A production of Sola Media
Core Christianity: Tough Questions Answered

FAQ: What Does Time Look Like To God?

by Adriel Sanchez posted January 27, 2023

The apostle Peter said, “Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). What does that mean? Was Peter giving us a math formula to help us calculate time periods in the Bible? For example, should be conclude based on this verse that each of the six creation days was 1,000 years?

No. In this verse, Peter is saying that from God’s perspective, outside of time, things look completely different than they do for us. A long time for us isn’t a long time for God. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. We experience time one moment—one month—one year at a time, but God sees all times at once.

Peter makes this point because people were saying, “Well, Jesus isn’t really coming back. I mean, it’s been a long time and we still don’t see him.” How many thousands of years has it been since Jesus said he was going to return? He still hasn’t returned. That can be discouraging. It can cause doubt. And it can lead us to start living in ways that aren’t pleasing to the Lord.

Peter’s point is this: “Look, God has been patient towards you. You think it’s been a long time, but for God it’s nothing. For him, 1000 years is a blink of the eye.”

So, Peter isn’t offering some mathematical formula. Instead, he’s using a figure of speech to teach us about God. We shouldn’t try to use a verse like this determine time frames in the Bible or in history. We can’t read Genesis 1 and say, “Well, each of the six creation days is 1000 years because Peter says so in 2 Peter 3:8.” Genesis 1 and 2 teach that God is the Creator King, that he made everything from nothing, and that he doesn’t need anything. He made humans out of the abundance of his love. He made us to know him and reflect his goodness. That should be our focus when we read Genesis. Peter didn’t write this well-known verse help us figure out the creation days.

Instead, keep watch for the return of Jesus. He’s coming soon (Rev. 22:20), even if it seems like a long time to us.

This article is part of our Frequently Asked Questions series. Listen to Pastor Adriel answer this question on Core Radio here.

Dig deeper with these free resources from Core Christianity:


These clear and concise PDFs answer some of your toughest questions about the Christian faith:
How Does Jesus Work Today?, What are the Main Views of the End Times?


Dive deeper with these lengthier and more thorough guides to difficult topics in the Christian life:
5 Things You Should Know About the Bible’s Final Book

Photo of Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez

Adriel Sanchez is pastor of North Park Presbyterian Church, a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, he also serves the broader church as a host on the Core Christianity radio program, a live, daily call-in talk show where he answers listeners' questions about the Bible and the Christian faith. He and his wife Ysabel live in San Diego with their five children.

Sign Up for Email Updates