Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All

Dr. Russell Humphreys gives a possible solution to the question of how stars can be seen many millions of light years away if only a few thousand years have passed since they were created. There is a Fifth Dimension that can explain the problem of Starlight and Time!

According to Humphreys, the universe that we see through our telescopes can be explained by God working in a Fifth Dimension, outside of space and time, to change the tension in the fabric of space. This tension affects the speed of light, and can actually freeze time itself. During Day Four of creation, time froze on Earth, while the stars and galaxies that were spun off into the heavens went through millions of years. The timeless region in the heavens rapidly imploded toward our Earth, and when it broke through sometime during that Fourth Day, the stars and galaxies were finally visible, in all their ancient glory! And yet, only 24 hours passed on Earth that day...

(Marko Malyj's abridged version of A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part, Parts 1 and 2, by Larry Vardiman and D. Russell Humphreys, 2010-11):

One of the issues that concern many people who wish to adopt young-earth creationism as a valid view of earth history is the question of how stars can be seen many millions of light years away if only a few thousand years have passed since they were created. Dr. Russell Humphreys, a previous researcher at Institute for Creation Research (ICR), spent years working on this problem and has developed a creationist cosmology that seems to resolve this question.

On the fourth day of creation, how long did it take God to make the stars and bring their light to earth? No time at all, according to clocks here on earth. That is what Humphreys concludes from his new creationist cosmology research. The cosmology presented in his 1994 book, Starlight and Time (Humphreys 1994) had the light getting to earth in a finite amount of time, not instantaneously. The general features of that cosmology—a universe centered upon our galaxy, expansion of space, and gravitational time dilation—still appear to be correct. But Humphreys was never fully satisfied with its details.

After several months of mathematical work, Humphreys found the solution and the Journal of Creation published his results (Humphreys 2008).

Time Stands Still

Humphrey's new metric (an allowable solution of Einstein’s gravity equations) is not complicated, compared to many modern ones. Because it is simple and yet rigorous, it shows a feature of gravitational time dilation that nobody had noticed before. Humphreys calls this feature of time dilation achronicity, or “timelessness.” It causes clocks and all physical processes—hence, time itself—to be completely stopped in a region that could be very large. This is in contrast to the time dilation around a black hole, in which time is completely stopped only at a certain exact distance from its center, at the “event horizon.” (Hawking 1988).

Space Is Like a Scroll

Space is not empty. Both science and Scripture strongly imply that space is a solid material that we cannot see or feel, though quantum field theory suggests it is extremely dense (Humphreys 1994). We move freely through it and it moves freely through us (Feynman 1965). See Scriptures like Isaiah 40:22: “[God] stretches out the heavens like a [tent] curtain” (NASB), and 16 other similar verses (2 Samuel 22:10; Job 9:8, 26:7, 37:18; Psalm 18:9, 104:2, 144:5; Isaiah 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15; Ezekiel 1:22; Zechariah 12:1).

Lay a piece of typing paper flat on a table. Now roll up the paper like a scroll. You used the third dimension, height, in the air above the table to roll it up. But here is an amazing thing—Scripture says the same thing about the heavens:

And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll. (Isaiah 34:4, NKJV)

The context here is the “host of heaven,” which includes the stars, and “the heavens.” Yet God says He will roll them up like a scroll. That implies that the heavens are thin in a fourth direction that we cannot see. the extra dimension makes sense of the equations of Einstein’s general theory of relativity by giving room in which the “spacetime continuum” can be bent. Time is yet another dimension according to relativity theory, but it is different from the space dimensions.

The Analogy of the Trampoline

If the heavens are thin in one dimension, and like a stretchable fabric under tension, we can compare them to the fabric in a trampoline. Put a heavy ring inside the circular frame on the trampoline. Notice that the weight of the ring makes a dent in the fabric of the trampoline, as in Figure 3. In just the same way (but with more dimensions), Einstein’s gravity equations say the presence of a mass bends the fabric of space. For dents that are not very deep, this picture also fits Newton’s gravity equations.

The First Day of Creation

Now that we have the trampoline analogy in place, we are ready to understand some of the gravitational implications of creation. Recall that Genesis 1:2 mentions water:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (KJV)

Notice “the deep.” This was probably ordinary liquid H2O and would have been in the shape of a ball a few light years in diameter. If Newton’s gravitational constant G had the same value then as now (not necessarily true), all of the water would be well within the event horizon of a black hole.

Now, replace the ring on our trampoline with a heavy metal ball to represent “the deep.” Gravity would be strong around “the deep.” Almost certainly time dilation was taking place. One ordinary-length day of time passed during which time the ball would have contracted due to gravity.

The Beginning of the Second Day of Creation

At the center of “the deep,” God marked off a relatively small spherical region of water. He marked it off with a thin region of space that He called “the firmament,” or in other translations “the expanse” (Genesis 1:7). The Hebrew word raqia suggests something solid that was spread out, such as the bronze hammered thin and spread over the altar of sacrifice (Numbers 16:38). The raqia is understood to consist of the same dense, intangible, and invisible material that was mentioned above, the fabric of space. Above the raqia were the rest of the waters of the deep. Above the waters was more empty space (empty to our perception, but again a material) extending out many billions of light years.

