How do biblical literalists defend that if a star is 10 million light years away and we can see the light from it, therefore the Earth would have to be at least 10 million years old? That is, because one of the laws that God set is that matter cannot be created or destroyed. All matter would have to have been created at the same time, when God spoke and all was created (secularly known as the Big Bang).

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    Assuming, of course, the speed of light is constant, which is scientifically in question, and assuming God could not create a mature universe, which He certainly could, and assuming that everything has always been as it is today, which is impossible to prove and not very scientific.
    – Narnian
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:02
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    Historically, the traditional position is that God created things with an apparent age to them. Sep 19, 2013 at 14:06
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    Time is not constant for every point in the universe but is relative. I think this video explains it well: The Age of the Universe - Professor Gerald L. Schroeder. Sep 19, 2013 at 14:14
  • Science now know that time has contingencies, mainly gravity and velocity. When scientist clock cosmic events they do so from our time/space continuum. If the Bible is the Word of God it does so from God’s perspective. This is why a literal perspective ultimately points to God!
    – Rick
    Sep 19, 2013 at 14:19
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    To nitpick, it only means the star is 10 million years old; the earth could be only 10 minutes old and the light would still be here.
    – Ryan Frame
    Sep 19, 2013 at 18:16

4 Answers 4


"God is not controlled by laws of science" I don't know whether you can share this idea with me or not. The truth is, science cannot explain everything. Simple things like dreams, thoughts, feelings and emotions cannot be explained by science. Science can only understand the things that human can see, touch, feel and hear. I don't think the law of science as we have here on earth or this universe will still apply in Heaven. The place where God dwells will surely have a different science. For instance, I don't think the light in heaven will consists of only seven colors, it might have more. I also don't think gravitational force will have any effect on God or heavenly beings while even light can be attracted by gravitational force, according to Einstein. For example, in the movie "The Matrix", everything inside the Matrix was programmed using advance computer languages; the gravity, the taste of food etc. were all designed but it was different from the real world in many ways, it was incomplete. While you can bend the laws of science in the Matrix, it's not the same in the real world.

"God created science" If we can believe that God created this universe out of nothing, we should also believe that everything, and literally everything in this universe came into existence by the mere words of God. That would include the laws of science which governs this very universe; the speed of light, law of gravity, law of refraction, planetary motions, rotations and revolutions, birth and death of stars, etc...

God said, "Let there be light" and lo and behold, there was light! God created the light with a single sentence from His mouth. Creating the light means creating the very nature of it, it's speed, it's power, the substance through which it can pass, the energy that it carries, its behavior and so on. For instance, when a car is designed, it's speed, it's size, etc. are decided. In the same manner, God designed the speed of light, the speed of sound, the mass of every particles.

"God is bigger than you can imagine" It doesn't matter you believe in Old Earth or Young Earth, the most important thing is how big can you imagine God to be? How powerful do you think God is? How far can you put your faith in God. If the Bible says God created the whole universe within 6 days, do you have a problem in believing it?

I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27, NIV)


It depends on the literalist. A Young Earth Creationist would directly challenge the scientific method used to define the speed of light and therefore the light year. Other literalists might shrug and say who can know the mind of God. (Romans 11:34)

Also, when arguing the age of the universe old/young universe proponents often argue that it is a cumulative case which involves several lines of evidence from several different fields. Therefore, in addition, young earth creationists assert there are anomalies in several old earth dating methods and they claim there are dating methods which show a young earth. See: How old is the earth? and 101 evidences for a young earth


Historically, Creationists when confronted with this issue have often subscribed to the "Apparent Age Theory". Al Mohler, for example is an advocate.

Also called the "Omphalos Hypothesis," the idea is that when God created the universe, he did so in such a way as to make Creation appear to have a certain age. Thus, Adam had a belly button (even if he didn't need one per se), light starts already along its path, and rocks look old.

From a philosophical point of view, there are problems - Last Thursdayism and the Five Minute Hypothesis essentially cry "unfair," since it makes the hypothesis unfalsifiable. Regardless, however, it is a common defense amongst Creationists, including the Institute for Creation Research and the "Creation Wiki".

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    In which case, YECs should have less problem with evolution as an empirical explanation. Things (life, galaxies, etc.) look like they evolved and developed over time, but in reality God created them more recently to look that way. Their understanding of special revelation trumps their empirical investigation here by revealing that Last Thursdayism is in fact true, though to all appearances the universe is quite old and developed into its present form. Hence, YECs needn't be so fearful of evolution. It's not so much false as working with incomplete information.
    – metal
    Sep 20, 2013 at 18:06

It should be noted that Old Earth Creationists consider themselves literalists, and hold that light was created in Gen 1:1 along with the rest of matter and energy. A Spirit who happened to be hovering on the waters made light to appear as dust was coalescing around the dustball we now call Earth. A defense of the literalness of an Old Earth Creation exegesis can be found at this link form Reasons to Believe.

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    Agreed, I don't see an inherent conflict between biblical literalism and specific version of old earth creation. The Day/Age theory is one that should be mentioned. I'd love it if you expand this into a more full answer.
    – wax eagle
    Sep 19, 2013 at 22:31
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    I'm interested in knowing more about Old Earth Creationists that consider themselves literalists. My concern is that should you be a literalist, it would be difficult to resolve the calculation presented here: answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/30/how-old-is-earth Sep 20, 2013 at 12:47
  • Fair question deserves its own Question
    – pterandon
    Sep 21, 2013 at 12:07

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