Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1996
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 2: Buried Truths of Origins
Appendix C: Physical & Chemical Natural History: Is the Universe Thousands or Billions of Years Old?
Lesson 30 – Physical and Chemical Natural History:
Is the Universe Thousands or Billions of Years Old?, Part 2:
Astronomical “Clocks” and the Bible
30 May 1996
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
I hope that as we finish up we’ll be able to see more of the big picture, because this set of notes is one that you can go back to again and again, since the whole purpose is to deal with the large scale argument, the basic argument rather than the little details. You may get details in your reading here and there, but always be able to connect those details to the overall frame of reference. Tonight we’re going to deal with Appendix C. The purpose of these appendices is to deal in a bit more detail with some of the technical questions that arise in Genesis. I was asked what difference all this made, why bother? And the answer is because true biblical faith is locked into history. The classic passage in the New Testament to show this is 1 Corinthians 15, one we dealt with when we began, one I want to remind you of as we draw the class to a conclusion. I want you to see how almost subliminally the Apostle Paul utilizes the literal narrative of Genesis to teach the most central doctrines of the Christian faith. No doctrine could be more important than the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as far as the New Testament is concerned. And when he deals with this New Testament doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, he insists upon several things that strike you immediately.
1 Corinthians 15:16-18, you ought to write these verses down, keep them or at least the references to these verses handy, these are very important verses. This is the classic reference in the New Testament that links religious belief with historic fact. Our generation is a generation that even in evangelical, more so now in evangelical circles, sadly, but in the last 10 or 15 years it’s just leaked into our own camp, this belief that you can talk about Jesus in your heart, and you can talk about I believe in Jesus, this works for me, and all the rest of it, and at the same time either never study the Bible, and/or if you do, cut it out and keep it away from any talk of history and facts, as though the Bible sort of stands by itself and isn’t talking about anything in the real world. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul lays it on the line, “if the dead don’t rise, then Christ isn’t raised, and if Christ is not raised, your faith is in vain, and you are yet in your sins.” Notice he is willing to conclude that if the Bible is factually incorrect, then our faith is in vain, it’s a big illusion.
That’s why the Bible insists that if the Christian facts aren’t facts, if the historical record of the Scripture isn’t historical record, then Paul also in the same passage, 1 Corinthians 15:32, draws another conclusion. “If, after the manner of man I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead are not raised,” and then very important, the last clause, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” He’s quite willing to draw that conclusion, very willing! In other words, Paul is not the kind of person that says gee, if the Christian faith is false, it’s a neat thing anyway. He doesn’t say that. He says if the Christian faith is false, throw it out, forget it, but have the courage to draw the behavioral conclusions and the impact that is going to have on your life, “go ahead, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Classic case, it’s right there in the text.
So it shows you the contingency of the faith in the sense that the Bible marries the gospel to hard Scriptural truths. Here’s why. The Bible insists that God is trustworthy. When we talked about the Noahic Covenant, we made the point, when God enters into a covenant, remember we went through the thing about blood sacrifice, there are two parties to the covenant, and there are terms to the covenant, so you have two people that enter into a contract, because the word “covenant” means contract. And a contract has terms that can be verified. So in the Bible when God says something, the terms of this contract, His truthfulness, His veracity, His immutability, His faithfulness is on the line. Is he or is He not telling us the truth? So when He makes a promise, be it in some historic fact, whether this has occurred, this would be a past statement, this happened, or it could be prophecy, talking about a future fact, will it occur, but in both instances, whether it’s past or its future, if it doesn’t happen, or it hasn’t happened, then God isn’t the trustworthy God that He claims to be. That is why, because we deal with a real faith in the Bible, it’s not a fake faith, it’s not a quote “religious belief” divorced away from history, because that is the nature of Biblical faith. That is why we say that the text of Scripture must be infallible.
This is basically a testimony; it’s a testimony as a testimony might be in a court room. A couple weeks ago I was subpoenaed to appear in a murder trial in the country because an expert witness to certain weather conditions that had happened at the time this girl was killed. The defense attorney sits there and he tries to attack you because he wants to discredit your testimony. So wherever he can get you on some little minutia, that’s all he needs, to introduce a little bit of doubt in the jury that you just might possibly be mistaken, because if you might possibly be mistaken in this area, you could be mistaken in that area. And that’s exactly the argument of Scripture. The argument of Scripture is that God is perfect; it is man that is imperfect. And this is why the Bible is quite willing, so to speak, to take on the world, it is open to investigation.
