The universe isn’t old, it’s just tired!
Everything in the natural realm is decaying
Since the mid-20th century, it has been widely assumed that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and that the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago.
Creation Ministries International (CMI) has consistently argued that there is no means of determining the age of the universe by observing current phenomena or processes. Every calculated age (e.g., using measurements of cosmic background radiation, stellar redshift, or radioisotope decay) requires the application of unprovable assumptions (see Radioactive dating method “under fire”). The only objective means of determining the age of the universe is by adding the ages of the named patriarchs in Genesis 5 and 11 and connecting the sum with subsequent dates given in the Bible. These calculations provide a date for the creation of the universe of sometime around 4,000 BC, or just over 6,000 years ago (see How does the Bible teach 6000 years).
Measurements of natural phenomena across a spectrum of scientific disciplines indicate serious issues with the assumed long ages for the universe and earth. They simply cannot be as old as claimed by many scientists (see Age of the earth).
The purpose of this article is not to repeat the evidence for a recent creation. This evidence is addressed in many printed and media resources available from CMI and on Creation.com. Rather, it is to illustrate, in survey form, that since Adam sinned, things throughout the universe have been deteriorating.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy (disorder) of the universe increases through time. Entropy must have existed before Adam sinned. For example, when Adam and Eve digested food, energy transitioned from one form to another, and entropy increased. If Adam ate a banana, the nicely ordered molecules in the fruit would have turned into highly disordered gas molecules (e.g., carbon dioxide), and the energy in the sugars would have turned into body heat, which went into heating up the air, which would cause even more disordering of the now-warm air molecules around him. Yet, according to the Second Law, the universe would have been trending toward a ‘heat death’ in which all the energy would be evenly distributed, and all matter would be slightly above a temperature of Absolute Zero. How can Adam and Eve have lived forever in such a universe? During their time in the perfect paradise, God clearly had a sustaining presence, in much the same way that He will have to maintain our bodies, indeed the entire recreated universe, in the future.
Let’s consider some examples of entities that are decaying:
Planetary magnetic fields
The earth’s magnetic field is decaying rapidly. It is estimated, based on archaeological evidence, that the field was 40% stronger in 1000 AD than it is today (see The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young). This rapid decay will harm animals and humans by increasing their exposure to cosmic rays and affecting the migration of animals that use the magnetic field as a directional aid. Scientists acknowledge that the decline exists. For example, ScienceAlert.com wrote, “Our planet’s protective shell isn’t quite what it used to be. Over the past two centuries its magnetic strength has taken a nosedive, and nobody has the foggiest idea why.”1 The author is mistaken. We know why the magnetic field is declining. Everything in the universe is decaying because of the consequences of the curse due to Adam’s sin. Without God’s sustaining power, the earth’s magnetic field is doomed to decay according to the basic laws of physics.
Russell Humphreys has documented a similar decline in Mercury’s magnetic field (see Mercury’s magnetic field is young!). This, by the way, was one of the greatest predictions ever made in the field of biblical creation.
Comets in our solar system are also deteriorating. Each time their large elliptical orbit brings them near the sun they shed some of their constituent matter (e.g., mineral debris, frozen water, and ammonia). The decay is evident from observations of recurrent, short-period comets such as Halley’s Comet, which has an orbital period of about 75 years. Observations of this comet have been recorded since 240 BC. After that many laps around the sun, this comet must have lost a large percentage of its mass, meaning it could not have been orbiting for many thousands of years, let alone millions (see ‘Fragile comets’ origins mystery; More problems for the ‘Oort comet cloud’).
Astronomers claim that something on the order of 300 new stars form and ignite in our galaxy every century. However, the process has never been observed. Granted, it would take a long time for a single star to collapse from a gas cloud and (theoretically) ignite, but the sheer number of stars in our galaxy (from 100 to 400 billion) and the average assumed lifetime of a star (from 50 to 200 million years), combined with the presumed age of the Milky Way (13.6 billion years), means that many new stars must be forming or the galaxy cannot be as old as claimed. Headlines make blaring statements such as “Astronomers Observe the Birth of a Massive Star in the Milky Way”.2 However, reading the ‘fine print’ indicates that the observers were looking at a stellar dust cloud and speculating that it is the birthplace of stars. Stars do not form naturally, and cosmologists have to appeal to non-detectable matter or unseen events to make their models of star formation work. All the stars (and galaxies) were created on the fourth day of creation week (Genesis 1:14–19). While new stars do not form, stars do occasionally explode. Roughly ten supernova explosions have been observed over the past 1,000 years in our galaxy (Milky Way). Their demise is an additional indicator that the universe is in decay mode.
Erosion of rock into sand and silt is helpful for the formation of soil. However, erosion can also be highly destructive. For example, we often read of floods which have destroyed buildings located on riverbanks or the top of cliffs which have collapsed after their underpinnings have been eroded away. Erosion destroys arable land. Soil erosion destroys an estimated $8 billion dollars worth of agriculture productivity each year.3
Many geologic features are also eroding away more quickly than can be explained, that is, if they are as old as claimed. Consider the rapid recession rate of Niagara Falls and the equally rapid erosion of Devils Tower in Wyoming.
