Is the Universe Young?

Is the Universe Young?

I do set my bow in the cloud

Many creationists who take the Bible literally believe that the entire universe is about 6000 years old. Here I will try to consider this issue from a purely scientific viewpoint, without arguing the Scriptural issues one way or the other. For some evidence for a young universe, see which discusses supernova remnants and . An old-universe response to the article on supernova remnants may be found at .

We consider a number of scientific difficulties with a young universe, and come to the surprising condition that none of these difficulties, in itself, is insurmountable. Not even the assumption of a constant speed of light and a very large universe is necessarily inconsistent with a young universe. This realization was quite a surprise to me, and seems to remove much of the objection to a young universe. We present a number of cosmologies permitting a very young universe, some of which do not require a change in the speed of light or any of the other physical constants. All of these cosmologies are based only on standard cosmological and relativistic concepts, and lead to a young universe that looks like the current one. Of course, there may be more subtle difficulties than I have considered, but then there may be explanations for these, as well. On the other hand, it is not clear to me how much importance one should attach to the issue of the age of the universe.

Eventually we consider some objections to a young universe, and we argue that these objections rule out all but three such cosmologies. However, a more complex version of the other cosmologies is still viable.

One of the distinguishing features of some versions of our cosmology is that they are not isotropic. There is a distinguished location around which the matter of the universe clusters. This corresponds theologically to the fact that the universe is centered around God, and so such a distinction of location is appropriate for us.

We first mention some of the problems with a young universe. One problem with a young universe is that at the current speed of light it would take billions of years for light to reach us from distant galaxies. This implies that the speed of light must be very fast in between the galaxies, or that the speed of light has decreased, or that God created the light in transit from objects that never existed. The latter possibility seems deceptive, but cannot be entirely ruled out. Another possibility is a relativistic system in which time initially ran much slower on the earth than elsewhere, so that 6 earth days were billions of years elsewhere. This gives the earth a special position, which does not seem consistent with the fact that our galaxy is much like all the other galaxies in the universe. It is not necessarily a problem for a very large universe to form quickly, as even some inflationary theories assume. Such theories allow for the universe in its initial stages to expand faster than the speed of light.

Another very interesting possibility is that light beams have expanded as the universe has expanded. Thus if there was a light beam from object A to object B, and space expanded faster than the speed of light, there would still be a light beam from object A to object B, but it would be fainter because the photons would be farther apart. (It is usually assumed that this would also increase the wavelength, but if one views photons as particles, there doesn't seem to be any reason for this.) So the fact that we can see the distant stars does not necessarily mean that the universe is old, or that the speed of light has decreased. Even if the universe is young, and the speed of light is constant, we still might be able to see distant stars due to the expansion of space and light beams.

Along this line, the question of whether the expansion of space would increase the wavelength of light and lead to a red shift is very interesting. An increase in the wavelength of light would decrease its frequency, and thus lead to a loss of energy, contradicting the conservation of energy. Furthermore, the assumption of an increase in the wavelength of light with the expansion of space implies that the universe cannot have expanded very fast, since the observed red shift is fairly small, hence the universe must be very old. But if we allow for the possibility that space could expand rapidly without the wavelength of light increasing, then the possibility of a young universe becomes more feasible. However, some of our cosmologies permit an expansion of space to decrease the frequency of light, as the standard cosmology does.

If the speed of light is very fast in between the galaxies for some reason, this would be very hard for us to know, and might have some unusual consequences. This would have to be due to some unusual relation between the gravitational field and the speed of light. If light has slowed down, as even some physicists have speculated, this would have some observable consequences. In the first few moments of creation, light would have had practically an infinite speed. Thus the light stretching across the universe would represent events that took place in only a few moments. As the light slowed down, the light from these events would take many millions (billions) of years to arrive. Thus we should see events in distant galaxies occurring very slowly. The same effect would be produced if light beams stretched out as space expanded in the early history of the universe.

Of course, one doesn't see much change in the stars, but there are actually many sources of variation such as pulsars, binary stars, Cepheid variables, and supernovae. So if one could determine that the pulsars or binary stars in distant galaxies seemed to be rotating more slowly than those in nearby galaxies, or that the Cepheid variables or supernovae were changing more slowly, then this would be a dramatic evidence that light has slowed down, and that the universe is young. The slowing down of light would not necessarily change its apparent frequency, however.

