How can the light of stars billions of light years away from the earth have reached us if the earth is only thousands of years old?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Distant Starlight - A light-year is the maximum distance that light can travel in one year in the vacuum of space. Consequently, it takes billions of years for light to travel billions of light-yea...

July 01 2013 13 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Obedience Rocca O. J. R.
It is possible that God created distant stars and galaxies with their light already reaching vast numbers of light-years through space.

August 15 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
I walked out into my back yard after dark. I laid a flashlight at one end ot the yard, after turning it on. I then walked 50 feet to our back fence, laid a white baseball on the ground. I just placed it where the light was shining. Hello? Before the beginnng of space and time God created the heavens and the earth. Turning my flashlight on was before the beginning of my experiment. I created light in my back yard. I then placed the baseball 50 feet away. I noted that the light was already "there." So I had created light first, then ten seconds or so later I "created" the baseball. The light that was already there reflected on the "newly created" baseball. I think God tried this experiment out before he did the "real thing." But I don't know where He got the baseball..........

August 17 2013 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

B8c746f3 63c7 43eb 9665 ef7fba8e191b Kelli Trujillo Supporter Minister, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Musician
There are a few things we need to take into consideration in evaluating this question and possible answers. Personally, I believe what the Bible says about the six-day creation of the universe and I take it literally, including the creation of stars whose light currently reaches us from distances that seem scientifically impossible. Here is my reasoning:

1) God is not bound by time and space as we know it: Is not God powerful enough to overcome the limitations of scientific laws that He, Himself, created? If we truly believe He is a God whose creative power birthed our universe, then we can trust that even when something doesn't make sense to us scientifically, there is a creation-based answer that simply hasn't been revealed to us yet.

God is in the business of doing the miraculous, the impossible. Just to name a few examples: Jesus' very first miracle was turning ordinary water into fine wine; Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he'd been rotting in a tomb four days; God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from their enemies on dry land; there was nothing for the Israelites to eat or drink in the desert, but God made food rain from the sky every morning and evening, and He provided water from a rock.

If we truly believe these things, we should expect that although current scientific findings (which may or may not be 100% accurate) don't concur with a Young Earth perspective, there might be a miraculous explanation as to why the light of some stars can be seen from what we believe is an impossible distance.

2) God created the universe as a fully functioning, "mature" system, composed of several types of interdependent systems: God created everything in order, starting with night and day, then the water cycle, then the bodies of water, dry land and plants, then the celestial bodies, then sea life and avian creatures, then land animals and people. God first prepared the earth for habitation, then created the inhabitants, much like parents prepare for the arrival of a child, or a family prepares a fish tank for fish before bringing the fish home from the pet shop. Without the proper habitat, living things can't survive.

Not only did God create all of these things in a certain order to make sure living things had a proper habitat, he created all things in their "mature form," fully grown: Adam was a grown man; animals were not babies, which we can assume since God blessed them and told them to multiply (Gen. 1:20-25); plants were already producing food for the animals and for mankind (Gen. 1:11-13, 29-30; Gen. 2-8-10).

I believe that God also created the celestial bodies in their "mature" form, which could easily explain how some, according to our instruments, appear to be billions of light years away. Gen. 1: 14-15 says, "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.'" 

If these "lights" were created as a vital part of our entire habitat, it's logical that God would need to create them with the ability to perform their necessary function as fully mature celestial bodies, thus giving them light-bearing capabilities beyond their measurable years.

An interesting aside: The sun and stars weren't created until the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-19), yet on the first three days of creation, there was light during the day and darkness at night (Gen. 1: 1-13). So how was that light produced? Where did it come from? We have no real answers for this question, although I like to believe God, Hmself, was that source of light.

I'm not saying that the stars thought to be billions of light years away are actually "God shining in the sky," but I bring this up to reiterate that God has no limits, and His ways are beyond our understanding.

June 15 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Steven Scott Grader for the Ontario Jail Ministry
A light year is not a measure of time. It is a measure of distance. Roughly 6 trillion miles.

