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THE WORLD THAT THEN WAS
(SERMON #46 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 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: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (II Peter 3:3-7).
Dr. John C. Whitcomb correctly said that this is one of the most important Biblical passages concerning the Flood:
In this passage of Scripture, the Apostle Peter spoke of a day, yet future from his standpoint, when men would no longer think seriously of Christ’s second coming as a cataclysmic, universal intervention of God into the course of world affairs. And the reason for this skeptical attitude would be none other than a blind adherence to the doctrine of total uniformitarianism – a doctrine which maintains that natural laws and processes have never yet been interrupted so as to bring about a total destruction of human civilization through the direct intervention of God. And since (we are told) this has never been the case in past history, there should be no cause to fear that it will ever occur in the future!
In answering these skeptics of the end-time, Peter pointed to…the Flood, which served as the basis for Peter’s comparison with the Second Coming, and the final destruction of the world. For even as [“the world that then was”] was destroyed by water, so [“the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men”]…
The one event which Peter set forth as having brought about a transformation, not of the earth only but also of the very heavens, was the Flood. It was the Flood that constituted the line of demarcation between the [“heavens…of old”] and [“the heavens…which are now”] in the [words] of the Apostle Peter. It was the Flood that utilized the vast oceans of water out of which and amid which the ancient earth was “formed,” unto the utter destruction of the kosmos at that time. It was the Flood to which Peter appealed as his final…answer to those who chose to remain in willful ignorance of the fact that God had at one time in the past demonstrated his holy wrath [in a] cosmic catastrophe [equal to] the final day of judgment, in which God will…consume the earth with fire (John C. Whitcomb, Th.D., The World That Perished, Baker Book House, 1993 edition, pages 58-59).
In other words, Peter prophesied that there would come a day when people would say “All things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (II Peter 3:4). That prophecy was fulfilled in the 19th century when Charles Lyell (1797-1875) wrote The Principles of Geology (3 volumes), which set forth the idea that the world is millions of years old and geological strata occur, like the layers of a cake, recording the fossils of the species in each “age,” and showing that there has never been a cataclysm like the Flood. Lyell’s theory is called “uniformitarianism” – which literally means “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,” without any change.
However, Lyell’s model has proven very faulty. For instance, nowhere on earth have the “layers” of Lyell’s “cake” been found. The geological “strata” that you see in textbooks is a hoax, like the “Piltdown Man,” with no real scientific support. It is retained without proper scientific evidence because, like Darwinian evolution, no better model has been accepted in the scientific community. In fact, uniformitarian geology and Darwinian evolution are the two greatest hoaxes in the modern history of the Western world.
Listen to this astonishing paragraph taken from the Los Angeles Daily News, July 7, 2002, p. 4):
Five years ago, three days after landing on Mars, the Pathfinder spacecraft yielded what scientists said was unmistakable photographic evidence that colossal floods scoured the planet’s now-barren landscape.
The “unmistakable photographic evidence” was pictures of places on the surface of Mars that looked like the Grand Canyon! How is it that these scientists look at Mars and say that “colossal floods scoured” its surface, yet when they look at the same evidence on earth they reach a different conclusion? The answer is simple: they distort evidence for the Flood to make it fit their preconceived uniformitarian model. Thus, the Bible says “they willingly are ignorant” (II Peter 3:5). Dr. Henry M. Morris said,
The things that continue today, they say, are the things that have always been and, therefore, always will be. This is the so-called principle of uniformity. According to this principle, it is assumed that the processes that govern nature today have always been the same in the past so that the present is the key to the past. Since no creation is occurring today, it never happened in the past either. “All things continue” – not just after creation was finished, but “from the beginning of creation.” Thus, what people have called creation was accomplished by the same natural processes that continue to operate today. This means that creation has been proceeding so slowly over long ages as to be quite unobservable in the mere few thousand years of human records. This remarkable belief is evolutionary uniformitarianism, and it completely dominates the scientific and educational establishments of every nation in the world. This, indeed, is a most remarkable fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy, and surely must indicate that these days really are “the last days”…
It is remarkable that such a universally dominating theory of origins, meaning and destiny could be based on absolutely no genuine evidence (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Defender’s Study Bible, World Publishing, 1995 edition, p. 1406).
