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Today's Creation Moment

Dec
20
Researchers Find a Hidden Cost to the Internet
Proverbs 18:24
"A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
Have you been on the internet lately? If so, it may be costing you more than you think. That's the suggestion of a study done by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The study...
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Making Sense of Light from Distant Stars

"What does Scripture tell us about the distance of galaxies and the time needed for light to travel between galaxies? Light needs millions of years to travel from a galaxy like Andromeda to the Earth, doesn't it?"
Scripture does not directly speak to the issue of light traveling from distant stars and galaxies. Neither does it say anything about the amount of time it takes for the light to reach Earth, but we do have some hints. For example, on Day 4 of Creation Week (Genesis 1:14-19), God calls forth the lights in the firmament. Adam was created on Day 6. He most likely saw many of the stars at that time, which is only two days later. This suggests that the starlight had to travel much faster than we would ordinarily think, assuming a uniform space and an apparent uniform speed of light. 
So perhaps space is not uniform. Indeed, both Isaiah 42:5 and Isaiah 45:12 describe the heavens as being "stretched out" by God. If the heavens are stretched out, this is clearly not describing a uniform space but one that is stretched in at least parts of it. If the very fabric of space is stretched in parts, then light would travel much faster through these "stretchy" parts than through the non-stretched parts, such as around the galaxies. A simple analogy would be, for example, a guitar sting. Tightening a string produces a higher-pitched sound when plucked, but it also causes the sound wave to travel faster through the string. Thus, stretched (tighter) space would cause light to travel faster through it.
Einstein's Theory of General Relativity very accurately describes how space is distorted around matter – the heavier the matter, the more distorted space is around it. For example, his theory would predict that a massive object (say, a neutron star) between Earth and a distant light source (a bright star or galaxy, for example) should distort space enough for it to act like a lens. As the distant light source passed behind the massive object, at some point, instead of seeing one light source a person would actually see two – one on either side of the massive object. The distance between the two apparent stars is directly related to the lens effect (space distortion). This is, indeed, what is observed, and the distance between the two apparent stars is in perfect agreement with Einstein’s predictions.
This and other similar experiments prove that space is physically distorted by matter and is not uniform. Using Einstein's General Relativity equations, Mark Amunrud at the August 2013 International Conference on Creation suggested that light from the most distant galaxies (13.8 billion light years away) would reach Earth in just about one week.
So while Scripture doesn’t directly say that light travels much faster between the galaxies to arrive on Earth quickly, it gives us enough clues to piece together the puzzle.
Today's blog – an answer to a creationist puzzled by the light from distant stars – was written by Dr. Donald Clark, vice-chairman of Creation Moments.
Photo: Andromeda galaxy. Courtesy of Adam Evans. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

"What does Scripture tell us about the distance of galaxies and the time needed for light to travel between galaxies? Light needs millions of years to travel from a galaxy like Andromeda to the Earth, doesn't it?"

Scripture does not directly speak to the issue of light traveling from distant stars and galaxies. Neither does it say anything about the amount of time it takes for the light to reach Earth, but we do have some hints. For example, on Day 4 of Creation Week (Genesis 1:14-19), God calls forth the lights in the firmament. Adam was created on Day 6. He most likely saw many of the stars at that time, which is only two days later. This suggests that the starlight had to travel much faster than we would ordinarily think, assuming a uniform space and an apparent uniform speed of light. 

So perhaps space is not uniform. Indeed, both Isaiah 42:5 and Isaiah 45:12 describe the heavens as being "stretched out" by God. If the heavens are stretched out, this is clearly not describing a uniform space but one that is stretched in at least parts of it. If the very fabric of space is stretched in parts, then light would travel much faster through these "stretchy" parts than through the non-stretched parts, such as around the galaxies. A simple analogy would be, for example, a guitar sting. Tightening a string produces a higher-pitched sound when plucked, but it also causes the sound wave to travel faster through the string. Thus, stretched (tighter) space would cause light to travel faster through it.

