Question of the Week: Would it be possible for God to create a distant star or galaxy that by our calculations would be millions of light-years away and also be able to make that beam of light reach earth in less than ten thousand years?
My Answer: God could certainly do this but astronomical measurements and the Bible show that he did not. The Bible repeatedly states or implies that the laws and constants of physics have not changed throughout the universe’s history. Astronomers’ measurements of the hyperfine split spectral lines of distant stars and galaxies establish that the velocity of light has not changed over the past 95% of the universe’s history. Furthermore, any change in light’s velocity would rule out the possible existence of physical life in the universe. For example, if the velocity of light at any time in the Sun’s history were increased by a factor of a thousand times, the resultant increase in the Sun’s light and heat would be a factor of a million times. Genesis 2 clearly states that neither Adam and Eve nor Earth was incinerated by the Sun’s heat.
God also could have sent starlight and galaxy light to us, not from the stars and galaxies but from locations that were less than 10,000 light-years away from us. For both biblical and scientific reasons we know that God did not do so. The Bible states in multiple verses that it is impossible for God to lie or deceive. For example, Hebrews 6:18 declares, “It is impossible for God to lie.” Therefore, God will not deceive astronomers into concluding that light had traveled through millions of light-years of interstellar space when in fact it had traveled through less than 10,000 light-years of interstellar space.
Wherein would there be such deception? As light travels through interstellar space, the continuum radiation of stars’ spectral lines is reddened by intervening dust and the spectral lines’ widths are broadened by the random velocities of intervening gas clouds. On the assumption that God is not purposefully deceiving astronomers, the observed reddening of the continuum and the observed spectral line broadening establishes for astronomers that the light they observe through their telescopes came from distant stars and galaxies rather than from points much closer to us. The light astronomers see actually was emitted from the stars and galaxies themselves.
For many more proofs on why the light from distant stars and galaxies must have taken much more than 10,000 years to reach our telescopes, see A Matter of Days, 2nd edition, pages 161–180.