Were stars created in creation week?
Kenneth M. from New Zealand criticizes one of our classic articles, Morning has broken but when?, which refutes modified soft gap theories that make stars much older than the earth rather than Day 4 creations as God’s Word teaches. In particular, Mr M takes issue with the section, ‘Can stars be billions of light years away in a young universe?’ Dr Jonathan Sarfati responds.
[Website deleted as per feedback rules] solves the problem of the starlight time travel simply because God always was, from everlasting to everlasting. This is not a gap theory, the sun, moon, our planets and solar system were all made during day 4 of the six literal 24 hour days of Genesis 1. Genesis 1:16, “made the stars also,” doesn’t say when, only tells when we were told in the narrative much later. Read it as “had made stars also.” “In the beginning God”—starts earth’s story, not God’s. It doesn’t tell us when he made the stars beyond our solar system, it’s the first time that he has drawn our attention beyond the earth.Scientifically stars beyond our solar system were created previously, much evidence of collisions etc, so there never was a light time travel problem, we invented it by our interpretation of the Bible.
Dear Mr M.
Thank you for writing to CMI.
Unfortunately, what you propose is clearly ‘science’-driven not text-driven—clearly you accept the uniformitarian ages first, and modify Scripture to try to make it fit the deep-time dogma. This is shown by the first line of your page, “Scientifically our solar system is very young, galaxies are very old.” This is contrary to the correct stance of interpreting science according to the axiomatic framework of biblical history.
It is basically a form of the soft-gap theory, which we have answered in ‘Soft’ gap sophistry. It is very clear from the biblical text that the making of the stars was part of God’s creative activity on Day 4. This can be shown from the Hebrew wə’êt hakkôkābîm הככבים ואת (kôkāb is star), which contains the untranslated ’êt (accusative particle) that marks the stars as the object of the verb in this paragraph, “made”.
Furthermore, your suggestion about, “had made stars also” is untenable. Meredith Kline, a leading promoter of the ‘Framework Hypothesis’, demonstrates that such a reading, i.e. in the pluperfect, is untenable:
Also entailed in the minimalist interpretation of day four is the pluperfect rendering of the verbs expressing the making of the luminaries in the fulfillment section (vv. 16, 17), introduced by “and it was so” (v. 15b). If adopted, the pluperfect could not be restricted to these verbs. For consistently in Genesis 1, what immediately follows the fiat and the “and it was so” formula that answers to the fiat is a detailing of what God proceeded to bring into being in execution of the fiat. In day four then the verbs of fulfillment in verses 16, 17 cannot be pluperfect with respect to the fiat of verses. Temporally they follow the fiat, which means the fiat would have to be put in the same pluperfect tense as its subsequent fulfillment, yielding the translation “And God had said”. That is, day four as a whole would have to be cast in the pluperfect, and that with reference to the time of the events in the preceding days. Ironically, such a translation would make explicit the non-chronological sequence of the narrative, the very thing the pluperfect proposal was trying to avoid.1
Unfortunately, Kline is so intimidated by evolution and billions of years that he rejects a literal interpretation, and so he invented the faulty ‘framework hypothesis’. But as shown above, he also realizes the futility of attempts to preserve Genesis as some sort of historical narrative while accepting the uniformitarian timescale and order of events. Kline’s only recourse is to reject Genesis as history, when he should be questioning evolution/long-ages instead.
It is true that the stars have only a brief mention. But this is no reason to exclude them from Creation Week. Rather, despite the enormous power and number of the stars, Genesis 1:16 just says, “and the stars”, almost as an afterthought. That is, creating even these uncountable enormous hot balls of gas was effortless for the Almighty Elohim!
The following from your website is also folly: “I believe that Lucifer’s (now called Satan) rebellion was long before the earth was created.” This places Satan’s fall before Creation Week, but at the end of Creation Week, God declares everything “very good” (Genesis 1:31), the seventh affirmation of goodness in the chapter, implying a sinless perfection. As the monumental Keil and Delitzsch commentary says:
By the application of the term “good” to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis “very” at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days’ work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it.2
Somewhat later, the German Lutheran OT scholar Gerhard von Rad (1901–1971), emphasised this declaration that the creation was “very good”:
This is of great importance within the terse and plain language of the author. It could also be translated “completely perfect,” and rightly refers more to the wonderful purposefulness and harmony than to the beauty of the entire cosmos. This statement, expressed and written in a world full of innumerable troubles, preserves an inalienable concern of faith: no evil was laid upon the world by God’s hand; neither was His omnipotence limited by any kind of opposing power whatever … God created the world perfect.3
Finally, the stars must have been created during Creation Week, because The Sabbath command of Exodus 20:8–11 is based on God’s creation of the “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them” in six ordinary days. This reinforces the merism of totality of “heavens and earth” by going even further: including the sea as well as the contents of everything—which must logically include the stars. The related resources and links explain some creationist solutions to the distant starlight that are far more plausible than the big-bangers’ attempts.
It’s important to realize that any sort of gap theory, soft (as you propose) or classical (as per Scofield), fails to solve the very ‘problem’ it was concocted for! That is, the clear discrepancy between the biblical time frame of several thousand years, and the secular mythology of billions of years, along with its apparent starlight travel time. Even the solar system is supposed to be 4.55 billion years old, the same ‘age’ as many stars. It is not younger than the rest of the universe at all—the same secular dating that gives billions of years for stars other than our sun also gives billions of years for our sun (and therefore Earth).
So having the stars created billions of years before Earth’s creation week does not solve the supposed problem. Furthermore, if Earth is of such an age, then Earth’s rocks also date to millions and billions of years. But therein lies a huge problem—these rocks contain fossils of animals and people that have suffered and died. Thus, the idea puts death and suffering before the sin of Adam and Eve, and makes God the author of death and suffering. This undermines the Genesis basis of the Gospel in the New Testament, if you think about it. This is a cardinal difficulty with all billions-of-years views, including yours. It solves nothing and creates huge problems.
While the ‘distant starlight’ problem clearly bothers you, it should not, because big bang believers likewise have the same problem in principle: more light years than years. That is, the horizon problem: although the background temperature of space is extremely uniform, there are not enough years for radiation to have traversed the vast distance to equalize the temperatures. This has been recognized as a “big headache for cosmologists, so big that they have come up with some pretty wild solutions.” That is, either space itself has expanded much faster than light (highly problematic inflation theories), or that light itself was much faster in the past, both of which entail belief in miracles without any miracle-causing agent such as God.
So instead of reinterpreting the Bible to fit a difficulty that equally affects long-agers, let us just believe what God has inspired in His Word.
References and notes
- Kline, M.G., Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48:2–15, 1996. Return to text.
- Keil, C.F. and Delitzsch, F., Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament 1:67, 1857. Return to text.
- von Rad, G., Genesis: A Commentary, p. 61, 1973. Return to text.