Three different questions were raised with me after the talk I gave on 2 Peter 2 at Brig. I thought I’d quickly respond to them here.
I do appreciate the conversations and the feedback so feel free to keep the conversation going if you’re interested.
What were those ‘Celestial Beings?’
In 2Peter2:10, speaking of false teachers, Peter writes ‘Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings’
I mentioned how there was a lot of debate about the word/phrase translated ‘celestial beings’ – a better translation of it seems to be ‘glories’ – so the question is what does Peter mean by the glories. I spoke about two possible translations – ‘dignitaries’ in the sense of those in authority and ‘angels’ (note there is no reference to good or bad angels). A third option was mentioned to me, which I did come across i my reading – that of it being the ‘apostles’ – so the false teachers were abusing the apostles – the glories. Whilst indeed this is in the commentaries that I read, it didn’t seem that popular – but it is interesting option.
Am I A Heretic?
Secondly someone asked me ‘If I don’t believe in a literal 7 day creation does that make me a false teacher?’ I tried to deal with this sort of issue when I was speaking about the natural ‘evolution’ of our faith as our walk through life progresses. The rabbi’s argued theology at great length, and I enjoy a good debate around theology, and I’d suggest this is totally healthy and to be encouraged as long as your heart is in the right place. Peter was referring tot he kind of teacher who ‘comes in alongside’ and gave quite a list of their personnel characteristics – ‘unjust’, ‘despise authority’, ‘presumptuous’, ‘self willed’ and in verse 3 he specifically mentions that greed is their motivation as they exploit people. Remember the situation – the church was very new, working out its doctrine and there must have been many opportunities for the unscrupulous to come in a fleece the early Christians. Holding to a view like evolution or universalism does not make you a false teacher in the way that Peter is talking about. So relax. And keep the debate going.
How Old is Genesis?
Lastly I mentioned a few times about Genesis being authored around 600BC, after the exile and obviously much later than the events it portrays. Of course, there is much debate about this and I was asked about this. I have read book(s) that present the case for Torah (or bits of it) being the source material for the other religions in the Ancient Near East, and therefore being much older, rather than the other way around which is widely assumed.
This is a very specialist area, way beyond my involvement. All I can really say is that no one knows for sure. To some degree though I’d question just how important the age of these documents is, and then you also have to consider that the content would have been ‘worked on’ by scribes, redactors, commentators and so on, possibly for centuries before ‘fixed’ versions of the appeared. Its a deeply interesting area (at least to me!)
It would be great if some archeological find proves that these books are perhaps 1000 years older than the ‘agreed date’.