If the light coming from even the closest star takes millions of years to reach our Earth, how is it possible that our planet may be only thousands of years old as New Earth Creationists support?
Many theories have been proposed on this subject, some more applicable or understandable than others for lay people. Most of these theories attempt to explain this problem by using some kind of variation in the physical properties of light.
The answer, according to Dr. Danny Faulkner, renowned astronomer and author of over 100 papers on the subject, may be hidden in the careful interpretation of Biblical Scripture in the original Hebrew text.
As we read in the Biblical account of Genesis, stars were made on Day Four, immediately visible and “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14 ESV , Crossway 2011).
The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light years away. That means it takes 4.3 years for the light coming from it to reach us and be visible.
Adam was made on Day Six, so according to the above consideration about the speed of light he would not have seen the stars for at least 4.3 years. But Scripture states differently.
How can Christians reconcile these seemingly contrasting observations?
In his article “A proposal for a new solution to the light travel problem” Dr. Faulkner suggests that light from the stars may not actually have moved through an existing space, but be created at the same time as the space itself, “stretched out” with the heavens. In support of his theory, the Hebrew text of multiple Biblical passages defines the process of Creation of the heavens as a “stretching out” of space, similar to unrolling a tent material, not an elastic process (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 51:13) and will be removed in a reverse order (Isaiah 34:4).
Like a pattern becomes visible on a rug being unrolled, so light would have moved at unprecedented speed just as space was being created, instead of through space as our current understanding of physics would require.
The naturalist approach would have the universe and life on Earth be the product of accidental combination of forces in the initial Big Bang. But this theory has its own problems. For instance, the universe appears uniform in content, which means it is not expanding from one point but expanding in all directions. If it has started from one point, what caused it to do so? And finally, the organization of matter into galaxies and stars is in direct opposition with the fundamental law of entropy governing the universe, which dictates that for a process to take place it has to produce, as a whole, a lower level of organization. So how can this happen?
It is impossible to test how the universe came to be with an experiment. Any theory to explain this issue has to rely on indirect evidence, deduction and reasoning based on sound logic and science. But as science continues to tackle difficult problems, we find the answers often align with Biblical truth.
It is up to us to take the time to understand the world around us, and not accept as dogma the opinions of the conforming majority.
Faulkner, D.R. 2013. Astronomical distance determination
methods and the light travel time problem. Answers
Research Journal 6:211-229.