Q: How does God see time? 2 Peter 3:1–9
The apostle Peter faced corrupt, willfully ignorant teachers who argued that since the world’s creation, God had never intervened in human affairs. To their way of thinking, it would be unreasonable to expect the literal, visible, bodily resurrected Jesus Christ to return to Earth. Scoffing, they asked, “Where is the promise of His [Christ’s] coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet. 3:4).
Peter reprimanded the scoffers, reminding them God had indeed intervened in the world in the days of Noah because of humanity’s continual evil. God caused a universal flood to destroy all life on Earth, except for Noah and his family and the animals protected within the ark (Gen. 6:5—7:1). God intervened to preserve life from annihilation (2 Pet. 3:5–6). This is one proof that, in the normal course of events, God does step into world affairs to care for and preserve His creation.
However, Peter reminded believers that God does not see time the way we do: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8).
Moses first used this analogy when speaking of God’s eternality (Ps. 90:4). The past, present, and future always occupy the present with God. What we might consider a long time (1,000 years, for example) is like “one day” with the Almighty because He is eternal. He transcends time and is not bound by it. God exists in the eternal present, and all things exist in the eternal now with Him.
The scoffers’ comments, of course, are lies. God can never be charged with indifference or with bad timing concerning His intervention in affairs on Earth. His timing always fits His divine, sovereign purposes.
For example, what may seem to us like a delay in Christ’s physical return stems from God’s longsuffering, grace, mercy, and love for unsaved humanity. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing [wishing] that any should perish but all should come to repentance”
(2 Pet. 3:9).
God’s divine plan gives people more time than we would give them to receive Christ because He knows the horrors that await the unsaved.
We must realize God’s timing is always perfect and suits His purpose and plan for both the world and individuals.