The Correspondence between 2 Peter 3 and Hebrews 12:
|2 Peter 3||Hebrews 12|
|Repentance urged (v.9)||Repentance urged (v.25a)|
|Divine warning (cf. 2:5ff.)||Divine warning (vv.20f.)|
|then (3:5f.) and now (3:7)||then and now (vv. 25f.)|
|Fleshly passions of the ungodly (v.3)||Ungodly passions (v.16)|
|Previous judgement a warning of future judgement (v.6)||Previous judgement a warning of future judgement
(v.25b, cf. 2:2f.; 3:17f.; 10:28ff.)
|Holiness urged (vv. 11,14)||Holiness urged (vv.10,14,28b)|
|Future judgement by fire (vv. 7,10-12)||Future judgement by fire (v.29, cf. v.18)|
|Destruction (vv.7,10-12)||Removal (v.27, cf. 1:10-12;
|New heavens and new earth (v.13)||City of the living God (vv.22-24;
heavenly country (11:16)
|Patience of God (vv.9,15)||Patient endurance of men (6:12;
re God (note 10:37,13:5b-6)
Summary of the Curse
(1) The cultural mandate, which calls on man who is made in the image of God to exercise dominion over creation, implies that the natural world is inadequate in itself. This is further borne out by Adam’s tilling the ground before sin had entered the world (Gen.2:5,15, cf. 3:23, etc.) and points unerringly to Romans 8:19-25 where sin is not mentioned. In other words, the corruption of the material creation is natural and can only be escaped from by fleshly man if he remains personally sinless as Jesus did (Acts 2:27; 13:35,37).
(2) First Eve then Adam failed to exercise dominion over their own flesh, which is part of the natural creation, and thus suffered the consequences. They were hence enslaved in sin (John 8:34; Jer. 13:23; Rom.6:16,19; 2 Pet. 2:19), deprived of access to the tree of life, as all sinners are (Rom.3:23; 5:12, cf. Heb.2:8f.) and consequently relapsed into the dust from which they were taken (Gen.3:19).
(3) Nowhere in the whole Bible is it suggested that the entire creation suffered the effects of Adam’s personal sin. The very idea is an absurdity underlined by the failure of Jesus’ personal triumph to reverse the situation (cf. Heb. 2:8).
(4) Genesis 5:29 is admittedly less clear but, in view of the pattern already evident in the case of first Adam then Cain, we are forced to infer that Lamech had to endure the results of his own sin (or at very least those of his immediate ancestors, cf. Ex. 20:5) and failure to rule as he should have done.
(5) The flood is presented as a ‘natural’ event which overwhelms the wicked, though not Noah who, though a sinner, is justified by faith and rescued by God. This, of course, is the picture of what happens at the end of history when Jesus rescues or plucks his believing saints from the burning (1 Thes. 1:10; 4:15-17; Heb. 6:7f.; 9:28; 2 Pet. 3:5-7,10-13; Luke 17:26-30; 2 Thes. 1:7f., Jude 23, cf. Ps.21:8f.).
(6) Note Hebrews 6:7f. The thorns and thistles at the end are people (see 2 Sam. 23:6; Mt. 13:40-42; John 15:6; Heb. 10:27, cf. 12:29). As in Isaiah 5:1-7 the harvest God is looking for is not being produced. In other words, Hebrews 6:7f. represents a fusion of a limited curse (Gen. 3:19; Dt.28:15ff.) and the ban or total destruction by fire (Gen. 19:24; Dt. 7:5,25; Jos.6-8; Mal.4:6; Rev.22:3). From this there is no renewal (cf. Dt. 29:22ff.).
(7) According to Scripture, the earth will, local famines and earthquakes apart (Mt.24:7f., cf. Gen. 41:25ff.), be productive right up to the moment of its destruction (Mt.24:35; 2 Pet. 3:7, etc.) as was intimated in Genesis 8:22. See also Mt.24:38; Lu. 17:28; Rev. 18:1ff., cf. Mt. 6:19f.; 1 Pet. 1:4, etc.). In view of this we cannot but conclude that the only ‘cosmic curse’ alluded to in Scripture occurs at the end of the world when earth finally gives way to heaven.