The purpose of this blog is to promote a Christian worldview, based on the Bible as God's inerrant and fully authoritative Word, in accordance with the Reformed Confessions.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Rapidly Matured Creation
the universe is young, how can we see light from galaxies billions of
lights away? A simple solution is that of Rapidly
This was discussed, in passing, in my previous postsIs
Mature Creation Deceptive?
at Creationist Convention. For convenience,
that material is summarized here in a separate post.
solution is a generalized version of Mature Creation, which was
popular among creationists a few decades ago. According to the Mature
Creation model, God created the full-blown stellar heaven (including
stars, galaxies, and their light in transit) instantaneously
on Day 4. [See my post Mature
Mature Creation model is observationally beyond disproof. It draws
upon no speculative physics nor unusual conditions. At least not
beyond Day 4. It merely requires a miraculous creation on Day 4.
common objection is that, if light was created in transit, then the
starlight that Adam observed did not actually originate from the
stars where the light seemingly came from. Moreover, the details
of starlight seemingly relate specific historical events. For
example, a supernova, observed to occur in 1987, appeared to be
170,000 light-years away, suggesting that it exploded 170,000 years
ago. If this event never really happened, is this not just an
elaborate fiction, a hoax created by God?
alleged deception of Mature Creation can be avoided simply by
dropping the assumption that God made the entire stellar heaven
instantaneously. After all, the Bible tells us only:
God made the two great lights...and the stars. And God set them in
the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over
the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the
darkness. And God saw that it was good." (Gen.1:16-18)
God saw that "it was good" suggests the stars were
functioning as planned, their light reaching the Earth, before the
end of Day 4. This leaves room for the possibility that the making of
the stars may have involved some (very rapid)process.
there are indications of process for at least some of the work on the
other days. For example, on Day 3, “the earth brought forth
vegetation” (Gen.1:12), on Day 6, “let the earth
bring forth living creatures" (Gen.1:24). In Genesis 2 Adam,
trees, beasts, and birds are all formed "out of the ground"
by God. These all suggest the employment of process, albeit
rapid and miraculous.
particularly pertinent miracle is Jonah’s shade tree, “which
came into being in a night” (Jonah 4). It seems that everything
else around Jonah continued normally, but God miraculously
accelerated the plant’s growth so that a year’s growth took place
in just a few hours. Does this not seem similar to the earth
sprouting trees on Day 3?
not the same apply for Day 4, where normal providence held for the
earth while God worked miraculously to form the Sun, stars, and
galaxies? All celestial processes (gravity, light, nuclear reactions,
etc.) may have been highly accelerated, so that watching the creation
of the stellar sky on Day 4 might be like watching a video in fast
motion. What normally takes billions of years happens on Day 4 in
just a few hours. This includes not just the formation of celestial
objects, but also the transmission of their light to the earth. The
notion that God used miraculous process in producing a mature
creation is hardly original. It must have occurred to many people. It
was very briefly discussed in my book "God
(2001, p.199), where I attributed this idea to Dr. Edgar Andrews (in
O.R. Barclay (ed.), "Creation
and Evolution: When Christians Disagree,
Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1985, p.65). More recently, a
somewhat similar proposal has been promoted by Dr. Danny
except that he seems to attribute the miraculous transmission of
light to the rapid stretching of space, rather than to light itself
moving very quickly.
might well ask: if all the energy received on earth from space
(including Sun, Moon, stars, etc.) over
billions of years, were compressed into only one
day, would this huge amount of energy not destroy the earthly
vegetation created on Day 3?
energy problem could be solved if processes were accelerated at a
rate directly proportional to distance from the Earth, so
that light from any star, no matter how distant, would only take one
day to get to the Earth. That would alleviate concerns about
excessive energy flux. However, this would allow little time for
process in the formation of stars and galaxies, which would then have
to be created virtually instantaneously in mature form.
better, more general, approach is to note that creation generally
requires further miraculous activity beyond merely accelerating
normal processes. For example, the accelerated growth of Jonah’s
vine seems to have required a miraculous power source, since there
was no solar energy during the night.
normal physical laws may well have been modified or superseded during
the miraculous formation of celestial objects on Day 4.
rapid process be usefully applied to a mature creation of the
earth? The separation of water and earth on Day 3 might well have
involved rapid geological processes, perhaps even accelerated
fossil-bearing rocks seem more problematic. Some proponents of mature
creation (e.g., P.G. Nelson Another
Look at Mature Creation)
propose that God created the earth with fossils in it. To postulate
that such fossils were formed by a rapid process involving animals
created, dying, and fossilizing, all in Day 3, seems rather
implausible, particularly since no animals were created before Day 5.
Although one might suggest that such fossils were formed, via rapid
process, from non-living material, this does not seem very helpful.
sum, with a Rapidly Matured Creation the celestial light we see may
actually have come from stars and galaxies. Supernova explosions may
have actually occurred, galaxies may show scars of actual collisions,
since these astronomical phenomena are largely due to accelerated,
miraculous processes operative on Day 4, interpreting these events in
terms of current physical laws may yield erroneous conclusions about
proposal draws only upon the miraculous nature of the creation events
of Day 4. It does not rely on speculative physics, extraordinary
initial configurations, or ad hoc conventions, particularly not
after Day 4.