When the earth is destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3) will the physical earth disappear or be changed?
In what way will the earth be destroyed as described in 2 Peter 3 and
other scriptures? Will it be destroyed in the sense of non-existence or in
the sense of being destroyed like in the days of Noah where the earth
wasn’t totally destroyed, but the people were? Should this be a matter of
Let me start with the easiest question. Of course it should
be a matter of opinion. It is hard to see how one’s doctrine about the
exact nature of the return of Jesus and the effect of judgment on the
earth could be a matter of salvation. This is in one of those
interesting-to-think-about, but not essential questions.
Actually, I recently answered a very similar question. Below
are the question and my answer:
The words “new heavens & a new earth” are found in 2 Peter 3:10-13 &
Revelation 21:1. Does that mean a literal new physical universe and earth
or is it a way we as humans can relate to heaven?
Well, put it this way. If we can assume that the “new earth”
is a physical place at all, then it would have to literally be a new
earth, at least in some sense. I say this because in the context of the 2
Peter passage you refer to, Peter declares that, “The heavens will
disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the
earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” It seems undeniable that
the picture of the new heaven and earth in Revelation chapter twenty-one
is highly symbolic in nature. The New Testament makes it very clear that
the wonders of heaven are beyond human description or comprehension.
Therefore, I will not speculate on whether the “new earth” is a physical
place or not, but I can simply say that if it is, it will indeed be
Back to the questioner. 2 Peter 3 does use the flood of Noah
as a metaphor for the judgment of the earth described in Peter, but as I
read the wording on Peter, I see a more thorough effect on the earth.
“Elements consumed” and so forth seem to imply more than what happened in
the flood. Whether the earth will even exist in a physical form after
this judgment would be a matter of speculation in my opinion. I will
leave that to you.