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Originally published in Creation 23, no 2 (March 2001): 34-37.
'The Seven C's' of History (Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation) help us remember the big events which have affected, and will affect, the history of the universe
'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . .' (Revelation 21:1).
In the beginning, God created a perfect world. It was a beautiful placeófull of life, without death, disease, pain or suffering. Adam's disobedience changed all that. When he ate the fruit God had told him not to eat, sin and death entered the world (Romans 5:12). This corruption completely changed the world so much that what we see today is only a reflection of the world that was. Adam's sin led to the catastrophe of Noah's day, the confusion at Babel, and the death of Christ on the Cross.
Death has been around almost as long as humans have. Sometimes it might seem as if it is a permanent part of God's creation. Romans 8 tells us the whole of creation is suffering because of Adam's sin. It might seem as if there is no end to the suffering brought about by this act of disobedience. Of course, none of us can say that we have not also disobeyed God in our own lives (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:10), so all of us in a sense share in the blame for what we see around us.
However, God, in His great mercy, has promised to not leave His creation in its sinful state. He has promised to do away with the corruption Adam brought into the world. He offers us this salvation through His Son. Also, He has promised to remove, in the future, the Curse He placed on His creation (Revelation 22:3)! He will make a new heaven and a new Earth one dayóone which we can't even begin to imagine (2 Peter 3:13). In this new place there will be no death, no crying, no pain (Revelation 21:4). No one will be sad. As those who have repented and believed in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, we can look forward to this new heaven and Earth, knowing we will enjoy God forever in a wonderful place. The corruption that was introduced in the Garden of Eden will be taken away by God, giving us, once again, a perfect place to live.
During the time of Noah people laughed at God's command to Noah to build a boat. They mocked as they heard God's Word that He would judge their wickedness with a worldwide Flood. They scorned God's pronouncement about their need to repent and turn to their Creator before it was too late. They rejected the Lord God who had created their ancestor, Adam. All those who did not believe what God said, and who did not follow Noah onto the Ark, died in the Flood that God sent as punishment for the people's disobedience (sin).
Today, many people deny that the global Flood in Noah's day, as recorded in the Bible, ever occurred. They refuse to listen to God's Word that teaches of the Creator who came to Earth to redeem His creation from the Curse of sin. They mock the Word of God that says He created all things in six days. They reject the Lord God who created their ancestor, Adam, and disobey God's commands. They scorn God's warning that He will once again judge His creation for the wickedness of men.
Jesus' student, Peter, wrote his second letter to the Jewish believers scattered throughout Asia around ad 66. In it, he discusses the people mentioned above, saying, 'there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." For of this they are willfully ignorant: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, whereby the world as it then was, being overflowed with water, perished' (2 Peter 3:3-6).
Just as in Noah's day God provided the Ark as a way of escape from the waters of the Flood, so today God has provided a way of escape from the coming judgement, namely through the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Just as the unbelievers in Noah's day were punished for not obeying God's command to repent of their corruption and violence, so the unbelievers of today will be punished for their disobedience to the Word of God (2 Peter 3:7) if they do not accept God's way of escape by repenting and putting their faith in Jesus. And just as God has kept His promise never again to flood the entire Earth (our reminder of this promise is the rainbow), so He will keep His promise to one day create new heavens and a new Earth for those who believe in Him (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:10, 13).
'But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing: that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day' (2 Peter 3:8).
Some people use this verse to claim that each of the 'days' mentioned in Genesis could have been a thousand years long, rather than normal length.
However, the verse says one day is as (i.e. like) a thousand years. This is a figure of speech called a simile, and it teaches that God is outside of time, because He is the Creator of time. It is not defining a day, because it doesn't say 'a day is a thousand years'. In fact, the figure of speech is so effective here precisely because the word 'day' is literal and contrasts so vividly with (a literal) 1,000 years. In fact, Peter is referring to Psalm 90:4, which also says that 1,000 years is 'like a watch in the night'. So if these people were right, they would also have to say that a night watch could last 1,000 years!
It is always important to read Scripture passages 'in context'. This means paying special attention to the verses surrounding the passage you are studying. In context, Peter is saying, in 2 Peter 3:8, that although it may seem a long time to us until the Lord keeps His promise and comes again, it is not very long at all to the Lord.