The Apparent Age of the Stars and a Young Earth

Posted by on May 20, 2001 in Think & Believe Newsletter | 0 comments

The Bible indicates the universe is young but why does it appear so old?  Physicist, Dr. Russell Humphreys studied this problem for about 12 years.  His professional career as a scientist at Sandia Laboratories includes investigating various aspects of nuclear energy which requires a thorough understanding of relativity theory.  His answer to the problem is based upon Einstein’s prediction that clocks run at different rates.  The rate that a clock records time has been shown experimentally to depend upon how fast the clock is traveling and the strength of the gravitational field near the clock.  This is referred to as time dilation.

Dr. Humphreys dedicated much time studying the Bible to understand how God may have placed the stars in the heavens.  Genesis 1:2 speaks of the creation beginning as something referred to as “the deep” which was made of water.  God speaks of separating this water into the “waters above” and the “waters below,” creating an “expanse” as stated in Genesis 1:7.  Several other scriptures such as Isaiah 40:22 and Jeremiah 10:12 says God stretched out the heavens.  It appears that a good scriptural argument can be made that places the “waters above” as a boundary to our universe and the “stretching out” to create an expanse or space for galaxies, stars and our solar system.  In Genesis 1:14, 15, God says He placed lights in this expanse to mark seasons and to give light on the earth.

Dr. Humphreys developed a model based on the assumption that the universe has a boundary and that the earth is located near it s center.  These two assumptions are quite different than those used in the popular Big Bang theory that assumes the universe has no boundary and no unique center.  Although Humphreys uses the same physics and mathematical equations that were used to develop the big bang theory, his results are drastically different due to the starting assumptions.  If the boundary of the universe was much smaller when originally created, a clock located near the center of the universe would advance much slower than a clock placed near the boundary.  Dr. Humphreys’ calculations show the clock placed near the boundary would record a time of as much as 20 billion years while the clock located near the center would record only three or four days.  After as little as four days of time passed as recorded by the clock near the center, the universe would have expanded beyond a critical size.  Time dilation would then subside and clocks would begin to advance at similar rates throughout most of the universe. 

According to the Big Bang theory, galaxies should be uniformly distributed
throughout the universe.  However, they are not.  Observational evidence shows that galaxies are less plentiful the farther they are from earth regardless of the direction of the observation.  This certainly could suggest that the earth is near the center of the universe.  If this is true, then our region of the universe would show the greatest time dilation.  Earth time could indeed be measured in thousands of years while time appears to be measured in billions of years elsewhere.

Humphrey’s theory of cosmology has been the first theory using Einstein’s general relativity that presents a plausible scientific model for the creation of the universe and which coincides with a literal interpretation of the Bible.  Hopefully, this will now be studied by others and refined or spawn even better models that will correlate modern cosmology and young earth creation ideas.

Further information can be found in Dr. Humphrey’s Book – Starlight & Time

(Editor’s note:  The author of this article is a local creationist.  Publishing this article is meant to open discussion on a difficult subject.  Remember, Dennis is writing about theories that are historical in nature and are not to be taken as fact.  Also remember Isaiah 55:9:  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  We will never know exactly how He created it all until we see God’s instant replay video. – Dave Nutting)


By Dennis Haimerl

This was published as an article in the May/June 2001 Think and Believe.

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