical synchronisms between the biblical texts and specific Middle Bronze Age aspects and customs. Archaeologists have also identified the site of Tall el-Hammam as the likely ruins of Sodom, and since Tall el-Hammam was destroyed around the 18th century BC, that would solidify that – Abraham is probably 5 centuries younger than you’d imagine.


(Shawn T Murphy ) #12

In his research, Walther Hinz used three independent sources to come up with Abraham’s life from 2280 to 2165 BC. These include cross references to Egyptian hieroglyphs from Pharaoh Pepi I and from king Iblul II of Mari. I would upload the PDF here if I could. Walther Hinz was the man who deciphered the Elam tablets.


#13

Well, Walther created a dictionary and name directory for the Elam tablets, he didn’t decipher their language (Elamite cuneiform), as far as I’m concerned. Since I simply don’t have access to Hinz’ works, nor have I heard of him until now (which leads me to think of a lack of acceptance of his theories on Abraham in academia), I simply have to stay with Kenneth Kitchen and Steven Collins (excavator of Tall el-Hammam) on this one.


(Shawn T Murphy ) #14

You are free to make up your own mind, just be aware that a theory exists that is internally consistent from Noah to Joseph. A 15th century date for Abraham does not line up with the third-party verified dates of the other major players.

You most likely have not heard of Walther because he has published in German since the 40’s. He brought together science, history and Christianity in the spirit of BioLogos. Again, I can supply his work in PDF format, but since he has passed, I have no rights to upload it for broad distribution.


#15

I’ll keep an eye for mention of his work. I’d also recommend you read Kenneth Kitchen’s On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Eisenbrauns 2003).


(Richard Wright) #16

I look at it using Dennis Lamoureux’s, “message-incident” principle. There are spiritual/theological messages in early Genesis. God, like Hollywood, knows that messages are most powerfully transmitted through stories (though Genesis 1 is probably closer to, if not literally, a poem). It seems God, in teaching the ancients about Himself in these stories/poems, allowed them to believe things about the physical world that aren’t true, things that He considers incidental to the messages. That would include Paul and Peter, who were ancients and, according to my view of inspiration anyway, not privy to all the truths of the universe.


(system) #17

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