can you do a word study on "elements" ?

  1. fishmox profile image53
    fishmoxposted 8 years ago

    can you do a word study on "elements" ?

    I spoke with someone who said that the word "elements" used in 2 Peter 3:10 and 12 were not about this world or this universe being burned up by God but about the law and commandments being replaced by a system of Grace.
    I wonder if you can do a hub on that ?
    Thank you.

  2. Allan McGregor profile image61
    Allan McGregorposted 8 years ago

    Hello fishmox.

    What you suggest is an interesting possiblity which I'll consider.

    In fact, though, the word translated 'elements' in 2 Peter only occurs 3 times in the NT and can be used metaphorically. We see this in the other two instances, in Galatians 4:3 & 9.

    The word is 'stoicheion', from which chemists get 'stoichiometry', which s defined as: 'the branch of chemistry that deals with the numerical proportions in which substances react.' I remember it well, from my days as a young chemist, when we had to balance reaction formulae.

    While the metaphorical application is clear in Galatians, Peter is clearly using it literally because of the context which is unmistakable in Greek and clearly translated in the English:

    'But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

    'Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for the hastening of the Day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which rightousness dwells'.

    Indeed, this is the same Peter who was very critical of those who did not believe in a literal Flood in Noah's day, and his theme of new heavens and a new earth is shared by John in Revelation. So, I don't see how anyone can 'spiritualise' these things away.

    Allan McGregor