2 Peter 3:8-13

“But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” 2 Peter 3:8-13

I can’t ignore that first line in today’s reading. Here’s why:

In our middle school confirmation program we are spending the whole year doing an overview of the Bible. Which means, of course, that we start with Genesis and the two creation stories. This is big and important stuff for middle school kids (and their parents, which is why our parents re-take confirmation right along with their kids.) After I teach the big group we break up into smaller discussion groups. I meet with the parents.

As we were processing the first creation story last week I – as I always do – went right after the issue as it is commonly posed in our culture as science vs. theology or creation vs. evolution. I frankly don’t have much time for this debate. It is a modern invention, seldom engaged in a thoughtful manner, and always does injustice to both science and theology. But it is a BIG deal for middle school kids to process.

Very quickly in our parents’ discussion, two of our parents unknowingly went straight down the two most common rabbit holes. One, raised in China, was taught a very materialistic view of life and its origins, utterly devoid of the supernatural or theological. That view is always inclined toward the “God of the gaps theory” which, in trying to “defend” God, looks for the otherwise unexplainable, the holes in the science, and says, “THERE is God!”

Another, raised right here in good old Texas, also seeking to defend God (we were, after all, in church), offered the familiar “let’s harmonize our stories so they fit theory”. That one always begins with “Well, the Bible says that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.” Do you see how I got on this subject this morning?

I shot that one of the sky like a clay pigeon at a turkey trapshoot – I said, “The problem with that “we don’t know how long a day is for God theory” is that it still assumes that there is some kind of competition between the stories of Genesis and our modern scientific quest for insight and knowledge.” I love being part of our middle school confirmation program, even when the stuff we talk about rocks a few boats along the way.

Here’s where the rubber hits the road on this one. To say that God is Creator is not to say “once upon a time God created…”, it is rather to say that God is ALWAYS Creator. God’s creative work, into which we are invited as created co-creators, is God’s CONSTANT work. We are privileged to have that insight, and privileged to have the curiosity to learn as much as we possibly can about God’s creation. Theology is not anti-science. Theology encourages science just as theology encourages every human endeavor devoted to the common good.

To know that God is Creator also means that we are not only privileged, we are also responsible to assume our God-given role in creation. And as the writer of 2 Peter tells us today, that means we are responsible to leading lives of holiness and godliness, patiently waiting in hope as God continues to reveal Godself to us, toward God’s final restoration of a new heaven and new earth.

I don’t know what that means or what it looks like but it sounds good, doesn’t it?

Let us pray: Thank you, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, for your patience with us as you hold us in the palm of your hand. Give us patience as well, even patience with ourselves, as we surrender our lives into your care, your keeping, and your calling to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “2 Peter 3:8-13”

  1. loismcr Says:

    As always, thank you, Rev. Kerry!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. kirk Says:

    A Men

  3. Dave Aemstrong Says:

    Pastor,
    I appreciate your perspective on this ancient issue. The question is:Did God create the heavens and the earth in six days as the Bible says he did? I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible as accept it as stated.

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