We can quantify how much slowdown there would be if the universe is about 6000 years old. Let's consider a star that was 60,000 light years away when a beam of light left it. For the light to reach us, its average speed would have to be 10 light years per year. Assuming the speed of light has been decreasing, this means that the speed of light when it left the star was at least 10 times its current value. This would mean that the star would be seen changing 10 times as slowly as it really is. For a star that was 6 million light years away when a beam of light left, it would be seen slowed down by a factor of 1000 at least. A star 6 billion years away when a beam of light left would be seen slowed down by a factor of a million at least. For objects within about 50 light years, there will be no slowdown, since we know that the velocity of light has not changed much in that time.

Similar calculations apply if space has stretched out, stretching light beams with it. If one has a light beam 60,000 light years long with at most 6,000 years of history in it, then this history will arrive on the average at most one year of history per 10 years of time, that is, slowed down by a factor of at least ten. Farther objects would have greater slowdowns. However, I believe that one could only observe distant objects in the condition they were in when they were 6,000 light years or less away from us.

This would seem to be a good way to settle once and for all the question of whether the speed of light has decreased, or whether space has recently been stretched out. One only needs to measure rates of change of close and distant objects. Our own galaxy is, I believe, about 100,000 light years across, so there should even be some slowdown for stars in the Milky Way.

Unfortunately, there is a tremendous variation in the lengths of periods for pulsars, binary stars, and Cepheid variables, making it difficult to detect any slowdown or to know if there is a slowdown with distance at all. Even supernovae shine for weeks, months, or years in different cases. So it is conceivable that such a slowdown exists, and simply has not been observed.

Some recent observations in astronomy indicate that such huge slowdowns are not observed for supernovae. The observed slowdowns are consistent with their redshifts:

This time dilation is a consequence of the standard interpretation of the redshift: a supernova that takes 20 days to decay will appear to take 40 days to decay when observed at redshift z=1. The time dilation has been observed, with 4 different published measurements of this effect in supernova light curves.

This is taken from "Frequently Asked Questions in Cosmology". If such observations are borne out, this would invalidate a simple model in which the speed of light has decreased. But there is a way to account for this using dark matter, as explained below. Furthermore, it seems likely that radioactive decay rates are proportional to the speed of light, meaning that the observed time dilation for radioactive decay would not be influenced by a change in the speed of light.

A slowdown in perceived motion for distant stars might reduce the red shift by a similar proportion, since they would be perceived as moving away more slowly. Or a decrease in the speed of light might increase the red shift. In addition, the slowing down of light or the stretching out of space would make the star seem more faint. Thus a star 6 billion light years away would seem at least a million times as faint as it really is due to a millionfold slowing down of light, which would lead to the conclusion that the star is at least a thousand times farther away than it really is, based on its brightness.

Building on this idea, if the universe is 10,000 years old, and 100 million light years in diameter, with a decrease in the speed of light by a factor of 10,000, then there would only be a slowdown of 10,000 in the perceived rate of change of the most distant stars. Of course, such distant objects are difficult to measure, so the perceived slowdown for nearby objects would be substantially less. Spreading out of light by a factor of 10,000 would make the most distant objects seem 10,000 times as faint as they really are, or, 100 times as far away as they really are. This is because the brightness of an object is inversely proportional to the square of its distance, so a star 100 times as far away would appear 10,000 times as faint. This would make the universe seem 10 billion light years in diameter, not far from the assumed value. Since distant objects might be difficult to observe, it could be that a slowdown of well under 10,000 is all that would be noticeable.

However, an expansion of space or slowdown in the speed of light would not affect perceived angular sizes, which would correspond to true distances. Thus the three measures of distance, namely, angular size, red shift, and brightness, would be out of agreement with each other. The relationship between red shift and distance might appear to be quadratic, rather than linear.

