The universe is truly vast; tens of billions of light-years in size. If the universe is only about 6000 years old how do we see galaxies at all, which are more than 6000 light-years away? This is the biblical creationist starlight travel time problem. I present 5 categories wherein potential solutions may be found. Besides the big bang also has a light travel time problem—the horizon problem—besides many other various problems.
In March 2015 it was reported that “[a]stronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, spotted four images of a distant exploding star. The images are arranged in a cross-shaped pattern by the powerful gravity of a foreground galaxy embedded in a massive cluster of galaxies.”1 See galaxy in inset in Fig. 1, which has been enlarged in Fig. 2.
Astronomers were looking at a massive elliptical galaxy (Fig .2) and its associated galaxy cluster MACS J1149+2223 (Fig. 1), which is supposedly at a distance in the universe such that the light from the galaxy should take more than 5 billion years to reach Earth. They then found something that has never been seen before. The huge mass of the elliptical galaxy and the cluster is believed to bend the light from a much more distant galaxy where a supernova was occurring. The image of the supernova then is seen as an Einstein cross made from 4 separate images of the same supernova, heic1505, also named Refsdal. In Fig. 1 arrows indicate the 4 images. Fig. 1. shows a wide view of the cluster and the elliptical galaxy with the alleged identical 4 supernova images around it.
A YEC scientist questioned Jason Lisle regarding his choice of the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC) in his cosmological model. That scientist believes that the Einstein Synchrony Convention (ESC) is the more natural choice and correct choice for the cosmology of the Universe as well as the one that the biblical language uses. Dr Jason Lisle responds with the following.
For the sake of time, this will have to be my last clarification on the matter. But I’ll try to answer your most relevant questions and comments. Regarding your comment that “ASC says nothing about reality,” that would require some clarification. Both ESC and ASC are coordinate systems that describe the same underlying reality. (Perhaps that’s what you meant.) But the fact that either can be applied with equal legitimacy, each making correct predictions in regard to any relativistic experiment or observation, says something quite profound about reality. Namely, the universe is non-Newtonian, and our measurements of time and space are necessarily observer-dependent. As a result, one-way velocities are inherently conventional to some extent. This necessarily includes the one-way speed of light.
The relativistic nature of spacetime can be “pushed” conceptually from one place to another, but it cannot be eliminated. Your comment that using ASC “the imagined speed of light depends on its direction where the observer is” illustrates this – because the same type of thing is true of velocities under ESC. Under ESC observer A sees light moving at speed c relative to himself, and observer B sees light moving at speed c relative to herself, even if A and B are moving relative to each other! Moreover, if observer A accelerates, he will perceive that the light adjusts so that it is still speed c faster than himself. Under either convention the light seems to “know” what the observer is doing and instantly adjusts itself relative to any given observer. Like it or not, that’s the way the universe is.
The aberration of starlight (also called stellar aberration) is an astronomical phenomenon which produces an apparent motion of stars about their locations dependent on the velocity of the observer. Aberration causes objects to appear to be angled or tilted towards the direction of motion of the observer compared to when the observer is stationary. The change in angle is very small, and specified by the ratio of v/c where c is the canonical speed of light and v the velocity of the observer. With annual stellar aberration, the apparent change in the position of a star varies as observed by an Earth observer periodically over a year as the Earth’s velocity changes as it revolves around the Sun, with a maximum angle of about 20 arc-seconds in right ascension or declination. It traces a small ellipse on the sky over that time.
The fact of stellar aberration, which has been explained by a constant speed of light c, has been used by some to “refute” the idea of an infinite one-way speed of light in Lisle’s ASC model. The claim is that aberration would not occur at all if the one-way incoming speed of light was infinite, thus v/c = 0, here. Dr Jason Lisle responds to this claim.
Here are quotes from two of your articles that I’d like to ask a question about:
“My first model (2003)1 employed no gravitational potential well, but a supernatural causation only. During Creation week, God miraculously slowed Earth and the solar system clocks in comparison to cosmic clocks. The model doesn’t need an expanding universe, but it is rather ad hoc. That is, it invokes a miracle.” quoted fromSTARLIGHT AND TIME: IS IT A BRICK WALL FOR BIBLICAL CREATION?
