2 Peter #13
Refuting Evolution (Part 2)
2 Peter 3:5-7
April 15, 2020
Dr. Andy Woods
My name is Dr. Andy Woods. We’ve been teaching Wednesday nights through 2 Peter here at Sugar Land Bible Church. Open your Bible to 2 Peter 3; we’re going to pick up in verse 8.
We’re going to be making some review comments about verses 3-7. What we are talking about here we believe to be a very, very important issue, and it has to do with refuting evolution. This is part two; we started part one last time. And we’re not bringing this up just for the sake of bringing it up; we think it’s related to our text, our passage, our book that we’re working through verse by verse. So, we can call this “Refuting Evolution (Part 2).”
This is not the type of issue where we’re getting in all the particulars of evolution. We’re simply trying to demonstrate the philosophical basis that evolution comes from. Because when people reject creationism—and instead, embrace evolution—essentially what they’re doing is they’re not substituting science for religion. People would have you believe that. But they’re substituting one religion (the religion of naturalism or uniformitarianism) for another belief system (the Christian, biblically-based belief system).
Take a look at our slides. We see our introductory slide. We looked at some introductory issues. We looked at how Peter, essentially, is writing a book to warn his audience about false teaching that’s coming into the Asia Minor area. The book has three parts; every chapter is its own part in our outline.
Chapter 1 is a call to growth. Christians who are mature are difficult to deceive, and that’s why there’s a huge emphasis in chapter 1 about growing up in Christ. What does growth in Christ look like? What are the resources necessary for growth? Why should we grow up? What are the benefits of growing up? All of that is detailed in chapter 1.
Then we move into chapter 2 where we get a generic description of false teachers. Peter here is not focusing so much on their specific doctrine; he is just laying out for us the generic, general characteristics of coming false teachers. And you look at this list and you say, “My goodness! That describes false teachers in our time period (and, in fact, any time period).”
From there we moved into chapter 3, which is what we started last time. Peter, now, is focusing on not so much the general, generic characteristics of false teachers; rather, he is focused on the specific doctrine that these false teachers will introduce. So, we might entitle this entire chapter, “The Relevance of the Future.” Because the main doctrine that the false teachers will declare war on is the doctrine of the Second Advent (more on that later).
Here’s an overview of our verses. We have the heresy of false teachers, the motive of false teachers, the rebuttal to the false teachers. (Peter gives it to us in advance, even before the false teachers show up.) Then you’re going to have, as you move into verses 11-15, four points of application.
The last time we were together we were essentially taking a look at the heresy of these false teachers. “The false teachers are going to come,” Peter tells us in verses 3-4. And they’re going to declare war—not on the deity of Christ or the virgin birth or the Trinity. Now, we know they attack those anyway. But that’s not what Peter is calling our attention to. They will declare war on the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. They don’t like the idea that Jesus Christ is going to come back to this earth—just as literally in His return as He was here 2000 years ago in His Incarnation. Peter says, “They will attack this doctrine, and they’re going to employee ridicule (or scoffing) to try to tear down this teaching.”
Also in verses 3-4, Peter lays bare the reason or the motive as to why these false teachers are going to declare war on the Second Coming of Christ. So, as we look at our slides, we see where they are essentially going to declare war on the Second Coming for two reasons. One of which (verse 3) is that they’re living in their own lusts. And if they’re living in their own lusts, the last doctrine they want to contemplate, the last doctrine they want to think about, is the return of Jesus, because the return of Jesus Christ to this earth communicates accountability.
And I know that when I’m living in sin as a Christian, the very last thing I want to do is think about the return of Jesus Christ. So, if people are down on the return of Jesus Christ, always marginalizing the return of Christ or obfuscating it, this says more about their own spiritual state than it does about any other single thing. So, are you afraid of the Second Coming of Christ, or are you looking forward to the Second Coming of Christ? How you answer that question really is related to what’s happening inside of us spiritually.
