THE PROBLEM OF DISTANT STARLIGHT
I know that a number of creationists have wrestled with the problem of distant starlight, and I would like to suggest a possible solution that I have never seen offered.
Let me begin by saying that I am approaching this question as a theologian, not a scientist. And, from a theological point of view the words, “to give light upon the earth,” require the light from the sun, moon and stars to be present on the fourth day (Genesis 1:15). Some may speculate that the light was actually created when God said, “let there be light,” but it had to be present on the fourth day. That being said, let me quote a statement from the book “God at Ground Zero,” by Curt Sewell.
“The distance to most galaxies should probably be measured in billions of light years. So how can their light reach us in the limited time we believe the universe has existed? This is undoubtedly the most difficult question that creationists face.
There have been several proposed answers, but they all have problems. These suggestions include: 1) starlight was created, in situ, distributed along the paths that we see today,… although this opens the door to charges that God is deceiving us by the appearance of events that happened long before creation — or conceivably may not have actually happened at all!” [Pages 215-216.]
As I read that statement, the words, “events that happened long before creation” tell me that Mr. Sewell is assuming that if light was created in route that it was created to give the appearance of age. I believe that assumption is at the root of the problem, and I would like to suggest an alternative.
In order to make what I have to say easier to follow, I am going to speak of just one star, Alpha-Centauri, and will speak of it as being four light years from the earth although I realize that distance is rounded off. The idea that I wish to propose is this:
If, we were able to take a very powerful telescope back in time, back to the very day the stars were created, and had it focused on Alpha Centauri, Mr. Sewell’s statement assumes that what we would see would be Alpha Centauri as it might have appeared four years before it was created. However, what if God created the light to reveal Alpha Centauri as it actually appeared at that time. So that one hour later, or one day later, we would see it just as it was at that moment etc.. If that was the case, then four years after creation, as the actual light of the star began to reach the earth, Alpha Centauri would look exactly as it did on the day of creation.
If that was the case for all of the stars, then today we would actually be seeing any stars that are over approximately six-thousand light years distant from the earth exactly as they appear.
I can even make a prediction on the basis of this Idea. If evolution is true, then stars that are a great distance from earth should appear to be younger than stars that are not so far away. However, if the idea I have proposed is true, while various stars may appear older or younger according to our current theories, distance should not make any difference in the age.
That still leaves us with the problem of stars that have gotten brighter and then ceased to give light. However, since death is the result of sin, I believe that part of the problem has to with the fact that we speak of it as the “death of a star”. Technically speaking, a star cannot die since it is not alive. The stars that have disappeared are still there – at least the matter/energy they were composed of is still there. So, I believe that we have two possible solutions: 1) God created the light to reveal exactly what the star would look like even though He knew that because of sin it would cease to give light, or, 2) the disappearance of some stars does not reveal the result of sin but the fact that God never intended for the universe to be eternal. Concerning that second possibility: if neither Adam nor any of His descendants had sinned, it is possible that at some point God would have translated everyone to a higher plane of existence, as he did Enoch. I realize that is speculation. However, if it were the case, then the disappearance of some stars would not be a problem.
Gary Ray Branscome