Calculating the age of the universe

Calculating the age of the universe

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Is the calculated age of the universe that of the visible universe or the entire universe? I dont know how the age is calculated but if it is believed that all we see visibly IS the entire universe then that means it is finite. If it is not finite then the light from the really far astronomcical objects has not reached us yet so there is a possibility it is infinite. Can the method used to calculate the universe age since the Big Bang guarantee that it has an age or is it possible that it existed infinitely?

It is a common point of confusion, but an infinite universe can still have been at a unique singularity in space-time at a finite time in the past.

This singularity is not a "point in space", since every point in the universe participated in the big-bang. It is merely a time at which the scale factor, which multiplies the separation between all spatial points in the universe, was zero.

So in cosmology governed by the Friedmann equation, the age of the universe thus calculated is the same whether you are talking about the "visible" universe or an infinite universe. The light travel time really doesn't come into this, because different parts of even a very large universe can be causally separated yet still have originated at the same singularity.

The simplest assumption about the global properties of the Universe is that it looks the same outside the part that is observable to us, as it does inside. That is, we see a finite part of a Universe that is (probably) infinite in extend. If so, then the calculated age - which is finite - applies to all of the Universe, not just the observable part.

The age is calculated on the basis of the observed expansion rate, and the observed densities of the constituents of the Universe. It is possible to imagine a universe with the right mixture of constituents that has existed forever$^{dagger}$, but for our particular Universe, this just doesn't seem to be the case; it is ruled out by observations.

As a first-order approximation, you can simply take the age $t_mathrm{Uni}$ to be the reciprocal of the expansion rate $H_0 = 70,mathrm{km},mathrm{s}^{-1},mathrm{Mpc}^{-1} = 2 imes10^{-18}$ s. That is,

$$t_mathrm{Uni} sim frac{1}{H_0} = 14,mathrm{billion,years}.$$

However, this assumes that the Universe has been expanding at the same rate throughout its entire history, which is hasn't. More generally, the age is calculated from integrating (numerically except for simplified approximations) the Friedmann equation, yielding 13.819 billion years.

I should say that the calculated age is the time from the Big Bang till now. I guess the safest thing to say is that we don't know what happened the first tiny fraction of a second or so after creation, and in principle it could have existed before this instant, collapsed, and then re-expanded. But no observations I know of suggest this.

$^dagger$An example of a temporally infinite universe is one containing energy only in the form of a cosmological constant. In this case, the Friedmann equation reduces to $da/dt=aH_0$, with $a$ the scale factor ("size") of the universe, the solution of which is an exponential function with zero size only at $t = -infty$.

The author claims that computer analysis of the measurements of light velocity recorded since 1675 shows otherwise and points to a beginning—a creation of light and a subsequent slowing down of this created light. The date of this beginning appears to support the short Biblical chronology.

All computer work on this project was performed on the DEC 10 computer at the Flinders University in South Australia by Mr Trevor Norman, Tutor in Mathematics at the same university. His extremely valuable help in this project is hereby gratefully acknowledged.

If you propose that the universe and all in it is the product of an act of Creation only 6,000–7,000 years ago, many people ask—“How is it that objects millions of light years away can be seen? Surely such light would take millions of years to reach us.”

The question is a valid one and several types of answers have been proposed to it in the past with only limited success.

Some have proposed that both a star and the light from the star were created at the same time so that a star was visible instantaneously throughout the whole of the universe. This view is unable to resolve several of the problems which exist with respect to exploding stars or the behavior of quasars. It results in the apparent problem of having to believe that we are seeing some things that exist only in the form of light and never really happened.

Others have proposed that light does not travel through space in straight lines but along curved surfaces (Riemannian Space concept) so that in reality light can reach anywhere throughout the universe in approximately 16 Earth years. However, while the mathematics of Riemannian Space is fascinating, confirmation of this idea is lacking.

There is a third alternative which to date has not been explored, but which I believe solves not only many of the observational problems of astronomy and Genesis Creation , but has wide ranging implications for the whole of the physical sciences.

The basic postulate of this article is that light has slowed down exponentially since the time of Creation . This thought is radical and at first looks outside of confirmation. However, there are at least 40 observations of the speed of light since 1675 which support this suggestion.

Astronomers Calculate Universe’s Age With Atacama Desert Telescope

High up in Chile’s Atacama Desert, miles away from the dull glow of light pollution, the secluded Atacama Cosmology Telescope is in prime position to search the sky for answers. The question most recently on its mind? The age of the universe, a cosmic quandary that can be answered in different ways, depending on how you measure the universe’s accelerating expansion.