Looking at this slide again, the second reason as to why these coming false teachers are tearing down the doctrine of the Second Coming is something called uniformitarianism. You see that spelled out there very clearly in verse 4. They are going to say, “‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’”
It’s so interesting that Peter wrote about this as just an untrained fishermen back in the first century. He’s actually describing here the dominant philosophy of the 20th century and the 21st-century, a doctrine called uniformitarianism. It’s a doctrine that people use, masquerading as science, to dismiss the Creator from their thinking. And what they try to do is try to explain what happened in the past (and by definition what will happen in the future) based on not divine revelation (or what God has disclosed) but based on what they worship (their five senses).
The gradual, slow process that they can see in the present—how long it takes for rocks to decay or strata to form—without the intervention of God it takes a long time for those things to occur. “Therefore, I’m going to explain all of the strata in this world through that process. And I’m going to push out of my mind the fact that in the past God did something abnormal (from our standards), called a miracle in Creation and later catastrophe.”
So, they don’t explain the observable evidence in the world through that model; they explain it through a slow process that they can see today. And they pretend that process has always been in existence—and will always be in existence. And if that’s your belief system, it’s a very convenient tool to dismiss the Creator from one’s thinking. “There was no sudden Creation, and there was no sudden catastrophe called the Flood.”
Now, this actually is the dominant viewpoint of the 19th, the 20th, and the 21st century, and it’s the basis of what is called Darwinian evolution. In fact, Charles Darwin himself was influenced by a man named Charles Lyell. Lyell was a geologist, and he made it his life’s ambition (he states this in his writings) to remove from the field of geology the thinking of Moses.
Because if you bring the thinking of Moses (who wrote the Book of Genesis) into the field of geology, you can explain a lot of things in the geological record through a sudden catastrophe. For example, in the geological record there are examples of one animal eating another animal—or digesting something—and suddenly they’re frozen through a catastrophe in that position and the layers develop, etc. That type of scenario really doesn’t give rise to something that happened over billions and billions and billions of years through a slow process. It looks to me like a sudden catastrophe.
We are talking about how uniformitarianism allows you to remove the influence of the Creator from your thinking, because it allows this mindset which basically says that things develop gradually over a long process. One animal eating another animal suddenly stuck in a fossilized form—to me that looks like a flood. The uniformitarian person would come along and say, “No, that’s part of a long process over billions of years.” And that really becomes the motive of these false teachers.
We have a definition here of uniformitarianism. You can find this on Encyclopedia Britannica; just look up uniformitarianism, and this is what it says. “Uniformitarianism, in geology, the doctrine suggesting that…”
“…Earth’s geologic processes acted in the same manner and with essentially the same intensity in the past as they do in the present and that such uniformity is sufficient to account for all geologic change.” Let me interrupt here. This is exactly what your grandchildren are being taught through their education if you have them in public schools. It’s what your kids were taught. It’s most likely what you were taught.
The definition goes on and says, “This principle is fundamental to geologic thinking and underlies [emphasis mine] the whole development of the science of geology. When William Whewell, a University of Cambridge scholar, introduced the term [that’s uniformitarianism] in 1832, the prevailing view (called catastrophism) [which is the biblical view, by the way] was that Earth had originated through supernatural means and had been affected by a series of catastrophic events such as the biblical Flood. In contrast to catastrophism, uniformitarianism postulates that phenomena displayed in rocks may be entirely accounted for by geologic processes that continue to operate—in other words, the present is the key to the past.”
And this is exactly what Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit all the way back in A.D. 64, is describing. “These false teachers are going to come. They are going to deny a supernatural ending of the universe, just as they deny a supernatural beginning of the universe, ‘Because all things continue on as it has since the beginning.’” It’s an eerie description of uniformitarianism.
Charles Lyell, of course, was instrumental in all of these things, because it was his stated goal to remove the influence of Moses in interpretations of the fossil record. And he was very successful in that. Lyell, in turn, influenced Charles Darwin and this man that I mention here, William Whewell, the University of Cambridge scholar, who introduced uniformitarianism in 1832.
