3:3 first. “First” means “First of all,” or “of primary importance.” Compare II Peter 1:20. It is vitally important both to understand this key characteristic of the last days (that is, the denial of both creation and consummation), and also to know and practice the divinely inspired Scriptures.
3:3 last days. The context here is set in the last days. Although we must not set dates, these aspects of the last days are surely more characteristic of our own times than any time before us. At least, we are closer to the last days than anyone has ever been before! Thus Peter’s exhortation and analysis surely fits us better than anyone before us.
3:3 their own lusts. People of the last days, by and large, will be almost entirely motivated by self-interest, and will be unconcerned about God’s purposes, either for themselves or for the world as a whole. They will mock God’s Word. This word is used thirteen times in the New Testament, twelve of which speak of mocking Christ.
3:4 the promise of his coming. In Peter’s time, the early Christians were really looking for the Lord’s return, and there have been sporadic periods of prophetic interest in the nineteen long centuries since. The far greater part of the world’s population, however, is utterly indifferent to this hope, and even most of those who are working for global change today are working to bring in a world system based on evolutionary humanism rather than looking for God to return to His creation. In fact, most of the world’s people do not even believe in a personal Creator God at all, let alone His divine incarnation in Christ and His great plan of salvation. They are too busy “walking after their own lusts.”
3:4 beginning of the creation. The pseudo-scientific rationale for this indifference to the promised consummation of all things when Christ returns is their belief that there was never any real creation of all things in the beginning. The things that continue today, they say, are the things that have always been, and therefore always will be. This is the so-called principle of uniformity. According to this principle, it is assumed that the processes that govern nature today have always been the same in the past, so that the present is the key to the past. Since no creation is occurring today, it never happened in the past either. “All things continue”—not just after creation was finished, but “from the beginning of creation.” Thus, what people have called “creation” was accomplished by the same natural processes that continue to operate today. This means, then, that “creation” has been proceeding so slowly over long ages as to be quite unobservable in the mere few thousand years of human records. This remarkable belief is evolutionary uniformitarianism, and it completely dominates the scientific and educational establishments of every nation in the world today. It has been made the basic premise of origins and meaning, not only in science and history, but also in the social sciences, the humanities, the fine arts and practically every other discipline of study and practice in the world. This indeed is a most remarkable fulfillment of Peter’s prophecy, and surely must indicate that these days really are “the last days,” unless somehow the Lord brings about a great revival of truth in the world’s schools.