In light of this, the following quotation from "Was There a Big Bang?" by David Berlinski in Commentary Magazine of February 1998 is significant:

The American mathematician I.E. Segal and his associates have studied the evidence for galactic recessional velocity over the course of twenty years, with results that are sharply at odds with predictions of Big Bang cosmology. Segal is a distinguished, indeed a great mathematician, one of the creators of modern function theory and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has incurred the indignation of the astrophysical community by suggesting broadly that their standards of statistical rigor would shame a sociologist. Big Bang cosmology, he writes, owes its acceptance as a physical principle primarily to the uncritical and premature representation of [the redshift-distance relationship] as an empirical fact.... Observed discrepancies . . . have been resolved by a pyramid of exculpatory assumptions, which are inherently incapable of noncircular substantiation.

A statistical inference is compelling only if the samples upon which it rests are objectively compelling. Objectivity, in turn, requires that the process of sampling be both reasonably complete and unbiased. Segal and his colleagues have taken pains to study samples that within the limits of observation are both. Their most recent study contains a detailed parallel analysis of Hubble's law across four wave bands, one that essentially surveys all stellar objects within each band. The analysis is based on new data drawn from the G. de Vaucoleurs survey of bright cluster galaxies, which includes more than 10,000 galaxies. Hubble's own analysis, it is worthwhile to recall, was limited to twenty galaxies.

The results of their analysis are disturbing. The linear relationship that Hubble saw, Segal and his collaborators cannot see and have not found. Rather, the relationship between redshift and flux or apparent brightness that they have studied in a large number of complete samples satisfies a quadratic law, the redshift varying as the square of apparent brightness. "By normal standards of scientific due process," Segal writes, "the results of [Big Bang] cosmology are illusory."

Another observation which suggests that angular size and brightness are out of proportion to one another is taken from material formerly found at the site

Elizabeth Praton suggests that the redshift of distant galaxies has two components: the large one is due to big bang expansion, and the gravitational tug of neighboring galaxies generates the small one.[14] Einstein correctly predicted that gravity can cause a change in the wavelength of light. This might have something to do with the recent observations made by Halton Arp. He noticed that certain types of pinwheel-like galaxies, called Sc I's, have narrower, better defined spiral arms. Sc I's tend to have higher redshifts than the usual Sc galaxies of the same brightness. This means Sc I's are farther away from us and moving faster than the Sc's. When Arp arranged Sc I's in order of increasing distance according to their redshifts, their diameters also grew. Calculations incorporating redshift and HO data show that the farthest and fastest moving Sc I's are also the largest, larger than the giant Sb galaxy, M81 in Ursa Major. If M81 and the Sc I named NGC 309 in Cetus are placed at the same distance, the Sc I appears many times larger.[15] This is strange since Sb galaxies are supposed to be the biggest and brightest galaxies and are used as "standard candles" for determining the distances of galaxies too far away or too dim to measure their redshifts.

Together with recent observations mentioned below that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, these all suggest that either the speed of light is increasing or decreasing, or space has expanded a lot recently, or else something else fundamental about our understanding of the universe is wrong. As for a change in the speed of light, it should be possible to examine the rates of binary stars and pulsars and Cepheid variables in various galaxies and our own to see if there is a systematic slowdown with distance.

Some things in the universe such as black holes and colliding galaxies seem hard to reconcile with the nature of God. An assumption of an old universe would then require that the controversy between good and evil began many billions of years ago, and only recently reached this planet. Thus the effects of sin and rebellion might have been evident in the laws of nature almost from the start. Somehow it is difficult to imagine the existence of evil for so many billions of years. If the universe is young, then the rebellion might be much more recent.

The Heavy Elements

The following observations seem significant in relation to the origin of the heavy elements. According to the theory of the big bang, the following facts are true:

For documentation for these statements, see where it states that after 300,000 years, the universe was 75% hydrogen and 23% helium. At, it states that 98% of the helium in the universe today was produced in the first few seconds, as well as a little lithium. It also states that "All of the other elements--from the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen upon which life is based to metals like iron, copper and gold--were forged in repeating cycles of starbirth and death. And, although stars continue to produce helium, scientists believe that 98% of the helium in the universe today was produced in those first few seconds."

