Six Days…or 15 Billion Years
Earlier, I posted about the WMAP satellite, which had conclusively determined the age of the Universe at more than 13 billion years old.
But for the religious among us, this scientific observation is at odds with the Bible's account of creation…Genesis states clearly that all of creation was accomplished in six days.
How can this be?
Well, today I ran across a fascinating article by Gerald Schroeder (again, by way of Polemics) that would seem to bring the two into harmony. Although the article is a bit windy, the concluding paragraphs cover the basics:
Today, we look at time going backward. We see 15 billion years. Looking forward from when the universe is very small – billions of times smaller – the Torah says six days. In truth, they both may be correct. What's exciting about the last few years in cosmology is we now have quantified the data to know the relationship of the “view of time” from the beginning, relative to the “view of time” today. It's not science fiction any longer. Any one of a dozen physics text books all bring the same number. The general relationship between time near the beginning and time today is a million million. That's a 1 with 12 zeros after it. So when a view from the beginning looking forward says “I'm sending you a pulse every second,” would we see it every second? No. We'd see it every million million seconds. Because that's the stretching effect of the expansion of the universe.
The Torah doesn't say every second, does it? It says Six Days. How would we see those six days? If the Torah says we're sending information for six days, would we receive that information as six days? No. We would receive that information as six million million days. Because the Torah's perspective is from the beginning looking forward. Six million million days is a very interesting number. What would that be in years? Divide by 365 and it comes out to be 16 billion years. Essentially the estimate of the age of the universe. Not a bad guess for 3000 years ago.
The way these two figures match up is extraordinary. I'm not speaking as a theologian; I'm making a scientific claim. I didn't pull these numbers out of hat. That's why I led up to the explanation very slowly, so you can follow it step-by-step. Now we can go one step further. Let's look at the development of time, day-by-day, based on the expansion factor. Every time the universe doubles, the perception of time is cut in half. Now when the universe was small, it was doubling very rapidly. But as the universe gets bigger, the doubling time gets exponentially longer. This rate of expansion is quoted in “The Principles of Physical Cosmology,” a textbook that is used literally around the world.
(In case you want to know, this exponential rate of expansion has a specific number averaged at 10 to the 12th power. That is in fact the temperature of quark confinement, when matter freezes out of the energy: 10.9 times 10 to the 12th power Kelvin degrees divided by (or the ratio to) the temperature of the universe today, 2.73 degrees. That's the initial ratio which changes exponentially as the universe expands.)
The calculations come out to be as follows:
- The first of the Biblical days lasted 24 hours, viewed from the “beginning of time perspective.” But the duration from our perspective was 8 billion years.
- The second day, from the Bible's perspective lasted 24 hours. From our perspective it lasted half of the previous day, 4 billion years.
- The third day also lasted half of the previous day, 2 billion years.
- The fourth day – one billion years.
- The fifth day – one-half billion years.
- The sixth day – one-quarter billion years.
When you add up the Six Days, you get the age of the universe at 15 and 3/4 billion years. The same as modern cosmology. Is it by chance?
But there's more. The Bible goes out on a limb and tells you what happened on each of those days. Now you can take cosmology, paleontology, archaeology, and look at the history of the world, and see whether or not they match up day-by-day. And I'll give you a hint. They match up close enough to send chills up your spine.
Now…his numbers (15 billion-ish years old) are a bit out of whack with WMAP's calculations (13 billion plus), but it's pretty darn close.