Re: apparent age

Steven Fawl (
Tue, 2 Apr 96 10:13:36 -0800

The problem of apparent age is not receiving any more attention now than at
any time in the past, at least not from my perspective. When I discuss this
issue I usually start with the following line of questions.

Q: Is it possible for God to have created the earth 10 seconds ago with all
of our memories intact and in such a way that the earth had the appearance
of age?

A: No. If God created the earth just 10 seconds ago, then Jesus never died
on the cross, I am dead in my sins, and God is a liar.

Q: Could God have created the earth just prior to the time of Christ in
order to preserve what Christ did on the cross?

A: No. The Old Testament would not have been written yet which prophecies
about the coming of Christ and the relationship to Christ and the Law.
Abraham would never have been born, there would have been no promise, God
would be a liar once again.

Q: How far back into time must I go so that what I see is consistent with
what I read in the Bible?

A: This gets to the crux of the matter. I am going to assume the following
about a young earth view.

1) The earth and the universe is (probably) no more than about 10,000 years

2) There was no death nor decay prior to the fall of man.

What are the consequences of adopting these two, generally believed views of
a young earth? The problem arises from starlight. As you may well know
Henry Morris argues that the universe is young and that the reason that we
see starlight from objects known to be more than 10,000 light years away is
that God created light *in transit* on the first day of creation making it
appear as though it had taken millions or billions of light years for it to
get to us. But here is the problem.

In 1985 (I think it was this year, I don't have my references but the
argument works none-the-less regardless of the year) astronomers saw a
super-nova and named it 1985a. The astronomers told us that the star was
about 150,000 light years away. If Morris is right about starlight then the
reason why we are able to see this star is because the light from the star
was created in transit on the first day of creation (read, before the fall
of man). Since the star is more than 10,000 light years away we are
currently viewing the light that God created on the first day and will
continue to do so for the next 140,000 years or more, or until enough time
has lapsed for the actual light from the star to reach us. The problem is
that this light was created prior to the fall of man and yet in it we see
the destruction of a star. For this to happen God would have had to write
into the starlight the death of a star even though the star itself had not
yet been created (it was made on the 4th day, as opposed to the light that
was created on the first day) and before there was any death or decay
(sometime after the sixth day).

The other interesting consequence of this is that this starlight is not the
light that is actually coming from the star but is the light created by God
(at least for the next 140,000 years for Supernova 1985A). Since nearly all
stars are more than 10,000 light years away the entire science of astronomy
is based on a history written, not in the light of stars, but in the light
that God created on the first day of creation, which is a history that never
occured in time/space. This means that all of astronomy is based on a lie
fabricated by God in starlight on the first day of creation.

It seems to me that it is simpler and much less destructive to simply say
that the universe is old and that things lived and died prior to the fall of
man. This way, what we observe is easily reconciled with what we know of
God's essential being.

If someone were to ask me if God could create a world that looked old but
that was actually young I would have to point out the natural consequence of
such a statement and say that God could not do this because it runs contrary
to his essential nature. Much to the surprise of many, God cannot do just
anything, he cannot lie, cheat, steal, nor give his glory to anyone. He
places limitations on himself and I think that creating a young earth to
look old is one of those limitations. He cannot do it.