The reason the third point above is assumed must be that there is enough time since the big bang for the other elements to have been generated in the bodies of stars. But it's not reasonable to assume that when the helium was generated, no heavier elements were generated, too. Helium is believed to be generated today inside stars, as well as heavier elements, and similar processes generate heavier elements as generate helium from hydrogen. The heavier elements are not generated by the same processes as helium, nor at the same temperatures, and helium and the heavy elements are not generated in the same places in stars, but as the universe expanded, there would have been a variety of environments produced. There would have been irregularities in the distribution of mass, with some hotter and some cooler areas, and a variety of processes at work, permitting heavier elements to be generated, as well. It is true that helium is no longer generated at the high temperatures at which the heavy elements are generated, but if there were irregularities, we would expect some helium to migrate from cooler regions to hotter ones. And there must have been irregularities at some stage of the big bang to produce the highly inhomogeneous distribution of matter in the current universe. It is plausible, then, that if the big bang is true, then there were more heavy elements generated in it than is assumed. This would therefore imply that the universe is young, since it would require less time to generate the observed amounts of the heavy elements.

This is in agreement with an article formerly found at which stated that the thorium/neodymium radiometric ages of stars are all about the same, regardless of how old the stars are. This would tend to imply that the radiometric decay represented by these ages took place in the big bang, and has nothing to do with the true ages of these stars. This also could imply a young age for the universe, assuming that the big bang is true. This would seem to imply in turn that the speed of light has decreased, for light from distant galaxies to reach us.

It is interesting that a big bang theory in which the heavy elements were generated has already been proposed by George Gamow. This is described in the following quotation from

"That idea first came from the Russian-born American physicist George Gamow in the 1940s. Working with his student Ralph Alpher, he envisioned the universe beginning with an extraordinarily hot Big Bang. As the universe expanded, this superhot primordial soup of protons, neutrons, electrons, and radiation grew steadily cooler, and the constituents began fusing into heavier elements. Helium formed first, followed by all of the heavier elements, with the process wrapping up within about half an hour."

The reason that this is not now assumed is that it is assumed that the temperature of the universe was falling too fast, according to this quotation from

"By a second after the Big Bang, the protons, neutrons, and electrons that make up the bulk of what we see in the universe had formed. Then, about three minutes after the Big Bang, when the temperature had dropped to a still-scorching one billion degrees, protons and neutrons started to combine. These reactions formed deuterium (a form of hydrogen with one proton and one neutron in its nucleus) and helium (with two protons and two neutrons). And that was about it. The temperature of the universe was falling so quickly that there wasn't enough time for the helium to combine into heavier elements."

But compared to helium, so little of the heavy elements exists that it would not require much time at a high temperature for many of them to be generated in the big bang. It would only require 1/50 as high a ratio of higher elements to helium as is assumed to be generated in stars in order to generate the observed amounts of heavy elements in the big bang.

Of course, the idea that heavy elements were generated in the big bang does not imply that the universe is necessarily 6000 years old, and there are many assumptions that are difficult to verify, as well. Furthermore, I don't think that we have enough evidence to decide on scientific grounds whether the universe is old or young, although the traditional view has some plausibility.

A Creationist Cosmology

According to the Bible, the universe was created rapidly. "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood forth." (Psalm 33:6, 9) We now present a cosmology which allows for a rapid creation of the universe, and explains why the universe should appear old very quickly. Again, this cosmology does not necessarily imply that the universe is 6000 years old, but it may allow for the possibility that the universe is very young.

In general, we observe the principle of simplicity in nature. The many physical processes we see can all be explained in terms of the operations of a few basic principles of physics, such as the equations for electromagnetic radiation and the law of gravity. It is reasonable to assume, then, that the Lord operates in this manner when possible, and that the same principle also operated in the creation of the mass of the universe. So we look for a scenario for the creation of the mass of the universe that is as simple as possible. Since Big Bang scenarios are quite simple, we consider them as reasonable candidates.

From the above quotations about the Big Bang, we observe that processes such as the generation of heavy elements that would ordinarily require billions of years can occur much faster in the Big Bang. In addition, we see that the heavy elements require high temperatures for their formation, and the heavier the element, the higher the temperature. (This may not be true for elements heavier than iron, however.)

It is also known that some stars have much higher abundances of the heavy elements than others. It is commonly assumed that the stars with greater abundances are second generation stars which have incorporated the heavy elements formed by earlier stars. However, in a creationist cosmology, we seek to explain the difference in terms of a nearly instantaneous creation.

