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Starlight and Time: The Engineering Perspective Provides an Answer, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Science Book Discrepancies

Based on a reference from Dr. Don DeYoung’s book (mentioned earlier, p. 115), I added a used book to my library around 1994. To this day I use quotations pulled from God and the Astronomers regarding modern scientists with a “Pro-Creation View” of the universe (or at least an acceptance of that possibility).

Figure 3. Robert Jastrow’s 1980 Book With Science Errors

First of all, Dr. Robert Jastrow had a famous quote (pp. 105-106) reflected on the back cover of his book.

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For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

Second, he makes an error! “Proven,” he says? You don’t do that in science, which is well known and well explained by another astronomer, Dr. Charles Bennett:Dr. Charles Bennett quotation

And we can see why, since the “twenty billion years ago” and 15 or 20 “billion years ago” phrases are being used in Jastrow’s book for the age of the universe and are incorrect by 1994 standards (13 BYA per “Realm of the Universe” 1994, ISBN 0030016649, p. 489) and today’s (13.8 BYA).

A Recent Application: “Fact” as Opposed to Empirical Data

True Story: This question was posted in early 2021 to a Facebook friend of mine, a well-known creationist.

Doesn’t the fact it takes starlight millions of years to reach earth prove the Bible’s wrong?

But what do we now know?

As we learned in Part 1, there is no “fact” as stated in that question since it has a hidden assumption that “c” is constant over 13.8 BY. We only know “c” for 159 years, the rest is an assumption relying on a huge, massive extrapolation of the SOL empirical data that we certainly do not know is actually true! In fact, even in secular science circles, where light speed has been experimentally varied (slower or faster than the “constant” SOL), the view that the SOL has always been “constant” is properly questioned:

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There is a Biblical Fact to Consider

The Bible actually does have something important to tell us about God’s work in the heavens…

Bible verses listing God's "big bang"We have a “biblical fact” that at some point (points?) in the past God stretched out the heavens. So, some uncomfortable questions could be properly asked (and I have):

What was the speed of light when God stretched out the heavens?
Was it infinite?

White board showing speed of light lines
Figure 2

When someone knows about the graph in Figure 2 and those massive extrapolations involved when real empirical data is absent, then they simply cannot answer those two questions. AND THEY KNOW IT! (but won’t admit it…)

Variation on a Theme: Geology and Physics

Even more could be asked as other “constants” get a review. Anyone who has seen radiometric dating results such as those listed in Dr. Don DeYoung’s book, Thousands… Not Billions, or the New Answers Book, would know that discordant dates on the same rock samples are common, common! The Beartooth Mountains rock sample in this table had age dates from 1.5 to 2.6 billion years by 4 different radiometric dating methods. That’s sad!

Dr. Vernon Cupps gives examples in his excellent recent book, Rethinking Radiometric Dating: Evidence for a Young Earth from a Nuclear Physicist, where he deals with unstable isotope decay rates. He states on page 126,

Dating methodologies depend on numerous tenuous assumptions and supposed facts that cannot be demonstrated by direct observation. In fact, they are clearly refuted by many direct observations.

Here’s another question from a geology and physics perspective:

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What was the radioactive decay rate of unstable isotope potassium [or pick an element below] when God stretched out the heavens?
Was it zero?

The questions go on and on… just pick your element:

  • Lead,
  • Rubidium,
  • Thorium,
  • Uranium, etc.

While it’s true God stretched out the heavens according to the Bible, we honestly do not know what was happening then with regards to the physical “constants” we use today in geology and physics. If we can alter these constants in the lab (and we can), then God certainly can too in his creative acts or in his providence over his creation!

The Genius: Teaches a Grand Design; Rejects a Grand Designer

When people ask me if a God created the universe, I tell them that the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang so there is no time for God to make the universe in…

Do I have faith? We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. That leads me to a profound realisation: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either. I think belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking. There is no reliable evidence for it, and it flies in the face of everything we know in science. I think that when we die we return to dust. But there’s a sense in which we live on, in our influence, and in our genes that we pass on to our children. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that I am extremely grateful. ~Stephen Hawking, p. 38, Brief Answers to the Big Questions (Publ. 2018)

The interesting thing about this quote is that Prof Hawking (genius IQ at 160) recognized “the grand design of the universe” for which he was grateful, yet he reasoned it couldn’t have come from some God because there was “no time for God to make” it. The Bible answers this too, because God spoke of creating the universe in Genesis 1, and he also spoke of “His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Timothy 1:9b NKJV)

Furthermore, Hawking, the recognized genius, proved a fool because “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1a NKJV).

Sadly, Prof Hawking died in 2018, and we have no evidence of any salvation experience for him. It was his acceptance of constants like the SOL and belief in deep time (13.8 BYO universe originating from The Big Bang) that blinded him to the reality of a Grand Designer who gave us the Bible and to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Points to Remember:

  • My friend Rob provided a bold witness to the Bible—we should too! (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3)
  • Science textbooks can be wrong (mine were) when faulty assumptions are used for facts
  • Science textbooks get out-of-date (Andromeda Galaxy: 2.2 or 2.4 or 2.54 MLY)
  • Engineers rely on real empirical data, properly understood, tested, and repeated
  • Engineers know that large scale extrapolations from the real data can lead to failure
  • The “Dasha Theory” is exegetically sound and consistent with the empirical data
  • Variable light speed has been lab tested/observed, thus constant SOL is questioned
  • Radiometric dating gives discordant dates on the same rock samples with huge errors
  • Radioactive decay rates can, and have been, altered in the laboratory
  • The Bible is clear that God stretched out the heavens in the past
  • The Bible reveals a finished creation with an appearance of age (i.e., Adam and Eve)
  • Even a famous genius can teach time beginning and recognize design yet reject a designer

Jesus, speaking of the Old Testament, said, “thy word is truth.” (John 17:17b KJV).
Paul told us that “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16a NIV).
And Peter told us that Paul’s writings were Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).

We have the witness of the Bible, God’s Word, to tell us of his works of creation and how he created the Garden of Eden with fruit-bearing trees, fully formed, and Adam and Eve as fully formed adults. It makes complete sense that the universe God created to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18) would also be a fully functioning one.

Surely an infinite God described by the Bible could create and manipulate matter, energy, and time (Genesis 1:1). This big universe where the empirical evidence pointed to in modern cosmology and astronomy also points to a big, powerful, and true God! Thus, “The heavens declare the glory of God” Psalm 19:1a.

Bottom Line: Christians have nothing to fear about the light-year measurements supposedly falsifying Bible chronology!

Written by Steve Hendrickson

Prof Steve Hendrickson holds multiple degrees in Electronics Technology and Electrical Engineering and taught at the university level (full or part time) from 1977 to 2011. He became a Christian in 1993 when witnessed to by an engineer colleague on faculty with him at the Air Force Institute of Technology. A retired US Air Force Officer, he is passionate about apologetics and biblical creation. He has cultivated friendships with men of science (Drs. Andy McIntosh, Jobe Martin, Jonathan Sarfati and Robert Carter) who have all encouraged him to get busy and share his God given insights with the world.

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