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity very accurately describes how space is distorted around matter – the heavier the matter, the more distorted space is around it. For example, his theory would predict that a massive object (say, a neutron star) between Earth and a distant light source (a bright star or galaxy, for example) should distort space enough for it to act like a lens. As the distant light source passed behind the massive object, at some point, instead of seeing one light source a person would actually see two – one on either side of the massive object. The distance between the two apparent stars is directly related to the lens effect (space distortion). This is, indeed, what is observed, and the distance between the two apparent stars is in perfect agreement with Einstein’s predictions.

This and other similar experiments prove that space is physically distorted by matter and is not uniform. Using Einstein's General Relativity equations, Mark Amunrud at the August 2013 International Conference on Creation suggested that light from the most distant galaxies (13.8 billion light years away) would reach Earth in just about one week.

So while Scripture doesn’t directly say that light travels much faster between the galaxies to arrive on Earth quickly, it gives us enough clues to piece together the puzzle.

Today's blog posting – an answer to a creationist puzzled by the light from distant stars – was written by Dr. Donald Clark, vice-chairman of Creation Moments.

Photo: Andromeda galaxy. Courtesy of Adam Evans. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Comments

I see no reason to doubt this explanation as it seems very reasonable as to how light travels. I have in the past pondered the same question, and at different times in respect to original creation recorded in Genesis 1. I was thinking about it one day and The Lord impressed James 1:5 on my heart. So I asked. If anyone knew, He did! (One of those moments where I thought-why didn't I think of that before!) The Lord seemed to impress upon my heart that in creating the light sources we see He also created the beams of light in place. As soon as He spoke...they were! The matter of distance for man is a puzzle but for Him there was only the matter of speaking and it was. Everything else was created as we see it in those first six days, so those first beams did not have to travel to earth before they were seen. God simply created them in place. Maybe my thoughts are off topic. I appreciate the article as written. Thank you for your insight.

I appreciate and respect the belief in the biblical story of creation. As a physicist, however, I cannot let this go. There are serious flaws here.

You cannot posit an explanation a priori: Since the universe is 10,000 years old that must mean light travels faster than c. The conclusion that light then does travel faster than c is then circular, and of no real value.

The use of the example of a stretched string with respect to sound is not a valid analogy. Special relativity clearly states that the speed of light is immutable, no matter the frame of reference.

If gravity is "stretching" space, you've increased the distance, not shortened it, hence you would increase the time - assuming the incorrect statement that the speed of light depends on "Stretched" space. Gravity can certainly bend light a la gravity lens, but cannot change its speed.

Can Mr. Amunrud provide these calculations? Mr. Armund cannot pick to use the equations General Relativity to prove a point, when violating one of the most fundamental principles within special relativity, e.g. that the speed of light is constant, no matter the frame of reference.

I firmly believe that God could create everything any way he wanted to, thus making starlight instantaneously appear in the earth's sky on day 4 of creation. He most likely made the animals in an adult age, or at least young, so that Adam would have named them as they would appear to him, not as eggs, or little tiny babies. I have NO problem whatsoever holding to a young earth and do not doubt one jot or tittle of scripture. God is an awesome God and worthy of praise for all that he does in creation, even if skepticism exists. After all, "They are without excuse."

Like I said, I appreciate your belief. I am Lutheran

Is Jesus my savior. Yes. Of that I have no doubt.

I'm also a scientist. I'm picking a bone with the use of science in this fashion, that is all. Beliefs must be separated from the scientific process. And science - especially astronomy and astrophysics - clearly show a universe to be billions of years old. Many predictions made by theory based on this age have come to be actually observed - mind you these things were not observed at the time, but much later. This prediction and experimental confirmation is the process of science.

