Do really faraway stars prove that the universe is billions of years old? Doesn’t that conflict with the Bible? Has the speed of light always been the fasting thing in the universe? It is possible that the speed of light is not truly known? Or maybe it was briefly faster than it was now? Inflation Theory seems to suggest so and it was thought of to correct the LTT (Light Time Travel) problem with the Big Bang model. The Speed of light is based on light’s two-way speed, that is the speed going the distance away from an emitter and round trip back after bouncing off a surface. What we call the speed of light, is not a measurement of a one-way trip from one location to another, so we don’t truly how light speed works. Science only knows so much. Here are some things to ponder on the subject.
If there’s a galaxy that is 10 billion ly in one direction from the earth, and another galaxy in the opposite direction that is 10 billion ly from the earth, then how far away are they from each other? 20 billion ly right? Well if the universe is only about 14 billion years old, then it shouldn’t be possible for anything to be further than 14 billion ly. However, there are star systems that defy this logic so the Big Bang model is faulty. There’s not enough time for different parts of the universe to have cooled to the same temp, yet CMBR (Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation) shows that it has cooled to an even amount, this is called the Horizon Problem.
Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation projections show that the universe is mostly at the same temperature (+- 0.001K). Even with billions of years, that’s not enough time for temperature uniformity in the Big Bang Model. The Big Bang is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made from matter that emerged around the same time, but according to the same worldview, the stuff that matter makes up (elements, rocks, stars, planets, etc) all came into existence at different times. So shouldn’t different parts of the universe reflect this by being more varied in temperature?
Theoretical physicists have hypothesized Inflation Theory, as a solution to this problem. They say right after the universe exploded it must have inflated rapidly faster than the speed of light. There is debate on whether or not this is the solution or if other models will work better. Inflation Theory exists because of the need to solve the problem of LTT in the Big Bang Model. Is there a biblical framework for such a construct? Well, the Bible says the heavens were “stretched out” by God (Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:12, Jeremiah 10:12, Jeremiah 51:15, Zechariah 12:1). So from a biblical perspective, this would explain how stars can be light years away yet the universe is still young and fit into a biblical cosmic timeline.
Physicists have suggested different models describing the inflating universe, but all the solutions are mathematical conveniences with no particular physical basis.
“‘All the theories of inflation amount to proof that we don’t have one good theory yet,’ says Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory astrophysicist Edward W. “Rocky” Kolb. Sincell, Ref. 24, p. 49, emphasis added.”
Paul J. Steinhardt one of the originators of Inflation theory has rejected it in recent years. “[T]he cosmology community has not taken a cold, honest look at the big bang inflationary theory or paid significant attention to critics who question whether inflation happened. Rather cosmologists appear to accept at face value the proponents’ assertion that we must believe the inflationary theory because it offers the only simple explanation of the observed features of the universe.”
Read More about Steinhardt and Inflation Theory in this Forbes Article.
Spike Psarris, Electrical Engineer, say this exact same thing. He sums up the issues with the Horizon Problem, Inflation, and the one-way measurement of the speed of light. At 51:00 he starts explaining an interesting concept by physics that proposes the possibility of two clocks, one within a possible creation event horizon and one outside of it.
Watch Psarris’ presentation here: Star Light vs Biblical Creation
On The Speed of Light:
Starlight shouldn’t be measured by a metric that is designed for measuring how fast light comes back to the starting point since we are not sending light out to a star and measuring how fast it comes back. Measuring the speed of light from an external source would yield a different speed. Our defined speed of light is relative to the position of the observer and is only useful when sending light to a distant object and measuring how fast it comes back. Researchers are still trying to prove that the speed of light is the same in all directions, so what we call the “speed of light” is only an assumption. One may assume that light always travels at the same speed and in both directions, but various variables like gravity wells and such may affect the speed of light via time dilatation. So we cannot simply divide the two-way measurement in half. We would need a way to synchronize clocks on both points of a one-way traveling light, and calculate the true starting point (which is impossible when dealing with something like starlight). We have never measured the speed of light outside of our solar system to check the consistency, so it is an assumption.
