Why Does the Universe Look So Old?

In human terms, of course, the universe is old.  It’s thousands of years old, much older than any living human, and maybe two orders of magnitude older than a typical retiree.  It’s old.  It is not, however, as old as people who adopt the presupposition of naturalism think it is.

These days they are telling us that the universe is between 13-14 Billion years old.  Even the Earth itself is between 4-5 Billion years old, they tell us.  Perhaps, on the presupposition of naturalism, that’s the “right” approximate age.

That presupposition of naturalism, however, is wrong.  The Earth only appears to be as old as naturalism would suggest it is.

But why then does the Earth look so “old.”  Is God lying to us by dressing the world in old clothes to deceive us about its true age?

First, God can hardly be accused of deceiving us about the world’s age, when he gives us such detailed information in Genesis and Exodus that allows us to generate an approximate age of the universe.

Second, what would a “young” universe look like?  On naturalism, a 6000 year old universe would be one that is totally inhospitable to life – the same for a 6000 year old Earth.  So, one obvious answer for the reason that the Earth and Universe don’t look “young” is that the Earth and Universe are here to support life.

Third, as David Gadbois has noted (see here) any conceivable universe that has the laws of conversation of mass and energy would look older than it is, because the existence of matter and/or energy would imply the indefinite past existence of matter and energy.

Fourth, this “apparent age” is subjective.  Sure, I know that “scientists” use various objective measures and perform calculations, but the notion of appearance is itself inherently subjective.  We see this subjectivity in the “increasing age of the universe” phenomenon.  Nineteenth century scientists evidently estimated the age of the world in the tens of millions to hundreds of millions of years range.  By contrast, the age of the earth is now estimated to be the billions of years, range – with no real guarantee that new theories won’t bring new revisions.

In short, given propositional divine revelation, any appearance of age of the universe is hardly problematic.  Moreover, since naturalism cannot account for fully formed worlds springing into being in a moment, it is unsurprising that the universe “appears” older than it is.  When the universe had just been formed, every possible naturalistic judgment of the earth’s age would necessarily suggest it was older than it actually is.  That is especially the case for an habitable world, given that both new universes and new earths (as described by the scientific theories du jour) would be completely inhospitable to human life.



21 Responses to “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?”

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