What did St Peter mean when he said this

“They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.”

2 PETER 5-6

Does it mean that if i deny Noahs flood i’m at odds with the church? Or is there another reading of this verse?

From Haydock’s Commentary:

2 Peter 3:5-6

Ver. 5. For this they are wilfully ignorant of. The ignorance of these unbelievers is wilful and inexcusable, when they question the existence of a Supreme Being, of a future state, wherein God will reward the good and punish the wicked; when they laugh at all the miracles, and all the extraordinary effects of God’s power and justice, such as was the general flood or deluge, by which God destroyed the wicked by an inundation of waters. And as our blessed Saviour said of those, who would not believe in the days of Noe[Noah], “They were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage,…and they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Mattew xxiv. 38. 39.) (Witham)

You’ll never make proper sense of Scripture if you read verses out of context. The text without context is a pretext.

The full context gives the True meaning"

3 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

The meaning is clear, live righteously and don’t twist the Scripture as the unlearned and unstable, for it will be to your own destruction.

Does the Church believe in Noah’s flood? I would certainly hope so! So if you don’t believe in the flood, I would say you are at odds with the Church.

From the Catechism:

*Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death. . . Again and again you offered a covenant to man.8

The Covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. The covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with [its] own language, by their families, in their nations”.9

57 This state of division into many nations is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity10 united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel.11 But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism.12

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel.13 The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek - a figure of Christ - and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”.14 Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”.15 *

And this, from a respected scholar at EWTN:

There is no historical evidence of the destruction of all men in the Flood. But the writers of the Bible did not know the world as we know it. To them it meant only the lands they knew. But we do now have solid scientific proof that large numbers of men perished in the Flood, in the area now covered by the Black Sea. See the book by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, NOAH’S FLOOD; THE NEW SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES ABOUT THE EVENT THAT CHANGED HISTORY, published in 1998. - Dr. Carroll

Catholics are not obliged to believe the Flood story is literally true.

From Father Charles Grondin of Ask An Apologist:

"The Church does not have a teaching on the Flood. Catholics are free to accept the basic three theories:

  1. That the story is literally true.
  2. That the story is not literally true but is included in the Scriptures to teach us valuable theology about who we are and God’s relationship to us.
  3. That the story, while primarily poetic and non-historical, is based on an actual ancient flood and uses literary style to make theological points.

Focusing on whether something happened in a literal historical manner misses the point of what the Scriptures are. The Scriptures are not some dry history lesson, they are God’s revelation of Himself, His will, and our destiny. Historical events that are told as literal history in the Scriptures are not included because they are historical but because they tell us something about God."

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