A paper recently published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics has measured the rate of that expansion, called the Hubble constant, using the National Science Foundation’s telescope in Chile.

The team found the Hubble constant to be 42 miles per second per megaparsec—meaning for every megaparsec, or 3.26 million light-years, the speed of the universe’s expansion increases by 42 miles per second. The number the international team of astronomers and physicists found, after 730 days of observation spanning from 2013 to 2016, was nearly the same rate as was previously reported by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite in 2013.

“Now we’ve come up with an answer where Planck and [Atacama Cosmology Telescope] agree,” Simone Aiola, a researcher at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics and a co-author of the paper, said in a press release . “It speaks to the fact that these difficult measurements are reliable.”

There’s a pretty big reason it was worth recalculating the constant: There are a few ways to measure the rate of the universe’s expansion, from which the age of the universe can be deduced. You can measure the rate based on stellar things near to us, like pulsating Cepheid stars. You can also measure the expansion by looking at the polarized light of the universe’s cosmic microwave background, the most distant detectable radiation from the Big Bang, which is what the Atacama team did here. This fuzzy light has variation in its polarization, enabling scientists to measure how far the light has travelled and how long that travel took. That’s why understanding the rate of the universe’s expansion matters: It changes how far the light went, and thus, the age of everything.

# Visualization

Import the required data into a local ATSD instance using the attached CSV Parser Configuration. Refer to the Configuration Import Tutorial to upload configuration to ATSD.

Data is visualized below using the ChartLab.

The majority of the data falls into the third quadrant (greater than 95%), and within that quadrant, roughly 90% of that data falls into the third quadrant once again.

The visualization below show limited data visualization to present a more clear image using the information provided by HyperLEDA.

The above image contains less than 100 data points, of the over 4,000 included in the dataset and is meant to illustrate the same trend on a significantly reduced scale for ease of viewing.

Astronomers calculate age of the universe

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- A team of scientists working with the Hubble Space Telescope said Tuesday they have calculated the answer to one of astronomy's most hotly debated questions: how old is the universe?

Answer: 12 billion years old.

The Hubble Team worked under the premise that the key to determining the age of the universe was to calculate an accurate value for the Hubble Constant -- the rate at which the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

If they can measure how fast the universe is expanding, astronomers say, they can then simply work backward to determine how long ago the Big Bang occurred.

Pinpointing the Hubble Constant was one of the three primary scientific goals set forth by astronomers when they launched the Hubble Space Telescope almost 10 years ago.

"Before Hubble, astronomers could not decide if the universe was 10 million or 20 billion years old," astronomer Wendy Freedman of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California, said in a statement. "The size scale of the universe had a range so vast that it didn't allow astronomers to confront with any certainty many of the most basic questions about the origin and eventual fate of the cosmos,"

Freedman is leader of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project Team, a group of researchers who announced the finding Tuesday. The team has been studying the universe's age for eight years.

To measure the Hubble Constant, the astronomers studied a type of pulsating star called a Cepheid variable, which can be used to accurately measure intergalactic distances.

In short, Cepheid stars are of a standard brightness. Think of them as light bulbs of identical wattage. Distance is the only factor that changes the relative brightness of a Cepheid star -- the further away from Earth it is, the dimmer it appears.

The Hubble Team studied almost 800 Cepheid stars, in 18 galaxies, as far away as 65 million light years. In this manner, the team used the stars to calibrate a number of different distance measuring techniques that they then put to work measuring how fast galaxies are speeding away from each other.

Astronomers with the Key Project Team said they've calculated the expansion rate to within 10 percent accuracy. In the end, they came up with a value of 70 kilometers per second per megaparsec (a megaparsec is 3.26 million light years -- and a light year is about 5.9 trillion miles). This means that a galaxy appears to be moving 160,000 mph faster for every 3.3 light-years away from Earth. And that means the Universe was born 12 billion years ago.

"The truth is out there, and we will find it," said Dr. Robert Kirshner of Harvard University in a statement. "We used to disagree by a factor of two now we are just as passionate about 10 percent. A factor of two is like being unsure if you have one foot or two. Ten percent is like arguing about one toe. It's a big step forward."

Other members of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project Team include Dr. Jeremy Mould, professor of astronomy at the Australian National University and Dr. Michael S. Turner, chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.

Calculating The Age Of The Universe

I have a serious question which has been on my mind for awhile. I was thinking about the problem three months ago, and then forgot about it. My question is this, suppose that the theory of relativity is totally wrong ok? And so now I want to try to figure out how old the universe is, lets say in years.

