The starlight-travel-time problem has been a difficult issue for biblical creationists for a long time. Big Bang cosmologists also have their own starlight-travel-time problem but creationists have proposed various solutions to this problem in the past decade or more. Recently I proposed an expansion on a solution, first proposed by Jason Lisle, in an article entitled “A biblical creationist cosmogony.” It is somewhat technical so I thought I’d write a very short layman summary here.
When God said He created everything in order that He did according to the Genesis 1 account then all those events occurred as the Bible describes on those consecutive 24-hour days about 6000 years ago. Lisle proposal is that those events were timed when the light first arrived, or when a hypothetical Earth-bound observer might have first observed them happening. And the main issue is the creation of the stars and galaxies, some of which lay tens of billions of light-years distant. So if we only consider the language of appearance, the light from those galaxies, and all stars, first arrived sometime during Day 4 of Creation week. Therefore travelling at constant speed of light (c), which means light travels 1 light-year per year, then it would have taken billions of years to get to Earth. Therefore such a view of the universe requires that all galaxies were created at a time long before God created the Earth on Day 1 of creation week. But this is just language of appearance. A constant speed of light (c) assumes a certain convention of synchronizing clocks. We could equally have chosen another convention that simply times all events when they are observed. So when the light of the ‘newly’ created stars and galaxies arrives at the Earth on Day 4, it is truly the first light from the creation of those galaxies. In my view, the only question to answer with this model is: Is it compatible with Scripture? The following verse is the main test. The days must be 6 ordinary 24-hour earth rotation days.
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
I believe that the language of appearance easily answers to this verse. Each day is time stamped from the opening of the day in the evening to the closing of the next day. Just because the events are timed by when the light first arrives at the earth does not introduce a ‘gap’ theory or any such nonsense. All days are consecutive and only 24 hours long as measure by local Earth clocks. See Table of events in The big bang is not a Reason to Believe!
If we then suppose God made the universe we see now, only 6000 years ago, measured from when the light first arrived, then even though the light from the most distant galaxies took billions of earth years to arrive here, the light represents the state of those sources when it left. Hence we can say a young universe as time-stamped by when the light first arrived. Based on that timing convention the universe is only approximately 6000 years old, not 13.8 billion years old. That universe does not need to be stable, nor in any sort of equilibrium condition, as it only needs to remain long enough for God purposes. It may not be expanding; it could be even static or quasi-static. There is no reason to force an expanding universe on the Scriptures. Also I speculated that the redshifted galaxy light we see from distant galaxies could be due to a condition of that special creation. I now place this model at the top of my list even ahead of my own time-dilation model. The Lisle’s model has a lot of potential to solve vexing physics problems in the cosmos, and it does not have a starlight-travel-time problem. But I have not totally given up on my own model. It has several difficult problems and I am working to try to resolve those. See An update: Correspondence on cosmology. But please read through the articles listed below in the numbered order.
- EXPANSION OF SPACE – A DARK SCIENCE
- A BIBLICAL CREATIONIST COSMOGONY
- SPECULATION ON REDSHIFT IN A CREATED UNIVERSE
- SUPERNOVA REMNANTS AND THE AGE OF THE UNIVERSE
- THE ANISOTROPIC SYNCHRONY CONVENTION MODEL AS A SOLUTION TO THE CREATIONIST STARLIGHT-TRAVEL-TIME PROBLEM — PART I
- THE ANISOTROPIC SYNCHRONY CONVENTION MODEL AS A SOLUTION TO THE CREATIONIST STARLIGHT-TRAVEL-TIME PROBLEM — PART II