For example, if the above hypothesis is correct - that the force of gravity stretches space and increases the speed of light - this phenomenon should have a directly measurable consequence. The force between mars and earth, for example, is 10,000 Trillion Newtons. Therefore light should measurably travel faster between our worlds and affect the delay we see. Like a cannon going off in the distance, followed by the boom later, we would hear the boom faster if the speed of sound increased. If it takes minutes for light to go 13.8 billion light years, we would have already seen this speed up.

Finally, we have direct geometrical observation of stars that are 30,000 light years away, triple the Biblical age. These are not theoretical calculations, but geometrical. Put your thumb in front of your face and open and close one eye than another. Your thumb hops back and forth, and using trig you can calculate the distance to your thumb. That's how we measure the distance to the closest stars. The galaxy stretches far greater than that, because we can see the disks of other galaxies. We know the average distance between stars, so it's a simple extrapolation to say our galaxy is 100,000 light years across. Soon, our ability to measure that geometrically will be there

Could God have created the universe to look ancient, with light from such distant objects "in flight". Sure. There is no way to disprove such an idea. It would have to be taken on faith, and if many do so, I understand and respect that. However, if it's made to look that way, isn't it then ancient?

There are many parables in the bible to help us understand. Genesis was written when mankind had such little capacity to understand, or believe, such complex notions that science has shown us, that it had to be written in such a way that we would both understand, and more importantly believe. How is this idea any different than God creating a universe to appear to be ancient, when it isn't?

You say, "And science - especially astronomy and astrophysics - clearly show a universe to be billions of years old."

This is exaggerated. For instance:

1. The sun's power comes from fusion of hydrogen into helium. As hydrogen fuses, the sun's core should heat up increasing its temperature. So the sun should've been cooler in the past. 3.5 billion years ago, by this estimate, the earth would be frozen solid.

2. Earth's magnetic field is decaying. We've had measurements since 1845. Its strength halves every 1465 years. If the earth were over 20,000 years old, it would be too hot for life.

3. The moon is receding from the earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year currently. This would've been even faster in the past. But even by that math the moon would've been touching the earth 1.6 billion years ago.

4. Dozens of comets loop the sun per year. Some get ejected, some collide with the sun (or planets), some fracture or completely disintegrate. Comets, on average, make about 40 loops around the sun. They should not exist if the solar system is 4.6 billion years old. They should all be gone. To explain short-period comets, evolutionists invented the Kuiper Belt. To explain long-period comets, evolutionists invented the Oort Cloud.

5. According to current star theory, the sun is 4.5 billion years old. It should gradually heat up and expand. After 5.5 billion years more, it should be a red giant. After another billion years it should blow off its outer layers and then in another 2 billion years it should collapse to a white dwarf. All these stages take millions/billions of years. Yet Sirius (the brightest star in the sky) is a bright blue and has a companion star that is a dwarf. Ancient astronomy testifies that Sirius used to be red/pink. Even Claudius Ptolemy (AD 90-168) testified of this.

6. Spiral galaxies contain blue stars in their arms (very bright, burn out quickly). Blue stars can't last billions of years, so evolutionists invent "star nurseries". The spiral arms disappear after 1 billion years due to wind-up, so evolutionists invent a way for new arms to form (gravity waves). The spiral arms have a flat rotation, so evolutionists invent dark matter to explain the rotation rate.

These are just the ones off the top of my head. You have greatly exaggerated the evidence pointing to a billions-of-years-old universe. All you have sited is the light-time-travel problem. Which, if you're a big banger, you have no ground to criticize, since big bang also has a light-time-travel problem (called "the horizon problem" that is allegedly "solved" by the ad hoc "inflation" theory.

I prefer to believe God's Word as clearly stated. Why the attack on Genesis 1 only? Why not attack other places where time is clearly stated, like the time Jesus was in the tomb? Or the time Jonah was in the fish? It should be very telling of your ideas that only Genesis 1 needs modifying.

1. is wrong, fusion releases energy, balanced by the mass of gravity from the star, creating a thermodynamic equilibrium

2. The earth's magnetic field fluctuates and switches polarity 200,000

3-6. Inventions? Scientific hypothesis.... and mathematical modeling.