The fact that it is difficult to explain the abundances of elements according to the traditional cosmology is suggested by the following quotation from the article Chemical Elements: Radioactive chronologies from the online Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Although there is not unanimous agreement concerning these results, it appears that it is, in principle, possible to obtain a considerable amount of information about the past rate of nucleosynthesis and possibly about the types of objects in which it has occurred. In particular, it may eventually be possible to decide whether most element production has occurred in a large number of supernovae or in a much smaller number of massive objects."

We propose that the matter of the universe was formed in a very hot and rapid Big Bang type of process in which essentially all of the heavy elements were generated. This would be similar to Gamow's proposal mentioned above, in which the process lasted about half an hour. Furthermore, we propose that this initial expanding universe was inhomogeneous, with some portions at a much higher temperature than others. This explains why we find more heavy elements in some stars than others. The helium could have been generated in the cooler regions and then become mixed in the hotter regions where the heavy elements were being made. After the generation of the heavy elements, the matter of the universe formed into stars and planets as the expansion slowed down.

Theologically, this scenario can be made plausible by the Biblical suggestion that the universe was made by the breath of God's mouth, that is, by His voice. It is interesting to note from the Bible that the voice of God is very powerful. According to Psalm 29, "the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars" (verse 5). Thus we can imagine that the Lord's creative declaration resulted in a tremendous energy field, but with substantial irregularities, just as one would find in a voice or in a breath. This initial energy and matter then expanded and formed the universe, much as in the Big Bang.

In view of this, we can explain some apparent evidences that the universe is old. One of these evidences is that there are no naturally occurring isotopes which decay rapidly, except for those that are generated by slowly decaying isotopes. This can be explained by the fact that decay would proceed much more rapidly during the Big Bang, and relatively unstable isotopes would be eliminated.

Another evidence for the age of the universe is that a kind of isochron can be drawn involving the earth and various meteorites giving an age of about 4.5 billion years. But since we would have varying concentrations of heavy elements in our cosmology, we would have had mixings of different concentrations of heavy elements. It is known that such mixings can create isochrons giving ages that are too old. We also note that radioactive decay would have been much more rapid in the energetic and violent conditions of the Big Bang, causing matter to appear old according to radiometric dating very rapidly.

This also explains the fact that the uranium decay series is often found to be in equilibrium, a condition that should take about a million years to develop. Such equilibrium would have developed very quickly during the rapid aging and decay taking place in the Big Bang.

In addition, this scenario explains the fact that there is equilibrium in the products of decay induced by cosmic rays on the surface of the moon. Such equilibrium could be explained by a much higher intensity of cosmic rays during the formation of the universe.

Finally, we comment on the speed of light. If the universe is young, then the speed of light between the galaxies must be very high, or else it must have decreased considerably since the creation. The latter view would have the effect of causing more distant galaxies to appear to be moving in slow motion, as explained above. But it would probably also increase their red shift. This would cause these galaxies to appear to be receding more slowly from the earth than galaxies nearer to the earth. (Actually, the distant galaxies would be receding faster than nearby galaxies, but not as fast as one would expect if the universe were expanding at a constant rate. This is because the recession of distant galaxies is caused by the expansion of all the space in between, and the nearby space would be perceived as expanding faster than more distant space.) This in turn could lead to the conclusion that the expansion of the universe is speeding up, since it would appear that the nearer galaxies are moving apart faster than the more distant ones, and the more distant ones would be seen in their condition of supposedly many billions of years ago.

On the other hand, a decrease in the speed of light would increase the red shift. To obtain small red shifts at large distances, it appears that one would instead need an increase in the speed of light.

In fact, astronomers have recently announced the startling finding that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. See for example the article "Exploding Stars Point to a Universal Repulsive Force" in Science Volume 279, 30 January 1998, pp. 651-2, and the article "Cosmic Force May Be Acting Against Gravity; Findings Could Upset Theories of Universe" from The Washington Post of February 27, 1998, Friday, P. A1. This accelerating expansion is attributed to some kind of a repulsive force within the vacuum of space. This must be an unusual force, because it is able to dominate gravity at large distances, but not at small distances. It seems that the explanation of an increase or decrease in the speed of light is another possible explanation of the data. Later we will give another explanation based on an irregular distribution of matter in the universe.

