Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 15

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Challenges to an Old Cosmos

This is indeed the most difficult chapter for me to review. Since I am not a practicing astrophysicist or astronomer, my review will be as a layman, and I freely admit that I do not fully comprehend many of the issues mentioned.

Having said that, Dr. Ross does take a large chunk of the chapter refuting ideas that biblical creationists no longer believe or are rhetorical (Challenges 1-4 and 11)

In challenge 7, Dr. Ross gives reasons why he disagrees with Jason Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC). In their most recent debate, when Dr. Ross brought up his disagreements, Dr. Lisle showed why Dr. Ross’s assumptions and reasons were based on the question begging fallacy and flawed assumptions. Because Dr. Lisle has shown to be consistent in his biblical hermeneutics, I find his answer more compelling.

Below is a new answer for the starlight reaching earth in a biblical timeframe for which Hugh Ross has yet to provide an answer.

Creation Time Coordinates

There is more information about this new model in the links below

https://www.steveschramm.com/072-part-1-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

https://www.steveschramm.com/073-part-2-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

On pg96 when trying to address “Challenge 9: Old-earth creationists have their own light-travel-time problem” he says:

However, it is not possible for the universe, given its current spatial dimensions, to possess such uniformity and homogeneity in only 13.79 billion years unless the universe experienced a very rapid, very brief hyperinflation event shortly after it was created. Without the inflation event the universe would need to be orders of magnitude older than billions of years to exhibit the uniformity and homogeneity that it does.

It seems to me that even though Dr. Ross says “the laws of nature have never changed”, he tries to hide the changing of the laws of nature within the one trillionth of a one trillionth of a one trillionth of a second after the beginning where there is some supernatural alternative physics called hyperinflation. He says that term, hyperinflation, which sounds very sciency, but it appears to simply be a place to hide his altered physics to accommodate old earthism.

In Challenge 10: Radiometric decay was faster in the past, Dr. Ross says he will address it in a future chapter, so I will address his addressing in a future chapter.

Dr. Ross ends this chapter with some comments from non-Christians:

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey (a key witness in the 1981 Arkansas creation-evolution trial) equated the creationists’ claims for a young Earth with “the flat Earth hypothesis and the hypothesis that the sun goes around the Earth.”

This is both ad hominem and a strawman fallacy.

Allen Hammond and Lynn Margulis made this comment about the young-universe view: “Adoption of creationist [this is, young-universe creationist] ‘theory’ requires, at a minimum, the abandonment of essentially all of modern astronomy, much of modern physics, and most of the earth sciences.”

This is both a sweeping generalization fallacy and strawman. The wording could be more truthful if instead of the word “science”, we replaced it with “modern academic paradigm.” Both old earthers and biblical creationists use the concepts of science. It’s a matter of presuppositions. Old earthers assume naturalistic origins and extrapolate backwards. Biblical creationists assume catastrophism (global flood as the Bible teaches), which explains what we see in the past.

If taught that a young universe is the Bible’s clear message, many seekers and nonbelievers will conclude, under the barrage of compelling scientific evidence for the universe’s antiquity, that the Bible must be accepted on a purely subjective, nonfactual basis.

Anytime you see Dr. Ross say “scientific”, you can replace it with “modern academic paradigm”. But the way Ross has stated it, we see again that he elevates the modern academic paradigm over the Bible. This is terrible hermeneutics.

He finishes with a strawman argument

As for sincere young-earth Christians, the tenets of young-earth creationism dictate that they must shut out science and its facts altogether to preserve their faith.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 14

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Scientific Signs of Old Age

Age

Dictionary.com defines age as “the length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of or referred to”

As we ponder this idea of age, we should also be aware that age is itself a historical concept not a scientific one. For example, if we walk into a room and see a candle burning and want to know how long it has been burning, we can employ some scientific measurements on the candle itself to make some inferences, but a conclusive answer for how long the candle has been burning would require historical evidence. Let’s investigate this candle allegory a little further.

We could use science to measure the current length of the candle, the volume of melted wax, and the current burn rate. From those measurements a guess could be made as to how long the candle has been burning. But what other factors could influence the duration of the candle’s burn time?