Measuring the one-way speed of light is barely possible with objects on earth because synchronizing two clocks in different locations is tricky depending on the locations. Even with a computer showing both times, there is a chance of disruption for one or both of the signals causing de-synchronization. Synchronizing them in the same location and moving one works better but as one clock moves its gravity changes according to relativity. The most effective way to measure the speed of light without discrepancy is by measuring the two-way speed, and by calculating the time it takes for light to return in a round trip from the source location. Einstein didn’t have an answer for this problem, he said when presented with two different results for measuring the one-way speed of light, “you simply pick the one that suits the data best”.
“That light requires the same time to traverse the path A→M as for the path B→M is in reality neither a supposition nor a hypothesis about the physical nature of light, but a stipulation which I can make of my own free will in order to arrive at a definition of simultaneity.”
–Einstein, A. (1916). Relativity: The Special and General Theory, p.27-28.
There is also the issue of time dilation and gravity wells. In a gravity well, time acts differently and things can be slower. We have to use bias equations with satellites or else our GPS would be off and the satellites are only hundreds of miles above the surface, and yet gravity wells influence our ability to use them.
Some info on Gravity Wells:
“Einstein’s general relativity theory says that gravity curves space and time, resulting in a tendency for the orbiting clocks to tick slightly faster, by about 45 microseconds per day. The net result is that time on a GPS satellite clock advances faster than a clock on the ground by about 38 microseconds per day.”
“…But at 38 microseconds per day, the relativistic offset in the rates of the satellite clocks is so large that, if left uncompensated, it would cause navigational errors that accumulate faster than 10 km per day! GPS accounts for relativity by electronically adjusting the rates of the satellite clocks, and by building mathematical corrections into the computer chips which solve for the user’s location. Without the proper application of relativity, GPS would fail in its navigational functions within about 2 minutes.”
Read More Here:
In conclusion, since the speed of light in one direction is not proven and the Light Time Travel is a major hiccup in the Big Bang model, there is room for correction in naturalistic assumptions about the process of the formation of the cosmos. If it is possible for stars to be further away than they “should be” in a naturalistic worldview, then there really is no argument against a biblical worldview that says the universe is younger. The necessity of something like inflation theory shows that the big bang model and the cosmic formation theories based on it are faulty and not really “the one true origin story” that secular media claims it is. A bible believer could argue that the cosmic creation process involved an inflation theory type model where the stars were simply placed into the positions close to where they are by God now in the beginning on day 4 of creation (Gen 1:14-19). As stated before the bible says the heavens were “stretched out” by God (Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:12, Jeremiah 10:12, Jeremiah 51:15, Zechariah 12:1). Sounds like scripture has a solution to the LTT problem, there is a creator that purposefully made things they way he wanted without having to adhere to natural laws he set up afterward. God didn’t form Adam and eve as babies, he formed them at least at reproduction age, and he formed fully developed fruit trees within a few days, so the God of the Bible, is capable of creating them at maturity in the lifecycle.
Hebrews 11:3 (NLT) 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
This scripture indicates that the universe was not formed based on anything that we see and experience now, but rather it was formed simply at the word of the creator. His word makes it clear that God is not limited by natural laws since he made them and therefore they don’t inform us of the process of how he made anything. Naturalism is an origin story based on the limitations placed on the natural world, which contradicts itself because it must break the rules it relies upon. On the other hand, creationism is an origin story initiated by a limitless creator. Anyone who believes in an all-powerful creator has no reason to limit his abilities based on the restriction of the created world. We would say the capabilities of a video game developer are limited by the programming of their own game, would we?
The issue with our definition of the speed of light
Paul J. Steinhardt on Inflation Cosmology