Earth age, big bang, nature of science
Published: 1 June 2019 (GMT+10)
Sometimes we receive letters and emails about research projects, or responding to websites or YouTube videos. Since we are a faith-funded ministry, we have a duty to use our resources, including staff time, as efficiently as possible. So if we were to provide detailed answers to every such request, we would be unable to produce the books, videos, and articles that equip so many. Fortunately, thanks to a website that at time of writing has over 13,000 articles, and growing, we can often find articles to address the questions more thoroughly.
Also, we often receive questions on the lines of ‘what is the best evidence’. But while there are objective criteria for this, e.g. the argument must be based on facts unlike the arguments we advise creationists not to use, there are also subjective issues, such as what subjects you are most comfortable with, what do you find most compelling, and what you think would compel others.
Hello, I am [full name supplied] and I am doing a college research project on the scientific viability of Creationism. I would like to ask a couple of questions and, if possible, need it by [X] night, if you do not mind:
1. What is the possibly best evidence against Old-Earth theories and the Big Bang?
2. When, in the first day where God created light, did He create the specific lights of the planets and stars before He created the sources, or if not, does the time required for the light to travel to Earth make an evidence against Creationism?
3. When, in the Bible, it says that God stretched out the heavens like a tarp, it a probable reference to the universe's expansion. Is there scientific evidence as to how God might do this?
Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies (slightly expanded for web):
Thank you for writing to CMI.
These questions are short, but the responses would need to be lengthy. This would probably be true if you were asking evolutionists similar questions. So I have given summary answers with web links to more.
1. I don’t know if there is such a thing as the ‘best’ evidence, but I think radiocarbon in diamonds and coal and soft tissue, bone cells, proteins, and DNA in dinosaur bones. With the big bang, secular cosmogonists point out that it needs fudge factors to make it work: superluminal inflation despite a lack of mechanism, and unobserved dark matter and dark energy.
Another problem is the still-missing matter, made more acute by recent ultra-precise measurements showing proton and anti-proton are exactly equal and opposite down to 1.5 parts per billion, whereas the big bang demands some asymmetry. Hence one report was entitled, “The universe should not actually exist, CERN scientists discover” (Newsweek, 25 October 2017. I wrote about this in: Big bang universe “should not actually exist”: Antimatter still missing! Creation 40(2):55, 2018.).
2. Informed creationists reject the light-in-transit theory, which is what your question seems to be leading to. But there are multiple working hypotheses about solving the distant light-travel problem—which big bangers also have (the horizon problem).
3. I think that these passages are consistent with an expanding universe, although not requiring it. There are some highly qualified dissenters from an expanding universe, but I don’t have any problem with it.
If God stretched out the universe supernaturally, then there is no mechanism. We would see the effects of God’s action (compare Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20), but this is different from seeing God in action. Compare the wedding at Cana in John 2, where Jesus the creator God turned water into the best wine of the reception. The wine and its high quality could be empirically detected, but there was no mechanism as such that explained the transition.
Note that there are plenty of examples in ordinary science where a phenomenon has been demonstrated long before it could be explained via a mechanism. E.g. Newton worked out the inverse square law of gravity but made it clear that he couldn’t explain why masses attract each other. When it comes to operational science as opposed to origins science, we would like to both demonstrate the phenomenon and explain it as well, but this took centuries for gravity. Under many of the self-serving reasons that evolutionists use to reject creation as science, Newtonian gravitation would need to be rejected as well.
Similarly, the leading evolutionary propagandist at my university would often say, “We know that evolution has occurred. We are just not quite sure how it occurred.” But then, how could he cogently object if I said, “We know that creation has occurred. We are just not quite sure how it occurred.”
Note that God as Creator of both space and time would not be limited by speed, which is distance/time. This would explain any evidence that spacetime once expanded much faster than light. Now secularists also appeal to such evidence, and adduce this as proof for their inflationary cosmology that they need to rescue the big bang from the horizon problem. And this is a case in point: most big bang cosmogonists believe that inflation has occurred, but they lack a cohesive mechanism that could have caused it to start or stop.