So you explain everything not by catastrophe and Creation—sudden miraculous interventions of God—but you explain everything that you can see through slow processes that you can ascertain in the present. And you just pretend that those slow processes have always been in existence and will always be in existence. Consequently, what you do is you deliberately push out of your mind the miraculous handiwork of God.
Peter, after describing this philosophy with such incredible detail in advance, now gives us his rebuttal. In other words, what Peter is doing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is he is explaining how to refute uniformitarianism probably 1800 years before uniformitarianism ever came into dominant philosophical existence. Because before 1832, the dominant view of interpreting geology and strata and fossils was catastrophe. Well, that was replaced by another philosophy.
It wasn’t that science won the day and religion got pushed out; that’s how the humanists want us to understand that. What happened is one philosophy (nonscientific) was replaced by another philosophy (nonscientific). One set of assumptions was replaced by a different set of assumptions. The first set of assumptions honored the existence of God; scientists, at one time, honored the existence of God. They moved away from that and moved to a different set of assumptions—still assumptions. Pretending like what you can see in the present has always been is an assumption. And that latter set of assumptions dishonored God.
I would encourage you if you’re struggling with this issue of religion versus science. You can’t believe the Bible, you think, because you want to believe science. I would encourage you to read the book by the late Henry Morris who was the progenitor of the young earth creationist movement, a man who was fully credentialed in the scientific realm with his expertise in science—all of the doctorates, the PhD’s, and all of that kind of thing.
Dr. Henry Morris wrote a book called Men of Science, Men of God, and he documents in that particular book that all of the major bodies of science that we have today came to us through people who believed, essentially, in God and in the Bible and in the biblical record. One of whom was a man named Isaac Newton.
Most people know Isaac Newton from his discovery of the law of gravity (objects fall at 32 ft./s). But the reality of the situation is that most people don’t know that Isaac Newton wrote entire commentaries on Daniel and the Book of Revelation. And humanists say, “I wish Isaac Newton had spent less time with the Bible and more time with science. Think what better of a scientist he could have been.” That particular point is nonsense. The reason Isaac Newton had a desire and a thirst to learn about science is he believed in the Bible!
Isaac Newton believed that the Creator had released into nature certain fixed rules or laws, and it was his ambition to discover what those rules and laws were. His knowledge of the Bible made him a scientist. So that’s how science was done before uniformitarianism came on the scene and one set of assumptions replaced a completely different set of assumptions.
Here we are in the 21st-century, living in the wake of uniformitarianism. So how do we refute it? Peter actually tells us how to refute it before it even emerged—in fact, 1800 years, 1900 years, 2000 years before it even emerged!
You’ll notice here, as we look at slide 18, Peter gives us his rebuttal to uniformitarianism.
- He uses a historical argument (verses 5-7).
- He uses a scriptural argument (verse 8).
- He argues from God’s character (verse 9).
- He argues from God’s promise (verse 10).
Let’s start to move through these arguments, continuing on with our verse by verse teaching of 2 Peter, and let’s see how far we get.
Notice, first of all, Peter’s historical argument (verses 5-7). What Peter does is he calls attention to two events.
- Creation (verse 5).
- The global Flood, the global Deluge (verses 6-7).
Think about this for a minute. What do both events have in common? You’ll find the answer right there in verse 5, where Peter says, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God…” The key common denominator in both Creation and Flood is the Word of God. In other words, God spoke. And when God spoke—something that we don’t normally see today through our senses—something sudden—something of a miraculous nature immediately came into place. God spoke and the heavens and the earth leapt into existence.
And things continued on in human history. You know the story: the fall of man, how prior to the Flood man became exceedingly wicked—to the point where God was sorry that He even made man. And Noah and his family were safely and securely tucked into the ark. There were eight total in the ark; 2 Peter 2:5 tells us that, as does 1 Peter 3:18-20.
After they were safely in the ark God spoke again! The same Word that He spoke where Creation leapt into existence, God now speaks another Word and suddenly the creation that He had created comes under global judgment. So Peter’s point is simply this: how hard do you think it is for God to speak once more?
