Wow! It’s been over a week since my last post. My bad. I’ve been swamped with work lately. I have been thinking about something other than work though. I was listening to last week’s STR broadcast when the topic of the age of the universe came up. As I have stated in my bio, I am pretty committed(although I’m open to good arguments) to a young earth creation so this was of particular interest to me, since Koukl is inversely committed to an old earth creation. He went over some of his reasoning and it gave me a little clearer picture of where he’s coming from with his thinking on this issue. In particular, he was very taken with an old creation based on the light from distant stars.
The argument goes like this: We see the light from stars that are millions of light-years away. It takes a year for light to travel one light-year. Therefore, the light we are seeing from those stars now was originally given off by that star millions of years ago. Got it? It’s a very simple and compelling argument and I’ve given it a lot of thought over the years. I have a couple of thoughts on it that I think are solid, although with anything technical I am always open to correction, so feel free to send hatemail.
First, I want to say what I don’t believe. I do not think that God created stars, and at the same time created all the light between here and there. I think Koukl’s star light article deals a fairly crushing blow to that argument. I do believe that the speed of light is not constant and has fluctuated with time, but I do not believe that it was so significantly faster in the past as to have made star light get here really fast. That argument is just too far out there beyond what is provable for me to be comfortable with.
Instead, I think that the expansion of the universe must have something to do with this issue. When my wife and I took an astrophysics class in college we were told that the expansion of the universe is best pictured as a balloon with dots on it(the dots represent galaxies). As you blow up the balloon the dots get farther and farther apart. But my thought was, if you also draw lines connecting all of the dots to one another then as you blow up the balloon the lines stay connected. These lines would represent the streams of light being emitted from the galaxies. I don’t want to misuse the balloon analogy and I hope I’m not doing so but it makes sense to me.
So here is one possible argument:
- The big bang happens 10,000 years ago.
- The universe begins rapid expansion and star formation.
- As the universe expands the light waves from the stars expand with it.
- The stars continue to get farther and farther away by expansion but we still see their light due to that same expansion.
The one thing I’m sure of in this argument is that if the universe is expanding then it can’t be just stars that are affected. The light coming from those stars must also be affected by the expansion. I’m not sure of much beyond that since I’m no physicist but it makes sense to me. I heard a theoretical physicist on the Discovery channel one day say that when it comes to space itself following the laws of physics, all bets are off. When space itself moves(as in expansion) then who knows what effect that has on the objects themselves that reside in that space.