Is it possible that when we look into the cosmos that we are seeing into the past?
We hear all the time that we are looking into the past when we look out into space. But we can’t definitively say that! In the following I’ll explain why.
Astronomers say that because the speed of light is a finite value (c = 299,792.458 km/s ) it takes light 1 year to travel a distance of 1 light-year. On the surface of it that seems very reasonable.
That means that light leaving the star alpha Centauri, which is 4.3 light-years away, took 4.3 years to get to Earth and thus the information in that light is 4.3 years old by the time it gets to Earth. Thus they say we are looking back in time — into the past. And for distant galaxies this means we are looking back in time even billions of years.
As six-day creationists, can we know what God did when he created this vast universe? If we agree that God created the universe, and it was created in a form that is essentially like we observe today—a mature creation—very large, tens of billions of light-years across—very old in appearance, in terms of processes we observe—then we have two possibilities within the creationist worldview:1
God created everything about 6 thousand years ago and we cannot know how He did it in Creation Week but somehow we can see the whole visible universe, including “… events which lie entirely beyond our limited understanding of nature”;2 or,
God created everything about 6 thousand years ago and we can (in principle) know how He did it in Creation Week as much as we are able to see the whole visible universe.
We can take the position that we cannot know how God did it because it was supernatural and beyond our understanding. However, we should not make untenable claims such as that supernovae (exploding stars) represent death and hence must have occurred after the Fall. (A supernova is a light show resulting from exploding gas. It cannot be construed as death in the biblical sense.3) Or even the claim that modern physics (that developed post-1905, starting with Einstein’s three papers published in Annalen der Physik, which dealt with the photoelectric effect (quantum theory), special relativity and Brownian motion) is all wrong. One idea that has developed in recent times is that modern quantum theory, modern special and general relativity and hence modern astrophysics and cosmology, which include both of the latter, are wrong. Some creationists even reject these modern ideas, preferring only classical physics, while others claim we cannot even know the physics of this universe. These notions I reject. Continue reading →