  • It might have been blown out and restarted several times
  • The melted wax might have been cleaned up and discarded more than once
  • It’s possible that when lighting another candle from this current one, extra melted wax could have been spilled into the discarded pile thus changing the volume of melted wax for the calculation of the burn duration of this candle
  • The burn rate could have been different in the past based on several variables
  • How long was the candle to begin with?
  • Was the candle ever cut in segments for others to have small candles for another room?
  • There are probably others which I have not thought of. Feel free to add your additional variables in the comments.

So, the length of time something has existed is clearly not ultimately a scientific one, but is resolutely a historical one. And as we read Dr. Ross’s chapter on the Scientific Signs of Old Age, we must keep in mind that the Bible is a historical account of God’s interaction with his creation and his people as (for his great glory) He works to bring redemption from the curse of sin.

Another good line of reasoning with which our candle allegory can assist is “time-limiting factors” or the maximum burn time of the candle

  • The height of the ceiling (or other overhead boundary) would limit the burn time
  • The diameter of the candle would limit the height of wax that the structural integrity of the candle could support
  • The consistency/density of the wax would be relevant to the point above
  • There are probably others which I have not thought of. Feel free to add your additional time limiting factors in the comments.

We’ll get back to the time limiting factors later

Here’s how Dr. Ross introduces his argument for the scientific signs of old age

The scientific indicators for the “old age” of creation are even more abundant and definitive than those for humans. Hundreds of reliable markers demonstrate that creation (except for the human species) is old.

Old age is an assumption based on inferences, but when we read about God’s historical revelations throughout the scriptures, and particularly Genesis, we must elevate what God has revealed as the foundation in order for scientific measurements to provide accuracy for the age of something. Historical interventions of the Creator cannot be measured with a yardstick or a barometer. We are reliant upon his revelations to know the true age. As an example since old age assumptions require extrapolations, extrapolations of erosion measurements will be blind to God’s judgment of wickedness through a worldwide flood. We’re reliant on historical accounts of the flood to produce a true knowledge of age. Having God’s revealed knowledge of the worldwide flood makes perfect sense of the observations we see today

The four most easily understood methods for age-dating the universe involve the expansion of the universe, cosmic background radiation temperatures, stellar burning processes, and the cosmic abundances of radioactive elements.

 

Expansion of the Universe

By carefully measuring how much the galaxies’ spectral lines shift toward the longer wavelength, or the red end of the spectrum, astronomers can deter mine how rapidly the space-time fabric of the universe stretches, or expands, from the creation event. They see that the farther away a given galaxy is, the faster it moves away from us. These observations tell us the universe is expanding outward from a beginning in space and time.

To be fair, I am not an astrophysicist, so my critique of this section will be as a layman. But here are a few questions I would have of Dr. Ross regarding expansion

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Cosmic Background Radiation Temperatures

Astronomers can calculate how long the universe has been expanding by measuring the degree to which radiation from the creation event (called the cosmic microwave background radiation, or CMB) has cooled down…The fact that the CMB is now so cold implies that the universe must have been cooling down for billions of years.

Stellar Burning

Because stars are such simple systems, if astronomers know the mass of a star, they can determine its age with high precision based on measurements of the star’s color and brightness.

Remember the candle allegory as you read Ross’s words “they can determine its age”. He is using extrapolation and a number of assumptions to make this strong claim. Besides extrapolation, how could Ross calibrate this? No one has ever observed 1000 years or 100,000 years or 1,000,000 years let alone 1,000,000,000s of years.

Some young-earth creationist leaders argue that God must have created all stars in a mature state. This concept manifests two problems. First, it insinuates that God created stars already partly burnt with all the ashes and decay characteristics of stars hundreds of millions of years old. God would this be deceiving us into thinking the universe is old when in fact it is young

Since God created Adam mature with the signs of age like height, ability to talk, ability to digest solid food, and the ability to reason (among others), was God deceptive?

Since Jesus turned water into wine instantaneously, with no aging, was Jesus being deceptive?

In the same way, Ross assumes incorrectly that God could not create stars at various stages of development so that his glory would be greater

Abundances of Radioactive Isotopes

Radioactive dating has many assumptions, which cannot truly provide definitive ages. Dr. Ross says that because supernova produce a fixed amount of radioactive isotopes that scientists can extrapolate the ratios and determine the age of the universe. There seems to be even MORE assumptions in this claim: like how does he know the fixed amount radioactive isotopes produced in each supernova? Since there are so many missing supernova remnants (based on old earth assumptions) how can he then measure the fixed amount of existing radioactive isotopes.