Ok so, start off at the first moment in time. Lets suppose all the matter in the universe was very close to the center of mass of the universe (CMU). Ok so, there is a huge outwards motion of particles as we move towards now. Now during that expansion, gravity worked to slow it down. But of course, as matter moves further and further away from the CMU (in a roughly symmetric way) that force is approaching zero. Lets say after a few million years, its zero. So after a few million years ago, the center of mass of our solar system was moving outwards from the CMU at a constant speed, lets call it V.

So now, if we know this speed, and we know the distance the center of mass of our solar system is away from the center of mass of the universe, then we can compute the age of the universe.

So thats how I want to do it.

So let T denote the age of the universe. Solving for T we have:

T = age of the universe = D/V

Where D is the distance the center of mass of our solar system is away from the center of mass of the universe, and V is the roughly constant speed at which the center of mass of our solar system is moving away from the CMU.

So here comes the question, how can we figure out in what direction we have to look, to be looking towards the center of mass of the universe.

I am sort of wondering if we could triangulate it, or already have done so.

From where we are, I am thinking there is a plane through which all our planets orbit. I know some planets are not in the plane, but I think most sort of travel in a common plane. So now, is it the case that the center of mass of the universe lies in this plane? That would at least narrow it down a bit. Then perhaps if we looked at some tilted galaxies we could triangulate. Then if we can figure out how far they are away from us, we would know our distance from the CMU. After that, it is only a means of measuring our speed away from that point, computing it in some fashion or other.

Before everyone criticizes this post, I would just like to say one thing:

I think 14 billion years is way way way not enough time for the universe to be as it is. Stars had to form, then explode, then reform. Everything had to travel really far to get where it is. Oceans had to form, rain rain, evolution, life, etc. I mean, saying that the age of the universe is of the same order of magnitude as the age of the earth, is totally unintuitive. I am thinking that the universe is over 100 billion years old, and I wouldnt even be surprised if it was a trillion years old. Beyond that I think is pushing it. I have an intuitive understanding of how long a year is, and I am just saying, 14 billion years is too young. So anyways, does anyone know what direction to look to find the CMU?


Another important consequence of the finite age of the Universe is that we can only ever see part of it&mdashthat part from which light has had time to reach us. We do not know how big the entire Universe is, and it might be infinite. In either case, it is likely that the Universe is much bigger than the part from which we can receive information.

The size of the observable Universe is easily calculated. We have seen that the age of the Universe is 13.8 billion years. If the Universe was static, we would only be able to see objects 13.8 billion light-years away. Light from anything farther away would not have had time to reach us. Even though space has been stretching during all those years, we can still think in terms of the lookback times to the objects we observe. You can think of your observable Universe as a sphere, centered on you&mdashas it would be around any other observer anywhere today&mdashand extending out to anything with a lookback time

of 13.8 billion years. If there was a fictional galaxy with a lookback time of 15 billion years away from us, it may well exist in the Universe, but we would not be able to see it right now, because it would be beyond our observable Universe, or cosmic horizon. We would not be able to see it for another 1.2 (15.0 &ndash 13.8) billion years. Observers somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy now would see a similar spherical volume, just centered on themselves instead of us. So they would see a little sliver more of the Universe on the Andromeda side and a little sliver less on ours. Observers way out toward the edge of our observable Universe would see our galactic neighborhood as being way out toward the edge of their observable Universe. In the opposite direction they would see a huge swath that we cannot see&mdashand visa versa. Of course they would see us as we were many years ago, not as we are now, just as we would see them as they were many billion years ago, not as they are now.


In this activity, we will explore the concept of observable Universe.

Figure A.13.2: The blue line represents the observable Universe for galaxy A. Credit: NASA/SSU/Aurore Simonnet Figure A.13.3: The blue line represents the observable Universe for galaxy

A. Credit: NASA/SSU/Aurore Simonnet

Figure A.13.4: The red circles represent three possibilities for the observable Universe and its contents for galaxy

B. Credit: NASA/SSU/Aurore Simonnet

In the last activity, you should have found that the observable UniverseObservable Universe: The portion of the Universe we can see because light from distant objects has had time to reach us here on Earth for an observer is centered on that observer, and is a subset of the whole Universe. The finite age of the Universe and the finite speed of light combine to limit what we can observe of the Universe in several ways. There is a boundary to our observable Universe called the cosmic horizon. We cannot observe anything beyond that boundary because light from there has not had enough time to reach us&mdasheven 13.8 billion years has not been enough time. The size of the observable Universe gets bigger as the distance that light has traveled since the start of the Universe gets bigger. In other words, there may be objects beyond our current cosmic horizon that we cannot see right now, but as the Universe gets older, we will be able see more of them.

