As with any technique that is used by old-Universe advocates, the use of distant starlight to prove an old Universe relies on a uniformitarian-based assumption. Uniformitarianism is the belief that processes and rates that are occurring today (in geology, for instance) have always occurred in the same manner and intensity throughout time—the present is the key to understanding the past. In this case, an assumption is made that the light from distant stars has always traveled at the same rate and in the same manner that we observe in nature today, and that it traveled the full distance from star to Earth naturally. If the biblical model is true, however, that assumption would most certainly not be valid.
At least four possible explanations have been advanced by Creation scientists in response to the supposed “starlight travel time dilemma”:
Regardless of the details of how it was done, Scripture is clear that God created the stars on the fourth literal day of Creation week a few thousand years ago and humans could immediately use their light for the purposes God intended. Science does not disprove that contention since there are several reasonable explanations that could explain how distant starlight could have been in place on Earth in literally no time at all.
1 Jeff Miller (2019), “21 Reasons to Believe the Earth is Young,” Reason & Revelation, 39:2-11.
2 João Magueijo (2003), Faster Than the Speed of Light (New York: Perseus); Jesse Emspak (2013), “Speed of Light May Not Be Constant, Physicists Say,” LiveScience, April 27, https://www.livescience.com/29111-speed-of-light-not-constant.html; Andrew Grant (2015), “Speed of Light Not So Constant After All,” ScienceNews, 187:7, February 21, https://www.sciencenews.org/article/speed-light-not-so-constant-after-all; Stuart Clark (2017), “Cosmic Uncertainty: Is the Speed of Light Really Constant?” New Scientist, March 1, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23331150-200-cosmic-uncertainty-is-the-speed-of-light-really-constant/; P.C.W. Davies, T.M. Davis, and C.H. Lineweaver (2002), “Black Holes Constrain Varying Con-stants,” Nature, 418:602-603, August 8.
3 Jason Lisle (2010), “Anisotropic Synchrony Convention—A Solution to the Distant Starlight Problem,” Answers Research Journal, 3:191-207, https://assets.answersingenesis.org/doc/articles/pdf-versions/arj/v3/anisotropic-synchrony-convention.pdf.
4 Eric Lyons (2011), “Common Sense, Miracles, and the Apparent Age of the Earth,” Reason & Revelation, 3177-80.
5 In 1987, a supernova (an exploding star) occurred at a location believed to be some 200,000 light years away, implying that the explosion happened 200,000 years ago (assuming the constant speed of light). If Earth is less than 10,000 years old, however, that means the supernova never actually happened—i.e., scientists observed the light from an event that never happened—giving many honest individuals pause. In order for God to teach humans about the “life” and “death” of a star, however, God would have to create stars (and star light) in different stages of their “life” (or travel) from the beginning, since humans would not have enough time on Earth to see the full life cycle of a star in a natural way.
6 Danny Faulkner (2013), “A Proposal for a New Solution to the Light Travel Time Problem,” Answers Research Journal, 6:279-284, https://assets.answersingenesis.org/doc/articles/pdf-versions/arj/v6/light-travel-time-problem.pdf.
7 Other theories have been proposed by Creation scientists to explain distant starlight which are currently being researched, including gravitational time dilation models [e.g., D. Russell Humphreys (1994), Starlight and Time (Colorado Springs, CO: Master Books); John Hartnett (2015), “A Biblical Creationist Cosmogony,” Answers Research Journal, 8:13-20, http://www.answersingenesis.org/arj/v8/creationist-cosmogony.pdf.].