"Light from a star that exploded 13 billion years ago has been detected, becoming the most distant object in the universe ever observed. The light from the distant explosion, called a gamma-ray burst, first reached Earth on April 23 and was detected by NASA's Swift satellite. Gamma-ray bursts are thought to be associated with the formation of star-sized black holes as massive stars collapse." (FOX)
How do "young earthers" explain stories like this?
We know two things: God’s Word clearly indicates 24 hour periods for the explanation of creation in Genesis. What is the point of instituting the Sabbath Day in Exodus 20?: "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:.....For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth....and rested the seventh day". Are we to rest for long ages of time before the sabbath day is finished? What about genealogies in the New Testament that go back to Adam? The use of the word day in Exodus is exactly the same as in Genesis (yom). Six times in Genesis it is stated, "...and the evening and the morning were the (1-6th) day." Surely if God intended for us to understand it to be great periods of time, He could have expressed this thought in words that would make it clear. It seems it was very easy for the Holy Spirit to direct the writer of Genesis in verse 38:12 "And in the process of time the daughter of Shuah Judah’s wife died..." This clearly states an extended process of time; not a 24 hour period. Therefore, as far as the process of time is concerned from the vantage point of earth-time.., creation occurred in 6-24 hour periods.
The second thing we know is that we know very little about "time". All of us understand that "time" was created when the universe was created. And we know that time is relative to space and matter. We also know that time is relative to gravity and mass. For instance a clock poised atop the Himalayas ticks at a different rate than clocks at sea level. This is a confirmed fact. Scientists call this phenomenon, "gravitational time dilation". Einstein wrote, "the rate of a clock is accordingly slower the greater the mass...in it’s neighborhood". (The Meaning of Relativity, pg 92) All matters of time relate only to the physical universe. God is outside of time. He is the creator of time. He is timeless.
Dr. D. Russell Humphreys has written a marvelous thought-provoking booklet entitled, "Starlight and Time" in which he attempts to show the relativity of time in God’s early creation. Both "billions" of years for distant galaxies and twenty-four hour earthly creation periods can co-exist, he says, depending on your location. Our location has always been earth-bound. Therefore the Bible speaks to us in terms of the natural rotation of the Earth’s axis and its movement around the Sun. To condense this booklet into a few sentences may be a difficult task, nevertheless I will attempt it. By the way, the mathematical equations stated in the booklet that are involved in this theory are well beyond my feeble understanding, and many equations are given. I would suggest you invest the $8.00 or so and buy a copy. One thing that both random chance ‘big-bang" theorists and God directed "creation" proponents would agree on is that during the formation of our universe science was much different than we know it today. Has the speed of light ever been different than it is today? Perhaps! What happens to time and light when the space in which it is contained is expanded or stretched? We are told in the Psalms that God stretched out the heaven like a curtain. If the universe is "bounded", i.e., has a limit or an edge and the universe has expanded or been stretched equally from the center in all directions during the creation period what we have is a "black hole" in reverse. Humphreys calls it a "white hole". No matter which direction we point our telescopes there appears to be as much matter in all directions, which would indicate that we are at the center point or near center point of the universe. Would God create the universe with the Earth at its center? There is no proof either for or against this idea. The universe appears to be 15-20 billion light years no matter which way we point our instruments. Is this because space is curved and we can only see to the horizon? Good question! Admittedly, it is conjecture, just as much as it is that we are not at the center.
During the process of creation, i.e., the 6-24 hour periods, EST (Earth Standard Time) God stretched out the heavens in all directions: "Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain" Ps 104:2; "He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." Jer 10:12...and there are many many other verses indicating a stretching out of interstellar space. "As a consequence gravitational time dilation caused clocks (and all physical processes) both inside and outside the event horizon (the border of the white hole) to tick at vastly different rates from one another in different places" (Starlight and Time, pg 79). What is an event horizon? "In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime, most often an area surrounding a black hole, (in our case..a white hole ) beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. Light emitted from beyond the horizon can never reach the observer, and any object that approaches the horizon from the observer's side appears to slow down and never quite pass through the horizon, with its image becoming more and more redshifted as time elapses. " (Wikipedia) In the black hole everything is packed so densely that even light cannot get out. As more and more matter falls into a black hole the event horizon beyond which light cannot escape expands. The gravitational effect is so great that even light cannot escape.
In a "white hole" all the matter is escaping outward rather than inward as in a black hole and the event horizon eventually shrinks and disappears. As the matter escapes, the event horizon becomes smaller and smaller until it eventually disappears to zero. In our "white hole" scenario, as the event horizon approaches toward the earth, time, compared to the outer edges of the expansion, is slowing to a crawl. "The shrinking event horizon reaches earth early on the morning of the fourth day. During this ordinary day as measured on earth, billions of years worth of physical processes take take place in the distant cosmos." (ibid, pg 37) If an observer could look outwards into distant space during the creation process he would see clocks whirring at phenomenal speeds while his own would be ticking along at a normal pace. In short, the booklet attempts to show that 24 hours on earth is possible while at the outer reaches of the universe plenty of time (billions of years) is available for the light to reach the observer on Earth. "God stops the expansion before the evening of the sixth day. Therefore, Adam and Eve gazing up for the first time into the new night sky can now see the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and all the other splendors in the heavens that declare the glory of God." (ibid pg 38)
Now here is my caveat. I am certainly not prepared to defend the proposals made by Humphreys in his book. The sole intent and purpose for this particular blog is that you may know that there are highly trained intelligent physicists that are thinking and writing about the possibilities of our origins based upon an understanding of God’s Word. We assume that God’s Word is just that and that it has meaning and purpose and that it conveys to us the truths as God would have us understand. After all, He (our Triune God) was the only one there when these creative processes were begun. God asked of Job, "Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its dwelling place, that you may take it to its boundary and that you may discern the paths to its home?" (Job 38:19-20) Our desire is to understand truth as God understands it. A noble goal!