Peter assures us in verse 10 that God is going to speak once more. And when God speaks yet again, this world (also in verse 7) is going to be dissolved by fire and replaced with a new heavens and new earth. Therefore, attacking the doctrine of the Second Coming on the grounds of uniformitarianism (what we see in front of us has always been and will always be) obviously requires you to push out of your mind two miraculous events of the past where God spoke—Creation and Flood. This is why Peter is developing these two points as he is refuting uniformitarianism through the lens of history.
Let’s take a look at these, one by one. Notice, first of all, Creation. Notice verse 5 where Peter says, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [you should underline “the word of God” in your Bible] the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water...”
God spoke the word, and Creation leapt into existence. And this is what we call ex nihilo. Ex nihilo is a Latin term used to describe this point; it simply means “something out of nothing.” There was nothing; God spoke, and the heavens and the earth leapt into existence. That’s what the Bible reveals concerning Creation.
When God created, it didn’t take Him billions of years to put in motion some kind of process and things eventually developed from the goo to you by way of the zoo over billions of years. That’s uniformitarian thinking; that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible talks about ex nihilo “something out of nothing” Creation.
You might want to cross reference this with Psalm 33:6-9 which says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
In fact, as you read Genesis 1, what it says over and over again is, “God said.” And every time it says, “God said,” something miraculous happens; 14 times, roughly, in Genesis chapter 1.
For example, notice Genesis 1:3, the third verse of the whole Bible. It says, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” So this is what Peter is speaking of here. Uniformitarians are people who think that a slow process has always been in existence and will always be in existence. Peter says that they’ve pushed out of their mind the whole doctrine of Creation, which is ex nihilo (something out of nothing).
As we continue on, now Peter begins to talk about the next time God spoke, which is the global Deluge, the Flood in Noah’s day.
Notice what he says there in verses 6-7. “…through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word… You should underline “word.” There it is again, just like we saw in verse 5. “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
There are very few events that have altered our world the way the global Flood has altered our world. Creation itself was obviously significantly altered by the Fall of man in Genesis 3. Romans 8:19-23 says because of that event, creation is personified as in a state of groaning, waiting for that curse to be repealed from creation.
The second major event that fundamentally altered the world that we’re living in is the global Deluge. And there are people today that will deny that. There are evangelicals that will deny that.
Many evangelicals teach what’s called the “local flood.” They don’t believe that the Flood covered the entire world. They believe it was a local situation there in Mesopotamia; like a bathtub overflowing, but certainly not a global Deluge. Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe Ministries is a believer in the “local flood” belief system. That’s very different than what you get from Answers in Genesis (Ken Ham) and the Institute for Creation Research (the organization that Henry Morris started). Those latter ministries, I think, are on the right track, holding to a global Flood.
But there are people, like Dr. Hugh Ross, who deny the global flood and embrace what is called a “local flood.” Was the Flood a local event?
Here we have a slide that says, “Reasons Against a Local Flood.” At least three reasons.
- The size of the Ark.
Today we think a “cubit” is generally the distance between the tip of the finger to the elbow. If that’s what a cubit is, Noah built an ark that was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet deep. Why even build an Ark—certainly an ark of that size—if the flood was something that was just local? You could move, after all, and escape a local flood.
- Beyond that, why is the Flood analogized, over and over again in the Bible, to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ?
Peter is making that analogy here as you move from verse 6 to verse 7. Jesus made the same connection in Matthew 24:37-39 when He said, “‘For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.’” So, both Peter and Jesus Himself connected the Flood to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Now, let me ask you a question. When Jesus comes back the second time, at the end of the seven year Tribulation period and sets up His Kingdom, is that coming going to be a local event or a global event? I hope you understand that it’s going to be a global event, because Revelation 1:7 says when that happens every eye will see Him! So, if the flood was simply a local reality, then why is it juxtaposed consistently with the Second Advent, which will not be a local event but will be a global event?
