And now, some selected verses from today’s epistle lesson – 2 Peter 3:
“First, know this: In the last days scoffers will come with their mocking, following their own lusts. They will say, ‘Where is this promised coming of his? For from the time that our fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have from the beginning of the creation.’ ”
Their line of thinking is this: “You see, He didn’t intervene back then. He didn’t intervene today. He is not going to intervene tomorrow. It’s all the same.”
Their notion is called “uniformitarianism.” This is the belief that things in this world have always been uniform, the same, that the same physical, chemical processes going on today have always been going on at the same rate, that things have never and will never happen any differently or at any different rate, that whatever God there is will never intervene. This idea is a first cousin to “deism,” the belief that a god of some kind got the world started, but then placed it like a clock on a shelf to wind down, never to interfere again.
“What they are intentionally forgetting,” says Peter, “is that the heavens came into existence long ago by the word of God.” God did intervene when the spinning galaxies were flung across the heavens at His creative word.
Then God intervened, got involved again in the days of Noah. “Through these waters the former world perished, when it was flooded with water.” That world as it first came from the hand of God is now gone. God intervened. He did something different which no one in Noah’s day could have imagined. Genesis tells us, “All the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.”
The people who ridiculed Noah for building the ark in his day did not think that God would intervene. God hasn’t intervened yet, they argued. He isn’t going to. They were good deists. They were good uniformitarians: “Everything will go on just as it has. No worries, mates. Eat, drink and be merry.” So they did, said Jesus, “until the flood came and took them all away.” Do you remember what Jesus said next? “That is how it will be when the Son of Man returns.” So says Peter. We have a God who will intervene once more – this time not with water – for God is no uniformitarian – He can change the way He does things – this time our God will intervene with fire. Our Lord will melt down this universe and fashion with his creative word a new heavens and new earth – rising phoenix-like from the ashes – where the dwelling of God – heaven itself – is with men and merges to form the home of righteousness – beyond anything we can imagine. While we wait, what kind of people ought we to be? Ready or not, here He comes.