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October 19, 2008



Betcha didn't imagine this post would be the topic of discussion at Fred Meyer in Ellensburg, WA yesterday, did you? :-)

I had forwarded it to a discussion group at our Conservative Baptist church here, most of whom consider themselves Calvinist, Reformed Baptists. Even one or two leaning postmil as I do. One guy stopped me in the produce section to say he thought your post was the most perfect, succinct summary on dispensationalism he'd seen.

Another emailed with this question: "I'm not very up on dispensationalism and somewhat familiar with amillenialism. Would the amillenialist say that the earth and heavens are not being stored up for fire, that the progressive renewal occurring during the present figurative 1000 years will slide into eternity, or is this author merely highlighting the "already" dimension of amillenialism and silent on the "not yet", which would be the destruction, or renewal, by fire of the current earth and heavens at the End once Christ returns for his bride? 2 Peter 3 seems fairly straightforward and describes a fiery end accompanying the final judgment, the resurrection of the body, and the new beginning for those alive in Christ."

I know you're not amil, but how would you reply? I noticed you post once when N.T. Wright was on Colbert with his book (which I haven't read). The concept of the new earth is personally fascinating to me in terms of the possibilities, but I'm not 100% sure what your thoughts are on how it all comes to pass.


Hey Splash - sorry for delayed response. Had a crazy week.

As for 2 Peter 3... Probably need to do more exhaustive exegesis, but my take is:

1. Vs. 7 - it is ungodly men who will be destroyed.
2. Fire in Scripture is not simply destructive, it is purifying and transformational (1 Cor 3:12ff). So the final judgment will indeed bring fire, but it will be a cleansing fire - and one that reveals the consummate new heavens & new earth - not a simple evisceration of all things.
3. Vs 10 - "elements" doesn't mean matter from the periodic table. It has to do with the "old order" of things. Amazing how we read these words through our 21st century grid.
4. The Greek word for, "new," could be neos (new in origin) or kainos (renewed). In this context and others, it is always the "kainos" heavens and "kainos" earth. That tells me that God won't be starting from scratch. The judgment will bring purification and radical changes that in essence lay things bare, but this doesn't mean a wholesale destruction of the universe or the world.

So basically, I see the earth being progressively renewed by the Gospel and Christ's body. When He returns in judgment the world will be consummately renewed by fire, but this is "creative destruction."

Much of what we do will "make it" through the purge - and a lot of it won't.


Awesome. Thanks. I'll pass it on.

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