October 11 2014 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Andy  3 photo Andy Mangus I am a Christian since October 1979 & devoted truth seeker.
God tells us all--(everyone of us)--that "His word is truth." He tells us that 'for in six days He created the earth, man and the fullness thereof". And, "on the seventh day, He rested". The BIBLE, gives us the "timeline" in distinct details and scripture verbiage that is very difficult for sinful man to comprehend in our human intellect while being subject to Satan's deceit to get every person that he can mislead in NOT believing GOD'S HOLY BIBLE scripture that describes what HE created in each of the six(6) DAYS ((24 HOUR DAYS!)) OF CREATION., "And on the 7th day GOD RESTED!***Either take God at His word to be Truth...or...approach His Word with doubt...hummmmm….. I will choose to believe His eternal words of Truth! --Andy--

April 18 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Vernon Smith
I believe in science for proving a lot of things, but it'll never prove creation since it's one of the things that only makes the wise (1 Corinthians 1:20) appear foolish. God says "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." God has already concluded in His Word, no one can know the things of God from beginning to end (Ecclesiastics 3:11). 

If the Gospel is not enough for people, we are in no way under the commandments of God to prove what the bible says about creation with scientific theories that also has to be proven. This is more of a risk than no answer at all. I'm not condemning science because I think it's great. But we should understand that God has given us what He wants us to know concerning this according to Romans 1:20, and people are without excuse. 

People didn't believe Isaiah's report (Isaiah 53:1) concerning the coming Christ, so what makes us believe everyone is going to accept our report now. And, although the prophesied Messiah came at the appointed time (Galatians 4:4), many still did not and do not believe to this day. The things that wasn't understood about the different feast, laws, promises, sacrifices, sin, the garments, temple etc., were all eventually revealed in Christ, Who all of those things pointed to. 

The point is, The coming of Christ was prophesied by several old Testament prophets along with those various things relating to His coming in the appointed time. Even Jesus said (Luke 16:31) some people are not going to believe, even after He rises from the dead and guess what, He has risen! 

The bottom line is, it is not up to us to prove anything outside of the Word, our calling is to preach the Gospel and let the Spirit convict and convince those who will come as well as those with excuses. In the end God has spoken of those people who say (Psalms 14:1) there is no God and some of them are using creation and other such excuses to deny God, by finding fault with the account of creation as stated in the bible. 

But they should keep in mind that God is holding them accountable (Psalms 10:13) regardless, because they haven't believed what God has done in these days. 

However, for believers, the creation of the world will be revealed at the appointed time also, which is when our limited knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:9) will be done away with.

October 09 2017 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
As Obedience said, God could have created the stars with their light already reaching the earth. The question then would become why would He? Certainly not to deceive us. I can even see that He may have done so because we, as well as animals, etc. Would need a source of light at night. The thing is, we are still discovering new distant stars whose light is just now reaching us. Why would he have created the Universe so vast that it contains stars billions, not just millions of light years away. Possibly because as we discover them we see whole Galaxies that look to us like human eyes or human hands. To me, none of that is by accident, rather they were all placed exactly where they needed to be to help draw us towards Him.

Also, if He created the stars with light that already reached us, He would of had to also create the earth with stones, fossils, etc. That date millions of years old. Yes, God could of done this as well. The Bible tells us that what is impossible for man is possible for God who can do all things. I just don't believe He would have created these things that could lead some away from Him because they believe the science of carbon dating, geology, etc. 

I believe the much more believable story is that the universe and the earth are much older. How do I reconcile this with the Bible which I believe is completely true? 

To start with, when the book of Genesis tells us the creation story, it says, on the first day, on the second day, etc.. The Hebrew word translated day can according to my Bible dictionary, mean an inspecific period of time. Just as if we were to say in the day of the dinosaur, we could mean a period of time lasting millions of years, so too could the first, second, etc. Days also have been millions of years each. God said He created these things, He did not say how. We know the Bible tells us that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. 

