Summary: Just as surely as God created the earth, cursed the earth, flood the earth, and visited the earth, so surely will God one day destroy and recreate the earth, whether the skeptics believe this or not.
The Cremation of the World
1. All of us have probably done some day-dreaming about traveling through time.
2. What would it be like to visit the past. But our main area of curiosity is the future. What will things be like in 5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 years?
3. In 1896, H. G. Wells published a book titled The Time Machine, an imaginative tale of a scientist who builds a machine that can transport someone through time. The time traveler is preoccupied with the future, not the past. Like many scientists, he believes “progress” will enable the human race to build a better world. Yet in Wells’ book, this science-fiction story does not have a happy ending. [Our Daily Bread]
4. Peter tells us what the end of the world will really be like. Yet most of mankind does not want to go there. Some would rather be at the hand of a failing sun or a renegade comet than to be in the hand of God.
Main Idea: Just as surely as God created the earth, cursed the earth, flood the earth, and visited the earth, so surely will God one day destroy and recreate the earth, whether the skeptics believe this or not.
I. The Mockery of the Skeptics (3-4)
A, The Appearance of SCOFFERS (3)
1. The scoffers are CORRELATED with the end times
➢ "The 'scoffer' or 'mocker' is a stock figure in Wisdom literature and refers not just to the cynical but also to one who ridicules something he cannot understand." Ben Witherington III.
➢ Thus, the more scoffers, the more evidence that the end is near.
2. The scoffers many be cynics or proudly IGNORANT
3. The scoffers base their convictions on their PASSIONS
➢ following their own evil desires
B. The ARGUMENT of these Scoffers (4)
1. God never interferes with NATURE
2. We know ALL history, and things have always been the same
3. The normal CYCLES of life cannot be varied
➢ We call this “anti-supernaturalism” and “uniformitarianism”
➢ The other extreme is superstition; there is a big difference between conviction and superstition. A lot of what is passed off as spirituality is nothing more than superstition – whether it is objectively true or not doesn’t matter – it is a way to address fear and uncertainty.
Application: People they persuade will also be judged for believing them.
On March 20, 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington, a supposedly dormant volcano, began to quake and rumble. The local population was evacuated to a “safe” distance 8 miles away. Later, the side of the mountain began to bulge. Scientists were not alarmed because past research of volcanoes indicated that they never blew sideways.
Then on May 18 the side of Mount St. Helens exploded, shooting tons of debris downhill at the speed of 150 miles per hour. A minute later, the volcano exploded upward with the equivalent power of 500 atomic bombs! Two hundred thirty square miles of forest were devastated and 57 people lost their lives. The scientists had assumed that natural events would continue as before. But they were wrong. [Source: Our Daily Bread]
II. Peter's RESPONSE to the Skeptics (5-7)
A. It is a CHOSEN ignorance, not stupidity (5-7)
1. People remember and ignore what their personal agendas tell them to remember or ignore.
2. It is amazing how some skeptics claim to understand our faith, and then ask why there is sickness, death, and disease if God is good.
3. If they reject it, they write it off and forget about it.
B. God has interfered with nature during the FLOOD (6)
1. Every culture has a tradition of the flood; details vary quite a bit, but it is nonetheless present.
2. The Flood stands as a warning of the seriousness of God’s wrath; if God would destroy the entire world, who are we to think we can escape His judgment if we reject Him?
3. But this kind of God who drowns all except for one family is not very popular in today’s quest for a tamer, nicer God.
Skeptics of our faith are nothing new; true believers have always been a minority of the population. We must remember, however, what Paul says in Romans:
➢ Everyone intrinsically knows there is a God; it is unnatural to be an atheist.
➢ Everyone has a conscience and knows there are some objective laws.
➢ Everyone can see the evidence of intelligent design, and
➢ Every culture preserves a legend of the Flood.
➢ Some of us are drawn to the God of the Bible, others are repelled.
➢ But what is, is.
C. The universe is an INFERNO waiting to happen (7)
The pagans thought of a cycle of destruction by fire and renewal, destruction by fire and renewal. The monotheistic Zoroastrians thought of fire strictly as a purification. But the Jews and early Christians associated fire with the destruction of the wicked and then the one-time new creation of the new heaven and earth. [source of info: Witherington]