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The universe was created with apparent age (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (The universe was created with apparent age (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CH220:

The universe was created mature, with apparent age. Light from the sun and stars fell on the earth from its beginning. This is sometimes called the omphalos argument after the title of an early book expounding it (Gosse 1857).


  • Gosse, Philip H. 1857. Omphalos. Reprint, Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press, 1999.
  • Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 209-210.

CreationWiki response:

There are essentially three different categories that fall under this claim.

  1. Maturity, that was necessary for functionality. In this category is the fact that God did not create babies, but adult organisms, as would be needed to have a functioning world. However, you would not expect to see signs of wear or growth that are not needed for functionality.
  2. Apparent age that is a result of the universe being created rather than forming as evolutionists assume. In this case it is an interpretation of age based on a theory. In such cases, the same evidence interpreted by a different theory would not be an age indicator. There is some overlap with category 1.
  3. There are some claims of "apparent age" that are indeed problematic, mainly because they imply deliberate deception on God's part. There are few cases where explaining them as a result of apparent age requires God to present something in nature that objectively is contrary to the Bible. The theory that starlight was created in transit falls under this category.

Categories 1 and 2 are not problems since one is a question of functionality and the other a question of interpretation. Category 3 implies deliberate deception on God's part and as such another explanation is needed.

See also Apparent age.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Apparent age is indistinguishable from real age. Why not forget the distinction and just call it age?

This statement betrays the author's ardent empiricism. Even if they are indistinguishable there is a difference between real age and apparent age. An example is the fact that some children have a disease that causes them to age quickly. Their apparent age may be 90, but their real age is less than 10. There is a difference.

2. The universe has an appearance of history as well as an appearance of age. Stars of all ages are seen, including the supernovas of dying stars.

Actually, these stars are only interpreted as different ages based on a particular theory of how stars are formed and how they function. This is an example of category 2 since under a different theory, there may not be an appearance of age or stars of different ages. If the universe was created then the different types of stars are not indications of the age of the star.

Geological evidence shows that the early earth went through millions of years with little oxygen in the atmosphere.

This is at best an example of number two. This evidence is being interpreted according to a particular theory of how the rocks were formed. Another theory might show something different

Many other examples could be added.

How many of these examples are category 1 or 2? Only category 3 implies deception.

The appearance of age asks us to accept that light from supernovas came from stars that never actually existed,

This is a prime example of category 3 and why so much creationist effort has gone into a theory to deal with the issue of distant starlight. Dr. Russell Humphreys' White Hole Cosmology is an example.

and that the evidence for low oxygen was also faked.

No, this is just a question of interpretation of data, as per category 2.

This makes God into a deceiver, since he created an appearance different from reality. Romans 1:20 says that God is to be "understood from what has been made."

In most cases the so-called appearance of age is only a question of interpretation of data, that is man's error and has nothing to do with God's honesty. Only category 3 would suggest dishonesty on God's part.

The apparent age claim says we cannot trust what has been made.

This is only true of category 3, since category 1 is needed for functionality, and category 2 cases are issues of interpretation of data