Missing from young-earthism — the super-wow factor
In early March, the science journal “Nature” announced that astronomers had analyzed information in the form of electromagnetic radiation from a recently discovered gamma ray burst (GRB) and concluded that it was 12.8 billion years old, only 900 million years shy of the theoretically-determined beginning of the universe. (GRBs are super-super-super powerful blasts of energy that occur when supergiant stars about 20 times the mass of our sun collapse to form a hypernova — a super-supernova — and then a black hole.) Nothing older or further away has been seen. The galaxy that harbored the exploding star cannot be seen as it did not radiate sufficient energy to be visible from so far away from so long ago. The energy produced by the GRB, by contrast, was so intense that it had survived the long journey over space and time to reach us with sufficient intensity to be detected by the space-born Swift telescope and detector. Think about that — the energy from the explosion of one super-star outshone the energy being radiated by all the other stars of that galaxy at that time! Superwow!
Proponents of the belief that God created the universe and earth about six thousand years ago may accept that the object that sent out such a magnificent pulse of energy is over 12 billion light years away, but will certainly deny that the pulse took 12 billion years to reach us and that the super-explosion itself occurred billions of years ago. They will say that God created the super-explosion on the first day of creation and that He instantly created beams of electromagnetic radiation attesting to the event stretching almost all the way across the universe at the same time.
We won't debate here the pros and cons of the concept of apparent age — the theory that even though the universe looks old it isn't, because God created it that way. Rather, I take young-earthism to task over the very thing that it earnestly seeks to do; it robs God of glory that should be His. And it robs its adherents of the capacity to super-exclaim “Superwow”. Sure, a young-earther may exclaim, “Wow” at the thought of such a huge explosion, but they can't exclaim “Superwow” at the thought of its occurring thousands of millions of years ago as part of God's creation symphony. They can see,
in the majesty of the heavens, the power of God, but they cannot see the “meaninglessness” of time to one who, though He created the universe as the stage for His plan to bring untold billions of sons and daughters to glory unimaginable, was quite willing to wait billions of years, thank you, before stocking it with the raw material of that plan.
Just as the extent and majesty of the universe reveals the staggering power of God, so too its ancientness reveals the eternal nature of that power (Rom. 1:20). The universe's relative timelessness, once accepted, can help us peons grasp with much greater depth the biblical teaching that God is truly “the ancient of Days” (Dan. 7:9). (Indeed, young-earthism's insistence that “days” as we know them were created only thousands of years ago makes the concept of one who is "ancient of days" almost meaningless.) When one grasps that the original creation of heaven and earth (Gen. 1:1) was stretched out over vast time, and that the six ages of creation of Genesis One encompass millions of years, one has endless more opportunities to exclaim “Superwow”. Doesn't it stretch your imagination to bursting point to contemplate what a galaxy was like nine billion years ago when the universe was a bawling babe? Don't you absolutely thrill at the thought that God made a universe that could last for billions of years before reaching the point of decrepitude (Ps. 102:25-27)? What is more, that He made it to constantly change — let's call it “grow older” — over time.
By insisting that every wonder in space was set out there “as is” robs its insisters of the mind-blowing concept of process, of the sheer joy of seeing things unfolding in accord with brilliant, divinely-created processes. I get much more excited as I walk along the beach pondering how the sand I kick up comes from the result of long geological processes of weathering of rocks inland than I would if I believed that every beach was made as is six thousand years ago. And the rings of Saturn — superwow. God set things such that when we human beings graced this planet we would see them in all their glory.
Creation can be likened to a majestic symphony. Young-earthism hears only the last chord.