It’s possible (even likely) that I do not fully understand his arguments here, but there seems to be an awful lot of unjustified speculation for him to claim that the abundance of radioactive isotopes is one of the strongest evidences for old earthism.

 

Throughout this chapter, Dr. Ross makes the claim that the universe is precisely 13.79 ± 0.06 billion years old. In 2019 new measurements reduced the age of the universe almost 1,250,000,000 years. So, the error bars were crushed by several orders of magnitude. Don’t miss the extreme inaccuracy of Ross’s claims: Suddenly, over a billion years went missing from the age of the universe and this is almost TWENTY-ONE times the size of his error bars!!!

Dr. Ross finishes the chapter thusly

In 1991 the best available measurements produced a date of 16 ± 3 billion years.

Since the best measurements available in 2019 have the universe at 12.5 billion years, we can make an extrapolation of the time when science will catch up to the Bible.

[Sarcasm font/] Approximately every 38 years, the modern academic paradigm (MAP) declares the universe to have lost about 3.5 billion years, so we can safely say that within 150 years the MAP will confirm what God has said all along in his word: In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. [/sarcasm font]

Now, I want to go back to the time limiting factors that I mentioned at the beginning with the candle analogy. Are there limiters to how old the earth and universe can be?

And many others

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

 

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 13

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Big Bang: The Bible Said it First

The title is fairly self explanatory. Dr. Ross tries to make the case that the Bible teaches the concept of what is proverbially known as the Big Bang. Let’s look at chapter 13 to see what Dr. Ross believes to be the Big Bang (BB) and how the Bible does or does not teach this theory

These are quotes from Dr. Ross throughout chapter 13 in which he defines part or all of the theory:

In truth, the cosmic “bang” is an immensely powerful yet carefully planned and controlled burst of creation-a sudden release of power from which the universe unfurled in an exquisitely controlled expansion. In an instant, time, space, matter, and energy, along with the physical laws governing them all, came into existence from a source beyond the cosmos

Except for Ross’s redaction of “and the Earth” from Genesis 1:1, I have to agree with his quote from above. In the beginning, God did create time, space, matter and energy…but for some reason, Dr. Ross ignores the last part of the verse “and the Earth” in an effort to teach his old earthism.

The thermodynamics of cosmic expansion, if fine-tuned adequately, predict that these ashes (heavy elements from hydrogen burning) together with the remaining hydrogen, will eventually coalesce (in a way comparable to raindrop formation) to develop galaxies, stars, planets, and moons from gas and dust clouds.

In his 1st quote we saw how Dr. Ross ignored the Earth as being created at the beginning. In his continued explanation of the BB, he now ignores the order of creation in Genesis 1. While the Bible says that stars, planets, galaxies, and moons are created on Day 4, Dr. Ross ignores the order of creation implies that the Earth isn’t created for about 10,000,000,000 years after the beginning. He proposes cosmic evolution, which he reduces to “raindrop formation” as a simplified way of describing how stars coalesce from dust, ignite into stars, supernovae to create heavier chemicals, and coalesce again into planets and stars until eventually, the earth coalesces from previous supernova. The Bible teaches none of this, and modern physics can only assume each of those previous steps since only the destruction of stars by supernovae have ever been observed.

On page 137 we see the 1st attempt at a claim that the Bible teaches the BB theory:

Scripture’s prophets and apostles described four fundamental features of the big bang: a transcendent cosmic beginning in the finite past, cosmic expansion from that beginning, unchanging laws of physics, and an all-pervasive law of decay. Isaiah 42:5 makes reference to the first two features.

Nothing in this quote would refute the biblical creationist’s understanding of the universe or scripture as the expansion of space is part of most biblical creationist’s models. While most have a moderate understanding of expansion rather than Dr. Ross’s naturalistic understanding, expansion is expected. So, Dr. Ross’s claims that the Bible teaches the Big Bang in the same way that Stephen Hawkings teaches the Big Bang isn’t correct.

