I was once asked: “How could the universe be only 6000-10000 years old, when each evening, when I look up at the stars, the lights (not counting the moon or the planets in this solar system) I see took millions of years to reach me?” I didn’t know how to answer. I could only say that I believed an answer did exist, but I didn’t know what that would be. Well, years have passed since that time, and I never discussed this subject again over the internet until now. If what I understand today could be shot down, then so be it. Let the truth prevail.
I continually search for the truth, but this doesn’t mean I will accept any story or even the most popular story about the origin of the universe without an investigation of my own. What I’ve found is that often people willingly accept a seemingly plausible story about our origin, simply because they don’t have a better one, or because an origin without God is too appealing to resist. Problems with the popular story are ignored, because, no doubt, the story happens to be the most popular explanation coming from the most educated people in science. Nevertheless, scientific theories are often proved wrong by other scientists, but such a thing is not considered by the fans of the current popular story concerning origins.
What then could be said about distant starlight? Is the universe, after all, really billions of years old? In a word: “No!” Nevertheless, there are many reasons why the universe cannot be very old: not enough supernovas, the existence of comets, spiral galaxies, galactic clusters etc. While scientists do come up with other theories about why these things are so, their explanations and/or theories are not without their own problems.
In the Bible we are told that God created the stars on the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:14-19), and there are several plausible theories concerning how this could have been done. Personally, I prefer the mature creation theory with some modification, because it seems to fit with the Genesis 1 account best. It goes like this. All of God’s creation was done from a perspective of maturity. Adam and Eve were adults, as were all animals, birds, fish and creeping things. Otherwise they would be unable to fulfill the command to increase and multiply.
The stars were also created fully formed, appearing much as we see them today. God expanded or stretched out space (cp. Isaiah 40:22) creating what is known to science today as the Red Shift, and this is important, because it may point to the solution of the problem for distant starlight.
I believe the greatest problem directed against a six day creation is that the starlight we see comes from stars billions of light years away. It simply couldn’t have arrived in the Earth’s visible skyline in 6000 years, let alone in two days—in time for Adam to notice. Moreover, supernovas, occurring approximately every 25-30 years seem to tell us that God indulged in deception in a 6000 year old universe, because, in effect, God created something that isn’t really there. For example, if the universe is 6000 years old, and for the sake of argument, we consider Kepler’s supernova that occurred in 1604 CE at a distance of 13000 to 23000 light years away, it would mean the supernova “occurred” cir. 8400 to 16400 years before creation in a then (in 1604) cir. 4600 year old universe. Supernovas at greater distances would result in even greater apparent deceptions. Well, at least on the surface, that’s a problem.
When Genesis 1:16 says that God made the stars, it is not implied that we could see all of the stars there are in the heavens. After all, we can’t see all of them today when we look up into the sky. With field glasses we could see more, and with telescopes even more. However, Genesis 1:16 does imply that at least many of the stars visible with the naked eye, today, could be seen by Adam when God created him on the 6th day. How was that possible when Alpha Centauri, the closest star (actually a 3 star complex) is the closest star to our sun—at a distance of a little over 4 light years?
Well the answer isn’t easy, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, in such a vast complex universe, how many **easy** answers are there to our questions? Nevertheless, a recent study made by Spanish physicist, João Magueijo, has shocked the scientific world. Dr. Magueijo postulates that light traveled much faster in the beginning of the universe by a factor of 60 orders of magnitude; that’s 186 with 66 zeros attached! In other words, starlight would have permeated the universe instantaneously in the beginning, and the speed of light has slowed down to today’s velocity. If proved true, it would overturn Einstein’s theory of relativity and would make the starlight problem a moot issue!
There are other models, however, that would permit distant starlight to reach the earth relatively very quickly. For example, one called Riemannian space, whereby starlight takes a “short-cut” in its travels, shows the most distant starlight could mathematically reach us in 20 years. This system postulates that spaced is curved, and not based on the Euclidean, straight line theory. There are several other models, besides these, that would permit distant starlight to reach us almost instantaneously, so a literal view of the universe and starlight is not the only model, and the truth about starlight is not something encased in cement.