Many things were hypothesized and later be shown to be experimentally verified, that's the process of science.

Dear Anonymous.
You are quoting the distance of stars as if it is a fact. It's not. The distances of stars are guessed based on the light spectrum they emit and by comparing them to other stars of "known" distances. The joke is, those star distances are also based on a guess. Several assumptions has to be made to get the distance of a star. First of all, the density of space would have to be uniform everywhere. Secondly, it has to be assumed that light travels at a constant speed and in a straight line and no light is refracted or bent around large bodies. Just because we observe light doing stuff here on earth at this time, does not mean it's behaving the same way everywhere. That's an assumption we need to make. Then there is also the measurements done with the two stars that changes relative position when viewed with a total eclipse and the sun is close by. This test has been repeated over and over. This proved that light is in fact bent by large bodies like the sun, and light does not travel in a straight line. This opens up a can of worms, because the perceived distance and position of a star in reality may be completely in a different place. Looking at the brightness of two stars and saying that the brighter or larger looking one is closer is also futile, because it's possible to just have a dim star that's close and a bright star that's far and the light that reaches from both will be very similar. Think of a flashlight compared to a search light. If you move the search light far enough away, it can also be perceived as a flashlight.

Lastly, pythagoras can not be used to determine the distance of starts, because there is not enough data for the equation to work and the angle is infinitely too small. We can at best only use it to determine the distance of the sun from earth, because we are orbiting around it and the right angle and distance of two legs are available for the equation.

Are you an astro physicist?

Peace to you ;-)

"Einstein's Theory of General Relativity very accurately describes how space is distorted around matter – the heavier the matter, the more distorted space is around it".

This is completely false. In fact, this supposed effect has never been observed anywhere outside of a mathematics classroom.

The Thunderbolts Project gives more details on what the actual observations show.

"I'm also a scientist. I'm picking a bone with the use of science in this fashion, that is all. Beliefs must be separated from the scientific process. And science - especially astronomy and astrophysics - clearly show a universe to be billions of years old. Many predictions made by theory based on this age have come to be actually observed - mind you these things were not observed at the time, but much later. This prediction and experimental confirmation is the process of science."

This is the fallacy of asserting the consequent.

P1: If the Universe is billions of years old(P), we should observe X.(Q)

P2: We observe X(Q)

Conclusion: Therefore, the universe is billions of years old.(Therefore, P)

His confirmation of the age of the Earth rests on this fallacy. If he says that any observed phenomenon in science confirms that the Earth is Old, then he is violating the rules of inference in logic. Anyone who has studied the philosophy of science in depth knows that science cannot truly prove anything. Science is capable of falsifying a proposition, but it is not capable of proving any proposition. Anyone who argues that science leaves no doubt concerning the age of the Earth is using pseudoscience.His other arguments for an old universe commits the same fallacy.

"Could God have created the universe to look ancient, with light from such distant objects "in flight". Sure. There is no way to disprove such an idea. It would have to be taken on faith, and if many do so, I understand and respect that. However, if it's made to look that way, isn't it then ancient?"

This is wrong. The Bible clearly says that God created the Earth in six 24 hour days. There is no valid exegesis that can demonstrate that God made the Earth to look old. How would we know what would look old anyway if we don't have a "young looking" universe to compare it to? What looks old or young is only a matter of opinion. If a "young" universe looks old, then the universe is still young despite "looking old." How can a "young" universe that looks "ancient" be "ancient?"

"There are many parables in the bible to help us understand. Genesis was written when mankind had such little capacity to understand, or believe, such complex notions that science has shown us, that it had to be written in such a way that we would both understand, and more importantly believe. How is this idea any different than God creating a universe to appear to be ancient, when it isn't?"

This is a load of tripe. Ancient man was very intelligent. The notion that ancient man were ignoramuses is completely unfounded. Genesis was not meant to give a scientific account for the origin of the Earth. Science is not truth, it is not certainty. Genesis tells us how God made the heavens and the Earth. The explanation doesn't have to be scientific to be comprehensible or a satisfactory explanation.

