Young Earth Receiving Old Starlight

FAQ: If the universe is young how could we on Earth see light from stars that took millions or billions of years to arrive?

Ans. A standard reply is that God could have created the stars with starlight "en route" to earth.

Ans: There is yet another dynamic that may cause time (and distance?) across the universe to differ. Now both science and the Bible are reported to view the heavens as a scroll. What we perceive as extreme distances might actually be closer - if you know the shortcut. Space is curved. Think of a roll of wrapping paper unrolled to its 50' length. You cannot stand at one end and touch the other end. But if it was rolled up, you could be near all of it.

The Bible says: "and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll." (Isaiah 34.4). It seems that the heavens have a rolled up, scroll dimension too. We just lack the insight, another dimension, to take the "short cut" reducing the distance and time.

Hebrews 11:3 says that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Expect mysteries to continue. Faith needs tests.

Creator God is behind all true science. Finite man knows so little about the universe out there. Perhaps less than five percent. "We really don't know what is out there." - "Seeing Black Holes," TV Science channel, 6-6-11.

Humility becomes the reality oriented cosmologist. For the Christian, the cosmos should be a concert hall of praise. Shout it out!

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture


I think the reference to a scroll is intended to be taken as a simile - hence the "as". I don't think it was intended originally to be a literal statement about reality. I think the simplest explanation is once again the right one.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Aaron Blumer's picture


I haven't got the author's name handy, but there's a book (and a couple of DVDs) called "Starlight and Time" on that question. I found it quite interesting. The author is a physicist and seems to know his stuff (not that I'm much of a judge of that).
His theory is a bit complex but the short version, as I understand it, is this:

  1. Time itself advances more quickly in gravity wells (this has been demonstrated with atomic clocks at different altitudes and also fits Einstein's General Relativity)
  2. The speed of light truly is constant
  3. The universe has a center and earth is pretty close to it.
  4. The universe is expanding from that center and has been doing so since creation.
  5. In the beginning of creation, the force of gravity at the center of the universe would have been immense and time would have advanced rapidly, slowing as the universe expanded.

    So he seems to be saying that light traveled to us from stars and really took x billion years, but these "years" passed far more rapidly than what we call years now.

    It's an interesting idea and he has alot of data that seems to fit it. That said, he says it's just a theory and his belief in rapid creation doesn't rely on it. He takes that on the authority of the Bible.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

SRees's picture

I believe that author was Russell Humphreys.

It's also a fact that the universe is continuing to expand. At creation, light would have had much shorter distances to travel. As we don't know the rate of expansion, we cannot judge how much time it would have required. So, between the compressed distances and the rapid passage of time, there may be no need for an 'light created en route' theory. I don't require science to prove my faith, but it is interesting as time progresses, that facts and theories emerge that say, this isn't impossible after all.

Science changes constantly, the Word of God is forever.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
~ Psalm 19:14
Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
~ Proverbs 13:10

Aaron Blumer's picture


Yeah, that's the guy.
I found the whole idea of a universe with a center vs. a universe without one (yet expanding) to be quite interesting. Humphrey's attitude was that mainstream big bang theorists all insist that the universe has no center but the data is far better explained if it does.
As a layman, the whole idea of expanding but having no center is a bit bizarre. Counterintuitive. But Humphrey did briefly explain (in the DVD) how that works (it has something to do with hyperspace).
Still, the simpler explanation of what we observe seems to be that the universe is expanding out from a center.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.