What we have tried to stress throughout this course is that it is not just the fact, we have tried to point out time and time again that how you interpret a fact is related to your world view, to your presuppositions, there’s no such thing as a neutral fact. When we get down to what we really believe, and we get down to presuppositions and world views, it turns out that there are only two. There is the world view of the Scripture, carried down to us through the patriarchs, the Holy Spirit superintending the process, carried down to us today through the patriarchs to whom the Holy Spirit spoke, carried down through not just the patriarchs, the prophets, going all the way back to Noah and his family. Every tribe and every cultural unit that has ever walked the face of this planet after the flood are sons and daughters of Noah. As such, every culture on earth has at least once in its history had possession of Genesis 1-9, every tribe, every culture. They may have buried it, they may have misused it, they may have introduced errors into it, but they had it at one time.
So when we come to this we find that there are those who believe in the Creator, fundamentalism, the Bible, ancient Israel, and an ancient monotheism that survives in some of these tribal areas. Those who deny this wind up as pagans, whether they’re ancient pagans of the ancient myths, whether they’re Eastern religions, whether there’s Western philosophy, whether it’s modern theology, ultimately all believe that there is no transcendental distinction between the Creator and the creature. They ultimately deny this, they say that God and man differ only in size, differ only in magnitude, that man and nature differ only in complexity. They wipe out, wash out, all these differences.
In 1 Corinthians 15:38-40, when Paul continues to talk about the resurrection, he talks about the qualitative, not quantitative, but qualitative differences in kinds. He says, verse 39, “all flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.  There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.” Verse 42, “So also is the resurrection of the dead.” In other words, the Bible insists there are these unbridgeable chasms, these categories. And we said when we dealt with Appendix B, the point is that if there are these categories, then salvation makes sense. In other words, the Bible insists that there are those in Adam and there are those in Christ. This is an unbreachable kind, everybody reproduces after their kinds.
Said in modern biological terminology, there are two species of men, spiritually speaking, and there’s no evolution between them, there’s no transmutation from Adam over to Christ. There’s no continuity between Adam and Christ. That’s salvation by works, that’s satanic, that’s always the program of Satan, he wants to add a little bit more, and bring in, by human works, merit, and he evolves from Adam into Jesus. But the Bible insists that this breach between Adam and Christ is so profound that only an act equal in magnitude to the origin of the universe is possible. Only by the new creation and the new birth is it possible to shift between Adam and Christ. So these are not abstract arguments, it’s not an accident that creation and evolution collide. They collide out of fundamental premises that are different, radically different, and very important to the spiritual side of the Bible.
In Appendix B we dealt with the evolution/creation issue in a very summarily way, there’s thousands and thousands of details to get involved with. Obviously in 4-5 pages we’re not going to get into thousands of details. All we wanted to do was to show and summarize at the end of the series the fact that there is a difference, and be aware of the difference, that evolution is a modern statement of an ancient idea. Something you always want to learn, don’t accept ideas just because you think somebody originated them recently. Be very suspicious of the thought that there’s a new idea. There usually are not any new ideas; they are old ideas with a new set of clothes. And evolution is not a new idea, and it did not begin with Charles Darwin, it began with the first pagan belief in Adam’s day. And it is the belief in the Continuity of Being that all this gradation, from gods and the goddesses to man, to animals, to rocks, etc. What Darwin did is he added a visualizeable method of propagating upward on the chain whereas in ancient paganism it was always coming down the chain. So he changed the direction of the arrow, but he didn’t change the idea.
Creationism holds that from the very beginning God created kinds. And these kinds have never been transgressed, that God made man, God made birds, God made reptiles, God made mammals, etc. etc. etc. And what are these kinds? What do they correspond to? Not necessarily the modern species. Species originally were animals that could interbreed and animals that couldn’t interbreed were somehow not part of that species. The problem with that definition is that from our point of view as Christians and creationists is that we don’t know how reproduction capabilities have deteriorated over time, due to the fall. So in a larger sense, using the word “kind” and tracking it through the Mosaic Law Code, etc. several biologists who are Christians have come to the conclusion that the nearest thing that “kinds” corresponds to with what you learn in school is probably the idea of order, or family. In any case, there are these kinds, and within the kinds there can be adaptation, there can be variation. After all, if it weren’t for this, how would we explain the ark? Noah took aboard a limited set of creatures, two of every kind. He didn’t take millions of animals; he took of every kind, representative gene pool, and out of that representative gene pool has diverged the diversity we now observe. So it’s not true that creationism holds to absolute fixity, no creationist I know has ever taught that. But that’s the caricature you get from the evolutionists.
So that was Appendix B, and we tried to show why, when the text says kinds exist it has all kinds of implications spiritually, we just saw one in 1 Corinthians 15, and so as Christians who believe that our God is trustworthy, we expect not to see evolution across the kind boundaries, and when someone teaches us that that happened, it’s going to cause tension. So we deny that, we say wait a minute, we want to investigate the facts, and therefore that’s been the struggle that’s going on, and we gave you the history of it, the struggle between the creationists and the evolutionists, it’s not going to go away tomorrow, or next week, it’s not going to go away in the next century if Christ tarries, it is going to go on and on and on and on until God settles the question at the Second Advent. And there will be no Continuity of Being between Heaven and hell. So He will decide that question very clearly.
