Reflections on the Orthodox faith and life in this crazy 21st century world by an Orthodox priest and a few of his friends.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
New Heavens and a New Earth (2 Peter 3:11-13)
11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Again, St. Peter stresses his main point: given that the world as we know it will one day come to an end, and given that we will all one day have our works judged, we must reject sensual temptations, be they from false teachers or from elsewhere, and live in “holy conduct” and “godliness” (the Greek words here are in the plural, implying that we should be involved in many and repeated holy acts; that is we should live a life characterized by such acts.)
Interestingly, St. Peter in verse 12 says that we should not only be looking for the day of the Lord, but also “hastening” it. He makes it sound like we Christians can actually cause Christ to come back sooner. How is this possible? FF explains: “In what sense to the Christians hurry the Second Coming? Here we face an insoluble mystery, for the plans of the eternal God are not open to the puny wisdoms of men. But it does seem as if God in some measure sovereignly hears our prayers, when we pray in the Our Father, “Thy Kingdom come,” and the holiness undergirding those prayers is not forgotten by God who sees the beginning from the end” (136).
The Day of the Lord is something, that “according to God’s promise,” Christians can look forward to. For on that day, we will be given the privilege of living in “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (compare Rev. 21). FF notes that “the word rendered dwell is the Greek katoikeo, used for people dwelling and settling down at home in the land. In this world, righteousness is a stranger, but in the age to come, it will find its true home” (136).