HOUSMAIL HM#091 - "BIG BANGS" AND DISTORTED TIME 31 May 2002
It must be emphasised at the start of this paper, that we are talking about THEORIES which have been formulated to explain data observed by astronomers. These theories are NOT proven facts! They have already changed many times over the last century or so, and they may be expected to change again, and again, when new discoveries are made by astronomers. That is the nature of TRUE science!
The descriptions contained in this paper have been compiled from a great mass of VERY complicated papers written in the "scientific language" which scientists seem to love to use, to impress other scientists. I have attempted to greatly simplify this language for the benefit of the laymen for whom it is written.
There have been many theories by astronomers, about how the universe got started. Today, two of the main contenders amongst these have been the "Steady State" theory, and the "Big Bang" model. There is no universal agreement about the validity of either of these theories. They are still hotly debated by leading astronomers! However, with some noteable exceptions, (see below - "Trust the Scientists?") until recently, the majority of the present generation, have rejected "Steady State", and favor one or other of the many variations of the "Big Bang".
"BIG BANG" MODEL
The essential feature of this theory is that the Universe resulted from an explosion of a concentration of matter, which existed long ago, at an extremely high temperature. Various figures have been speculated as to the time of this explosion, but as larger telescopes find new galaxies further and further away from our own Milky Way Galaxy, recent figures have ranged from about 10 to as much as 16 billion years ago! According to this theory, the explosion first produced huge clouds of gas, which condensed to form galaxies of stars. In our Solar System, the sun eventually threw off molten materials which then cooled over billions of years, to form the planets and their moons. Finally through an enormous number of unexplained and statistically impossible "accidents", plant, animal, and human life "evolved"!
Another variation of the "Big Bang" says that our "expanding Universe" will eventually reach an outer limit, after which it will reverse and collapse inwards. It has also been said that the solar system has only a finite life, and will eventually come to an end, when the sun has burnt all its available fuel. (However, we need not worry about such pessimistic predictions. It would be a simple matter for the Creator who set it all in place, to REFUEL the Sun, before that happened!)
AND THE "RED SHIFT"
Observed data indicates a huge universe of virtually infinite dimensions! The nearest star is 4 light years away! The most remote galaxies discovered so far, are estimated to be 16 billion light years away! [A light year is the distance travelled by light in one year, whilst travelling at approximately 300,000 km per second.] These enormous distances are calculated from a theory which has been speculatively formulated to explain a phenomenon known as the "Red Shift". The color of light reaching earth from the more distant galaxies, appears more red than that from closer galaxies. This shift in color towards red is believed to be caused by increases in speed at which distant objects are moving away from the earth. The greater the distance, the greater the speed, and the more red the color of the light which reaches the earth. The problem we face here is that we are not seeing that source as it is in real time today, but as it was when the light commenced its unimaginably long journey, as much as 16 billion years ago! (Indeed we cannot even be certain that the source still exists!)
But the BIG question is -- How can a universe created less than 10,000 years ago, be sending light that is 16 billion years old? (For one theory about that, see "Creation and the Constancy of Time" below.)
One theory says that the initial "Big Bang" explosion came from an enormous Black Hole. A "Black Hole" is a theoretical cosmic body of enormous mass, and extremely intense gravity, from which nothing can escape. Because they are believed to emit no light or other radiation, and are very small in cosmic terms, it is virtually impossible to prove by observation, that they actually exist. Do they really exist? Well, maybe ..... astronomers have discovered unusual "events" in space, which they speculate to be black holes. Although invisible, they have gravitational effects on other nearby matter, which match what would be expected of a "black hole".
"STEADY STATE" THEORY
This theoretical view of the Universe says that it has always existed and is always expanding, but that matter is being created continuously to form new stars, and maintain a constant average density. The "steady state" universe has no beginning or end, in time. Since the 1950s it has declined in popularity, in the face of increased support for the "Big Bang" model. (The "king's new clothes syndrome" at work?)
DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
Of course all of this "Big Bang" stuff is at variance with the Bible, which says that Creation occupied only six Earth-days, each with a morning and evening. The Sun, Moon, and Stars, together with the seasons, will endure for ever. (Psalm 104:5; Eccl 1:4; Gen 8:22) The Gospel of the Kingdom says the same when it promises the earth as the everlasting inheritance of Jesus and his brethren. (Gen 17:8; Luke 1:33)
AND THE CONSTANCY OF TIME
Of course, like all theories, these just described above, depend on a set of assumptions which must be made before they can appear to "work". Even Einstein admitted that his "theory of relativity" depends on a basic set of assumptions which cannot be proved! It is not surprising therefore, to discover that much of the modern speculation about the origin and age of the Universe also depends on assumptions about things like:
1. The speed of light has remained constant for thousands of billions of years.However all of those assumptions have recently been challenged by leading scientists! (Not without opposition!) The key issue is NOT whether these new theories are correct -- but that they have been seriously proposed by men with ability to understand and discuss mathematics at the "Einstein level".
2. The rates of decay for radioactive materials have remained unaltered for the same billions of years.
3. That time is an unalterable constant.
I won't pretend to understand, or explain, all that they are saying! Nor will I attempt to enter into judgement about whether or not they are correct. I merely note that they do exist, and that they attempt to explain the same astronomical data on which the other theories described above are based -- but in terms of a "YOUNG EARTH", with an age of less than 10,000 years!
Just for now, we will take brief note of one of them. Even if it should ultimately be completely discredited, it will serve to illustrate that the "Big Bang" and "Steady State" are NOT the only "games in town". Other theoretical speculations are certainly equally possible -- in harmony with the Bible!
Russell Humphries, the author of the theory, attempts to explain it for laymen in his book "Starlight and Time". Briefly, he says that under some conditions, time can be distorted so that what is observed to occupy only one 24 hour Earth-day, here on earth, can actually take billions of years, "out there" in a different "event horizon". Boggles the mind a bit doesn't it? Is it true? Who can tell? But it does give us a VERY good reason to place a hold on acceptance of any of the other theories which say that Genesis has got it wrong!
Why should I trust the "big bangs" of this current generation of scientists any more than those who told me in my childhood that the atom could never be split? Or those who said that space travel was impossible? Or those who initially actively rejected and campaigned against Lister's use of antiseptics for surgery? Etc., Etc..
Besides ..... recently, MANY scientists have found reasons to repudiate the "Big Bang" theory altogether !
Of course this paper is written from the viewpoint of one who accepts the BIBLE as an accurate historical record of the Creation by the God of the Bible. In Gen 1:1 the Bible says that "in the beginning", God made the heavens and the earth. Commencing in verse 2, it then describes the work of six earth-days, in which the work of creation was completed. The Bible is not very clear about the timing of "the beginning" described in verse 1. Nor do I pretend to know how long the earth continued "without form and void" before the work commenced, which is described from verse 2 onwards. But it is abundantly clear that the writer of Genesis intended to convey the message that this stage of the work was completed in six literal Earth-days! Moses repeats this claim in Exod 20:11; 31:17.
Jesus set his seal of approval on the Genesis record by quoting from it . (Cf. Gen 1:27; 2:24 with Matt 19:4-5) If we reject Genesis 1 through 3, we also reject the credibility of Jesus as the source of all truth! And we would also have to ask how reliable those other chapters are, which contain the "Kingdom Promises" on which our Abrahamic Faith is founded.
That must mean that the data on which atheistic scientists have based their "Long Earth Age" theories is equally capable of an alternative truly scientific explanation, consistent with the Bible record. That record, I submit, commits us to a "Young Earth Age", for all that we can observe of this present Creation. Our "Abrahamic Faith" requires that we must not change the Bible to fit the "observed data"! If anything must be changed, it is the speculative theories which try to interpret that data in conflict with the Bible, and originate largely from foolish men who also say that there is no God! Read for yourself what the Bible says about them, in Psalm; 14:1; 53:1.