The Bible also speaks about other big bang features. Jeremiah 33:25 and Romans 8:20-22 indicate that “The fixed laws of heaven and earth,” which includes thermodynamics, gravity, and electromagnetism, have universally operated throughout cosmic history. Big bang theory agrees.

Knowing how Dr. Ross frames his arguments, he includes this quote in a way to refute the biblical creationist idea that perhaps the speed of light has been different in the past or that the accepted speed of light convention refutes both the anisotropic synchrony convention (ASC) and creation time coordinates model (CTC). My understanding of the ASC and CTC models do not include a differing of physical laws just of a frame of reference. Either way, I have asked Dr. Ross to elaborate on the timing of God’s declaration that physical laws have never changed. Dr. Ross has claimed that it was from the beginning, but scripture disagrees with him. Genesis 8:22 is the first time that God declares his covenant with creation not to change the physical laws. This is over 1500 years after creation, so it is conceivable that God could have changed the physical laws had He desired prior to this point. I do not think He did, but Dr. Ross cannot claim Jeremiah 33:25 was an established covenant prior to the aftermath of the flood when God formally declares his covenant in Genesis 8:22. Remember, exegesis and the authority of scripture (not old earthism) are preeminent.

Christian outrage over the big bang certainly seems misplaced.

As noted before, the Christian outrage over the BB is the cosmic evolution, chemical evolution, stellar evolution, galactic evolution, and planetary evolution all taking place out of order with Scripture’s description in Genesis 1.

Since I am not an astrophysicist, my understanding of the BB itself is supplemented by knowledgeable astrophysicists. If you are interested in further study regarding the enormous and insurmountable problems with the BB, here are some links for your benefit:

UPDATE: Here are some really good articles about the Big Bang from Jason Lisle

  1. The big bang was invented to explain the origin of the universe and its features without God
  2. The big bang is a secular story of the origin of the universe
  3. Are there good reasons to believe it (BB) despite its lack of scientific verification?

 

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to accept naturalist mechanisms like the big bang to explain God’s creative works. Neither do we have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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Let Bygones Be Bygones

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It’s one of my hobbies to discuss origins with people. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know that I have a strong stance in the veracity of the Bible because it is the inspired Word of God.

So, one of the conversations I was having with someone, who believed in a universe that is 13 point something billion years old and an Earth that is about 4.5 billion year old, went like this:

  • OldEarther: If God created the sun on day 4 like it says in Genesis, how could there have been days 1, 2, and 3 prior to that?
  • Me: I’ve got two answers for you. First, your “time problem” is much bigger than my perceived problem. In a “long-age” view, the sun doesn’t emerge from condensed gases until 8-9 billion years after the Big Bang and the Earth doesn’t emerge until about a half a million years after that. How do you get years prior to the earth revolving around the sun? I’ve only got to account for 3 days; you, on the other hand are stuck trying to account for billions of YEARS without a calibration for a year!
  • OldEarther: ….
  • Me: Secondly, God was very clear about the purpose of the sun. Shine light on the Earth, and be a time keeper on Earth. So, your question to me about the rationality of days 1, 2, and 3 doesn’t make sense. The definition of a day is one earth rotation on its axis. There’s no need for the sun to exist for there to be days. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Day 1 the Earth was there spinning and on day 4, God created the sun, so that mankind (day 6) would be able to tell time. Your question is very much like asking, “How could there have been time before watches?” Time existed prior to the invention of chronographs. It’s just much easier to see the passage of time with a watch (the sun).
  • OldEarther: Well, if that’s the case, then your first answer to me fails too!
  • Me: Not so. Since I believe the Bible’s historical account, years began to be measured at the very latest only 4 days after creation…a negligible amount. But for you, the calibration for a year is now ambiguous prior to the measurement of one revolution of the earth around the sun.

 

We can trust God’s revelation about the history of Earth, so we can trust Him with our future!

Hitch Your Wagon to a Star

Just make sure it is the right star. I first heard this phrase (Hitch your wagon to a star) in Kenny Tamplin’s 90’s release, Get Out of My Sun. At least now you know some of my obscure musical tastes. Anyway, the idea is that if you know someone who is rich or smart or famous, then maybe you can get something that you didn’t necessarily earn. I’m going to take this on to a logical conclusion with the recognition that if you got your riches, fame, or information based on a falling star, then you too are doomed.

