A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Friday, April 01, 2005

Let there be light.

Once again I find myself sick, and when I am sick I become deeply meditative about larger things that I rarely think about when I am well. I think about the heavens and celestial planets whirling about on their God given courses. I think about subatomic particles and the forces that God chose to hold all things together with, and I reflect of the incredible complexity and physics of God’s natural laws.

I know it is not the Gospel, likewise this article won’t save anyone’s soul, but someday you might be sick and need to get some sleep. So on that day you grab this article and let me assist you in that endeavor.

We all know that God created the heavens and the earth and all things on it. Nothing was ever made that God did not make. And when He was done He pronounced it good. God created, matter, time and all three dimensions of space and chose how all things relate to others. He in effect created the laws by which all created matter interacts with all other matter. Yet he is not limited to, nor controlled by His creation, and can interact with it outside of the very laws he created, such as when He stopped the sun for Joshua. But by and large God works within the realm of the initial laws He chose to govern time and space with. But there is one law that God always works within, by virtue of His nature, God cannot sin. He cannot bear false witness through the very laws he created.

So what do the laws of physics and God have to do with each other? Only one of the greatest mysteries to face a Christian, that is if you like to consider the ways of God. But I see some of you are getting very sleepy already. Night! Night!

For the mathematical geeks and the deep thinkers that are still reading, this article will attempt to resolve a question I have had on my mind for years. A question concerning light, that’s right, light, a word that God uses to describe Himself. Have you ever wondered why Heaven is described as being made of all those precious jewels, the very jewels that reflect light? And what is the ultimate form that all the elect take? Do we not become images of Jesus Christ, a very reflection of Him, a reflection of the very light that emanates from Him? Yet at the other end of the spectrum, that is, in the beginning instead of the end, there is a problem with light. Because God said “Let there be light” at a single point in time relative to the creation of man, this poses a great problem. You see light is more than just light, light emanating from an object illustrates the very essence of the object and reveals vast amounts of actual truth about the object and its actions. Keep this thought in mind as it is the very basis of the mystery.

For instance, when you look at the moon reflecting the light given off by the sun, you are not blinded by a yellow ball blazing in the night, but rather you see the very features of the moon. You see rotation, movement and reflections of actual craters and fields of rocks and other real surface features. At the speed of light the reflection of the sun’s rays off the moon take a certain amount of time to reach the earth. We all understand this from high school in the simple formula: Time = Distance divided by Speed

Although a lot faster, the speed of light is similar to the speed of sound. I can shoot you with my 375 Holland & Holland Magnum from so far away that the bullet hits you seconds before you actually hear the sound of the bullet. Yet the bullet is just as real the first two seconds as it is after you hear it. Likewise light reflects the actual truth of real events whether they take a long time to get to earth or not. Let’s take our example of the moon. When we look at the sun’s light reflecting off the moon’s surface features, what we see is like a slightly delayed movie of the actual surface of the moon. A movie because we are seeing continual true and actual visions of the surface features on the moon and slightly delayed because light is not instantaneous, it takes a short amount of time to get from the moon to our eyes. But never the less, the light reflection reveals true and actual moon features. Do you remember when Jupiter was hit years ago by numerous asteroids? We could actually see the asteroids hitting Jupiter with telescopes on earth, but because of the distance, the actual light revealing the event to our telescopes took a much longer time to get to earth. The event was actually over by the time we saw it happen here on earth. Yet still we witnessed an actual true event revealed in the light emanating from Jupiter, just more delayed than looking at our own moon. In other words an astronomer is perfectly justified in interpreting, as truth, what is revealed in the light reflecting off the moon or even light reflecting off or emanating from even more distant planets and stars. When there is a dust storm on the moon it is a real dust storm, and it is reflected as such to us on earth through the medium of reflected light.

Now let us, in our minds, move our moon a distance of twenty thousand light years away from the earth. Would the light reflecting off the moon still reveal the same surface features and events? Of course, but the light would just take longer to get from the moon to our eyes. Now as Christian creationists we believe that the Bible supports a young universe, not a universe millions of years old as our opponents believe. However because distance from one planet to another can be accurately measured on earth by numerous methods, we as creationists cannot argue with the fact that the known universe is so vast that light, at it’s currently accepted speed, would take longer to travel across it than the years we believe the universe existed. Yet we look up in the sky and see the light of stars too far away to account for how the light has already reached our planet. With our moon twenty thousand light years away, we should still have to wait another ten thousand years, give or take a few thousand, before we actually see it. Herein lays the problem and the basis for our creation dilemma. The mystery of “how can the light of a star twenty thousand light years away be seen by a Christian in a universe that is perhaps less than ten thousand years old?”

The obvious solution is for God to have simply created light in transit, already on its way to earth before Adam was created. However this poses a far worse problem, as this would mean that God created a detailed series of signals revealed in the light beams reaching earth, signals that seem to reveal actual and true events, when they in fact do not reflect events that had actually happened and therefore this light would have no conceivable purpose. Or in other words, Adam on that first night would have seen the behavior of distant stars and what he saw happening, never happened at all. This would be like saying that God created fossils within the rocks on earth, only to fool us, as they do not represent a real animal that had actually lived and died on earth at some actual point in the past. This would be a strange deception on God’s part and therefore cannot be true. There must be a better explanation of how direct or reflected light from distant planets and stars made it to earth for Adam to see on his first night or even for us to see now.