Continuing to look at the slide, you’ll notice a third reason why we reject a local flood idea. Not only, “Why would you build an Ark?” But, “Why would you put animals on the Ark?” You could just have the animals move to higher ground to be saved. By the way, why would you put birds on the Ark, as Noah did, if he is just protecting them from a local flood? They could always just fly to the next mountain range!
So, we believe that the flood, indeed, was a global event. In fact, notice the next slide. It’s Genesis 7:19-23. It’s a description of what the flood was like. It says, concerning the flood waters, “They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heaven were covered…Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.”
Does that sound like a local event? Obviously not! It’s a global event. It says, “…all the high mountains under the entire heaven were covered…Every living thing that moved on the earth perished.” All the creatures that swarm on the earth, everything on dry land, every living thing. The only person left, besides his immediate family, was Noah himself.
Notice this quote from H.C. Leupold and his authoritative commentary on the Book of Genesis. He is making a point about the Hebrew in Genesis 7:19 where it says, “all the high mountains under the entire heaven…” And he notes that this is a double “all.” He says, “…‘all the high mountains under all the heavens.’ One of these expressions alone would almost necessitate the impression that the author intends to convey the idea of absolute universality of the Flood… Yet since ‘all’ is known to be used in a relative sense, the writer removes all ambiguity by adding the phrase ‘under all the heavens.’ A double ‘all’ (kol) cannot allow for so relative a sense. It almost constitutes a Hebrew superlative.”
Now, a Hebrew superlative is like saying “the Lord of lords.” You’re not as referring to a lord; you’re referring to the ultimate Lord. Or “the Holy of Holies”; you’re not just referring to a holy place, but the ultimate Holy Place. Or Solomon writes the Song of Songs, he calls it. Solomon wrote many songs, but he says, “This is my ultimate song; this is my highest song.” So the double “all” there constitutes a Hebrew superlative; it’s the ultimate, in other words.
Leupold goes on and says, “So we believe that the text disposes of the question of the universality of the flood. By way of objection to this interpretation, those who believe in a limited flood…urge the fact that kol [all] is used in a relative sense, as is clearly the case in passages such as…” (References passages in the Old Testament.) Sometimes, for example, it speaks of “all the earth” in Genesis 41:57. There “all” is limited by the context; it doesn’t mean the whole world; it is just speaking of the land of Egypt.
But Leopold says, concerning the double “all” in Genesis 7:19, “However, we still insist that this fact could overthrow a single kol [all], never a double kol [all], as our first has it.” So there is no doubt that this flood that we’re speaking of in Noah’s day covered the entire face of the earth and fundamentally altered the world that we’re living in.
In fact, here’s a chart from one of my favorite creation scientists, Jonathan Sarfati. He wrote a very good book called Refuting Compromise where he’s critiquing the limited flood model of Dr. Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe Ministries. Jonathan Sarfati just goes through various church fathers, early Christian interpreters—whether they be from the Jewish perspective or from the early Christian perspective. And he observes—whether it’s Philo, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Theophilus, Tertullian, Gregory, Chrysostom, even Augustine—none of them believed in a local flood; all of them believed in a global Flood.
Even John Calvin himself got this one right. Calvin in his commentary on the Book of Genesis says, “And the flood was forty days, etc. Moses conspicuously insists on this fact, in order to show that the whole world was immersed in the waters.” So, the reality of the situation is these events—whether it’s Creation or Flood—are two concepts that those who have embraced uniformitarianism have completely pushed out of their collective conscience. Pretending that what you can see (a slow process) has always been and therefore will always be necessitates pushing out of one’s thinking Creation (verse 5) and Flood (verses 6-7). And that’s why Peter brings these two up in his historical argument refuting uniformitarianism.
Look at 2 Peter 3:5 in the King James Version. I’ve been reading out of the New American Standard Version. I’m really not convinced that the New American Standard Version does a great job translating verse 5. All the New American Standard Version says is this, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice…” But that’s not what the Greek text says.
