The following is an exchange that occurred on the talk.origins
OK, assuming that “God” created light in transit from the stars so that
we can see 60 billion light years away, the question remains.
What are we seeing?
Totally imaginary stars?
Stars the way they would have looked long before they were created?
How does that work?
It seems to me that it’s an all-or-nothing question. That is to say,
whether we look at starlight falling upon the garden of Eden, the
bellybuttons of Adam and Eve, or just the dirt under their feet, we are
looking at fictitious history. IMO, The theology of the Biblical
literalist must necessarily adopt a full-blown version of Last
Thursdayism. Every tree on the newly created earth implies a
non-existant sapling. Every breeze implies the wings of a faraway
butterfly. Causation itself is quite inconsistent with Biblical
It’s not that simple IMO. It is the kind of apparent history that is
relevant. The universe, life, and everything (TM) has to have an
apparent history because the whole shebang is an on-going system. The
relevant question is the nature of that apparent history. If it appears
as though the past were just like the present (except for the details)
then the shebang could have been created at any time. The problem for
the creationists is that (if it were created in situ recently) it was
created with the appearance of an ancient history that was quite
different from the present.
Let me give an example from computer operating systems. A modern
computer OS is irreducibly (and unnecessarily) complex. A lot of system
data files and system routines have to be present for the damned
(whether that adjective is literally appropriate is an issue I leave to
theologians – I have my opinions though) thing to run at all. During
the course of operation it has the marks of history and an apparent
past. It very looks, however, as though it had been running
indefinitely (except for certain OS’s which habitually do not run
indefinitely). Now we know that this is a false image. When the
machine starts up it goes through a boot phase in which various bits and
pieces are put in place and a start-up sequence is negotiated. Once the
OS is up and running the record of events that happened during the boot
phase are, in effect, erased.
Something like this is what the creationists believe creation to have
This page was last updated April 1, 1999.