Cosmic chronology is an attempt to interpret the record of events in the cosmos to determine the order of their occurrence (timeline). In particular, it addresses the temporal sequence of events that occurred during the formation of the cosmos. Cosmic chronologists determine the dates of events (such as the Big Bang, the formation of stars, galaxies and planets), then arranges them in the order in which they occurred.
While much work is being done by creation scientists to develop a model of the creation of the cosmos, it should be noted that because a supernatural act was involved, we might never understand aspects of the universe within the Biblical timeframe. For example, physicists say that light from far off galaxies must have traveled through space for billions of years to reach us, and events such as supernovas occurred before life ever existed on Earth.
Although these astrophysical measurements might be accurate we must understand that God created the universe in a manner that simply defies naturalistic explanation (See: Miracle). The Bible says that the universe was stretched out. This might be consistent with observations, such as red shift, that indicate expansion.
"By the word of God the heavens existed long ago ..." - 2_Peter 3:5 (NASB)
Furthermore, Isaiah 42:5 says that the Lord "stretched out ... the heavens."
Creation scientists study astronomical processes and attempt to explain stellar phenomena from the presupposition that celestial bodies were created by God. Most creationists also draw from religious texts (such as the Bible) for insight. The Bible dates the universe as having the same age as that of the Earth or just over 6000 years. There is indeed much evidence to support the contention that our solar system, galaxies and even the entirety of the universe was recently created.
In contrast, secular scientists date the universe as being approximately 13.7 billion years using standard cosmologies. The universe is believed to have begun with a cosmic inflation known as the Big Bang, which is then followed by the formation of stars and then galaxies and planets. Based on this chronology the Earth is believed to have formed after our Sun and is dated to be near 4.6 billion years old.
- Main Article: Creation cosmology
The age of the universe is far beyond what a typical creation scientist would countenance. In response several creation cosmologies have been proposed to explain the existence of a recently created universe with the appearance of great age.
Due to progress in the theory of general relativity, it is now understood gravity and velocity can affect the passage of time. Dr. Russell Humphreys' White Hole Cosmology shows that, given the right starting conditions, time on Earth could have run significantly more slowly than in the rest of the universe, or even stood completely still while continuing to pass elsewhere. This would allow star light from deep space to reach Earth, even though Earth was still young. The cosmological relativity of Dr. John Hartnett shows the same.
White Hole Cosmology
- Main Article: White hole cosmology
A white hole near the earth at the beginning of the universe has been proposed to explain the existence of distant starlight in a young universe. This would cause, due to relativistic considerations, a change in apparent time. While this setup is acceptable to those assuming a creationist paradigm, it can be attacked on anthropocentric grounds by secular science. Russell Humphreys, the author of this cosmology, has been criticized by those upset by his model. A repository of criticism and his response can be found here.
- Main Article: Cosmological relativity
Dr. John Hartnett has developed a young Earth creation cosmology based on Dr. Moshe Carmeli's theory of cosmological relativity. Like Russell Humphreys' white hole cosmology, it uses time dilation in a bounded universe. But this dilation results from a rapid expansion of space rather than the gravity of a white hole. Thus it explains a persistent criticism of the white-hole model, namely that if our galaxy were at the bottom of a gravity well, then incoming light should display a blue shift, not a red.
Hartnett’s cosmology readily explains the large scale structure of the universe without either dark matter or dark energy. In addition, it readily explains how starlight from far-distant objects can reach a young earth.
C-decay proposes a continuously changing speed of light, which would explain both the age of the universe (and earth) due to radiometric dating, and also indicates that the doppler shift, the common method of dating far objects, is not caused by kinematic or relativistic red shift. This cosmology has the merit of explaining quantized red shift, which present cosmologies fail to do. However, John Hartnett points out that c-decay would predict that the stars would "disappear" from our sky and then "reappear," something to which that neither the Bible nor any other historical record testifies.
- Main Article: Progressive creationism
Alternatively, the day-age creation cosmology holds that the account of Genesis is true, but argue that the Creation "days" were not 24-hour days. Instead it is believed they lasted for long periods of time—or as the theory's name implies: the "days" each lasted an age. According to this view, the sequence and duration of the Creation "days" is representative or symbolic of the sequence and duration of events that scientists theorize to have happened, such that Genesis can be read as a summary of modern science, simplified for the benefit of pre-scientific humans.
However, many argue that this perspective conflicts with the Biblical account wherein it says that the lights in the heavens were created on the 4th day of creation. This is especially significant because it establishes a stark inconsistency with the chronology put forth by big bang cosmology, which places stars to have evolved first, then planets after billions of years.
