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Distant starlight in a recent creation

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Distant starlight in a recent creation is a problem that has been answered variously by creationists holding to a young earth view. If the Earth and Universe are relatively young, then how can we see light from stars that are millions of lightyears away? In order to address this problem, we need to tackle assumptions that many people make surrounding the problem. There are a few ways to explain why we can see the light from stars so far away. Also, evaluating starlight and time also leads to problems within the big bang theory. Both Creationists and secular scientists have to deal with problems relating starlight so it is an important problem to take a look at. [1]

Assumptions and Solutions

How could distant starlight reach a young earth?

If the Earth is only about 6,000 years old or so looking at genealogies in the Bible[2], how can we see starlight from stars that are billions of lightyears away? Many critics of the biblical creation model have attempted to disprove a young Earth all together through this argument. At first glance, it seems to be a major problem for the biblical, young Earth timescale. However, secular scientists have to make many assumptions when looking at the distant starlight problem. Several of the assumptions made about the distant starlight issue are that the speed of light has always been the same, that time always flows at the same rate, synchronization, and that everything can be explained by purely natural processes.[1]

If one of these assumptions are wrong, the distant starlight problem would pose no problem to the biblical young earth creation model. The assumption that light has always traveled the same speed seems very logical. Now light travels at just under three hundred million meters per second, but has it always traveled at that speed? If light has traveled faster in the past, then there would be no distant starlight problem. However, if the speed of light were different it would also change many other factors in the universe. At this point in time, the effects of changing the speed of light are unknown. If the speed of light was different, it may change other factors necessary for life. With that being said, a quicker speed of light in the past may be an answer to the distant starlight problem, but there is no way to disprove the assumption of a constant speed of light at this point in time.[1]

Gravity and velocity can affect the flow of time.

The next assumption to tackle is the assumption that time has always flowed at the same rate. Like the assumption that the speed of light has always been the same, the assumption that time has always flowed at the same rate seems logical. This assumption however, is simply not true. With Einstein’s discovery that motion and gravity affect time distant starlight could have reached Earth in just a few thousand years. If Earth is in a gravitational well, time would pass much more slowly here than in deep space. In fact, the difference in time could be billions of years. However, many secular scientists believe that the Earth is not in a gravitational well because they believe that the universe is infinitely large. There is no proof to this claim and it completely lacks evidence. Instead, the Earth could be located near the center of a finite universe leading to the gravitational well. Earth being in a gravitational well could solve the problem of the distant starlight in a recent creation problem. [1] Looking at redshift of the galaxies around us shows us that they are moving away from us. Evaluating the data in a straightforward manner leads to the conclusion that the Earth is located near the center of the universe. [3]

The next assumption is the assumption of synchronization. Synchronization is setting clocks in a way that they display the same time at the same time. Using Einstein’s theories, time synchronization is not absolute. If the clocks traveled different velocities then the time read by the clocks would not be the same. When light travels in space, it remains at the same cosmic local time since light does not experience the passage of time. It has not been proved if the Bible uses cosmic local time or cosmic universal time. If the Bible used cosmic local time, the starlight could travel starting on day four of the creation week and reach the Earth on day four cosmic local time. Since it is not known whether the Bible uses cosmic local time or not, synchronization could be the key to solving the distant starlight in a recent creation problem, but it can not be proven as of now.[1]

The last assumption to look into is the assumption that naturalism is the only way to look at the universe. Naturalism is the belief that everything can be explained by purely natural processes. Naturalism does not allow for any miracles or the supernatural to explain any problem in the universe. However, God created everything and he is not bound by the laws of physics. The creation week was clearly a supernatural act so God could have employed a supernatural mechanism to allow the starlight from distant stars to reach the Earth on the fourth day of creation. If we cannot explain something through natural laws, we have to remember that God is not bound by these laws and can act outside of them if He chooses.[1]

Problem with the Big Bang Theory

Cosmic microwave background radiation.

Even though secular scientists point to starlight as a problem to young Earth creationism, it posts its own problem for the big bang theory as well. Cosmic microwave background radiation has led to the discovery of the horizon problem. According to the big bang model, in early space some areas would have been hotter than others. There should still be hot and cold spots in the universe today, but cosmic microwave background radiation has shown that the universe has reached the same temperature. Even the 13.8 billion years proposed in the big bang theory does not allow for enough time for light to have reached opposite sides of the universe and bringing everything to the same temperature. This horizon problem reveals that the big bang theory struggles with starlight as well. [4]

To handle the horizon problem many cosmologists have proposed an inflation event. They postulate that a rapid period of expansion occurred in a very small amount of time shortly after the big bang. This period of rapid expansion would be able to explain the horizon problem, but it comes with its own consequences. The inflation event proposed by cosmologists seems to be very fined-tuned to the point where it does not seem natural. In fact, the amount of precision needed for the proposed inflation event to happen seems to point to a Designer. It is very hard to explain the universe through naturalistic processes when it had a Creator that can act outside the laws of physics. Even though inflation could solve the horizon problem, it creates its own problems as well. [5]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Lisle, Jason. Does Distant Starlight Prove the Universe Is Old? Answers in Genesis. Web. Published December 13, 2007.
  2. Cosner, Lita. How does the Bible teach 6,000 years? Creation Ministries International. Web. Accessed January 15, 2018.
  3. Harwood, Mark. How can distant starlight reach us in just 6,000 years? Creation Ministries International. Web. Published January 17, 2009.
  4. Thomas, Brian. Distant Starlight and the Big Bang Institute for Creation Research. Web. Accessed on December 3, 2017.
  5. Coppedge, David. Inflating the Evidence Institute for Creation Research. Web. Accessed January 8, 2018.