Now please read verses 5 and 6.
“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: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Peter 3:5-6).
The Bible teaches that these scientists are “willingly ignorant” because they base their theory on speculation. With no real evidence, they reject what the Scriptures reveal, “that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” (II Peter 3:5). This refers to Genesis 1:7,
“And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so” (Genesis 1:7).
The original earth was created with two bodies of water – the water on earth, and a canopy of water surrounding the earth, in the outer troposphere, “the waters which were above the firmament” (Genesis 1:7). “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Peter 3:6). Dr. Morris said,
The antediluvian world…was “overflowed” (Greek katakluzo, a word used only here but obviously related to kataklusmos, which was the Noahic cataclysm) with the primeval waters above and below the firmament (“the fountains of the deep” and “the windows of heaven”…) and perished, not annihilated but utterly devastated and transformed (Morris, ibid.).
The evidence for the catastrophe of the Flood is world-wide, in the vast beds of fossils of animals and plants that have been preserved in the sedimentary rocks of the earth’s crust. Dr. Morris said,
These fossil beds have been misinterpreted by evolutionary scientists as a record of the evolution of life over many ages (despite the ubiquitous [universal] absence of any true transitional forms in these billions of fossils). What they really represent is the cataclysmic destruction of life in one age, at the time of the great Flood. Both sedimentary rocks and unhardened sediments have mostly been deposited under water, and now cover most of the earth’s land surface as well as ocean bottom surface. Furthermore flood traditions have been found among almost all nations and tribes of the earth. The genuine facts of science and history thoroughly support the Biblical account of the Flood, while only wilful ignorance can warrant the evolutionary interpretation of those evidences, and Peter said it would be so in the last days. Most important of all, of course, is the divinely inspired record of the Bible itself (Genesis 6:9), confirmed by Christ (Luke 17:26, 27; Matthew 24:37-39), Peter and others that the Flood, indeed, was a worldwide cataclysm. That being the case, the fossil record (which is the main hope of the evolutionist) is mostly a record of the Flood, not of evolution (Morris, ibid.).
In their landmark book The Genesis Flood Dr. Whitcomb and Dr. Morris said,
And this is where the testimony of the Biblical Deluge [Flood] becomes so important! For if the Bible record is true, most of the strata could not have been deposited over long ages of time under uniformitarian conditions but were laid down in the course of a single year under catastrophic conditions. The last refuge of the case for evolution immediately vanishes away, and the record of the rocks becomes a tremendous witness, not to the operation of a naturalistic process of Godless development and progress but rather to the holiness and justice and power of the living God of Creation! (John C. Whitcomb, Th.D., and Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Genesis Flood: the Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, Baker Book House, 1983 edition, page 451).
“The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (II Peter 3:6).
And one more thing: why didn’t more people enter the Ark and be saved after all the preaching they heard from Noah? Here are six reasons why more people did not enter the ark of salvation. They are the same reasons some of you have for not coming in to Christ for salvation. Why didn’t more of them enter the Ark?
1. They were caught up in the things of the world.
2. They rejected the preaching.
3. They knew nothing experientially of the wrath of God (i.e. they were unconvicted of sin).
4. They knew nothing experientially of their own depravity (enmity toward God). They trusted themselves instead of distrusting their own depravity.
5. They knew not their own inward sins, that would damn them in the Great Flood.
6. Unprepared by inner conviction, they saw no great need for the Ark (no great need for Christ).
I hope and pray that these reasons will not keep you from coming to Jesus, who is the true Ark of salvation today.
(END OF SERMON)
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