The Age of the Universe

One of the most obvious perceived contradictions between Bible and science is the age of the universe. Is it billions of years old, like scientific data, or is it thousands of years, like biblical data? When we add up the generations of the Bible and then add the secular rulers that followed, we come to fewer than 6000 years. Whereas, data from the Hubble space telescope or from the land based telescopes in Hawaii, indicate the number at 14 billion years. In trying to resolve this apparent conflict, I use only ancient biblical commentary because modern commentary already knows modern science, and so it is influenced by what science always.

That commentary includes the text of the Bible itself (3300 years ago), the translation of the into Aramaic by Onkelos (100 CE), the Talmud (redacted about the year 400 CE), and the three major biblical commentators on the Hebrew text. There are many, many commentators, but at the top of the mountain there are three: Rashi (11th century France), who brings the straight understanding of the text, Maimonides (12th century Egypt), who discusses philosophical concepts, and Nahmanides (13th century Spain), the most important of the commentators who deal with the spiritual physics of the universe, often referred to as Kabala.

These ancient commentaries were finalized hundreds or thousands of years ago, long before Hubbell was a gleam in his great-grandparent’s eye. So there’s no possibility of Hubbell or any other scientific data influencing these concepts. That’s a key component in keeping the following discussion objective.

Universe with a Beginning

In 1959, a survey was taken of leading American scientists. Among the many questions asked was, “What is your estimate of the age of the universe?” Now, in 1959, astronomy was popular, but cosmology – the deep physics of understanding the universe – was just developing. Several years ago, the response to that survey was republished in Scientific American – the most widely read science journal in the world. Two-thirds of the scientists gave the same answer. The answer that two-thirds – an overwhelming majority – of the scientists gave was, in essence, “Age?” There was no beginning. Aristotle and Plato taught us 2400 years ago that the universe is eternal.”

That was 1959. In 1965, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discovered the echo of the Big Bang in the black of the sky at night, and the world paradigm changed from a universe that was eternal to a universe that had a beginning. Science had made an enormous paradigm change in its understanding of the world. Understand the impact. Science has confirmed to the best of scientific ability that our universe had a beginning. I can’t overestimate the import of that scientific “discovery.” Evolution, cave men, these are all trivial problems compared to the fact that we now understand that our universe had a beginning. Exactly as the Bible had claimed for three millennia.

Of course, the fact that there was a beginning, a creation, does not prove that the Biblical God was the Creator. Whether that is true, that “God created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1),” is still being debated. Physics allows for a beginning without a beginner. I’m not going to get into the physics of that here. “The Science of God,” my second book, examines this in great detail. In brief, in 1973 Professor Ed Tryon published in the prestigious peer reviewed journal Nature, a article demonstrating that as per the laws of physics, the universe could be created from absolute nothing via a quantum fluctuation. According to this understanding, there was only one physical creation. All the energy / matter and all space come into being as a minuscule speck from absolute nothing. The universe expanded out from that speck of space not by having new space added on, but by the original space stretching. In doing so, the huge concentration of energy of the Big Bang creation became more dilute within the ever stretching space, and so the temperature of space decreased.

It All Starts From Adam

The question we’re left with is, how long ago did the Big Bang creation occur? Was it, as the Bible might imply, fewer than 6,000 years, or was it the 14 billions of years that are accepted by the scientific community? The first thing we have to understand is the origin of the biblical calendar.

The biblical calendar age of the universe is calculated by adding up the generations since Adam. This reaches a number slightly under 6000 years. Additionally, there are six days (actually the biblical text gives 5 and a half days) from the creation of the universe to the creation of the first human, that is the first being with the soul of a human (not the first hominid, a being with human shape and intelligence, but lacking the soul of humanity, the neshama). We have a calendar that begins with Adam. The six pre-Adam days are separate from this. The Bible has two calendars, two clocks. This is no modern rationalization. The Talmud already discussed this 1600 years ago.

The reason the six pre-Adam days (Genesis 1:1 – 27) were taken out of the calendar is because time is described differently in those Six Days of Genesis. There the passage of each day is described as “There was evening and morning” with no relationship to human time. Once we come to the progeny of Adam, the flow of time is totally in human terms. Adam and Eve live 130 years before having Seth. Seth lives 105 years before having Enosh, etc. (Genesis chapter 5). From Adam forward, the flow of time is totally human-based, earth -based. But prior to that time, it’s an abstract concept: “Evening and morning.” It’s as if the Bible is looking at those events of Genesis One from a viewpoint other than the earth, a cosmic view of time. What might be the Biblical perception of the timing of those events prior to Adam relative to our earth-based measurements?

