2 Peter 3:1–4 (ESV)
3 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
One of the most disastrous view points in human history is that of the scoffers in verses three and four of 2 Peter 3. Their outlook on the way the world works is brazenly ignorant and it leads to living a life chasing pleasure that won’t ever satisfy. Their outlook on the way that the world works leads to self-indulgence. A life that is lived focused on self without having a care in the world about anyone or anything else.
What is this disastrous outlook on the way the world works? What exactly is wrong with the scoffers’ view? What is so disastrous concerning the outlook, philosophy, and self-promoting is that it flies in the face of reason. These people reason that this world has had continuity and regularity since the beginning of creation. “Everything, everything since the start of this world has been going on just as it has been. Thus, why would there be any threat of change in that regularity in the future!?!” That is what they say.
Yet, if these people would look back on history and look at the present time, their so called “reason” would be no more than foolish, wishful, and ignorant thinking. Vapors in the wind and waterless springs and mists driven by a storm.
Reason, however, provides a bedrock of truth based on the Word of God. Looking back on history overall it is obvious, even without Scripture, that this world is not one of continuity or regular. Look at the decay of civilizations in the past and it should be plain that something is not right. See the state of nature, regardless of what you believe about climate change (It really doesn’t matter), and you can see that the creation groans with eager longing for a future change. If you are a Humanist, you believe mankind will bring the change that nature needs and that will ultimately benefit the human race. However, you must believe that something must change. Things cannot continue as they are and indeed they cannot.
From a biblical perspective, there are many events in history that prove and are reasonable to believe, divine intervention has happened in the past and will happen in the future. This is what Peter is arguing for in this passage.
2 Peter 3:5–7 (ESV)
5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
These people deliberately overlook truth. They throw reason away for the sake of living their best lives now. They intentionally forget or they purposefully ignore evidence of supernatural instances in history that would grind their reasoning for living a self-centered life into dust. The very fact that God created the world out of nothing, out of chaos and brought about order in creation is one fact that the world hasn’t continued as it had. The other fact is that God turned order back into chaos at the flood. This argument is used to prove that God can and will intervene in judgment in the future.
However, these scoffers disregard wisdom in order to feed their own pleasures. They scoff at the very idea of Christ coming back because if he does return it means they are going to be held accountable to the lifestyle they exercise and promote. They could be likened to Lot’s sons-in-law, who were about to marry his daughters and when Lot came to them to tell them of the future destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah…. they laughed because they thought Lot was jesting (Gen. 19:14). But, destruction did come and it was disastrous for them because they had heard the warning to move, yet failed to heed the call.
The Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, tells a parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding. Show after show became more fantastic than the last, and is applauded by the audience. Suddenly the manager comes forward. He apologizes for the interruption, “But the theater is on fire,” he says. And appropriately he begs his patrons to leave in an orderly fashion. The audience though thinks this is the most amusing turn of the evening, and they cheer thunderously. The manager again implores them to leave the burning building, and he is again applauded vigorously. At last, he can do no more. The fire eventually raced through the whole building and the fun-loving audience with it was consumed.
“And so,” concluded Kierkegaard, “will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators.”
Reason, even when declared to an audience, will often be left behind for the sake of amusement in order to follow after sinful desires. That philosophy of life is the result of deliberately overlooking facts and its end is disastrous.
I implore you to never sacrifice reason on the altar of faith. Faith requires just as much reason as a tree requires rainfall. Without the proper use of our minds and applying truth to the heart, our philosophy of life will mirror that of the scoffer who overlooks truth for the sake of immediate pleasure. “O there is no Judgment Day, dear boy! Or if there is I choose to ignore it now and do things my way! You say God is merciful? Well, then there shall be plenty of mercy for me on that Great Day. Surely it doesn’t matter what I do now if it makes me happy!”
I can say with certainty that those who brazenly disregard fact for fiction will not be shown the mercy they desire. Enjoy the pleasures now while you can, because, in the end, it doesn’t even matter. But, you, Christian, know that it does matter. God calls you to holiness. He desires you to look like his Son and that requires diligence, zeal, and vigor to pursue a life that is most satisfied in him, not yourself. Your end, dear Christian, will not be disastrous, but glorious when the Groom comes for his Bride.