Greek uses the verb THELO, which is a Greek verb meaning, “to wish, to will, or to desire.” Notice how the King James Version translates 2 Peter 3:5, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” Why can’t these people simply go back and think about what God did through Creation and Flood? The issue is that they don’t want to go back and think about it. Because every time they think about Creation and every time they think about Flood it’s a reminder that God is their Creator and God also intervenes in His creation via judgment.
And these folks are living in their own lusts and they don’t want to think about judgment. So what they’ve done is they’ve developed a philosophy based on their five senses, and they pretend that a gradual process that they can see has always been and will always be. And, abracadabra, the Creator disappears! And the prospect of judgment disappears! And it allows you to continue on living in your own lusts—no accountability in sight! That’s why uniformitarianism and evolution (which is based on uniformitarianism) is so popular.
It reminds me very much of what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:18-20. Paul says this is what the pagans do concerning the obvious disclosure of God in Creation. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
Everybody looks at the universe and they ought to see God’s fingerprints all over it! And yet if you want to live under your own lusts and you want to make up your own rules of morality as you go, you’ve got a big job on your hands—you’ve got to dismiss the revelation of God in Creation. So, in Romans 1 the Apostle Paul tells us that what these folks do is suppress what is obvious. And they come up with strange ideas—perplexing ideas—to dismiss the obvious because they’re not objective and they’re not neutral! They have an agenda; the agenda is, “Get the Creator completely and totally out of our thinking!” And when Peter uses that Greek verb THELO in verse 5, that’s exactly what he is talking about.
You see, people that are promoting uniformitarianism today get rid of catastrophism as a way to understand geology, and “Let’s bring in uniformitarianism.” They always promote themselves as being scientific. They are “just objective people interested in science.” Or they use legal arguments such as, “We can’t teach Moses in the schools. We can’t reveal Moses’s influence on geology because, after all, in the United States of America we have the constitutional principle of a strict wall of separation between church and state.” By the way, those words are not in the First Amendment. And that’s a whole different subject for another day—which we won’t get into.
But they present themselves as if they’re standing for science, standing for the Constitution. They’re living in some kind of age of Enlightenment where religion is out, science is in. And the reality of the situation is that they are just as biased in their hearts as you could possibly get. It’s just that they are not bringing forth their bias. They are masquerading under the banner of neutrality, and yet neutrality is not what they’re about.
In fact, neutrality is a myth. What they want to do is substitute one set of assumptions (that used to honor God) for a completely different set of assumptions (that are antithetical to God), and that allows them to continue on living in their own lusts, denying moral accountability. It’s as simple as that. And Peter here, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is seeing the whole thing materialize.
The fact of the matter is, if you’re a believer in uniformitarianism, you are not thinking biblically! Uniformitarianism has absolutely nothing to do with the Bible.
Notice this chart, “Uniformitarianism is not Biblicism.” This chart reveals that the world we’re living in right now—if you believe the biblical record—has been altered three times. And the world that we’re living in now—if you believe the biblical record—will be altered three more times. Now, how do we know this? We know this because this is what God has disclosed to us. Therefore, you can see the folly of trying to analyze the past—or the future—based on a process that you can see in the present. Obviously, that doesn’t work, because the processes that we can see in the present have been radically changed three times—and will be radically changed three more times. Now, my five senses won’t reveal that to me, but God’s Word does!
But notice this chart, Slide 31. When God created this world in Creation, you had Genesis 1 and 2 and there was no death. It was the world as God designed it before sin entered the picture. Oh my goodness, things dramatically changed, didn’t they, in Genesis 3? Then we moved into a fallen world where death became a reality, pregnancy became painful, and now man has to toil by the sweat of his brow.
And yet, in that world, there were still very long life spans! Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930. The oldest man that ever lived, Methuselah, lived to be 969. And human government, as we know it, hadn’t come into existence yet. But that post-fall world was changed yet again through what is called the global Flood or the global Deluge. And you see that change there in the post-Flood world, Genesis 7-10.
