Astronomical Indications

The starry heavens, when considered along with the speed of light, certainly appear to have had a history longer than a few thousand years. We can now readily sense the immense distances by the many hours it takes to send radio messages to our outer planet space probes, such as the Voyagers, and back. We can directly measure distances to the nearest stars in terms of light years by measuring how much they move back and forth against the background sky as the earth orbits the sun. We can calibrate various classes of stars as having an intrinsic brightness, and then estimate their distances from how much their apparent brightness has faded with distance. Even within our own Milky Way galaxy and our local group of galaxies, this quickly brings us to apparent elapsed times for star light to travel to us much greater than the elapsed time in the biblical account of creation. This part of the universe is still the region in which our interpretations are guided by standard, not relativistic, physics. We young-earth advocates have an apparent problem, therefore.

Over a decade ago, there was a supernova in the Magellanic Clouds, small satellite galaxies to our own at an apparent distance of about 150,000 light years. Did that star actually explode that many years ago? Or did God, only a few thousand years ago, make a self-consistent field of electromagnetic waves (including light) that has only recently given us the appearance of an exploding star? Here is another example in which there is an appearance of age. Scientifically it appears that the star was that old when it exploded, just as Adam looked as if he were many years old on the Seventh Day. To be biblical, we have to be in awe of our God, who can orchestrate the entire heavens in such great detail!

The Hubble telescope is now showing galaxies incredibly far away. The distances are based upon an expanding-universe theory, where spectral shifts are interpreted as red shifts of recessional speed. The series of assumptions gives apparent distances of up to about 10 billion light-years. We may want to question the assumptions. We may want to consider that the red shifts might instead be from a solidly rotating cosmos. Tangential, not just radial, velocities can cause red shifts, but we have no way of measuring tangential velocities for distant galaxies. We may want to consider the 'white hole' expansion of the universe proposed by Humphries as a step towards explaining the apparent old universe in light of a biblically young earth and starry heavens. The Bible certainly teaches that God 'stretched out the heavens' (Psalm 104:2 and at least 8 other passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah). Perhaps the red shift is the signature of this stretching out of the universe. Ultimately, 'the heavens declare the glory of God' (Psalm 19:1). We still have much to learn about them, and so the clash of time scales will be with us for a longtime in the future.

However, there is an interesting phenomenon among the stars that gives a time scale in agreement with that in the Bible. By watching other galaxies of similar composition to our own, we know about how often there are supernovae explosions, such as about every 25 years in a galaxy like our own. We do not see that many explosions in our Milky Way because dust obscures our local view. Furthermore, we can measure the general rate of expansion of the nebula remnants of the explosions. We can calculate that we should be able to detect those nebulae for millions of years before they diffuse and blend into the background. Our radio telescopes can see through the dust with ease and detect many more supernova remnants than we can see at optical wavelengths. How many supernova remnants are out there in our own galaxy? There are only enough for about 7000, not millions of, years of explosions. Here is an important discrepancy that has been known for decades. We need to pursue this topic.

Getting back to our own solar system, I have greatly enjoyed the images of the outer planets and their moons that have been sent back to us by the space probes. They show a fantastic variety out there that was never predicted by any of the theories of solar system evolution. The only major prediction that came true was of the magnetic moments of Uranus and Neptune, proclaimed in advance by Humphries, a creationist, based upon arguments with biblical connections. For the rest of the discoveries, it is as if God created that variety out there just to keep us humble. We have a long way to go to understand how God made the creation, and the God-less theories will always be proven wrong in the end.

It is similarly interesting that scientists are now accepting semi-global-scale flooding on Mars, where there is no longer any surface water. They can now see a relatively recent global resurfacing of Venus by flooding with lava. Jupiter's large moon known as Europa is totally flooded right now with a surface layer of cracking water-ice, with indications of a liquid ocean below. Yet most scientists are reluctant to admit that the earth might also have had global flooding in the recent past, even though the earth is still over 70 per cent flooded, and most of the continental areas are covered with vast sheets of water-laid sediments. These phenomena relate to the Genesis flood rather than the 6-day creation, but support the acceptability of the early chapters of Genesis.

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