So how did God create light that we know reflects true and actual features of that off which it is reflecting, in a young universe created just days before man was planted on it? How did a star with real surface features, and actual climate events such as solar flares, shine light onto earth on day seven when it was one thousand light years away? When Adam looked up and saw the light emanating from a billion stars, what exactly was he looking at, a real movie of actual surface features and real cosmic events of real stars, or some strange light lie? Or did Adam simply see the close stars and one by one the light emanating off ever most distant stars appeared in the night sky? If this were the case, ever more distant stars would still be showing up today. Yet new stars are not appearing in the night sky.

So if the distance to stars is measurable, then perhaps the speed of light was once much faster than it is now. This theory once promoted by Barry Setterfield and later by co-author Trevor Norman,1 has an insurmountable problem in that consequences of a degrading speed of light would still be discernable in light from distant galaxies. Yet this does not appear to be the case. 2

So if the distance to stars is accepted and provable and the speed of light has remained constant then the only untouched feature of our formula: (Time = Distance divided by Speed) is time.

Sir Isaac Newton long ago formed the basic mathematical formulas for the Theory of Gravity. This theory remained largely unchanged until Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity (GR) deduced that light traveled at a known and calculateable rate of speed. Light could be bent by the gravitational pull of a dense mass but the speed of light could not be increased by the same mass. In effect light has a speed limit, which is assuming, as most scientists do, that the universe is endless. The reason they must assume an endless universe is that without it, there is an increasing gravitational effect as one moves closer to the center of a limited universe. Such a limited universe, with an actual edge, like a balloon or ball, is supported by the Bible as God is beyond the heavens and will one day roll it up like a scroll (Revelation 6:14). With a limited universe, time goes faster the further out from the center you get. Einstein’s (GR) has told us for decades that time is not constant, as a simple test will prove. If you take two identical digital watches set at either extremes of the Sears Tower in Chicago, they run at different speeds with the higher running faster. When you reverse the location of the watches, the faster one that once was on top of the tower, now runs slower and eventually is surpassed by the once slower watch now higher up. Gravity affects time. It is also interesting to note that in (GR) - without mass there is no time.

When Darwin’s wife died and he went on a personal rampage of vengeance to defame God, likeminded scientists needed an answer for the origin of all things. They created the Big Bang out of nothing theory that would seemingly introduce a central point of origin, yet these same scientist hold on to the theory that the universe is boundless without any means of proof. How did their center point of origin become a boundless universe without the gravitational distortions of time? With a limited universe, once you reach the edge time ceases to exist and as you travel inward, toward the center, time slows and gravity builds.

When you introduce the assumption of Biblically supported finite space to the universe, the planet masses at the center have a slower time and a higher gravitational effect on time, as the whole of the universe in effect acts as one massive, contained object. Even if we accept the Biblically supported young and limited universe theory, there is considerable evidence that the universe is expanding. This too is Biblically supported as the Bible tells us that at creation God stretched out (or spread out) the heavens. (Isaiah 42:5, Jeremiah 10:12, Zecheriah 12:1). This could indicate that perhaps there was a time when the universe occupied a much smaller space. An expanding universe makes sense if you are God and desire to glorify Yourself by never allowing created humans, as their technologies improve, to fully discover the limit of Your creation.

In The Answer Book, by Authors Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati and Carl Wieland, 3 a new cosmology theory by creationist physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys is introduced and explained in the simplest of terms. This article is based on Dr. Russell Humphreys’ cosmology theory and its associated mathematical formulas. In abridged and edited form author Ken Ham had this to say about Dr. Russell Humphreys’ new cosmology theory.

Dr. Russell Humphreys, a creationist physicist proposed a new cosmology that could solve the creationist problem with distant light in a too young universe. It has passed peer review before the 1994 Pittsburg International Conference on Creationism. Although this new cosmology model has come under fire from old universe, big bang scientists, Dr. Humpreys has been able to defend his mathematical model as well as develop it further. 4

Dr. Humphreys' new creationist cosmology literally "falls out" of the equations of Einstein’s (GR), so long as one assumes that the universe has a boundary. In other words, that it has a center and an edge - that if you were to travel off into space, you would eventually come to a place beyond which there was no more matter. In this cosmology, the earth is near the center, as it appears to be as we look out into space.

This might sound like common sense, as indeed it is, but all modem secular ("big bang") cosmologies deny this. That is, they make the arbitrary assumption (without any scientific necessity) that the universe has no boundaries - no edge and no center. In this assumed universe, every galaxy would be surrounded by galaxies spread evenly in all directions (on a large enough scale), and so, therefore, all the net gravitational forces cancel out. And therefore no time distortions can exist.