Young universe evidence
- Main Article: Supernova remnants
When a star runs out of nuclear fuel, it collapses on itself in a mere two seconds, creating a brilliant explosion of energy that is mind-boggling (enough to fuel eighty million stars the size of the sun for nearly a century!). When astronomers apply physical laws to the expanding cloud of gas and debris, known as a SuperNova Remnant (SNR), they can predict in three basic stages what should occur. If the Milky Way galaxy were really billions of years old as evolutionary astronomers claim, then many SNRs should be observed. Mounting evidence however, reveals a wide discrepancy between the number predicted and the number observed. In fact, the numbers are far close to a galaxy of thousands rather than billions of years old. The numbers for the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Milky Way's satellite galaxy, also supports a young universe. The utter dearth of SNRs is a baffling mystery to secular astronomers but an affirmation to God's creation of the cosmos less than 10,000 years ago.
Danny Faulkner suggests that one major challenge to the standard model is the lack of old supernova remnants. Theory suggests that supernovae should be visible for several million years, but yet we find almost none that are more than a few thousand years old.
Opponents however, assert that the dating method Faulkner uses for SNRs can only be used for young ones, and claim that using a different dating method older SNR have been identified.
Spiral galaxies like the Milky Way are massive collections of billions of stars, dust, and interstellar gas in a spiral shape. Spiral galaxies rotate very slowly, but the outer regions spin far slower than the inner regions. Thus, spiral galaxies wind tighter and tighter until, after several hundred billion years, their spiral structure would no longer be evident. The big bang theory states that all galaxies are many billions of years old, yet spiral galaxies are found throughout the universe, indicating that they must be much younger than secular scientists claim.
Some evolutionists assert that galaxy and planet formation take millions of years. However, in 2004, the Spitzer Space Telescope detected a clearing of dust around a star that is "only" a million years old. They theorize that the object that cleared the dust is a planet at least as large as Jupiter. This would be (by evolutionary standards) the youngest planet ever observed. According to Alan Boss, an astronomer for the Carnegie Institution of Washington, the find "has profound implications for the prevalence of planetary systems similar to our own. That means you can make gas giant planets - a major component of our own solar system - in a short time scale, in even the shortest-lived disc." The discovery suggested scientists would have to rethink their models about planetary formation.
In 2002, scientists at the European Southern Observatory used an extremely powerful telescope and discovered what appeared to be fully formed galaxies. Considering the extreme distance (and the time it would take for visible light to travel that distance), scientists believe they are looking at an ancient view of the region and are surprised to find the galaxies already fully-formed. This, scientists say, was having "a profound impact on current attempts to understand the formation and evolution of galaxies."
Speed of Light
- Main Article: Speed of light
The speed of light in vacuum is held to be constant at 299,792,458 m/s. Designated by the symbol "c", it is a fundamental quantity of the universe. According to Special Relativity it is the universe's speed limit and it is part of the relation between mass and energy:
It has been proposed that the speed of light has decayed since the Creation. While this theory opened the door to scientific solutions to the problem of distant star in a recent creation, it is not generally accepted by creation scientists.
- Main Article: Stellar measurement
Astronomers measure stellar distances by employing parallax for the closest stars and redshift for stars, galaxies, and other objects further out. Because these distances are quite vast, secular astronomers assume that the universe is at least as old as the time required for light from the most distant objects to reach the earth. The current estimate of that time is 13.7 billion years.
- Astronomical dating
- Cosmological relativity
- Gravitational time dilation
- New Redshift Interpretation by Robert Gentry
- Red shift
- White hole cosmology
- Wright, Edward L. "Age of the Universe." Department of Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles, July 2, 2005. Accessed August 18, 2008.
- Exploding stars point to a young universe by Jonathan Sarfati. Creation 19(3):46–48. June 1997.
- A Review of Stellar Remnants: Physics, Evolution, and Interpretation by Danny R. Faulkner CRSQ 44(2):76-84. Fall 2007.
- Supernovas, Supernova Remnants and Young-earth Creationism by Talk.Origins
- Does the Bible say anything about astronomy? Dr. Jason Lisle, War of the Worldviews. 2005.
- Mullen, Leslie. "Young Planet Challenges Old Theories." Astrobiology Magazine online, May 28, 2004. Accessed March 7, 2008.
- Whitehouse, David. "Distant galaxies break record." BBC News, December 13, 2002. Accessed March 7, 2008.
- Exploding stars point to a young universe: Where are all the supernova remnants? by Jonathan Sarfati. Creation 19(3):46–48 June 1997
- A Second Look at Supernova Remnants
- So Long, Eternal Universe; Hello Beginning, Hello End!” by Bert Thompson, Ph.D. Apologetics Press.
- Geo and Cosmic Chronology by R. H. Brown. Origins 8(1):20-45 (1981).