Then in Appendix C we decided to take up another question, the question of the age of the world, age of the universe, etc. How do we measure age? We said that you can plot the knowledge of man, we showed a graph, here’s time, increasing values of time, increasing values of space, and all human experience can be described as occurring in some finite box. All direct observations are right here, they can be somewhat extended, you can see smaller and smaller things in space with microscopes. You can see larger and larger things with telescopes. You can see quicker and quicker things with high speed photography. But there’s something very unique about the right side of the box, and that is that unless you have a time machine, you cannot observe the future. And you cannot observe the past if the past lies beyond your observational powers. The only way you can observe the past is if, and only if, there is a set of people who have recorded in diary form data of observation, thus you can only go back to the limit of this line, which is the limit of all historical record.
Therefore, whenever we talk about prehistoric history, i.e. history that supposedly existed before there was a record, we have to deal with speculation. We have got to, the only way you can access and cross that barrier is by conjecture. It may be a very reasonable conjecture, it may be a fundamental assumption, but it’s always an assumption, and I want to emphasize this to you because this goes on and on and on, everywhere you read today we have something about the ancient past that supposedly was prehistoric … let’s locate a point out there and we’ll call that point A, and let’s locate a point here where we can observe as point B. This is the semantic trick that’s being done today, you will read in the newspaper, books, about something called a fact, and the fact makes no distinctions between A and B. As Christians you can’t afford to do that. As Christians you have to be alert that A and B cannot be factual in the same sense of the word fact. One is verifiable by direct observation, the other one is not, no matter who you are, no matter how much budget you have, no matter how many scientific instruments you have, you are not directly observing the past, except by modeling it through conjecture.
So beware of this, this is a little game that’s being played. You will get it in the classroom, in the news media, on the TV, in books, in speeches, etc. But what you have to do is a Christian is think back to basic categories, always go back to basics, and distinguish in your mind what is a fact in the sense that it can be verifiable by human observation, like B, and what cannot be directly verifiable as point A. Those are not the same factual statements, they cannot be; structurally they cannot be the same thing. But what we have today is sort of a semantic sleight of hand that goes on, and it’s used to terribly discredit Scripture and render the faith of young Christians particularly to weaken that faith.
So what we’ve tried to do in Appendix C is to argue two ways. First, to expose this for what it is, and then to show that the only way you can talk about a fact in the sense of A is by creating some constant, based on the data inside the box, and projecting it, extrapolating it backwards in time, so you have some constant, any constant, call it C, and you work backwards, assuming that the C is always the same. On that basis you say well now I can know about the fact. And then what we did is say how do we test that by the Scripture? We gave an illustration of the three observers. I’ll review that because that’s an important illustration, a simple one to remember. We have Adam in the Garden of Eden. For sake of argument he is created between 10:00 o’clock, and 10:05 on day six of creation week. In that interval of time, let’s say, God is forming the sand or the dust from the earth, and then at 10:04 and 59 seconds a dramatic moment comes when God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit breathe into him and he becomes a living creature, made in the image of God, made uniquely, not as some higher chimpanzee who got a mutation in his DNA in the last 3%. This is God breathing into man, as an individual creation.
While this is going on in this five minute interval we have observer A pointing his video camera at the whole event. Observe A records it on video, the clock in the video viewer is ticking off, he’s created a video tape with the time unrolling. At 10:10 out through the east gate of the Garden of Eden enters observer B. Observer B is unaware of observer A, he has no video camera, he has no access because his box cuts off at 10:10, he can’t get back before 10:10 if there’s no other observer there, if there’s no camera there, if there’s no record there. So he’s coming in out of the box, and so he comes in out of the box, having had an experience in the box, having had all of his data collected inside his own experience that people grow up, human growth constant, so he says, I, in order to interpret what happened at 10:05 when I see this grown man standing there in the Garden of Eden, I have to utilize a constant, which in this case is human growth rate, because I know that works, don’t I, I’ve observed it. So using my constant of interpretation, the human growth rate, I look at this man standing there in the Garden of Eden and I interpret his age at 25, for sake of argument.
What has happened is we have a crisis. Now we have a discord in age problem, because observer A, with a camera, with instruments to measure, claims that Adam at 10:10 is five minutes old. Observer B says that he is 25 years old. Both are using clocks. One, however, is in the box, he’s factual. Observer B is not factual, although he claims its factual, he argues like Time Magazine that surely this is a fact, surely he’s well read, he has a college degree, that proves that he’s well read. Therefore, observe B and his clock claims 25 years. Then, for the sake of argument, we introduced a third person who also walks into the Garden at 10:10, observer C. However, observer C, while he also knows human growth rate, he is aware of observer A and the historical record.
