Sunday Notes: The Descent, Part 4
o review, Peter seems to be obsessed with the events surrounding the flood. He seems to believe that they teach something useful, something comforting to those in pain and trials.
Is the flood important?
If the flood account were not true, then these things would be of little consequence to hurting believers. Moreover, we readers today would take even less solace in what Peter has to say.
Poor Simon Peter, always with his foot in his mouth. Right? Not at all.
We went a different route and did not study the angels, but let us turn to them once again. If the flood is a real event in human history, and if we can see the effects of it in the world around us, then the story of angels cohabiting with women is probably factual as well.
If your view of the world is defined by Scripture, then you are thinking like Peter (or, the Holy Spirit) wants you to think. I don't just mean your worldview of parenting, or of entertainment, or of clothing. I mean your view of the whole world as designed by God. You can believe that the supernatural leaves tangible scars upon the earth. You can believe that God's interventions in human history provide us real help. And if that is the case, you are ready to receive the deep truths of this passage.
With that and the previous three posts in mind, let us consider once again “The Help” of these passages.
Let's find our context once more. Peter’s readers were discouraged by persecution. How could they have hope that they were “protected by God” (1:5, see pp. 137–138)?
That Peter was persecuted too was some relief—a brother in arms also suffers, but can confidently write that we are protected by God!
Do you remember the schemes of the enemy? In Genesis 4:1, a man is born. However, it is obvious that this is not the One. He does not offer acceptable sacrifices. His younger brother, on the other hand, is acceptable and even becomes a prophet (Luke 11:50–51). The conclusion? Satan inspires Cain to kill Abel, and Eve loses two sons that day. Yet, where Satan appears victorious, God proves His infinite wisdom.
Satan later took special interest in Noah, the one who would bring the world “rest.” The evil Satan wrought upon the earth knew no bounds. His goal to pollute the seed of the woman seemed successful. When God Himself said He would blot out the earth, Satan surely saw this as a victory. Yet, in wisdom God had prepared a way to not only gain victory over Satan, but to redeem the elect from the jaws of the lion.
“The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.” – Pro 3:19–20
The flood was a violent and vivid image of the terror of the Lord, but it was not a rash reaction. It was according to wisdom that God prepared that subterranean reservoir when He laid the foundations of the earth. By understanding He set into motion whatever process led to the flood. The schemes of the enemy were anticipated and blocked before Satan even conceived of them.
That terrible wrath of God cleansed the earth of all impurity fallen angels spawned upon it -- the depths of God were greater than the wickedness Satan pooled together for that dark hour.
The angels of heaven fell upon the earth in an attempt to thwart the God they once served. They contaminated everything and everyone. By human measurements, they came very close to wiping out all chances of God's redemption. Yet, He is wise, He is understanding, and He saved one family on an ark according to His pleasure. He saved the promised Seed despite everything Satan could throw at Him.
And despite other satanic efforts, the Seed was born. Despite all manner of temptation, the Seed made it to the cross. Despite the pain of the enemy, Christ remained on that cross, unthwarted, unbeaten.
Nothing quite compares to that major engagement all of those long centuries ago for Peter, though. Satan and his fallen angels had come so close to stopping God, to stopping the Christ from even being born. God loved us too much to let that happen, though.
It's as though God were saying...
“’I punished the guilty demons so severely that no other demons will ever attempt that blatant disobedience again. Besides this, I would never again wait one hundred and twenty years to respond. Even more to the point, I would never tolerate their abandoning their designated restrictive abode.’
‘Not only this, but I went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, pronouncing victory over what they had attempted to disrupt. Their demonic collusion had failed. Not only had the seed lineage continued—the Seed Himself triumphed. The serpent’s head had been fatally crushed.’
‘You need not worry . Satan and his demons will never ultimately harm you again. Nothing or no one can take you away from Me. You are My own. You are destined to be with Me forever—and in a marvelous manner you do not yet fully comprehend, you are destined to be even like Me (1 John 3:2).’” (Harris, 152).
The controversial passage, though difficult for us, was of great comfort to the exiles. The spiritual enemies of Christ never prevail. He is the testimony and proclamation to those who, by human standards, even came close to wiping Him out.
Can anything or anyone, even an angel or a demon, ever separate us from the great love God has for us? (Rom 8:38–39)