Skip to main content

Did you know the author of 2 Peter was a godless liberal? Mhmm. I can prove it.

A cherished belief among Christians is that God created the universe “out of nothing”—creation ex nihilo for those of you who want to impress your friends at church.

The idea is that, for God to be God, God must have made all there is from nothing. In fact, a couple of verses in the New Testament imply as much. The granddaddy proof positive is Hebrew 11:3:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

Plus, Genesis 1:1 says, In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth.

I mean, do I have to draw you a map? What could be clearer?

Of course, along come 19th century liberal European biblical scholars to ruin it all. Based on creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia and Canaan dug up by snooty, arrogant, self-promoting archaeologists, these godless elitist intellectuals—probably Democrats, if not outright socialists—began telling us we had to read the Genesis story differently.

It seems that these ancient stories of creation were not about “creation out of nothing” but ”creation from something”—namely some chaotic watery threat, which these stories personify as a sea monster/serpent.

The god who gets the credit for creating the cosmos (and therefore enthroned as the high god of the pantheon) is the one who tames or orders the chaos so that life can exist. In other words, creation is not “out of nothing” but works with pre-existent material, namely water that needs to be controlled.

That’s how these ancient stories put it. A Mesopotamian version has the high god Marduk slaying the watery chaos/sea monster/deity Tiamat to bring order. In Canaanite culture, it is the god Baal (who makes numerous cameo appearances in the Old Testament) who defeats the sea god Yam.

That’s all well and good, but then these biblical scholars (probably Communists influenced by Hegel or Schleiermacher) suggested that the creation story in Genesis 1 is also about creation from something, namely water. Why would they say that, apart from the fact that they were probably nihilists and New Age propagandists?

Because in the Genesis story we read :

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)

The earth was “there” but as a “formless void.”  What made it so? Something called “the deep” which is explained in the next line as “the waters.”

The water/deep is a problem that has to be solved. So what God does is split this watery mass, separating the waters above from the waters below (Genesis 1:6-8) and then the next day separating the waters below to let the dry land appear (verses 9-10).

Even though there is no slaying of a sea monster, it’s hard to miss the similarity: Genesis, like these other stories, talks about creation as something to do with putting water/chaos in its place to allow a habitable world to appear (the atmosphere, the oceans, and land).

And elsewhere in the Old Testament, we read this:

By his power he stilled the Sea; by his understanding he struck down Rahab. 
By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. (Job 26:12-13)

Here we see something even more similar to the Mesopotamian and Canaanite stories: the Sea is stilled by striking down/piercing the sea monster, thus making the heavens (sky, atmosphere).

The Old Testament stories of creation sound a lot like these other stories, which was largely the point of these scholars (who probably ran illegal dog fighting rings).

Other scholars, who actually believed in God, denounced drawing this line between the Bible and these silly myths, holding firm to the Bible rather than the clever tales of sinful scholars, who, I bet, neglected their wives and families a lot because they were out gambling every night.

So, with that in mind, and getting to my point, we have no choice but to denounce 2 Peter 3:5 as a piece of godless liberalism, which was somehow cleverly inserted into the Bible to undermine the Christian faith, probably by someone trying to justify some sin in his life. I’m not sure how else to handle this:

. . . by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. 

Not only does this guy buy into that liberal nonsense about water, thus denying the clear biblical teaching of “creation out of nothing,” but he also says that the water at creation also destroyed the earth in the flood, probably thinking of the favorite liberal so-called “prooftext” of Genesis 7:11, where we read that the “windows of the heavens were opened” to (allegedly) allow the “waters above” that had been kept separate from the waters below (Genesis 1:6-8) can come crashing down.

What nonsense. I bet Peter skipped church a lot.

You know, I’m beginning to think that Peter didn’t even write this letter. How could he have, seeing that it contains such a drippingly liberal, godless, secular idea? And by promoting such an idea, Peter—this wolf in sheep’s clothing—is in effect calling God a liar, since God clearly says in the Bible that he created everything out of nothing and to suggest anything else is to attack God, the Bible, and the Christian faith. Plus God would never confuse us this way in the Bible.

My argument is unassailable and the entire Christian faith hangs on it. If you disagree, I will call you names on the internet.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.