Now observer C has a little problem here, because observer C unlike observer B has access to two conflicting data. What does he do? Which one does he pick? He has two men who honestly can pass a lie detector test and verify. Is observer B lying? Observer B has no knowledge whatsoever of the creation of man, all he sees is Adam. Is he sincere? Absolutely, observer B is not lying, observer B is not trying to be deceitful, observer B is just doing what comes naturally. What about observer A? Observer A tells observer C look, I saw it with my own eyes, this is an observation, this is date, look at my camera, let’s replay my video camera, look in my video camera, look at the clock, what do you see? How if you are observer C do you make the decision to follow A or B?
Do you see that this involves some basic philosophy here; you’ve got to make a choice. When you see what you see on that video tape, you have seen a discontinuity of a radical nature in natural processes, a discontinuity you have not other evidence for believing, a discontinuity that is so incredible that it just floors you to conceive of this, your mouth drops open as you look at that video tape, as you look at the historical record. You scratch your head and say to yourself, I can’t explain this. How did this happen? And then you have to make a choice, whether you’re going to in the overall world view of possibilities whether you are going to believe what in your heart you know is man-made, because after all, observer C is made in God’s image, he’s not a neutral person according to Rom. 1, he has to come into contact with the very depths of his soul, yes, I am a creature, and finally yes, this surely is the work of the Creator. Or, he can take the course that Adam and Eve set, I don’t really believe the Word of God, I have to subject the Word of God to something higher than itself, I have to create a test over against which the Word of God must be measured; I will create a higher authority, we will check whether this is empirically verifiable. He can’t verify it, but he says on the basis of probability of my data base I rule out A because it’s just so incredible that it must be faked, Spielberg must have been busy here, special effects studio, but surely this can’t be real history. And A must be confused, maybe he was smoking something. So he, sitting there as an intellectual being, sees the data and rejects it. That’s very parallel to what goes on.
So we introduced you to some of the terrestrial clocks. On pages 116-117 of the notes, we said that even if you accept the observer B argument, that there are these constants, that things aren’t quite as neat as the textbooks would have you believe, because when you get to look at the data, all of these clocks that are listed are clocks that presume there’s a constant involved. You have to have a constant; the clock itself has to be constant. I picked out several, these are numbers rated on a scale of 0-5 by a PhD physicist who was a Bible-believing Christian, who looked at a lot of the papers and the reports that has been written on each one of these methods, and he’s weighing them on a scale of which is a pretty powerful argument, a 5, which is a lesser argument, a 4, a 3, a 2 and a 1. And one of the arguments that he rates is the fact that recorded history itself has an age no greater than 5,000. If man was around, why aren’t there records that go back before 5,000 years? Where are these records? Man’s been around for a million years and he only learned language 5,000 years ago? Where are the records? They don’t exist.
The population growth, another very powerful argument; all you need to see this argument is a piece of logarithmic graph paper, and you take you logarithmic graph paper, let’s suppose that we have this logarithmic gets smaller on the left, and time this way, and what we want to do is plot growth rate, because we’ve got to have a constant. And we’ve picked as our constant in this clock the rate of human population growth. Do we know that that is? Yes, we have a subset of the human race that we know, because we know in the year 2,000 BC there was one and only one Jew. We know that in 1996 there are n number of Jews; therefore we can plot a line on that logarithmic paper that plots the growth of the Jews. This is a very good tool to use because the Jews have been subject to numerous times of history when they’ve almost been eradicated from history, so we’re being very conservative in this clock. So using that clock, it turns out that if you take the same population, we’ll call it m of the total human race, and you project it back with the same curve rate, you come out with something like 4,000, whatever it comes out as on that thing, years.
Now we have done exactly what other people do, we have taken something which we believe with all our heart to be a constant, we’ve run it backwards and we’ve seen that we can plot an age. So last time we went through all these terrestrial indicators, we said they’re terrestrial indicators because they’re all within reach of us on earth. That’s why they’re called terrestrial clocks. The constant is derived directly by observation, in the box, yes, but directly.
Tonight we want to finish Appendix C by going on to non-terrestrial clocks, using the same principle. We’re going to look at some of these that would indicate that the solar system has also a young age, at least a lot younger. Keep in mind that these are not absolute clocks, remember what we’re doing here, we’re simply taking a methodology of creating a constant, extrapolating it outside of the box and seeing what time is it. So let’s look at some of these. Let’s look at some of these.
One of the most powerful arguments, there is no known source for material to make comets, no intrusion that has been proved, and no injection of material nearby from outer space into the solar system environment. And the comets are rapidly dying off. They’re giving off material, their tail, and therefore their mass is decreasing rapidly. Finally they break up and disintegrate. If that’s so, then it ought to be by taking the total number of comets and the observed decay, we ought to be able to figure out that if there has been no injection of materials from outside the solar system into the set of comets that are running around, then how old is the solar system, and when you do the calculation, you get 6,000 years, a slight difference from billions of years.