There are a great number of different Big Bang cosmologies, but up to now apparently only a few creationist cosmologies, such as the one by Russell Humphreys involving relativistic time dilation and the earth at the center of the universe. We will also present some cosmologies which have a number of similarities to that of Humphreys. However, it may not be as straightforward in Humphreys' model to explain why the earth should look old. Also, our model does not require the earth to be at the center of the universe. Of course, considerable work would need to be done to see if our cosmology can be made consistent with astronomical observations.

Another attractive possibility is to modify Humphreys' model to put the throne of God instead of the earth at the center of the universe, and to view Genesis 1:1 as written from the viewpoint of God's throne. In this way, billions of years of universe time could pass in a moment of God's time, due to relativistic time dilation. This would also explain why the earth should look old, and form an integral part of the solar system. Then the rest of the Genesis account would be written from the viewpoint of the earth, in earth time.

There are additional possibilities for creationist cosmologies that would eliminate the observed slowdown in the motion of distant objects. These rely on the fact that time flows more slowly in a strong gravitational field, for example, on a very heavy star. Astronomers hypothesize "dark matter" in the universe which is not observable, but which has mass and thus affects the gravitational field. One possibility is to imagine that all galaxies are immersed in a large amount of dark matter. This would have the effect of slowing down time in the galaxies relative to the time passing in between. This could permit light to travel in between the galaxies much faster than on earth. However, this would cause the matter in between the galaxies to appear much speeded up relative to us. The possibility of a time dilation may be hinted at by the Bible verse "a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as a day" (2 Peter 3:8), and also by the day-year principle in prophecy.

Another possibility for eliminating a slowdown in the observed motion of distant stars involves the assumption that the dark matter is heavily clustered near a distinguished location which we will call the "center" of the universe, and that the earth is also near the center of the universe. We can assume also that the density of dark matter gradually diminishes as one goes farther away from this location. Then time would pass slowly at the center of the universe, but more quickly as one went farther away. This effect could cancel out the effect of the slowdown of the speed of light, which would make more distant objects appear to be slowed down by larger factors. To cancel out the assumed slowdown of 10,000 in the apparent motion of distant stars, it would only be necessary for time to be slowed down by a factor of 10,000. This is not the same as Humphreys' cosmology because it does not require the earth to be at the exact center of the universe, and because the amount of slowdown is less (compressing time into 6000 or 10000 years instead of 6 days).

However, a slowdown in time by a factor of 10,000 would make light from distant stars seem 10,000 times as bright as they would be without such a slowdown, and thus these stars would not appear to be so far away. Such a slowdown in time would also give the distant light more time to arrive on earth. So it turns out that we need a different amount of slowdown in this model. Let's assume that an object is 10 billion light years away when light leaves it. Then we can imagine this light to have traveled an average of one thousand times faster than the current speed of light in order to reach earth in about 10 million years. This light would then be about a thousand times as faint when it arrives on the earth as it would be, had the speed of light not changed. Now, time on earth would be slowed down by a factor of about one thousand to permit this light to reach the earth in 10,000 earth years, which would be 10 million years from the viewpoint of the distant star. This slowdown of time on earth would increase the brightness of the light by a factor of a thousand and cause this distant light to recover its true brightness, making the distant star appear to be its true distance of 10 billion light years away. Thus such a cosmology, though it requires a slowdown in the speed of light, permits a large universe.

We note that one can modify this cosmology to avoid the need for a slowdown in the speed of light. The same effect can be obtained by an expansion of space. If space expanded by a factor of 1,000 since a light beam originated, then this light would be stretched out by a factor of 1,000, and would cause distant objects appear to move more slowly by a factor of 1,000. But this factor would be cancelled out by the slowdown in time due to the dark matter. This cosmology can also explain the red shift by a failure of the two opposing factors to match exactly. That is, the speedup in time in distant galaxies due to dark matter near the center of the universe would not quite balance out the slowdown in apparent time in distant galaxies due to the expansion of space and the spreading out of light. Thus the distant galaxies would appear to have a red shift.