In the first case, God miraculously slowing local vs cosmic clocks is deemed ad hoc; however,in the second case God is required to do trillions of smaller miracles (creating all the stars in a certain order, over billions of years). How is the second any less ad hoc than the first?
My recent post “A biblical creationist cosmogony” describes a cosmogony involving Lisle’s ASC (Anisotropic Synchrony Convention) model in a static universe with some added features. However the question has been asked whether it allows for sufficient time in terms of process in the cosmos to account for things like the formation of supernova remnants (SNR)?
The reason for this question is that because the ASC model and associated cosmogony essentially is saying the Universe is only about 6000 years old, it follows that no structures (stars, galaxies, quasars, SNRs etc) can have an age greater than this 6000 years. But aren’t galaxies billions of years old? Is there any evidence of expanding clouds from supernovae that are much older than 6000 years? There really are two categories to study here. One is apparent age and the other actual age. Our sun for example was created on Day 4 about 6000 years ago, therefore it cannot be the 4.7-billion-year-old star as we have been told.
Since God clearly told us in Scripture that he created the sun on that particular day, we know how old it is. The assumed uniformitarian age is based on man’s belief, which excludes a supernatural creation. Therefore the billions of years are not by some direct measurement but by imposition of a belief system. The same goes for all stars and galaxies as well.
Abstract: According to the Bible the Universe is about six thousand years old. It follows from all standard assumptions that we have a starlight-travel-time problem. With the Universe being billions of light-years in extent how does light travel across the Universe to Earth within the timescale of only about six thousand years as laid out by summing up the years represented by the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11? This problem has been a stumbling block to many simply to believe the inerrant Word of God. Others have attempted to re-interpret the Scriptures to force them to fit in with so-called modern scientific dating of the age of the Universe. But is this really necessary? I take another look at the problem and ask the following questions: What is absolutely non-negotiable? What can we say for sure? What defines our universe? And is that consistent from a biblical creationist perspective? The cosmogony I propose involves Lisle’s ASC (Anisotropic Synchrony Convention) model in a static universe with added features and a mechanism for cosmological redshifts, which is consistent with all creationist understandings of the biblical texts, and no light-travel time problem. Article first published by Answers Research Journal 8 (2015):13–20. PDF available here.
What do we know from science about the size and nature (the physics) of the Universe? In the following I list what I believe we know, but there are some necessary, and I think reasonable, assumptions included.
If the universe is only 6000 years old according to Moses (Genesis chapters 5 and 11) then biblical creationists have a starlight-travel-time problem. The universe is tens of billions of light-years across. There are good scientific grounds to believe that is the case. So shouldn’t it take at least billions of years for light to reach us from the distant galaxies? How do you reconcile the size of the Universe with only the 6000 years or so available since the Creation, according to Genesis chapter 1 in the Bible? I once listed five possible areas that we might find a solution.1
I believe that within the following options or categories explanations may be found that are consistent with the text of Genesis and so maintain the interpretation of 6 × 24-hour literal earth-rotation days of creation, about 6000 years ago. They are briefly discussed here in no particular order.
1. A timing convention
One possibility is that the language of Genesis is phenomenological language(describing appearance). In this case, stars were made billions of years before Day 4,2 but in such a manner that the light from all stars (and galaxies), no matter how far away, all arrived at the earth on Day 4 and so their light could have been seen first at that moment. This is reference frame ‘time-stamping’ events from the moment they are seen on Earth.
Lisle’s timing or clock synchrony convention3,4 describes this idea. He presented two possible interpretations: One is phenomenological language and the second has to do with the physical nature of the created universe.
Part II of two parts: This paper reviews Lisle’s cosmological model, which uses the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC). That model claims the ASC is that of the language used in the Bible, and has special relevance to the creation account. Events are time stamped by the moment they are first observed on Earth. Lisle contends that the stars really were made on the fourth day of Creation Week, and that their light reached Earth instantaneously due to the way clocks are synchronized. (First published in Journal of Creation 25(3): 56-62, 2011.)
This continues where Part I left off. Read Part I first.
Process in observed structures
How much time does it takes for structures in the cosmos to form based on assumptions of their current measured expansion rates, like in supernova remnants, for example? And how much is necessary to be assumed as created mature by God?