Then, God began spreading out, or expanding, the raqia, hence giving the word its connection with “spreading out.” Somehow, God carried the waters above the firmament outward above the raqia. As the spreading out continued, the waters above the expanse would have become thinner, eventually breaking up into large and small drops of water. Then the drops would begin freezing from the outside inward. So, eventually the waters above the firmament would become a relatively thin region, shaped like a spherical shell, of ice particles.

The Second Day of Creation

The gravitational effect of the shell of waters above the raqia expanding on the second day of creation can be simulated on the trampoline. Remove the heavy metal ball we introduced and replace it with a pebble (representing the small ball of water that is the future earth) within a ring of metal having the same weight as the metal ball. Now there is a nearly-flat area within the ring except for a small dent made by the pebble at the center.

As God expanded the waters above the raqia, the dent in the fabric of space became shallower. This had important relativistic effects on time and space.

God called the raqia “heaven” (Genesis 1:8). At this point, the only created matter within the shell of waters above the heavens was an earth-sized ball of water. According to clues from physics, the expansion of the shell and the raqia is still happening today.

The Remaining Days of Creation

On the third day, God formed the waters below the firmament into the seas and dry land of planet earth, and then He made plants on the dry land. The only light source was apparently God Himself, as Psalm 104:2 suggests: “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment.” Throughout the third day, the firmament was devoid of sun, moon, planets, and stars.

The new metric (solution of Einstein’s gravity equations) Humphreys developed to describe the relationship among mass, space, and time says (Humphreys 2008) that:
  • the distribution of mass controls the fabric of space,
  • the fabric of space controls the speed of light, and  
  • the speed of light controls time.
Time is speeded up or slowed down throughout space according to the distribution of mass. Figure 2 shows the relative speed of clocks as a function of gravitational potential energy and distance from the center of the cosmos where the initial mass was created. Notice that time slows down at lower potential energy until a critical value is reached. This value called the critical depth is the level below which time itself stops. This condition without time is called the achronous (no time) region.

Imagine that events prior to Day Four have expanded space and moved the shell of “waters above the heavens” out to a radius of, say, one billion light years. This would have left the earth and the nearly-flat fabric of space within the ring just above the critical potential.

Now imagine that during the fourth day, God created star masses in a way that would form a linearly-dented perturbation in the otherwise flat potential of the fabric of space, as shown in Figure 3.

The horizontal dashed line in Figure 3 represents the critical potential. As soon as God created the galaxy masses, the fabric of space began sinking slowly and the central part—containing the earth—dropped below the critical potential. An observer in ordinary space a bit farther from the center would have seen a black sphere appear at the center of the cosmos and begin growing in size. The entire interior of the sphere was an achronous region. For slow-moving objects in that region, time would have stopped. The critical potential depends on the speed of light, which in turn depends on the tension in the fabric of space. If, as God stretched or contracted the fabric of space (Isaiah 40:22), He changed the tension simultaneously everywhere, the speed of light changed and the position of the critical potential with respect to the fabric also changed. The critical potential line in Figure 3 could have moved up or down quite rapidly

A Light Transit-time Scenario on Day Four

Let’s suppose that God now increased the tension in the fabric of space, and the critical potential line moved downward. As each galaxy emerged from the receding timeless region, it resumed emitting light. Some of the emitted light would have gone inward toward the center (see Figure 4). When the sphere of timelessness reached zero radius and disappeared, the earth emerged, and immediately the light that had been following the sphere reached earth, even light that started billions of light years away. The stretching of the fabric of space had been occurring continuously all along the light trajectory, thus red-shifting the light wavelength.

On earth, it was still only the fourth day. An observer on the night side of the earth would have seen a black sky one instant, and a sky filled with stars the next. With a telescope he would also be able to see distant galaxies with suitably red-shifted spectra. From Day Four until now, about 6,000 years later, an observer on earth would have been able to see stars billions of light years away.

Implications and Elaborations

Although we have presented the basics of Humphreys’ new cosmology in these two articles (Vardiman and Humphreys, 2010, 2011), it has been in an abbreviated form without equations and elaborate illustrations. In a third article, we will conclude this discussion by describing the implications of Humphreys’ cosmology in more detail using a composite figure to illustrate the effects of stretching the heavens on earth time, cosmic time, and location in space. We will also discuss a possible second time-dilation episode associated with the Genesis Flood and some cosmic evidence for the Humphreys model.

References (selected)

Feynman, R. P., R. B. Leighton and M. Sands. 1965. The Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol III. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.

Hawking, S. W. 1988. A Brief History of Time. Toronto: Bantam Books, 87.

Humphreys, D. R. 1994. Starlight and Time. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 67.

Humphreys, D. R. 2007. Creationist cosmologies explain the anomalous acceleration of Pioneer spacecraft. Journal of Creation. 21 (2): 61-70.

Humphreys, D. R. 2008. New time dilation helps creation cosmology. Journal of Creation. 22 (3): 84-92. Available on

Vardiman, L. and D. R. Humphreys. 2010. A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 1. Acts & Facts. 39 (11): 12-15.

Vardiman, L. and D. R. Humphreys. 2011. A New Creationist Cosmology: In No Time at All Part 2. Acts & Facts. 40 (1): 12-15.

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