Looking Deeper into the Text

In trying to understand the flow of time here, you have to remember that the entire Six Days is described in 31 sentences. The Six Days of Genesis, which have given people so many headaches, are confined to 31 sentences! At MIT, in the Hayden library, we had about 50,000 books that deal with the development of the universe: cosmology, chemistry, thermodynamics, paleontology, archaeology, the high-energy physics of creation. Up the river at Harvard, at the Weidner library, they probably have 100,000 books on these same topics. The Bible gives us 31 sentences. Don’t expect that by a simple reading of those sentences, you’ll know every detail that is held within the text. It’s obvious that we have to dig deeper to get the information out.

What is a “day?”

The usual answer to that question is let the word ‘day’ in Genesis chapter one be any long period of time. Bend the Bible to match the science. Fortunately, the Talmud in Hagigah (12A), Rashi there and Nahmanides (Gen. 1:3) all tell us that the word day means 24 hours, not sunrise and sun set. The sun is not mentioned till day four and these commentaries all relate to all six days, starting from day one. But the commentary continues in Exodus and Leviticus, that the days are 24 hours each (again, not relating to sunrise and sunset, merely sets of 24 hours). There are six of them, and their duration is not longer than the six days of our work week, BUT, the commentary continues, they contain all the ages of the world. How can six 24 hour days contain all the ages of the world?

The Flexible flow of time and the stretching of space

When a scientist states that our universe is 14 billion years old, there is a second half of that sentence rarely articulated but known very well. The universe is 14 billon years old as measured from the time-space coordinates of the earth that is, as measured from our view, our location, within universe. But there is an aspect of the universe that changes the perception of the timing of events when those events are viewed, not “on location,” but from afar, across a great galactic distance. That is the stretching of space. The universe started as a minuscule speck, and stretched out from there. Space actually stretches. The result of the stretching of space produces the effect that when observing a series of events that took place deep in space, far from our galaxy, as the light from those events travels through space, the timing of the sequence of events is actually stretched out. In estimating the true timing of a sequence of distance events, correction for this space stretch must be accounted for. This is standard astronomy. (In The Science of God I give the logic in detail in simple easy to understand terms.)

The Creation of Time

At the end of each day of the six creation days, the day is numbered. Yet Nahmanides points out that there is discontinuity in the way the days are numbered. At the end of the first day, the verse says: “There is evening and morning, Day One.” But the second day doesn’t say “evening and morning, Day Two.” Rather, it says “evening and morning, a second day.” And the Bible continues with this pattern: “Evening and morning, a third day… a fourth day… a fifth day… the sixth day.” Only on the first day does the text use a different form: not “first day,” but “Day One” (“Yom Echad”). Many English translations make the mistake of writing “a first day.” That’s because editors want things to be nice and consistent. But they throw out the cosmic message in the text! That message, as Nahmanides points out, is that there is a qualitative difference between “one” and “first.” One is absolute first is comparative. The Bible, he tell us, could not write “a first day” on the first day because there had not yet been a second day relative to it. Had the perspective of the Bible for the first six days been from Sinai looking back, the Bible would have written a first day. By the time the Torah was given on Sinai there had been hundreds of thousands of “second days.” The perspective of the Bible for the six days of Genesis is from the only time in the history of time when there had not been a second day. And that is the first day. From the creation of the universe to the creation of the soul of Adam (Genesis 1:27), the Bible views time from near the beginning of the universe looking forward. At the creation of Adam and Eve, the soul of humanity, the Bible perspective switches from this cosmic view of time to earth based time. From that point on, all biblical descriptions of time are human-based, earth-based, the space-time coordinates by which we live.

How we perceive time

We look at the universe, and say, “How old is the universe? Looking back in time, the universe is approximately 14 billion years old.” That’s our view of time and those years went by. But what is the Bible’s view of those billions of years looking forward from the beginning? How does it see time?

Nahmanides taught that although the days of Genesis One are 24 hours each, they contain “kol yemot ha-olam” – all the ages and all the secrets of the world. Nahmanides says that before the universe, there was nothing… but then suddenly the entire creation appeared as a minuscule speck. He gives a description for the speck: something very tiny, smaller than a grain of mustard. And he says that this is the only physical creation. There was no other physical creation all other creations mentioned in Genesis One were spiritual: the Nefesh (the soul of animal life, Genesis 1:21) and the Neshama (the soul of human life, Genesis 1:27) are spiritual creations.