Genesis 1-2 is original Creation. Genesis 3-6 is the post-Fall world. Genesis 7-10 is the post-Flood world, where now man, after the Flood, starts having shorter lifespans. He’s no longer living into his 900s if you compare the genealogy of the ages of the patriarchs in Genesis 5 versus Genesis 11.
I think some of that had to do with Genesis 1:6-7, where God separated the waters above from the waters below. He called the expanse “sky,” Genesis 1:6-7, and separated the waters above from the waters below. We know what the waters below the sky are—that’s the ocean. What about the waters above the sky?
There is a theory—it’s not something to be dogmatic on. (I don’t know if I’d start a new church over this issue.) But at one time, our world was surrounded by a giant ball of water which filtered the sun’s harmful rays and allowed people to live much longer lifespans. But with the Flood…
And people criticize the Flood. They say, “How could you believe in a global Flood? There’s not enough moisture in the clouds to flood the entire earth.” Well, that’s a uniformitarian assumption. You’re assuming that rain coming to the earth in the Flood world was the same way rain comes to the earth today; that’s pure assumption. It’s completely possible that God released this canopy that surrounded the earth, and that’s what brought the global Deluge of such severity.
And with that canopy gone, there is nothing left to filter the sun’s harmful rays. Consequently, in the post-Flood world, as you look at the genealogy in Genesis 11, you’ll see people no longer living into their 900s. They start dying at the age of 175 (and other ages) and it gets progressively rolled back from there. By the way, there’s a reason that pilots get paid hazard pay, because they’re up there flying where those dangerous ultraviolet rays are.
So, the Flood came and, consequently, the world was changed. Now we have shorter lifespans. God brings into existence human government. But that world was still a tad different than our world. There was only one language at that time. There were no individual nationalities or ethnicities. And then the world is changed again at the Tower of Babel.
You know the story from Sunday school: the builders coming together to build a new world order, a one world system of economics, politics, and religion that excludes God. God confounded the language. The builders couldn’t cooperate with each other; global government is disrupted; now we have multiple languages, nations, and ethnicities.
You’ll notice in the chart that I’ve got number four underlined, because that’s the world that we’re living in now. We’re not living in God’s original design for the world; we’re living in a post-Fall, post-Flood, post-Tower of Babel world. When Christians sing the song, “This is my Father’s World,” that always strikes me as wrong; because if you understand the Bible, you understand this is not the Father’s world! In fact, the world that we’re living in (although God’s original Creation, to be sure) has been catastrophically and tragically altered…three times!
Now, you’ll notice in this chart that you keep moving from number four into numbers five, six and seven, and here we learn that the world that we’re living in is going to be altered three more times! One of these days there’s going to be a Rapture, which is the removal of the Restrainer (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). The Antichrist will come forward and he’ll bring in global government—a system of government that will cover the entire earth (Daniel 7:23) and that time period will last about seven years.
But that world will be changed again, because Jesus will return at the end of that seven year time period and He’ll bring in His Kingdom for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-10). And guess what? Lifespans go back to pre-flood conditions. Kingdom conditions come to the earth. But…there’s still a reality of death. You see that in Isaiah 65:20, where if someone dies at the age of 100 everybody’s going to sit around and say, “Isn’t it tragic such a young man died?”
And the earth itself will not be new; it’ll simply be renovated. So that 1000 year Kingdom will give way to something totally new called the eternal state—which will be a new creation entirely—a new heavens and new earth. And the prospect of death—death in existence during the Millennial Kingdom—death won’t exist anymore (Revelation 21:4).
Why am I taking you through this history? I’m trying to demonstrate the point that Peter is making here in verses 5-7—the complete and total foolishness and folly of uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism is the belief that you can explain the past and the future by a process that you can see in the present, which is what the majority of people believe in the name of science. How foolish it is to think that way, when the Bible is screaming at us that the world that we’re living in has been catastrophically altered three times.
