Genesis 8:21—Did God change His mind about never destroying the world again?
Problem: According to this verse, after the flood, God promised, “Nor will I again destroy every living thing.” Yet Peter foretells the day in which “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).
Solution: After the flood, God only promised never again to destroy the world in the same way “as I have done” (Gen. 8:21), namely by water. The rainbow is a perpetual symbol of this promise. The second time God destroys the world it will be by fire, not by water. It will “be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). Even so, God will not then destroy all living things. Humans will be saved in their resurrected and imperishable physical bodies (1 Cor. 15:42).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.