In other words, the Lutheran has done nothing but spout out a series of opinions. I could say more, but I don't have a lot of time on my hands. - Jason

This article starts with assuming the answer, science does not do that. Science tries to explain what is observed through application of physical laws, and through rigorous experimentation, confirms these ideas, or not, and thus we iterate.

You're argument is, then:

P1: The universe must be 10,000 years old

P2: We try an ad-hoc application of science

Conclusion: The universe is 10,000 years old

?

Submitted by Ross on Facebook:

Well I can't answer the whole thing but on that last bit about God speaking to man with such little capacity to understand I'd ask him if God is Truth why would He lie about origins? I'd also point out the different order of Genesis to evolution and ask him why God would put it in the order He did if that's not the way it happened. If it were a parable why didn't God make that clear? People knew when Jesus told a parable but apparently they missed Genesis 1 was. Even Jesus Himself referred to Genesis as fact and that's how His listeners understood it. There is no clarification on Genesis being a parable. You'd think one of the Biblical writers would have pointed it out because surely they were at a point to understand origins scientifically by that stage. I'd also ask him to explain the "parable" of Genesis 1.

Submitted by Trish on Facebook:

How can you have no doubt of someone's (Jesus') ability to save you and be your saviour, when you don't believe His words, because your understanding of science contradicts them?

"Genesis was written when mankind had such little capacity to understand..." Someone should tell him that mankind is getting dumber, unhealthier, smaller, with less capacity to understand anything.

Because I do. Jesus is my savior.

Individuals may have been HIGHLY intelligent, yes, but not as a species.

Isn't Jesus being our savior really what matters?

Submitted by Charlie on Facebook:

Go the Jesus to Nicodemus route. Nicodemus could not understand physical birth as much as he thought which is why Jesus had a hard time getting through to him on the spiritual sides. I'd ask this guy if God could not explain the origins of the universe to mankind in a way they could understand, how could he explain spiritual things like Salvation? How is Genesis so hard to understand yet the Gospel is easier?

Dr. Setterfield discovered that the speed of light is slowing down and it is slowing down exponentially. So 6000 years ago the speed of light would have been so fast that light could have traveled from the far side of the known universe to us in less than a year.

I have read all the comments on this article, as it seems to be an important sticking point with Christians of different persuasions. I may be misunderstanding some as assuming that the scientist who wrote the article was saying that the gravity of dense masses, such as giant stars and galaxies, speeds up light. That is not the impression that I get from the claim. He wrote this:

If the very fabric of space is stretched in parts, then light would travel much faster through these "stretchy" parts than through the non-stretched parts, such as around the galaxies.

So, it seems to me that he is saying that light travels faster through places that are void of mass, etc...

If light is a particle [photon], as well as a wave, then it seems that a particle would be affected by the forces of air resistance and gravity in our atmosphere. Whereas, space has, essentially, no atmosphere or gravity to resist the particle which is moving. When we measure the speed of light is it measured in the same setting as it would travel through space [atmosphere free/gravity free]? Using Einstein's Theory of Relativity, are we measuring the speed of light with a rubber ruler?

I used to be something of a science fiction fan when I was younger. I used to sort of accept some of the theories they put forth as maybe being possible. Now that I am older and have actually had conversations with the Lord on the nature of the universe, I cannot help but laugh when I watch science fiction shows. All those suns, going supernova! And the Lord doesn't make suns that expire. They are on the eternal order. In short, he doesn't create a sun to wear out. Why would he? Yet, science fiction has suns going supernova right and left.

I can fix the light question right now. The speed of light is instant. Instant. The speed at which an angel can travel from one part of the universe — within the sphere an angel is allowed to travel — is instant. The speed at which God creates is instant. Instant.

So you can sit here in this temporal world and measure things and pretend you know something, or you can get a little wisdom directly from the Lord.