Billions of Years for the Heavens!
The current belief is that the age of the earth is 4.6 billion years; this figure is an essential foundation for the theory of evolution. Of course, if the age of the earth really is in billions of years, the age of the universe can be no less and reasonably would be much greater; it is currently set somewhere between 13 and 17 billion years, say, 15 billion earth-years in round figures. The reason that these figures are qualified as “earth-years” will become evident in a later paragraph but first we need to define what Scripture means by, “the heavens”.
Young-earth creationists take the creation account given in Genesis, at its face value and not as an allegorical story for simple folk of long-ago. This biblical account tells the reader in the very first verse [Genesis 1:1] that God created the heavens and the earth on the first day [Hebrew: YOM], the plants on the earth were created on the third YOM while the sun, moon and the stars were created on the fourth YOM. In all, the heavens and the earth were created in the first four of seven 24-hour earth-days. If these days were long periods of time, the plants and trees created on the third day would not have survived to receive the sunlight given on the fourth day. There are two observations here: The first is that the word “heavens” [SHAMYIM] in verse 1, is plural and is emphasized by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 where he speaks of paradise as the “third heaven”. Here he probably refers to his near-death experience described in Acts 14:19. It means that there are at least three heavens and the other two may be found in 2 Chronicles 2:6. Here it speaks of the “heaven of heavens” meaning the ultimate heaven or universe that contains the minor heavens. One of these minor “heavens” would be the atmosphere around our earth. 2 Chronicles 2:6, makes the point that the “heaven of heavens” i.e. the universe, is not big enough to contain “our God” [verses 5-6]. So how big is our God? There are nine passages [Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; and Zechariah 12:1] and each emphasizes that God stretched out the heavens i.e. the universe, by Himself, or in some translations, “with His own hands”. Among other things this means He needed no one to hold the other end!
The idea of stretching space is difficult enough to comprehend but perhaps even more difficult is that this would affect what we understand as “time”. The principle of relativistic time dilation was worked out by Lorentz and Einstein in the early 1900’s. It has been successfully tested many times since but in 2001 Dr. Russell Humphreys of the Institute of Creation Research was the first to apply it to the creation time scale problem.1 While we are used to thinking of time as a constant, according to the relativistic time dilation theory both time and space can be stretched or compressed while the speed of light always remains constant. Variable-speed time allows for the possibility of six 24-hour earth-days for creation, during which vast stretches of time pass in the outer reaches of the universe. We thus have a model of the universe in which the earth – and it is suggested, the solar system – is young, but the rest of the universe is as “old” as the light-travel time suggests that it is – but only within its own reference frame. By the reference frame given in Genesis, the entire universe is young – just thousands of earth-years, not billions. This model explains a wide range of age-related phenomena [i.e. that cover a wide range of time scales] better than the Big-bang model. An example of this time-dilation model is given below but first we need to set the stage of historical events.
In the middle of the nineteenth century when Charles Darwin was looking at cellular life under the microscopes of the day he drew the conclusion that life on earth began as simple jelly-like cells. As microscopes became more powerful cells took on an unexpected complexity then in 1931 when the electron microscope was introduced, the true and unbelievable complexity of the cell began to appear. Clearly, more time was required for life to have evolved and soon the hundreds of millions became thousands of millions i.e. billions of years. By 1940 the textbook age of the earth was said to be 2 billion years. This alleged age for our planet was later to be doubled by radiometric test results on certain rocks and justified by even greater ages estimated for the age of the universe. At this point we need to introduce a definition: Webster’s dictionary defines Cosmology as a branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of the universe and includes a branch of astronomy concerning the origin.
Edwin Hubble [1889-1953] was working at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in the 1920’s with the new 100-inch telescope and discovered that certain faint “stars” in our Milky Way galaxy were, in fact, very distant galaxies. Each galaxy contained millions of stars just like our own. Hubble noticed that the light from many of these galaxies was “red-shifted” indicating that they were speeding away from our own galaxy at incredible speeds with the furthermost galaxies receding faster than those that were closer. Hubble catalogued 25 of the most distant galaxies and published the results in 1929. In the meantime, Georges-Henri Lemaître [1884-1966], a Catholic priest who had earned a PhD in astrophysics at M.I.T. had returned to Belgium to be professor at the University of Louvain. Aware of Hubble’s work on the expanding universe, Lemaître published his expanding universe theory to explain its origin in 1927. Later, this became more popularly known as the Big Bang Theory and at that time the name was coined in derision [Williams & Harnett, p. 49]1
Lemaître reasoned that if the universe is expanding then there must have been a time when the expansion began. He imagined reversing this expansion back to a point where all the space, time and matter of the universe was in the same place – a single point or singularity. He reasoned that the universe began with an explosion, hence the Big Bang, and the expansion we see today is the continuing result. The Big Bang theory is taught today as though it was an undeniable fact of science but it is surely nothing more than metaphysics. The public, not being conversant with the esoteric equations and terminology of the cosmologists, is led to believe that an explosion brought about an expanding universe in all its complexity. Of course, how exploding gases condensed to become particles of matter [but not anti-matter] that subsequently coalesced into stars and planets has never been observed as a process. Nor can it be repeated so it becomes a matter of faith to believe the theory and is thus, by definition, metaphysics. The alternative explanation for distant galaxies speeding away from our own galaxy is that what is being observed is the expansion of the universe when God stretched it out in the beginning. That is, the light from those distant galaxies as they were being pulled away from the center is just reaching us.
