2 Peter 3
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.” 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
2 Peter 3:4-5
If Jesus is supposed to return soon, why hasn’t he done it already?
The short answer is that we have a limited idea of soon.
But we look at the same data as everyone else in the world. Whether you are a believer in Christ or skeptical, you see the world around you. You see the landscape, the trees, the towns. You see the people, the cities, the global superpowers. What do these things tell you about the way the world works?
Some people connect the dots they see and figure that this data points to a story in which we are all time + matter + chance. We are a momentary hiccup in the wave of the universe as it keeps rolling. One philosopher has called human life and everything that we enjoy a “random collocation of atoms.”
How does this story of our existence stand up? How does it make sense of life emotionally, culturally, and intellectually? If this story answers the question of our origin as humans, what does it answer about our purpose, meaning, and destiny as individuals and as a society? Does the whole story give satisfying and true answers?
In the verses quoted above, the question is the other way around. It’s as if the skeptics are saying to Peter:
Okay, you say that Christianity gives purpose to my life because it has been redeemed by Jesus Christ? You say that the meaning of my life is to glorify and worship God through my words and actions in every area of life? You say that humankind’s ultimate destiny lies with God who will bring heaven to earth in the return of Jesus? Well then, where is he?
Peter’s answer is astonishing:
You deliberately overlook the fact that world was created. In other words, it’s as if you’ve forgotten your origin! The world existed long before you got here. It was made out of water (and it was judged through water) and then you came along in your moment in time.
Christianity answers all four questions required of a worldview (origin, meaning, purpose, and destiny). It makes sense of both the good and evil that we see in the world, and it does so without sacrificing an individual’s personality or integrity.
Time + matter + chance is only an explanation of origin. But what of the other three questions left in its wake? How are purpose, meaning, and destiny answered when this is the story of our origin? Does it make sense of both good and evil in the world? Does it leave us with a worldview that is emotionally, culturally, and socially satisfying and true?
In the midst of this Advent season when we wait for the promised coming of Jesus, let us not forget our origin. God made the world by the word of his power. He gives meaning and purpose to life as he leads us toward our ultimate destiny when he makes all things new in Jesus Christ.