ICR: Instant Starlight on the Fourth Day

Back when Genesis was written, no one knew about the speed of light so there was no apparent problem in saying that the stars were created on the Fourth Day of creation week, a few thousand years ago, and were immediately visible on Earth. We’ve been writing about this since the earliest days of our blog — see How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?, where we said:

One of the creationists’ lesser-known difficulties is their Starlight problem, which asks this question: If the universe were only around 6,000 years old, then how is it possible that we see light coming from stars and galaxies that are millions of light-years away from us?

The creationists have been struggling with this, and we’ve written several posts about their efforts — see Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper, and also Answers in Genesis & the Speed of Light.

Today, the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — is taking another whack at this most difficult problem. Their article is titled Uniformitarians Stumble on Distant Starlight . It was written by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. He has two middle initials, which is very classy, and he not only has a law degree, but he’s also a Doctor of Theology. He’s described at the end as “Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The accuracy and authority of God’s Word are often attacked by those who claim that science shows biblical claims to be erroneous if not impossible. 1 Peter 3:15 calls on believers to be always “ready to give a defense [apologian] to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” A good place to start is to 1) examine the assumptions of the questioner, and 2) examine closely what the Bible actually says.

Right. Don’t even think of starting with the evidence presented to you. Then he says:

For instance, one common stumbling block uniformitarians introduce is the question of how long it took starlight to reach Earth, saying it couldn’t possibly have both started and arrived on Day 4 of the creation week as recorded in Genesis.

Yes, that is a common “stumbling block.” What’s Johnson’s advice for dealing with it? He tells us:

No human observed or measured the travel time for its original delivery. However, as Dr. Henry Morris observed, we know starlight accomplished God’s declared purposes listed in Genesis 1:14-18, which included starlight being promptly visible to mankind on Earth.

Right, we know that. He quotes Henry Morris, the founder of ICR, and the material in brackets is in Johnson’s post:

In order to serve these purposes [for the sun, moon, and stars], however, light energy trails would need to be established already in place in space [raqia‘ ] between each star and earth. Thus, men would have been able to see stars billions of light-years away at the very moment of their formation, in accordance with the principle of mature creation, or creation of apparent age.

Very impressive! Johnson continues:

Most creationists no longer believe God created starlight “in transit,” but they all agree distant starlight reached Earth quickly. The Hebrew text demands that starlight’s complete transmission first occurred within the timeframe of Day 4. The main action verb in Genesis 1:17 — a form of nathan usually translated “give,” more literally “transfer” or “deliver” — emphasizes the original transmission of starlight, not God’s positioning of the stars. This means that during Day 4, distant starlight logistically began and completely arrived at (i.e., was “delivered” to) Earth.

Did you understand that? We didn’t, and we may end up in the Lake of Fire as a result. Let’s read on:

Uniformitarians assume that starlight began its intergalactic journey eons ago because they assume distant starlight — even “from the beginning” — has always required billions of years to reach Earth.

According to Johnson, those hell-bound uniformitarians are fools! However, our observation of supernova SN1987A undeniably indicates that lightspeed hasn’t changed for more than 168,000 years, and we’ve never seen a creationist address this. This is how Johnson deals with the starlight problem:

But God-designed beginnings are not always representative of later continuation norms. Consider a human baby’s embryology; it is not representative of how newborn humans grow and develop. Consider the form and behavior of an adult Monarch butterfly; it is not a good “key” for guessing what its earlier caterpillar phase was like. Likewise, during the creation week, creation’s processes included many mighty miracles that are not normal today.

Good, huh? Here’s more:

Therefore, assuming that evolutionary eons of billions of years of “deep time” are needed for Earth to originally receive starlight is simply wrong — because God transmitted the original starlight by special delivery!

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Special delivery!

Johnson ends his brilliant essay with a little poem he wrote:

Deists pegged Earth’s years in the millions.
Many stretch that, today, to the billions.
Dismissing Day 4,
God’s Word they ignore,
Thus erring by margins of billions.

That was adorable! Well done!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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22 responses to “ICR: Instant Starlight on the Fourth Day

  1. Doctor of Theology? Is that like a Flasmorg of Gribblegosh?

  2. Can you get said degree without knowing that the cosmology of the Old Testament authors assumed a dome with pot lights? Your local Superdome is orders of magnitude closer to their view of the universe than what we commonly refer to as reality.

  3. Do we have to pay shipping and handling on the “But wait, there’s more” part?

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Geez, it would be sooo much easier to admit that when the bible was written that god didn’t bother to explain the science and scope of the universe because the people then wouldn’t understand. But I guess just saying the creation is a miracle that simulates and defies history is what they like to do. Cross a theologian and a lawyer and you get a foolhardy dummy.