Indeed, if one considers the rate at which sediments are being deposited in the sea by the major world rivers, one quickly realizes that the continents would be eroded down to sea level in just a few million years. Erosion rates are a huge headache for deep-time and indicate that topographic formations are decaying quickly.
In his book, Genetic Entropy, Dr. John Sanford describes how mutations accumulate over time in organisms with complex genomes (see Human genome decay and origin of life; Evidence for genetic entropy; Genetic entropy). Most mutations (whether beneficial or deleterious) have such a small effect on ‘fitness’ that they do not supply any competitive advantage or disadvantage. Thus, they are immune to natural selection and the mutations are not removed from the gene pool. However, mutations are inherited and so they accumulate over successive generations. Also, the ratio of deleterious to beneficial mutations is highly skewed. The impact of multiple deleterious mutations far outweighs the positive benefits from rare beneficial mutations. The eventual extinction of complex species is guaranteed, because the rate of mutation accumulation is positive over time. Species with large populations and short generation times (e.g., bacteria) will survive longer than species with small populations and longer generational lives (e.g., elephants).
Kinds and Species
The Bible states that God created plants and animals according to their kinds (Genesis 1:12, 21, 24–25). The biblical kinds do not map precisely to the Linnean system of taxonomy (i.e., Kingdom → Phylum→ Class → Order → Family → Genus → Species). However, the family rank may map to many biblical kinds, e.g., cats, dogs, and sheep/goats. From the biblical kinds, species emerged (see Variation, information and the created kind; Species were designed to change). Often this occurred within isolated small populations where there was less genetic diversity. Speciation occurs primarily through a reduction in genetic information, not by adding information (see Molecular limits to natural variation; Why speciation occurs). While new families do not arise, species and members of entire genera and families have gone extinct in the past (e.g., during the Flood). They continue to go extinct today. Plant and animal extinction supports the Bible and indicates that decay prevails.
Language diversity presents a major challenge for evolutionists. A popular view is that all languages evolved from guttural noises uttered by our ancestors, into one or more prototypical languages. From a prototypical language many languages supposedly developed as mankind spread across the earth. This view is hard to sustain when the facts are considered. All languages have vocabularies of 1,000s of words and complex grammars. These complex systems of communication did not develop from grunts (see How did languages develop). Language has every attribute of a system designed by an intelligent agent. There are at least 50 distinct language families. Each seems to have appeared with a fully developed syntactic and grammatical structure and cannot be traced to a common ancestral language. Many linguists have given up the search for an original mother tongue on the ‘tree’ of languages and instead speak of language ‘bushes’.
Older languages are more complex than newer languages, not less. Latin (with cases, genders, and declinations) is more complex than English, Greek (about 600 years older) is more complex than Latin, and Vedic Sanskrit is even more complex. These are all languages within the Indo-European family group. Languages lose information through time; there is decay and reduced complexity. For example, they lose pronouns (e.g., ‘thee’, ‘thou’, and ’ye’) and verb forms. Also, they experience a decline in vocabulary, even though new words are coined regularly, and new ones are introduced in specialized intellectual domains. It is estimated that Shakespeare used about 35,000 words. The average English speaker today has an active vocabulary (vs. recognized words) of less than 20,000 words.
Although there are claims that the origin of language occurred about 60,000 years ago, there is no empirical evidence to support this claim. Many languages appeared suddenly around 2200 BC (The languages of Babel). The Bible explains that God introduced languages in response to man’s rebellion of building the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:7). Since then, some new languages have emerged within their respective families, but many more languages have gone extinct. This is another sign that everything is decaying.
It is an undeniable fact that everywhere we turn we find decay and deterioration in the natural realm. Entropy is increasing at such a rate that an objective observer should acknowledge that the world and the universe cannot be as old as many scientists claim. Paul wrote, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). The universe isn’t old, its just tired, because of sin!
But this is not the end of the story. Just as there is spiritual renewal for those who are in Christ (John 3:3, 7), and just as the bodies of believers will be made perfect at the general resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20–23; 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17), so Jesus will destroy this decaying universe and the world and create a new universe (2 Peter 3:10–13; Revelation 21:1). In this new universe, God will remove entirely the effects of ever-increasing entropy—creation’s bondage to decay (Romans 8:21). Just as there will no longer be any death or pain (Revelation 21:4) in the new universe, there will no longer be any decay.
References and notes
- McRae, Mike, Earth’s Magnetic Poles Probably Won’t Flip After All, Scientists Predict, sciencealert.com, 08 June 2022. Return to text.
- Manchester University, Astronomers witness birth of Milky Way’s most massive star, sciencedaily.com, July 10, 2013. Return to text.
- Cat, Linh Anh, Soil Erosion Washes Away $8 Billion Annually, forbes.com, May 21, 2019. Return to text.