However, if the universe has boundaries, then there is a net gravitational effect toward the center. Clocks at the edge would be running at different rates to clocks on earth. In other words, God made the universe in six days as we experience them on earth, but if we were near the outer edge of the universe, these same six days would have seemed much longer to our experience? (If we say six days in "God's time" we miss the point that He created the flow of time as we now experience it; He is outside of time, seeing the end from the beginning.)5

If the universe is not much bigger than we can observe, and if it was only 50 times smaller in the past than it is now, then scientific deduction based on (GR) means it has to have expanded out of a previous state in which it was surrounded by an event horizon (a condition known technically as a "white hole" - a black hole running in reverse, something permitted by the equations of (GR)).

As matter passed out of this event horizon, the horizon itself had to shrink - eventually to nothing. Therefore, at one point this horizon would have been touching the earth. In that instant, time on the earth (relative to a point far away from it) would have been virtually frozen. An observer on earth would not in any way "feel different." "Billions of years" would be available (in the frame of reference within which it is traveling in deep space) for light to reach the earth, for stars to age, etc. while less than an ordinary day is passing on earth. This massive gravitational time dilation would seem to be a scientific inevitability if a bounded universe has expanded significantly.

In one sense, if observers on earth at that particular time could have looked out and "seen" the speed with which light was moving toward them out in space, it would have appeared as if it were traveling many times faster than the speed of light. (Galaxies would also appear to be rotating faster.) However, if an observer in deep space was out there measuring the speed of light; to him it would still only be traveling at the accepted speed of light. There is more detail of this new cosmology, at layman's level, in the book by Dr. Humphreys, Starlight and Time, which also includes reprints of his technical papers showing the equations.6

It is fortunate that creationists did not invent such concepts as gravitational time dilation, black and white holes, and event horizons and so on, or we would likely be accused of manipulating the data to solve this problem. The interesting thing about this cosmology is that it is based upon mathematics and physics totally accepted by all cosmologists (general relativity), and it accepts (along with virtually all physicists) that there has been expansion in the past (though not from some imaginary tiny point (big bang)). It requires no "massaging" - the results "fallout" so long as one abandons the arbitrary starting point which big bangers use (the unbounded cosmos idea, which could be called "what the experts don't tell you about the 'big bang'").7

This new cosmology seems to explain in one swoop all of the observations, methods and formulas used to support the false "big bang" theory, including progressive red-shift and the cosmic microwave background radiation, without compromising the data or the Biblical record of a young earth.

While this is exciting news, all theories of fallible men, no matter how well they seem to fit the data, are subject to revision or abandonment in the light of future discoveries. What we can say is that at this point a plausible mechanism has been demonstrated, with considerable observational and theoretical support.

What if no one had ever thought of the possibility of gravitational time dilation? Many might have felt forced to agree with those scientists (including some Christians) that there was no possible solution - the vast ages are fact, and the Bible must be "reinterpreted" (massaged) or increasingly rejected. Many have in fact been urging Christians to abandon the Bible's clear teaching of a recent creation because of these "undeniable facts." This reinterpretation also means having to accept that there were billions of years of death, disease, and bloodshed before Adam, thus eroding the creation, fall and restoration framework within which the gospel is presented in the Bible.

However, even without this new idea, such an approach would still have been wrong-headed. The authority of the Bible should never be compromised by mankind's "scientific" proposals. One little previously unknown fact, or one change in a starting assumption, can drastically alter the whole picture so that what was "fact" is no longer so.

This is worth remembering when dealing with those other areas of difficulty which, despite the substantial evidence for Genesis creation, still remain. Only God possesses infinite knowledge. By basing our scientific research on the assumption that His Word is true (instead of the assumption that it is wrong or irrelevant) our scientific theories are much more likely, in the long run, to come to accurately represent reality.

It is my hope, if you are still awake, that you found this article interesting. For me it answered a vital question, the answer to which is simple. God did not have to create false images in light, nor was it necessary for God to perform some sort of light miracle, in order to create a glorious star filled night for Adam’s enjoyment and God’s glory on the seventh day, the day God rested.

So next time you look up at night and see the moon and that far more distant star, you remember that what you are seeing is real and represents truth, created by an almighty God, Who said “Let there be light” and there was, instantly, and possibly He did it through gravitational time dilation.

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina

1 T.G. Norman and B. Setterfield, The Atomic Constants, Light and Time (privately published, 1990).
2 Ken Ham, Answers Book, Master Books, 27th printing Oct 2002, p. 97
3 Ken Ham, Answers Book, Master Books, 27th printing Oct 2002, p. 99-102
4 D. Russell Humphreys, “Progress Toward a Young-earth Relativistic Cosmology” Proceedings 3rd ICC, Pittsburg, Pa. 1994, p. 267-286
5 Genesis 1:1; Ecclesiastes 3:11; Isaiah 26:4; Romans 1:20;1 Timothy 1:17; and Hebrews 11 :3
6 D. Russell Humphreys, Starlight and time (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 1994).
7 Ken Ham, Answers Book, Master Books, 27th printing Oct 2002, p. 99-102