Question: I’ve heard it said that 2 Peter:3:10-12 gives proof that the Bible is scientifically infallible, contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. All I want to know is how those verses give that proof.
Answer: These verses refer to the destruction of this present universe in order to create a “new heavens and new earth.” The means of destruction is described specifically as the universe being “dissolved” in a “fervent heat” that will burn up the very elements. The English “dissolved” is translated from the Greek luo, which is found 46 times in 40 verses in the New Testament. Taken together, these 46 usages consistently indicate that the meaning of this word is a loosing, letting go, or undoing of something that otherwise is held together or in place—a scientifically accurate description of the loosing of the force that holds the nucleus of the atom together.
All matter is made of atoms, which consist of negatively charged electrons orbiting around a nucleus composed of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. Of course, the negatively charged electrons are held in orbit by the positively charged protons because of the electro-magnetic attraction between positive and negative charges. But since like charges repel one another, what holds the nucleus together, since it is composed of positively charged protons?
Physicists have hypothesized what they call the “strong force,” which overcomes the electromagnetic repulsion that otherwise would push the protons apart and destroy the nucleus of the atom. Without this mysterious force, the entire universe would dissolve in one giant ball of fire—exactly what Peter describes. Colossians:1:17 says that everything consists in Christ, held together by His power (i.e., “strong force”). If He lets go of the atom, the present universe will cease to exist.
The Greek word Peter uses describes the way science indicates the universe would be destroyed—by loosing the protons from the force that binds them together and thus dissolving the atom itself. It may be going too far to suggest that these verses in themselves offer proof of the scientific validity of the Bible, but when one puts them together with many other verses we certainly do have that proof.
The greatest proof, of course, is prophecy fulfilled. This is what God himself points to as proof of His existence and that the Bible is His Word (Is 46:9-10, etc.)—and that Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, is the true Messiah and only Savior of the world. The theories and explanations of science change, but God’s Word never changes—and prophecy fulfilled is an objective fact that cannot be denied.