Eternal Perspectives

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the best available Greek manuscripts of 2 Peter 3:10 read that “the earth and all of its works will be burned up.” This is how every translation of that period, including the King James Version, rendered this verse. It is easy to see how whole generations of Christians learned from their Bibles to expect a future fire that would annihilate the entire world.

However, scholars have since discovered older, more reliable Greek manuscripts, and these texts say that rather than burning up, “the earth and all of its works will be found.” Instead of being destroyed, this term “found” implies that the quality of our works will be “laid bare,” discovered for all to see. Much like gold passing through a smelting furnace, the good that we do will be purified while our less noble efforts will slough off. Read this way, Peter’s vision of a coming conflagration seems to be a purging rather than annihilating fire.

~ Michael Wittmer, [Heaven Is a Place on Earth]

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