We have other clocks; one of them is this one which is intriguing, the shrinking sun. It turns out there is a mystery about the sun that men who have been in astronomy debate about, and that is that it does appear that in the last 100 years the diameter of the sun has shrunk, the sun is shrinking, and it is shrinking because it is utilizing up energy, eventually it will die. So if the sun is shrinking, and if our measurements are correct and interpretation is correct, and you extrapolate it back, the sun can be no older than 500,000 years, for various reasons.
The recession of the moon is another one. The moon gets further and further away from the earth, if that’s the case, and we know the rate, the moon can’t have been right banging up against the earth, so that creates another clock that gives us an age of 1,000,000 years.
There are a number of things you can do and creationists have gone through this numerous times. Again, the point is not all constants show great age, so now what do we have? What this tells us is that we have a selective us of constants, it’s not just using constants, it’s using select constants that give us wrong ages, not constants that give us short ages.
Let’s look beyond the solar system at astronomical clocks. What do these tell us because now we’re getting further out in space. By the way, all of these clocks, when we start going out into space, the problem here is that we can’t directly measure, except by light that gets to us. But the problem with that is that we can’t check, for example, is the light getting to us distorted, is its path distorted, is the rate of speed of light distorted, anybody been around to measure that or are we just conjecturing that? We conjecture that. So these clocks are even more speculative and involve a longer chain of conjectures than the terrestrial clocks, because they are not only extrapolations in time, they’re extrapolations in space. Let’s look at some of them.
One of those highly rated is the fast burn rate of hot stars. Stars, like the sun, are consuming energy in massive amounts, and their rates of burning have been inferred through conjecture. If that’s so, upper bound for stars, like hot stars, is 100,000 years, not millions of years.
Here’s one that’s my favorite, spiral galaxy argument. Here’s what it looks like. Spiral galaxies using inferred, and this is conjecture because we’re using the same conjecture that’s being used and touted as scientific fact all over the place, here’s the problem, [blank spot] the problem with that is there are also galaxies that look like this, with clusters of stars here, etc., in a bar. The problem with that is that since this motion is known, why are there still bars there, why haven’t the bars become part of the spiral bands? What has preserved the bars, and this argument is an argument that gives an upper limit of 100,000,000 years.
So there are lots of clocks, we won’t go into all of them but I just want to show you that not all clocks give the same time. When somebody gives you this impression, oh, it’s factual, all of the data show this, it’s not true, all of the data does not show this. I want to conclude the Appendix if you will follow in the notes, to two particular models that have recently come into existence by creationists, dealing with, or trying to deal with the problem of the age of the universe and how do we explain the fact … let me put the facts out to you like this. If it’s true that we’re here, this is the earth, and we’re looking out in space and we see light coming from stars out here, that are a million or two million light years away, and we see things happening like explosions and supernova, what are these phenomena if they take a million years for light to get here, doesn’t that prove that they must be millions of years old? A very strong argument, and it’s one that the creationists have not dealt with well, I’m not ashamed to say that, it’s just work that needs to be done, have no fear, an answer will be found. But it is a fact that we haven’t done too well in that area because it takes a lot of time and work to put these theories together, and you don’t get NSF grants for doing creationist work today. So most of the work, and I’m going to cite these two men as examples, these two men have worked on their own, some of their work has been sponsored by NSF funding as an incidental because they’ve done some of their work while they were funded in their research.
The first one is on page 119, Humphreys’ Cosmological Water Model, available in paperback form; it’s called Starlight and Time, by Master Books. It’s a chapter in a forthcoming book by Dr. Humphreys, but you can get in Christian book stores, or you can order it from Master Books Christian Publishing House, I think in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but a Christian bookstore will find it for you. Russell Humphreys’, Starlight and Time. It’s a fascinating little book. Let me just summarize it here. What Dr. Humphreys discovered, first of all, is that the Big Bang theory is largely misunderstood through the usual illustrations.
What I want to do with this weather balloon is to illustrate a thing that Humphreys points out about the Big Bang cosmology. Often times you read in a book that the universe was a ball, it was condensed down to a point and it just exploded and became a bigger, ever expanding ball. I was taught that, and most of the illustrations in a science book teach that. But what Dr. Humphreys realized is when he started talking to the real guys in relativistic theory, that’s not what the Big Bang is talking about. The Big Bang is not talking about the universe shaped in the form of a sphere and blowing up like a balloon. It’s more sophisticated than that. What the Big Bang is talking about is imagine you are a two-dimensional creature, living in the rubber of this balloon. That’s your world; you’re living in the inside the surface of the balloon. You don’t see the balloon; you’re living inside the rubber. Now what the Big Bang is saying is as this balloon inflates, I’ve drawn a series of green points on the balloon; I’ve given a series of points on the balloon. What happens to the points on the balloon when I inflate the balloon? All the points move away from each other at equal distances at equal rates, no matter where you draw the points, they all expand away from each other in the same way. What the Big Bang says is if you are an observer living two-dimensionally inside the rubber and you’re able to look this way and that way, what do you see? Everything moving away from you. That’s what the Big Bang is saying.
