Three Worlds. Peter speaks about three worlds in his second epistle. It is important to understand that each of these worlds is vastly different from the others. This is why Darby and some others felt that there really weren’t any dispensations before the flood, and there really won’t be any in the eternal state. I believe that dispensations have to do only with “the heavens and earth that are now”. That is why this understanding of “worlds” is important to get a chronological “view frame” to study the dispensations. Let take a look at these three “worlds”.
The World that Then Was
“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: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (2 Peter 3:5,6)
This “world” stretched from the Adamic creation (possibly before the Adamic creation, it’s hard to know) until the flood.
The Heavens and the Earth, which are Now
“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… 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.” (2 Peter 3:7,10)
This “world” stretched from the flood until the Day of the Lord, when they shall pass away with a great noise, and a great release of stored energy.
A New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein Dwelleth Righteousness
“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13)
The new “world” is the eternal state (Rev. 20:1-8).