While either explanation is a matter of faith, perhaps less faith is required to believe that God stretched out the heaven of heavens. Inspired words providing this information were given to Man at least nine times in Scripture beginning about 1000 BC with Psalm 104. Moreover, those words had to be inspired since it would be three thousand years before the 100-inch telescope would be built in order that we may have the ability to look back into the past and observe the heavens being stretched. Even so, caution is required since there are some minor contrary evidences to the expansion theory:  The very first “red-shift galaxy” measured (M31) turned out to be “blue shifted” i.e. coming towards our Milky Way!  Many pairs of quasars (quasi-stellar objects) that have high red-shift values are physically associated with galaxies that have low red-shift values, and  Red-shift values have been found to change during 20th century observations. These anomalies hint that the red-shift may not be caused by recessional velocity of expansion.2 Clearly, the truth has yet to be resolved but the difficulty is not the hard-ware of science but the hard-headedness of the little band of high priests who continue to oversee and promote the Big-Bang theory.
The next question concerns what we can see in the heavens with the naked eye. Our sun is one star among the millions in the galaxy we call the Milky Way. As far as we know, the sun with its orbiting planets and our moon has remained in place since Man first began observing them. By these we can know the time of day or night, we can know the seasons and even count off the years just as promised in Genesis 1:14. But what does keep all those heavenly spheres in place? Isaac Newton [1642-1727] declared in 1687 that gravity was the rule of the cosmos describing how two objects, say the sun and the earth, attract each other with a force proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. This is Newton’s famous Law of Gravity and, while we know with measured precision what gravity does, no one yet knows what gravity is. This confession will seldom, if ever, be found in a school textbook! Gravity appears to work for relatively short distances, say in our solar system, but note how the effect rapidly decreases with the square of the distance. That is, double the distance and the gravitational force decreases by four times, triple the distance and the force decreases by nine times and so on. Long ago cosmologists realized that the distances between stars were far too great for them to be held in place by mutual gravitation. In order for the reader to relate conceptually to these immense distances between stars in our galaxy consider our Sun as a pencil dot on a large piece of paper. The earth would then be the smallest dust particle orbiting our sun just one inch away while the nearest star on this scale model would be four and a half miles away! Clearly, the masses involved, even though large on the human scale, could have no possible effect over these enormous distances. It is partly for this reason that early in the 20th century Newton’s Law of gravity was replaced by Einstein’s general theory of relativity. According to what has become the “standard cosmological model” ordinary atoms make up only 5% of the stuff of the cosmos. Some kind of mysterious “dark matter” makes up 25%, while the rest – a whopping 70% -- consists of something even more mysterious, known as “dark energy.”3 Like the fairies at the bottom of our garden,4 neither dark energy nor dark matter have been observed or detected directly but have become part of the folk-lore that keeps the Big Bang Theory in our text books.
The prophetic words of Daniel 12:4 tell us that, “[at] the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Knowledge is not necessarily wisdom but each discipline now requires more to be learned before the individual is officially declared proficient. For example, a neuro-surgeon today is required to study for a further seven years after obtaining the MD. Clearly, the long training leaves little opportunity to acquire knowledge of a second discipline. In short, twenty-first century scientists become specialists knowing more and more seemingly about less and less in their continuingly narrowing fields! The Cosmologist is no exception and, with the reminder that his field is metaphysics, he is a rare breed of specialist now reminiscent of the monks of old. Untrammeled by research grants from industry or commerce, he is sustained in perpetuity by government grants. Further, he is almost without exception cloistered within the hallowed walls of academia, has exclusive access to the most expensive equipment, namely the giant telescopes, and seemingly has almost pope-like authority in his deliberations. He goes unchallenged, indeed, it is not possible to challenge their claims or their wheel-chaired pope.
There is now a small but growing number of scientists proficient in at least two disciplines: That is, they fully understand the arcane language of the cosmologist, can follow their mathematics and understand their string theory, the “dark matter,” and an 11-dimentional universe! At the same time, some of these scientists are also familiar with the more disciplined Maxwell’s equations and electrical theory. One such critic is Professor D. E. Scott2 who points out that electrical plasma is a great force in the universe seemingly unrecognized by the cosmologists and easily explains what holds the universe together. The electrical plasma theory does not require hypothetical entities or new physical laws and, unlike “dark matter”, the physical properties can be studied in the laboratory. The plasma theory also explains the apparent expansion of the universe and does not require all the billions of years. This last attribute is likely the real stumbling block to being given consideration by the cosmologists!
In the May 22-28, 2004, issue of New Scientist an open letter to the scientific community was published objecting to the Big Bang theory and demanding better science with more objective peer review.2 At that time it was signed by 400 scientists and proposals made that electrical plasma fields be given fair consideration for study.
1. Williams and Harnett. 2005. Dismantling the Big Bang. Master Books. p.176-203.
2. Scott, Donald E. 2006. The Electric Sky. Portland, OR. Mikamar Publishing. p.197
3. Overbye, Dennis. 2003. What is Gravity, Really? The New York Times.
4. Fyleman, Rose [1877-1957]. 1926. The Fairies, st. 1
Photo: Georges-Henri Lemaître.