Why do I belabor this point? I want to show you something. If you look at the surface of this balloon, and think about it for a minute, where’s its edge? If you are a creature living inside the rubber, imagine you’re a little tiny ant or mite, and you dig your way through this rubber, you can go travel anywhere in the surface, you can’t get out of the surface, you can’t go inside the balloon, you can’t go outside the balloon, but you can go anywhere you want to inside the surface. Is it or is it not possible for you, eventually to come back where you came from? You can. You could travel from one of these points inside the rubber all the way around the balloon and come back to the point you started. That’s called a finite model of the Big Bang. And that’s the idea in the theory, you’ll see it propounded, where you can take a rocket ship with sufficient fuel and you’d eventually come back to where you came from, by proceeding in a straight line in the universe. Somehow you’d come back on yourself.
The other alternate theory of the Big Bang is that instead of a balloon we have a plate that is infinite in extension, that’s becoming more infinite in extension. What do both ideas have in common? This is the discovery Humphreys made and I think it’s a profound discovery. Both the balloon and the plate have no edges, these are both surfaces where there’s no edge to it. In other words, if you’re an ant you go around inside this thing, you never experience an edge. Can you ever experience an edge in that surface? And if you have an infinite thing you’re never going to experience the edge either. Great ideas usually come from very simple questions. After studying that Dr. Humphreys made the point, he said what’s so interesting is why is it that every cosmology starts off with the assumption the universe has no edges. Why is that? Can’t we conceive of the universe with an edge? Why is it that EVERY, get this and underline it, EVERY cosmology today starts with the initial condition that the universe doesn’t have an edge.
So Humphreys began to say why do you guys believe that? Oh, it’s because of the cosmological principle. What’s the cosmological principle? The cosmological principle is that the universe can’t have edges because if it did, and we were out on a starry night and you looked in that direction, and I looked in this direction, and the earth were, say, closer to one edge than the other, what would we see as far as star density? We would see less stars toward the edge side of the sky than the other side. But as a matter of fact, we don’t observe that. Star density is the same wherever you look. So they say, obviously the universe doesn’t have an edge because if it did, the star density wouldn’t be the same. Ah, but says Humphreys, you forgot one option, there’s a way out of this. The way out is if the earth were at the center of the universe wouldn’t it be true that you could look in any direction and see the same star density? Of course.
What does Genesis say? What does the Genesis narrative teach? It teaches that first there was the earth, in verse 1-2, the earth was without form and void. What did God do on the 2 second day? The first day He made light, what did He do on the second day? He made the heavens out from the earth. The Hebrew word is the Raqyia‘, to be expanse, God expanded it out. [Genesis 1:6, “Then God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.  And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.  And God called the expanse heaven.”] And it wasn’t until the fourth day that He populated the domain with stars. What Humphreys is saying is that the reason cosmologists believe in a boundless universe is theological.
Look at the quote on page 120, “The idea of the earth being at the center of the universe… strongly smacks of purpose and is thus unpalatable to most theorists today, who prefer to believe in a universe run by randomness. So it is simply assumed,” get this sentence, an important sentence coming up here. “So it is simply assumed there is no center and no boundary.” Do you ever read that in Newsweek Magazine? Did you ever get that in a lecture in college? Amazing observation, that at the very start, we’ve talked heavily in this course over the months about presuppositions, now you’re observing one operate. Do you want to know why we’re all screwed up over here? Ask yourself where do we start? We started over here with a boundless universe. Why do we pick a boundless universe? Because if we didn’t, the only way we could explain star density is to have the earth at the center. Oh, we couldn’t have that, that’d make the earth important. So we’ve eliminated that one right away, so that leaves the only other possibility, my model has got to begin with an unbounded universe.
What Humphreys points out is that once you start with an unbounded universe you crank it through all the mathematical hairy mess of general theory of relativity and come out with a Big Bang. Once you’ve started there you’re going to wind up with a Big Bang, if the theory of relativity is correct. So Humphreys decided to play a little trick, he said I’m going to submit a different set of initial conditions to the general theory of relativity and watch what happens now. So he submitted, not a boundless universe, he submitted a ball of water two light years in diameter, which he computed using the known mass of the universe and converting all the molecules and atoms that are thought to be in the universe to H2O, put in a ball, two light years together, a sphere. And what Humphreys says, and I’m doing no justice to it, doing it this fast, but I just want you to see the big idea, that on the second day, God took parts of that mass, and He did this, He spread out the heavens, and everywhere, in the Psalms and everywhere else you read, O God, Thou hast thrown out the heavens and Thou hast expanse… the very word.
