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2 Peter 3:5

ESV 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,
NIV But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
NASB For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water,
CSB They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water.
NLT They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.
KJV For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

What does 2 Peter 3:5 mean?

In the previous verse, Peter described the mockery of the false teachers. These men are trying to deceive Christians in the early church by asking, "Where is Jesus? He promised to return, but it's been too long. If He were really coming back to judge the world, He would have been here by now."

This claim is both short-sighted and incomplete. It also leads to a very wrong conclusion: that God does not intervene in the physical world. It assumes that He always lets the world run along without interference. So, the thought goes, Jesus isn't coming in glory to disrupt the status quo. There will not be a judgment. We are free to do whatever we want without ever having to worry about God judging us for sin.

Now Peter reveals the flaw in their deceptive argument: They are deliberately forgetting some huge details. First, they forget the origin of the very world they say will just keep going the way it always has. God made it in the first place. He intervened right from the beginning by creating it. He designed all the laws and processes by which the world continues to run. He can disrupt or override those processes any time He likes.

The heavens came into being by God's Word, Peter writes. That same powerful Word is what the false teachers now mock when they dismiss the return of Christ and God's judgment for sin. False teachers suggest that the consistency of the physical world is evidence of God's unwillingness to act, which is simply foolish. God will do as He will with His creation, and judgment is coming.

The view of the mockers and false teachers is also contradicted by history. In the next verse, Peter will refer to Noah's flood. This is a crystal clear example of God intervening in the physical world to judge the sins of humanity. The earth was formed out water and by water, Peter writes, and then God used water to destroy nearly all the life He had created on the earth.
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