There is still the question of Adam and his lineage. We need to remember that God did not just create Adam. He created Mankind. Adam was the first man and placed in the Garden. We do not know if Adam aged during the time He was in the Garden before the fall. (Remember that verse again about a day being like a thousand years) He may have lived millions of years there before he ate the forbidden fruit and became aware of aging. We also do not know how many people God created. Genesis chapter 6 tells us that God created mankind. Male and female, created He them and called their name Adam. These others could have lived outside the Garden, which would explain where Adam and Eve's children came from. Also, as I stated earlier, the earth could already have been millions of years old when God created mankind. We know God created creatures before He created Mankind. This could have included Dinosaurs and dodo birds. 

Or God could have created everything a few thousand years ago. We don't know. We are not God. All things are possible for Him. The reason I put forth these possibilities is that we don't need to exclude any possibility that might turn someone, because of what they believe scientifically, away from God. They might even be correct. Even the wisest man ever, Solomon concluded: All things are meaningless under the Sun..., and his conclusion "To fear God and keep His commandments". In other words, our relationship with God. The age of the earth does not matter. Placing a stumbling block before man does.

February 17 2015 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
The six days of creation do not explain what scientists can see with their powerful telescopes, microscopes and other devices. Scientific vocabulary is not a part of the Bible, hence the words universe, galaxy, gravity, etc., do not appear in it and Christians have no obligation to account for them necessarily.

God's creative work as described in the first chapter Genesis is only concerned with what any human being can see with their naked eyes. Why is this? Because this is what God judges human beings by. The commandments and all other rules of behavior pertain to man's actual experience using man's five senses, not to anything enhanced by a scientific device. As a spiritual book, the Bible emphasizes only what is spiritually important for humanity. In this regard, even the truth that our planet revolves around the sun, isn't spiritually important, and in or of itself doesn't help Christians to get to heaven.

In the perpetual attempt to harmonize Christianity and science, many people
stretch the scriptures, or stretch scientific theory (the GTDE) to account for both. It can be said that as science continues to progress it should more closely agree with revealed scriptures, but the scriptures must also be interpreted more precisely in the future.

For instance, the word "heavens" in Gen1.1 referred to the atmosphere below the regions of water-filled clouds, and the spiritual realms where God and the angels resided. It didn't refer to the empty space surrounding our planet, or especially to outer space where the planets, stars and galaxies exist. What are called "stars" in Gen 1:16 were regarded as nothing more than lights and sometimes associated with angels (Rev. 1:20). There is no implication that the stars were actual physical bodies, as ultimately discovered by astronomers. 

We look forward to Christ, as the way, the truth and the life, to reveal the truth when it is needed so Christians will never be ashamed of their religion or their beliefs.

June 15 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Me at sawdust fest 2b Craig Mcelheny Christian Author
Forgive me if I sound presumptuous, but this whole discussion is based on a fallacious presumption, i.e. that Genesis, Chapter 1, is an account of the creation. It is not. I say this after spending the better part of my life studying the subject and writing a book about it. It is entitled “The Foundation of the World”.

God chose us “before the Foundation of the World” (Eph. 1:4). That is what Genesis, Chapter 1, is describing, and yes, it happened less than six thousand years ago. In a second book entitled, “The Mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Origin of Man”, I pick the date of 3634BC as the time when God made a choice between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness (Gen. 1:4) - The Foundation of the World. It took place before the Flood (3537BC to my reckoning).

Genesis, Chapter 1, cannot be an account of the creation. Look carefully at the summary statement for the supposed Creation Account of Genesis, Chapter 1. It is Gen. 2:1. Thus the Heavens and the Earth (Gen. 1:1) were finished by the “host of them”.

Here is Strong’s definition of the word “host” in full: “tseba'ah, tseb-aw-aw'; from  (tsaba'); a mass of persons (or figurative things), especially reg. Organized for war (an army); by implication a campaign, literal or figurative (specifically hardship, worship) :- appointed time, (+) army, (+) battle, company, host, service, soldiers, waiting upon, war (-fare).”

Do you see anything in the above definition that is not related to war? Do you concur that we, as Christians, are in a spiritual war/struggle for our very souls? Is it plausible that our Abba God would create the universe in a state of war? Silly question, please excuse my lack of judgment. Why, then, is there this headlong rush to explain a young earth? We, as Christians, are willing to bend the principles of physics and paleontology in an attempt to reconcile the Scriptures with science. Is there any wonder why atheist can come at us for being scientifically challenged? I embrace the scientific world that says our earth is 4.5 billion years old, the universe is 13.8 billion years, and dinosaurs existed as far back as 231 million years ago.