Now, an expansion of space by a factor of x will cause light in transit to become dimmer by a factor of x3, since space is three dimensional. One of these factors of x will be cancelled out by a slowdown in time on earth of x, in our cosmology, but there will still be an apparent dimming of x2. This will make the distant object appear to be x times as far away as it was when the light left it. So if the universe is 10,000 years old, and space has expanded by a factor of 1000 since light left an object, then this light would become fainter by a factor of a billion. If time is flowing a thousand times more slowly on earth than far away, this light would have perhaps 10 million years to reach us in its own time frame. Thus we could see objects that are really about 10 million light years away. But their light would be a billion times fainter than it was when leaving the object. However, due to a slowdown of time on the earth, this light would only appear a million times too faint. Thus the distant object would appear to be a thousand times more distant than it really is, based on its brightness. This would make it appear to be 10 billion light years away, and would lead to a universe that looks much like ours. In fact, if space expanded by a factor of 1000 since light left the object, then this object really would be 10 billion light years away when we viewed it. We note that this cosmology also only requires a time dilation of 1000.

There are yet other possibilities to consider. It could be that the slowdown in time due to gravity has changed since the creation, as the distribution of mass has changed. It is also possible that the universe was not originally isotropic, but is so now. This leads to the possibility that time was originally flowing much slower on the earth than in distant regions of the universe, due to a concentration of matter near the earth, but that at present, time is flowing equally fast everywhere. This would mean that at present, light is not made brighter by any slowdown of time on earth, and so objects appear to be at their true distance. This would lead to the most distant objects being roughly 12 billion light years away at the time light left them, and this light would reach the earth in about 6,000 years. This would mean that time has flowed more slowly on the earth in the past by a factor of about 2 million on the average. Such a cosmology has the advantage that it produces a universe that is isotropic, does not require a slowdown in the speed of light, and results in a very large universe in which distant objects really are about 12 billion light years away. So in some ways this possibility is the ``best'' of all those considered, although it requires a large average time dilation on earth in the past. It is possible that this cosmology is very much like that of Humphreys.

Along this line, we can give a possible explanation for the apparent speedup in the expansion of the universe. We can assume that dark matter is concentrated in some large region around the earth. Letting t(x) be the amount of time dilation at a distance x from the earth, we can assume that t(x) decreases slowly with x for some distance, but then begins to decrease rapidly due to the distribution of dark matter. This can be justified by the fact that we are also looking back in time; in the past, we can assume dark matter was more densely concentrated, so the time dilation was larger. This would to some extent cancel out the effect of decreasing time dilation with distance from the earth. However, beyond some point, we would be looking at objects that were outside of the main mass of the universe, and thus time dilation would decrease more rapidly. We can also assume an expansion of space that increases with x; let e(x) be the expansion of space since light left point x on its way to the earth. Now, we can assume that e(x) is proportional to x. Thus the observed time dilation and red shift for x would be proportional to e(x)t(x). Since t(x) decreases slowly and then more rapidly, e(x)t(x) would increase rapidly with x and then increase more slowly, leading to a red shift that first increases rapidly with distance and then more slowly. This would explain the recent observations that have been interpreted as a speedup in the expansion of the universe. This is also in harmony with our cosmologies which assume an irregular distribution of dark matter in the universe.

Another possibility is that distant stars are dimmer because they were dimmer when they began to shine. The more distant stars would be seen at an earlier stage, and thus would seem farther away due to their dimness when light left them.

And of course, we can imagine cosmologies in which the previously mentioned factors combine in various ways: 1. A decrease in the speed of light. 2. An expansion of space. 3. Large concentrations of dark matter with each galaxy. 4. Dark matter concentrated near the center of the universe. 5. Stars dimmer earlier in their history. 6. An age of the universe somewhat larger than 10,000 years. In addition, there may be other factors that we are not aware of. But even the factors we know about seem sufficient to explain the observed universe within a short time frame. So, all in all, it seems that there are no conclusive simple objections to the possibility of a young unverse. In fact, the young universe cosmologies appear to be deeply impressive in their testimony to the wisdom and power of God. If the traditional theory were free from problems, there might be less justification for considering such an unconventional alternative. However, the problems mentioned above with the traditional view make the search for another one more natural.

