astronomy Cosmology Creation/evolution Physics

A student’s understanding of the ASC model

A graduate student at my university, contacted me recently about the biblical creationist starlight-travel-time problem.  He said that he had attended a lecture on the recent detection of gravitational waves, where the professor had mentioned that the source of the binary black hole collision event occurred some 1.3 billion years ago. The issue has made him contemplate how that time scale fits with the biblical time scale of an approximately 6000 year old universe.

CMB horizon
Figure 1: Horizon problem: Light from the alleged big bang fireball has not had sufficient time to equalise in temperature over all directions in space yet it is measured to be a uniform 2.73 K degrees in every direction. Credit: Wikipedia.

In response first I pointed out that the standard big bang model also has a light-travel-time problem called the horizon problem. It may be over a different time scale but it is still the same type of problem.

I explained that there were different biblical creationist models, in 5 different categories. I also suggested he view this lecture, which I gave last year on the problem, with lecture notes found here. I have looked at various solutions, and proposed a few myself, which I mention in the lecture, but now I personally prefer the solution outlined here, with details found in the linked articles there.

I asked him, in relation to how he understands the ASC model, if he could write a paragraph, in his own words, describing how it explains the starlight-travel-time problem. This is what he wrote.

Scientists have deduced that the observable universe is in the order of several tens of billions of light-years across. If we assume that the speed of light is constant, and therefore, light has to take billions of years to reach Earth, then this raises the question about the age of the universe. How can the universe be only 6000 years old if there are stars billions of light-years away?

The ASConvention explains how this might be possible, by ‘redefining’ our notion of time, and how it is measured. In the alternative and more commonly used ESConvention, time is measured by taking into account the synchronisation of time at both the source and the observer.

The frame of reference for the ESC includes both the source and the observer. Clocks start ticking when an event occurs at the source. The time measured at both the source and the observer will be the same.

The ASC, on the other hand, considers only the frame of reference of the observer. Clocks start ticking only when an event occurs at the observer. With this timing convention, it is possible to explain how the “lesser lights” began to exist only from Day 4 of creation.

Aside, I have a question concerning how the stars were made if all starlight arrived on Day 4. If we assume that the ASC is the language of the bible, does it mean that God would have to have created the stars from the farthest distances first, followed by stars closer to us thereafter, such that all starlight reached Earth on Day 4?



The answer to his last question is yes, but Lucas uses the ESC to describe the situation of how he imagined God created the universe, but one cannot mix up the time convention language. I have tried to illustrate the method of creation in Fig. 2. From an ESC viewpoint it would appear that God made the galaxies in shells consecutively moving closer to Earth at the centre (at the speed c, isotropic sped of light) so that all the light of all the galaxies arrives for the first time on Day 4. From the ASC viewpoint the light all arrives some time on Day 4, but travels at infinite speed to Earth from any where in the cosmos. Thus we might say the moment the light arrived at the Earth was the moment it was ‘observed’ (for example by the plants, created on Day 3).

Figure 1: A finite near galactocentric universe is shown with the earth near the centre. Light from all galaxies and stars arrives sometime during Day 4 of Creation week for the first time. Under the ASC model, to a hypothetical earth-bound observer the creation of stars was timed by when their light first arrived at the earth.
Figure 2: A finite near-galactocentric universe is shown with the earth near the centre. Light from all galaxies and stars arrives sometime during Day 4 of Creation week for the first time. Under the ASC model, to a hypothetical earth-bound observer the creation of stars was timed by when their light first arrived at the earth.

The main question I have had in relation to the ASC model has not been the science—it is consistent with Einstein’s relativity theory—but is it the language of the Bible? Does the Bible use the language of appearance to time stamp the events of creation, particularly of the heavenly bodies?

While reading the book of Isaiah this morning one verse really struck me as significant.

“Mine hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spanned the heavens: when I call to them, they stand up together.” (Isaiah 48:13)

The word ‘spanned’ comes from the Hebrew word טָּפַח taphach meaning to flatten out or extend (as a tent). It has the same concept as many others like it do, simply meaning God created all the stars of heaven like one puts up a tent. But He says he called and they instantly responded. This very much reflects the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) in language.

God spoke and instantly it was done. There is no delay of billions of years waiting for light to arrive for the stars to be created. No matter how distant they were God spoke and the stars ‘stood up together’ which means they were all created at the same time.

You might argue that that is also true in biblical creationist time dilation cosmologies where all light from all galaxies and stars arrives on Day 4. Ok, those cosmologies use the Einstein Synchrony Convention (ESC) and by the time the light arrives at the earth in cosmological time it has been travelling for millions or billions of years.

The Lord speaking through the Apostle Peter tells us that,

“… the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)

It is not the heavens of some past time (under ESC) when the light left billions of years earlier but the present heavens, the heavens now. This is the language of ASC.

Finally we are reminded of the creation sequence of events, in six ordinary 24 hour days.

“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:…” (Exodus 20:11)

God spoke and the earth was created instantly, He spoke and the sea was created instantly, He spoke and formed all the marine and terrestrial creatures, instantly.  In the same way God spoke and the heavens were instantly created. This is the language of the Bible.

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By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.