But what does the sixth day tell you, at the end of the text in Genesis 2, what is the famous reference that we said you wanted to keep your eye on the end, the last sentence, where it goes into the seventh day. What does it say God ceased from doing? He ceased from His works, He stopped, so He’s no longer doing this. This is a once for all action, and what Humphreys does is, he has an expanded universe, not an expanding universe, and expanded universe. Ah, you say, but still Dr. Humphreys, you haven’t explained the [don’t understand word] age.
Ah but Humphreys says, yes I have, because the theory of relativity has a little clause in it. The general theory of relativity believes in something called time dilation, and it means that when gravity decreases, time speeds up. For example, you can take a clock at sea level and put another one in Colorado where the National Bureau of Standards clock is, and they do not run the same. One is subject to stronger gravitational field than the other, and there’s a minutia of difference. What happens to the gravity as God expands all this mass that was once local out through the massive size of the universe, what do you suppose happens to the force of gravity. It decreases. What do you suppose happens to an observer who is riding the wave of the expansion? This guy is riding a rocket ship on the day that God expanded, a little angel, he’s got his pocket watch, so God says expand, and he walks away from the earth. What is he observing? Two angels, one guy sits back on the earth and he’s got radio contact with this guy, they’re both clocking this. It turns out that the angel that is going like this at the front end of the edge of the universe is expanding out, his clock is speeding up like crazy. This guy sees a lapse of only 24 hours. So the light now begins to come back to us and has been coming back to us from that work of God when He expanded the universe.
I won’t fill in all the details except to point out some lessons learned here. This man worked on this for 10 years, believe me the math in the general theory of relativity is hairy, most of us will never get close to it, even those of us who have studied math, coordinate transformations, tenser theory, all kinds of stuff gets involved in this. But it turns out, isn’t it remarkable that if you change one little starting point, the massive difference that happens. What does that teach you, even if Humphreys is wrong, what does that already teach you about the so-called facts that you’re being fed? It teaches you they’re very speculative and very vulnerable to large scale shifts based on small starting points.
There’s one other man, go to page 121 in the notes and introduce you to another man. This is Dr. Robert Herrmann. Dr. Humphreys is a physicist at Los Alamos Laboratories, New Mexico. He has patents on several things, he’s been involved in high energy laser research, he is a scientist of scientists. He’s not some guy that’s just taught Bible class three or four days. Dr. Herrmann is a theoretical mathematician at the Naval Academy. He is not at all well known, he is very difficult to understand, but he has published papers for the last 15 years on his findings and Dr. Herrmann has done a shrewd, shrewd thing as a Christian. What he has done is cleverly publish his math papers in national peer reviewed math journals to get it accepted, without revealing his theological agenda. Marvelous trick, the other side does that to us, Herrmann’s doing it to them. So he’s got all of his math accepted in peer review journals.
It’s a difficult theory, but what Dr. Herrmann says is this: that we are used to, in the universe of physics, of diagramming and describing things in terms of math functions, curves. We use something called calculus, and calculus is founded on continuity, that things, if you get down here into smaller and smaller and smaller little chunks that you can always go down one case smaller. It’s the idea that if you can get a magnifying glass, a magnifying glass, a magnifying glass, you can get smaller and smaller, you’ll still see continuity. Or said another way, the universe can be described in terms of real numbers.
What are real numbers? Those of you who may not be too familiar with this, let me give an illustration. Real numbers aren’t opposite to fake numbers. The Greeks ran into a problem because they did not know this, and they believed in what they called rational numbers. What are rational numbers? Rational numbers are integers, 1, 2, 3, 4, or their fractions, ½, ¾ths, etc. The Greeks liked that because they were rationalists, and the believed in those. But then somebody came along with something like this, pi and that really scared them. pi can’t be described as a rational number. Oh-oh, said the Greeks. And up until very recently, VERY recently, I mean within several decades, there have been highly trained mathematicians who still refuse to believe in the existence of real numbers. They will accept only rational numbers. And you think that’s crazy, ask yourself this. There’s not a computer you can use that uses real numbers. Every computer uses rational numbers, EVERY computer. There’s not a computer and can never be a computer that uses anything except rational numbers. So maybe the mathematicians are right, maybe real numbers don’t exist, maybe they just think they exist.
Whatever, Herrmann’s idea is that in nature it is not true, necessarily, that real numbers describe it, and it’s not provable, that in fact, what may happen as you go down on the scale is that you get jumps, that the universe is not slower. And he cites as one very potent example something that’s been known for 100 years in physics, called quantum theory which says that the energies located around an atom are in one level or another, they don’t transition, this is instantaneous discontinuity, and Herrmann says how do you live with this. And physicists had a problem. The universe can’t be continuous and also discontinuous at the same time. Nobody has figured this out yet, it’s a dilemma at the heart of science, one of the, sort of dirty underwear that’s not talked about a lot. What Herrmann has pointed out is that there’s no way that you can get these two guys together unless you do something about it, and what is phenomenal is what that man has done to do something about it.