If you’ve hitched up to a falling star (or foundation) then your wagon (or worldview) is also bound to fail.

Titanic_OldEarth

Old Earth Creationists have been shouting the mantra of the necessity for Christians to embrace Big Bang Cosmology and other naturalistic-based ideas (evolution, deep time…) One of the more famous groups to have done this is Hugh Ross’s outfit, reasons.org. They claim that the Bible introduced the Big Bang cosmology to the world. One of the many problems with the idea of the old earth creationists is that the Bible does not have anything at all to do with the Big Bang. As noted in Genesis 1, God created dry land on day 2, plants on day 3, stars/planets on day 4, birds/fish on day 5, and land creatures on day 6 (including mankind). But the Big Bang theory describes something totally different in a totally different order in a totally different time frame. The two creation stories are completely different.

Despite the obvious differences, the old earth creationists continue to hang onto the idea that naturalistic assumptions about the universe should form the basis by which Christians should interpret scripture, and from a cursory look at their websites, they have grown adept at this method of interpreting the Bible.

Unfortunately, for them, like phlogiston, abiogenesis, and leech-blood-letting before, the Big Bang model has been tossed aside by secular scientists. In this article, the naturalistic thinkers no longer want the universe to have a beginning because this would seem to imply that there were a Higher Power, to whom they might be responsible.

Big Bang? What Big Bang? In a new theory, researchers suggest that the start of the universe may have involved no bang at all.

There’s no need for Christians to compromise the revealed Word of God to try to accommodate naturalistic assumptions about creation…especially as they have a tendency to be discarded as more information is discovered.  You can trust God’s Word as revealed in the Bible to be true and unchanging.

UPDATE:

“The science is settled! It is beyond dispute that the Big Bang never happened.”

“What?! New evidence is in, and the Big Bang never happened?”

“The science is settled! The universe is eternal. The Big Bang never happened. Those who cling to the Big Bang are science deniers!”

http://www.glennbeck.com/2015/02/10/watch-the-big-bang-never-happened/

Starlight, Star bright

Stars are utterly fascinating to me. Whenever I get out into the country on a clear moonless night, I love looking up into the heavens to look at these wondrous creations. One of my favorite memories was seeing the Milky Way as clearly as I could imagine while traveling away from the city during my trip to Belize. It was so beautiful. As the Psalmist said, “The Heavens declare the glory of God.” – Psalm 19:1

stars

But there is an alternative view on the origin of the stars. Actually the most widely held view of the origin of stars is that they formed and continue to form as a result of natural forces. There are all kinds of problems with the naturalistic assumption that stars have formed on their own. To name a few of these problems, naturalists say that the original stars, Population III stars, formed with special conditions that no longer form stars. The problem is that none of this is observed. No one has ever even seen a Population III star. They are not scientific evidence; they are a required figment of the evolutionist’s mind. There’s no evidence that they ever existed, but for the evolutionist, they are necessary to have existed, so that the Population III stars could supernova and create Population II stars.

Population II and Population I stars have their own set of difficulties as they require high pressures from exploding supernova to compress debris and gases enough to trigger nuclear fusion. As of July 2014, astronomers estimate that there are an 7 billion trillion stars (7X10^22). If each of these stars were formed by the pressure of supernova explosions, why is the universe not saturated with the supernova remnants (SNR)? Instead of finding billions and trillions of SNR that would have been needed to form all of these stars, what is actually observed fits almost exactly within a biblical time frame.

SuperNovaRemnants

Even today evolutionists say that stars continue to form in stellar nurseries, but this is simply wishful thinking in order to perpetuate the deep time worldview. There is no evidence that stars continue to form.

We have historical records of the creation of the stars in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day

Truly the Heavens declare the glory of God!

At no charge, I have done the math for you. If there are 7X10^22 stars, and (for the sake of argument) we accept the unbiblical age of the universe at 13.7 billion years, then every year 5,109,489,051,095 stars would have to form. That’s 9,721,250 stars every minute and 162,020 stars EVERY second for almost 14 billion years. This is completely unfathomable and beyond credibility.