And it’s about to be altered three more times! And in that final time, one of the things that’s going to happen is God is going to speak His Word. “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
Now, why would someone deny verse 7? Because they’re in love with what they can see. But if you understand the biblical record, and you understand God speaks and things change dramatically—whether it’s Creation or Flood—why can’t God do it again and bring this world to a final and fiery conclusion and catastrophe?
Let me leave you with Job 38:4-7. This is the oldest book of the Bible that we have. The setting takes place 600 years before the time of Moses. And in the book, everyone’s talking. Job has his problems. We, as the reader, know why Job has his problems. There was a conversation between God and Satan that Job didn’t know anything about.
So everybody is left to their own devices—not being privy to this conversation—trying to explain why all this misfortune fell upon Job. They’re all talking and talking and talking, and none of them seem to have any idea what’s going on. Because they’re contemplating things that are outside of their purview.
Job talks in the book. Job’s three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) talk. Elihu talks. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk! We as the readers are laughing, because we know what happened with the conversation that the characters in the Book of Job don’t know anything about.
Finally you get to Job 38, and God talks! And the first thing God does is He gives to Job a pop quiz. There’s nothing that humbles us more than a pop quiz—especially about things we don’t know anything about. How would you like to get a pop quiz from God?
And the first thing God asks Job about is Creation, which would reveal to Job his ignorance. He doesn’t know anything about Creation for the simple reason that he wasn’t there! The only thing he knows is what his five senses tell him. And he can play this little philosophical game that a process that he sees has always been, but he doesn’t know what happened in Creation because there is only One Eyewitness to Creation: God Himself! God knows.
That’s why when God speaks and God queries Job, God’s first questions relate to Creation. He says, in Job 38:4-7, ‘“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know [God is being sarcastic there], Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?’”
The fact of the matter is, God knows Job cannot answer any of these questions! By the way, neither could Charles Darwin. Neither could Carl Sagan. Neither could the smartest so-called scientists of our day answer these questions, because none of them were there! The only ability they have is to pretend that a process of gradualism that they can see has always been. And they push out of their mind the miraculous hand of God which has fundamentally altered our world three times.
So the very first thing that you really learn to believe God on is the doctrine of Creation. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]…” And Hebrews chapter 11 is the hall of faith, which is a record of the greats who trusted God against all odds when their five senses were telling them something different.
The story of Abraham and Sarah is there, “You’re going to have a child.” And Abraham believed that, although the promise seemed ridiculous given Abraham’s advanced age and the advanced age of his wife, Sarah. But he put aside what he could see—processes that he could see—and he trusted what God said. So he is given entrance into the hall of faith; his story is recorded there.
The whole hall of faith, Hebrews 11, gives examples of such people. That’s why they’re called the heroes of the faith. And do you know what the very first entry is into the hall of faith? Most people skip right over this! Before Abel, and Abraham, and Moses, and Noah, the very first entry into the hall of faith is in Hebrews 11:3 which says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God…” Isn’t that interesting? We’ve been reading about the repetition of that expression, “the Word of God.”
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” The very first way you express faith to God is you accept His record of how things came into existence and how things were judged—not only through the Flood, but also the Tower of Babel. And you develop that perspective through faith.
Now, if you don’t want to walk by faith, what are you stuck with? You’re stuck with what you can see, your five senses, and you pretend that a gradual process happening today has always been and will always be. And Peter is warning us that that philosophy will gain a foothold in the last days because it’s a convenient way for people to dismiss the Creator from their thinking. It’s a way to explain Creation without the Creator, and that allows people to walk in their own lusts.
So, Peter here is giving us a formula for refuting uniformitarianism. And the first argument that he has used is an appeal to history, reminding us that Creation and Flood are perpetual reminders that uniformitarianism could not be true.
We didn’t get too far tonight on our list, but we’ll pick it up next time with verse 8. We’ll look at Peter’s scriptural argument (verse 9), Peter’s argument from God’s character (verse 10), Peter’s argument from divine promise. I think those points will go by faster. Then, once we hit verses 11-15, we’ll see about four points of application to all of these things.
Until next time, God bless you.