Turn to Hebrews 11 because we’re going to conclude with a Scripture that will show you what he’s done, but that’s the theological emphasis. What Herrmann says is this: that you have the natural universe that has continuity in it, it has discontinuity in it. Those two conflict with one another and within the natural universe are never reconcilable, you never will be able to get these together. He’s proved the theorems that say you can’t. So what he has said is that it is rational to assume there exists outside and around the natural universe another universe where there’s perfect logic, there’s perfect reason, and the logic and the reason trigger events inside the natural universe. And that explains, for example, why you have discontinuities inside the atom. It explains why you have suddenly things jump, there’s no transition time, it’s not true that you can see these things transition if you only had a higher higher higher camera speed you could capture the transition. No. It’s either yes no yes no yes no, period, on off.
So he says if the universe isn’t chaotic it must be rational, so there’s a rational universe behind our universe that intrudes. And to make a long story short, what it also does, it affects the speed of light, so that the speed of light can suffer discontinuities. What is also true growing out of his theorems is that if this is the present time, and you go backwards to the edge of that box, remember the edge of the box, I said you couldn’t go back of it without observational data. What Dr. Herrmann’s theorem points out is that beyond the end of that box you have an infinite number of scenarios possible. And they can only be chosen purely on the basis of your philosophical inclinations. In other words, there are an infinite number of cosmologies possible, all of which explain the observed data, based on measurements of light, based on experiments done, you can never conceive of a physical experiment ever that can discern between the infinite number of possible scenarios.
Do you know where he got his… he got come of this of course, obviously from struggling with what everybody’s struggled with in the last 100 years in science between the real number, rational number dilemma, in particularly in the area of physics, but he said what really got to him one day was this verse, Hebrews 11:3, read this in light of what we just said. As a Christian what stuck Dr. Herrmann was the last part of verse 3, “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear,” there is an outside intrusion happening in history, that the natural universe is not explainable in terms of itself. We can’t construct a series of real numbers with a function line that’s continuous; it’s constantly subject to outside influences. Turn to Hebrews 1:3 for the grand source of it all, it talks about Jesus here, and the last half of the verse, let’s read it really slowly, what is the function that Jesus Christ is said in this verse to do with regard to the entire universe. “upholding,” present tense, “constantly upholding all things by the word of His power.” What was it that He used to create? The Word. What does He use to sustain the universe? The Word. In terms of Dr. Herrmann’s theory, and his proofs, that logic and that reason that he has to have in order to make functions describe what’s going on in physics, he has to rely on an outside source of logic, outside of the human realm, and outside of the measurable natural universe. Now isn’t that interesting how it perfectly coincides with these texts of Scripture?
This is some phenomenal and heavy stuff that these men are digging out, and I want to conclude by saying this. I am not arguing that these guys have the whole case locked, I’m not that naïve, and they aren’t either. But here’s the difference between them and most people—here we have two believers who are in the thick in their professional life, where they work every day with math and physics, math and physics, math and physics, who are determined as believers to honor the Lord, not like a lot of mousy people who are Christians, who are actually ashamed of the gospel and can invent 580 excuses why they don’t have to follow the Scripture when they’re operating professionally. Not these guys, these guys are going to dig it out, and they’re going to get to the bottom of this thing, and it’s going to be the Word of God that triumphs over all. It’s taken them years to do this, and a lot of sweat and hard work, and they’re still working on it, the stuff just goes on and on and on. But these guys are role models in my book, for what Christians need to do in these areas. We aren’t gifted, all of us aren’t gifted to do this kind of work; I’m not saying that.
But I am saying that when you read in Time Magazine and Newsweek about facts, there’s one thing you’ve learned in this class, you are sensitive enough now, you’re tuned, hopefully I’ve tuned you to think about presuppositions and when you see somebody saying something’s factual, think of the box, ask yourself, is that about what’s in the box or is that about what’s outside the box. And if it’s outside of the box, what are the conjectures and speculations that are being used here. Think of Humphreys, and then when you struggle with the issue of how can the speed of light change, or how could God have caused a flood to disrupt the planet in such a chaos that 2 Peter 3:5-7 describe it not as a local flood in the Mesopotamian valley but describes it as a cosmic event that affected not just this planet but the entire extra-terrestrial universe.
When you think of that, think of Herrmann, can there be discontinuities? Of course. Are the discontinuities illogical? No they’re not. Can they be measured, however, with tools inside the natural universe? No they can’t. Does that make them false? No it doesn’t, because falsely and truthfulness lie outside of this natural universe. It’s amazing. And ultimately it goes back to how we started the class, “in the beginning” was the Word of God,” language, language, thought, a mind infinitely greater than ours but somewhat like ours, we think and we have to use universals, never, might, always, and this Being that is our Creator, He thinks in terms of universals and causes, His thoughts come into existence. That’s the difference between Him and us. And it’s Him that we worship.