The possibility that time is flowing 1,000 or more times as quickly on distant stars as it is on earth has some interesting consequences. Assuming that the Lord created other living beings in other star systems, beings who did not sin, then the creation of other worlds could have occurred in parallel with, or at the beginning of, the Genesis creation week. Since time would flow more slowly on earth, all of these other creations could have been completed far in advance of the creation of man. Thus man would be the final product of God's creative activity. This would be in harmony with the verse in Genesis 2:1 "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." It would also explain how "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" at the creation of the earth. The sons of God might be the leaders of the other inhabited worlds in the universe. In addition, if time were running sufficiently faster elsewhere in the universe, there would have been time for Satan to choose to rebel before the entrance of sin into the world. For example, if the fall of man took place a year after the creation, this might have given Satan at least 1,000 years to rebel if time on earth is flowing 1,000 times more slowly. Finally, 6,000 years of earth history might be at least 6 million years of history elsewhere, resulting in beings who have accumulated vast stores of wisdom from ages of considering the ways and works of God. At any rate, the understanding that time can run at different speeds in different parts of the universe lends considerable complexity to the question of whether the universe is young.

We now consider some objections to various young universe cosmologies. One is that a young universe would require galaxies to have rotated only a small fraction of their circumference since the creation. The Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light years in diameter, and thus over 300,000 light years in circumference. Just one rotation would take many millions of years. Ordinarily one would not expect a vortex-like structure to form in less than one rotation. However, this objection can be answered by assuming that these circular patterns began when space was much smaller, when many rotations of the mass of the galaxy could happen quickly.

Another objection to a young universe is that the earth is somewhere near the outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Light coming from distant parts of the Milky Way galaxy would show time dilation, as explained above, unless time on the earth was slowed down relative to the origin of the light. In 6,000 years, light would have to travel from stars probably 60,000 light years away, leading to a slowdown in apparent time of at least 10 to 1 for distant stars in the Milky Way. However, based on current observations of distant supernovae, the time dilation for objects about 12 billion light years away would be slightly over 6, and the time dilation for objects nearby would be essentially one (that is, no dilation). To cancel out a large time dilation within the Milky Way would require a tremendous amount of dark matter to be concentrated around the earth, and thus completely to destroy the gravitational symmetry of the galaxy. The last supernova observed in the Milky Way was in 1604, so we do not know for sure what the time dilation would be for supernovae in distant parts of the Milky Way. But based on other observations, which show a time dilation roughly proportional to the red shift, such a high time dilation in the Milky Way seems unlikely. Even having a large amount of dark matter around each galaxy would probably result in a significant bending of light rays and a distortion of the image of space as viewed from the earth.

However, it is possible to recover such cosmologies by assuming an irregular distribution of dark matter at the creation. Perhaps this dark matter was concentrated in locations where stars formed. It could even have helped to initiate star formation. Then time would have flowed more slowly in the vicinity of some or all stars at the creation. This could also have led to a slowdown of time on earth, and not destroyed the symmetry of our galaxy. Later on, this dark matter could have spread out more evenly so that time dilation would no longer be observed. The fact that time flowed more slowly for stars in the beginning could also explain the low number of supernova remnants that have been observed. Another aspect to this possibility is that a repulsive force in the vacuum of space, if it exists, could imply that there is much more dark matter in the universe than formerly believed, to overcome this repulsive force.

Barring such a distribution of dark matter, the only remaining possibilities for young universe cosmologies are three: 1. Regarding Genesis 1:1 as written from the viewpoint of God's throne, in which a few moments of God's time are equivalent to billions of years of universe time. 2. Considering the universe to have been created mature, with the appearance of age, and light in transit recording events that never happened. 3. Hypothesizing that light is for some reason traveling very rapidly through the vast reaches of space, and reaching the earth in much less than 6,000 years. Of course, it is possible that additional astronomical observations will alter these conclusions, possibly permitting new cosmologies or eliminating one of them.

The Bible seems to require a young universe, though it may be possible to interpret it differently. Therefore the possibility of a young universe should be taken seriously. I hope that the preceding discussion sheds some light on this possibility.

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