  5. Is God still transmitting starlight by special delivery? When I see a supernova take place millions of light-years away, am I seeing an event that actually happened? And if so, when?

  6. Sure, creationism is really dumb, but rhyming “billions” with “billions” is unforgivable.

  7. The Bible tells us that the Lights are put in the firmament to divide day from night, and to mark the passage of time. How, then, were there days 1, 2, and 3?

    How were there days and nights on a spherical Earth? At every instant, there is somewhere sunset, midnight, sunrise, noon, … the beginning of a new
    day, the beginning of night.

  8. Certainly someone can do better than this.
    “Hambone says science is silly,
    Johnson repeats this quite shrilly,
    Dismissing the facts,
    Klinkdufur a quack,
    The thought process quite willy nilly”

  9. Michael Fugate

    Deists pegged Earth’s years in the millions.
    Many stretch that, today, to the billions.
    Dismissing Day 4,
    God’s Word they ignore,
    Ken Ham is a colossal boor.

  10. The form is five lines in dactylic rhythm, the first, second and fifth of three strong feet, the third and fourth of only two, with a rhyme-scheme AABBA. Lines usually start on a weak foot, and may end on one IF the rhyme is two syllables.

    Edward Lear, who popularized it, usually used the same word at the ends of lines one and five:

    There was an old man with a beard,
    Who said, “It is just as I feared.
    ‘Two owls and a wren,
    ‘Four larks and a hen,
    ‘Have all built their nests in my beard.”

    but this is not usually acceptable, now.

    Distant starlight? No problem, say we,
    God created it all, instantly
    On the fly. We’ve no doubt,
    Which is why we all shout
    QED! QED!! QED!!!

  11. “many mighty miracles”
    Makes me wonder why Jolly James Johnson cares about science at all. He could as well defend last tuesdayism. Why doesn’t he? ‘Çuz Holly Babble of curz.

  12. Paul D is asking the right question. More generally, if the starlight arrived by special delivery, and there has only been some 6,000 years for normal delivery, how do we know that any of the stars at greater distance than 6,000 light years are really there at all?

  13. Of course they really are there, silly Paul B – the creationist god created them! And there is no more perfect god than the creationist god! No way he would fool us!

  14. What about the two neutron stars which collided 130 million years ago, producing the event GW 170817. Did they exist before the event?

  15. According to Young Earth Creacrap obviously no. How dare you doubt the Hully Babble! The creacrap god created those gravitational waves during his busy week. The only relevant question is on what day. Consult Ol’Hambo for the correct answer, he’s the self-declared expert on everything.

  16. Yes, the Bible tells us about gravitational waves, just as it tells us that the Flood carved the Grand Canyon, that there was a burst of micro-evolution which was constrained by the barrier separating created kinds, that there was a change in vital (literally) parameters in natural laws (such as the speed of light) – and other beliefs which are central to salvation. Preachers are making sure that their flocks are not going to forget how the Bible is making those facts clear.
    (Much more important than, say, the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount.)

  17. The problem with “instant starlight” isn’t merely physical. Asserting that God created the universe so that it would appear very old when it actually isn’t makes the Deity the Supreme Liar, a role usually assigned to you-know-who (no, not that guy). Somehow I doubt that this is what our friend Dr. Johnson means to do.

  18. And what does this screwing around with physical parameters mean for the silly creationist argument that the universe is “fine tuned” specifically for us by some sky fairy (blessed be his/her/its name). That god guy sure ain’t no physicist or engineer! Besides, who ya gonna believe about physics? Real physicists or some dude with law and theology degrees.

  19. @: “Sure, creationism is really dumb, but rhyming ‘billions’ with ‘billions’ is unforgivable.”

    Hey, there’s at least one school of literary criticism that maintains that all words — say, “billions” — are both homonyms AND synonyms of themselves.

    Go figure.

    (But I’m with you — if words were allowed to rhyme with themselves, writing poetry would be as easy as penning Italian sonnets in Spanish.)

  20. EricL thinks he’s clever: “makes the Deity the Supreme Liar”
    Not at all – God’s Word is true.
    Abeastwood wonders: “who ya gonna believe about physics?”
    God’s Word of course.
    Admit it guys – creacrap can’t be beaten.

  21. When someone says that the Bible says that the Flood carved the Grand Canyon… and gets away with that… then I don’t see how they can be beaten.

  22. And not just the canyon, but the sediments through which it cuts (Morris, Genesis Flood).

    To be fair to Morris, he was writing at a time when the geological establishment in the US was still resisting plate tectonics, decades after it had made its way into Arthur Holmes’s textbook