There’s only one physical creation, and that creation was a tiny speck. In that speck was all the raw material that would be used for making everything else. Nahmanides describes the essence of that first material as “dak me’od, ein bo mamash” – so very thin, no substance to it. And as this speck expanded out, this essence, so thin that it had no material substance, turned into matter as we know it.

Nahmanides further writes: “Misheyesh, yitfos bo zman” – from the moment that matter formed from this substance-less substance, time grabs hold. Time is created at the beginning. But biblical time “grabs hold” when matter condenses from the substance-less substance of the big bang creation. When matter condenses, congeals, coalesces, out of this substance so thin it has no material substance, that’s when the biblical clock starts.

Science has shown that there’s only one “substance-less substance” that can change into matter. And that’s energy. Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC 2 , tells us that energy can change form and take on the form of matter. And once it changes into matter, biblical time grabs hold the biblical clock begins. Energy – light beams, radio waves, gamma rays, x-rays – all travel at the speed of light, 300 million meters per second. At the speed of light, time does not pass. The universe was aging, time was passing, but until there was stable matter, nothing was present recording that passage of time. Time only grabs hold when stable matter is present. This moment of time before the clock of the Bible begins lasted less than 1/100,000 of a second. A miniscule time. But in that time, the universe expanded from a tiny speck, to about the size of the Solar System. From that moment on we have matter, and biblical time flows forward. The biblical clock begins here.

Day One and not a first day: seeing time from the beginning

Now the fact that the Bible tells us there is “evening and morning Day One”, comes to teach us that the biblical calendar begins from near the beginning looking forward.

We look back in time, and measure of the universe to be 14 billion years old. But as every scientist knows, when we say the universe is 14 billion years old, there’s another half of the sentence that we rarely bother to state. The universe is 14 billion years old as measured from the time-space coordinates of the earth, that is, from our current position in the universe.

The key is that from the creation of the universe to the creation of the soul of Adam, the Bible looks forward in time, from time-space coordinates when the universe was vastly smaller than it is today. Since then, the universe has expanded out. Space stretches, and that stretching of space totally changes the perception of time.

A brief example of what this means is useful to establish the effect of space stretching. Far off on some imaginary galaxy a person decides to send us information about his clock. Imagine going back billions of years, close the beginning of time. Now pretend way back then, when time grabs hold, there’s an intelligent community. (It’s totally fictitious.) Imagine that the intelligent community has a laser, and it’s going to shoot out a blast of light every second. Every second — pulse. Pulse. Pulse. And on each pulse of light the following formation is printed: “I’m sending you a pulse of light every second.” (Printing information on light, electro-magnetic radiation, is common practice. It’s what brings your phone messages and TV or radio to you.) Billions of years later, way far down the time line, we here on Earth have a big satellite dish antenna and we receive that pulse of light. And on that pulse of light we read “I’m sending you a pulse every second.”

Light travels 300 million meters per second. So at the beginning, when the light pulses are first released, the two light pulses are separated by a second of light travel time or 300 million meters. The pulses of light travel through space for billions of years until they reach the Earth. But wait. Is the universe static? No. The universe is expanding. The universe expands by space stretching. So as these pulses travel through space for billions of years, the space between them is stretching. The pulses get further and further apart. Billions of years later, when the first pulse arrives, we read on it “I’m sending you a pulse every second.” A message from outer space! You wait for the next pulse to arrive. Does it arrive second later? No! A year later? Maybe not. Maybe billions of years later. Because the amount of time that these pulses of light have traveled through space will determine the amount that space stretched between them. That in turn will determine how much time there will be between the arrivals of the pulses. This is standard astronomy.

14 billion years or six days?

Today, we look back in time and we see approximately 14 billion years of history and those years went by. But how would they be perceived from the Bible’s perspective of time? Looking forward from when the universe was very small – billions of times smaller – the Bible teaches that six days passed. In truth, they both are correct. What’s exciting about the last few years is that we now have quantified the data to know the relationship between the perception of time from the beginning of stable matter, the threshold energy of protons (their nucleosynthesis), looking forward and our measure of the history of the universe. It’s not science fiction any longer. A dozen physics textbooks all bring the same generalized number. The general relationship of the stretching of space between the era of proton anti-proton formation, that time near the beginning at the threshold energy of protons when the first stable matter formed, and time today is a million million. That’s a 1 with 12 zeros after it. Space has stretched by a million million. So when a view from the beginning looking forward says “I’m sending you a pulse every second,” would we see a pulse every second? No. We’d see one every million million seconds. That’s the stretching effect of the expansion of the universe on the perception of time.