There is a lot to be said that I do not have room for, so I will leave you with but one more fact: The Hebrew word for “created” (bara H1254) in Gen. 1:1 has two meanings. The first is, in the “absolute” sense, to create something from nothing. The second is a “qualified” meaning, which is to select or “cut down a tree”. The supposed Creation Account in Genesis, Chapter 1, is a selection process that occurred over a period of six days, back before the Flood. It served as the foundation for a new Creation, a “chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV) to be revealed when the Lord returns (1 John 3:2).

There are just too many problems, enumerated in my book “The Foundation of the World”, with interpreting Genesis, Chapter 1, as an account of the creation. It is better understood as an allegory for an account of the selection process after the Fall of man. Psalm 18:4-19, and the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32:1-12) are good descriptions of what happened at the Foundation of the World.

June 16 2015 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Nils 1 Nils Jansma Missionary in San Diego California
How can light from the Stars billions of light years away reach us if the Heavens and Earth are only about 6 to 10 thousand years old? The simple answer is that most of the light from the stars wouldn’t have reached us yet. The fact that it has indicates that the Heavens are much older than 10 thousand years.

In my opinion, this is a very important question for young people entering high school or college. If they have been raised in a Church environment that has taught them from early on that the Universe is only 6 to 10 thousand years old, many will probably have problems with their faith when confronted with convincing evidence to the contrary. Some weather the storm of higher education but many do not. So, this discussion is for those who are struggling with their faith regarding the differing views between Science and what they have been taught that the Bible says about the age of the Universe. 

Genesis 1:1 tells us that the heavens, which includes the stars, was the first thing God created followed by the earth. However, light wasn’t observed on the surface of the earth’s waters until Creative Day 1. (Genesis 1:3) Where did this light come from since the earth’s surface was dark. It came from our Sun which rays finally penetrated the earth’s early opaque primordial atmosphere. 

Nevertheless, according to Young Earth Creationist’s (YEC) there was no Sun, Moon and Stars until Creative Day 4. (Genesis 1:14-19) Subsequently, they have to say that a “pseudo Sun” provided the light in the meantime. Since the stars were created only about 72 hours before Adam was created, there would have been no stars visible in Adam’s sky unless the speed of light was much faster at that time. However, the speed of light also governs electron motion along with an entire spectrum of sub-atomic materials. If the speed of light were different, matter could not exist as it does now. Additionally, when we view the distant stars, we note a significant spectral red-shift indicating that the star is a great distance away and accelerating away from us at high velocity.

To overcome these problems, YECs have come up with an unconventional explanation related to “Gravitational Time Dilation” (GTD). This theory hypothesizes that when light travels from an area of lower density to an area of higher density, Red-shift occurs giving the appearance of Great age because time is speeded up in the lower dense surrounds due to GTD. 

However, this proposed GTD hypothesis has been proven to be wrong based upon current tests with ”Type 1a Supernova.” The GTD theory does not distinguish between “Gravitational” and “Doppler” redshifts. The GTD Gravitational redshifts (GR) are miniscule when compared to “velocity” Doppler redshifts (DR). The faster a star is moving away from us, the slower time passes for it which is just the opposite of the GTD theory. 

Type 1a Supernova are like individual clocks sprinkled throughout the Universe. When they occur it has been found that according to their spectral development they should all take about the same time to complete an entire cycle. However, because the Supernovas are moving away from us at high velocities, the development times we observe are all different depending upon their red-shift pattern.

It has been found that the most distant of these Supernovae appeared to age at only about 60% of the normal rate based upon duration measurements of closer Supernovae. This is just the opposite finding of the GTD theory which is sufficient to nullify it as a meaningful measurement of Time Dealation. 

Therefore, we can be assured that the current model of the Universe being about 13.7 Billion years old fits in well with the speed of light we measure today.

March 09 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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