The biblical text shows us (and the Talmud confirms) that the soul of Adam was created five and a half days after the big bang creation. That is a half day before the termination of the sixth day. At that moment the cosmic calendar ceases and an earth based calendar starts. How would we see those days stretched by a million million? Five and a half days times a million million, gives us five and a half million million days. Dividing that by 365 days in a year, comes out to be 15 billion years. NASA gives a value of just under 14 billion years. Considering the many approximations, and that the Bible works with only six periods of time, the agreement to within a few percent is extraordinary. The universe is billions of years old but from the biblical perspective those billions of years compress into five and a half, 24 hour days.

The five and a half days of Genesis are not of equal duration. Each time the universe doubles in size, the perception of time halves as we project that time back toward the beginning of the universe. The rate of doubling, that is the fractional rate of change, is very rapid at the beginning and decreases with time simply because as the universe gets larger and larger, even though the actual expansion rate is approximately constant, it takes longer and longer for the overall size to double. Because of this, the earliest of the six days have most of the 15 billion years sequestered with them.


Following a talk I gave at AZUSA Pacific University, February 2011, a participant noted that when calculating the expansion ratio of space (that is, the fraction by which space had stretched) from the era of proton formation to our current time, I had neglected to correct for the fact that the rate of universal expansion is actually increasing. The million million expansion ratio is gotten by calculating the averaged ratio of the temperature of space now (2.76 K) relative to the threshold temperature of proton anti-proton pair production that marks the start of the biblical clock. The correction for this increase in the rate of universal expansion is in the order of 10%. Had the expansion been constant [and not super-linear resulting from the increased expansion rate], the temperature of space would be, not the currently observed 2.76 K, but 3.03 K. Introducing this correction reduces the expansion factor of the million million ( that is, a trillion) cited above, by 10% to 900 billion. As discussed above, the biblical time prior to the creation of the soul of Adam is 5 and half days. Expanding those biblical pre-Adam five and a half, 24 hour days by the expansion factor, 900,000,000,000, (i.e., 900 billion) results in age of the universe as viewed from our perspective of 13.6 billon years.

An exponential equation can be developed that details the number of years as measured from our perspective of time compressed within each of the five and half 24 hour days of Genesis Chapter One, taking each day as one “half life.” However rather than using the highly rounded off expansion factor of 900 billion, this equation uses the exact expansion factor (the ratio of the energy or temperature of space at the threshold energy of protons [10.9 x 10 12 K ] to the “AZUSA” corrected current energy or temperature of space [3.03 K ]). The result gives an overall age of the universe of 13.9 billion years and also the number of those 13.9 billion years of cosmic history held compressed within each of the biblical five and a half, 24 hour days of Genesis prior to the creation of the human soul of Adam. Starting with Day One, the results are, approximately: 7 3.5 1.8 0.9 0.5 0.2 billions of years compressed within each successive 24-hour biblical day. This is in close agreement with the NASA number of 13.7 billion years. Interestingly, several years ago an article in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal, Nature, used this identical approach to discuss the time from the beginning of the universe, but with a totally different agenda and so started its clock at the very creation which they projected as a singularity. The significance of this is that this respected science journal has given its stamp of approval for the methodology used here.

Einstein, in the laws of relativity, taught the world that time passes at different rates in different environments. Absolute time does not exist in our universe. The passage of time is relative. In regions of high velocity or high gravity time actually passes more slowly relative to regions of lower gravity or lower velocity. (One location relative to another, hence the name, the laws of relativity) This is now proven fact. Time actually stretches out. Where ever you are time is normal for you because your biology is part of that local system. Note that the above discussion does not relate to these laws of relativity. It relates to a very different phenomenon, the effect of the stretching of space on the perception of the passage of time.

God using nature’s forces

That God might have used the laws of nature to create the universe is fully consistent in relationship to the Biblical accounts of God’s actions. The only name for God in the creation chapter, Genesis chapter one, is Elokim, God as made manifest in nature. Maimonides in his monumental Guide for the Perplexed (1190 part 2, chapter 6)) wrote that God at times uses the forces of nature to accomplish God’s goal. An example of God using nature to accomplish a goal is in the Exodus account. After our leaving Egypt, God led us to the banks of the Sea of Reeds (or the Red Sea depending upon translations see the First book of Kings chapter 9 verse 26 for the location of the Sea of Reeds.). There trapped by the sea, God saves us from the pursuing Egyptian army by splitting the sea with a strong east wind that blew all night (Exodus 14:21). That detailed description of the wind was given to let us realize that the wind may have seemed natural. How natural? After the Israelites pass through the opened sea, the pursuing Egyptian soldiers follow right on in. After all it is just a lucky wind. (See D. Nof and N. Paldor Are there oceanographic explanations for the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea? published in the esteemed, peer-reviewed scientific journal The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Vol. 73 no. 3 March 1992, for a peer-reviewed account of the possibility of the wind actually opening the sea.) If the wind had seemed super-natural, the army would have fled back home. So natural-seeming was the wind that the Bible had to tell us that it was God that made the wind blow at that time. So we see that the laws of nature instilled by God at the creation are a part of God’s tools in this world, and also for creating this magnificent world in which we dwell.

The Bible views time looking forward into the expanding space of the universe from the moment of the threshold rest energy of a proton, a moment that was a tiny fraction of a second following the big bang creation of the universe, when the universe was vastly smaller than it is today.

The earth based scientific measure views time looking back in time from the present toward the threshold rest energy of a proton, a moment that was a tiny fraction of a second following the big bang creation of the universe, a time when the universe was vastly smaller than it is today.

The most common non-linear relationship in the universe: A = A0e -Lt defines the relationship between the earth view of time and the Biblical view of time

Where e is the natural base = 2.71827

A = earth time in number of days

A0 = the instantaneous ratio of the threshold rest energy of a proton to the current energy of space corrected for the increase in the rate of expansion of space. The units are as temperatures and as a ratio of temperatures, the units of temperature cancel. The significance of A0 is that it equals the number of earth days that would be initially, instantaneously, compressed into the biblical perspective of time at the instant the energy level of the universe passed the threshold rest energy of a proton. As the universe expands and cools, the value of this ratio changes.

L = natural log of 2 = 0.693 divided by the half period

Half period = t1/2 = one Genesis day

t = time in Genesis days and goes from 0 to 5.5 days each day 24 hours duration 5.5 and not 6 because Adam receives the human soul – the neshama – half way through the 6 th day. In the calculation, the difference between using 5.5 or 6 is minute.>

Integrate A = A0e -Lt with t going from 0 to 5.5 days

Integral ∫A = Integral ∫A0e -Lt = (-A0/L)e -Lt

Note that the units of the right side of the integrated equation is days

Integral ∫A = -((10.9 x10 12 /3) x ( 1 day/0.693))e -0.693 t /1 day| with t going from 0 to 5.5 days

Integral ∫A = 5.12 x10 12 days = 14 x 10 12 years

Two views of one reality from two vastly different perspectives

See the main text of The Age of the Universe article for more details, especially the AZUSA suggestion used here to correct the equation for the increase in the rate of the expansion of space and its effect on the temperature of space. The effect of the correction is less than 10%. That is not a large correction but well worth using and for this I am indebted to the member of the AZUSA staff (who walked away before I could write down her/his name – I think it was a her!).

Age of the Universe

Age of the universe: 13.7 / 13.8 billion years, give or take few tens of million years. How we know that? How do we know how was the universe at the beginning?

The answer to the last question is: we are not quite entirely sure but we have sufficiently acceptable models that give us an idea of what happened. In 1964 two american radio astronomers of Bell Labs, Nobel Prize winners Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidentally discovered “fossil” traces of the universe that were emitted in EM radiation, thus only when those EM radiations were produced ≈ 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when matter cooled enough for the formation of atoms. These fossil traces are the so called Cosmic Microwave Background. In brief, the CMB is the relic EM radiation, in microwave length, that was generated during the initiating transparent phase of the universe, when matter started to organize in atoms and the opacity of the universe turned into a transparent state, allowing photons and other radiations to travel across it.

By measuring the cooling time of the universe through the measurement of CMB and combining the data with the expansion rate given by Hubble Law, we can calculate the approximate age of the universe by extrapolating backwards in time: because the universe is expanding (there have been accelerations and decelerations) and because of the Hubble constant (the quantity of which is still under debate) we can indirectly calculate the age of the universe, and by logical induction theorize that the whole mass of the universe was compressed in a singularity (smaller than the tiniest particle) at time = 0.

Basically, it is a backward calculation starting from a well known condition (the state of the universe at present), hence an incredibly hot and dense state of the universe at the beginning of time.

For those who quite understandably ask what has happened BEFORE the Big Bang, we are quite sorry but there is no before: time itself started WITH the Big Bang and there was nothing, nowhere, never before.

Key Concepts and Summary

Cosmology is the study of the organization and evolution of the universe. The universe is expanding, and this is one of the key observational starting points for modern cosmological theories. Modern observations show that the rate of expansion has not been constant throughout the life of the universe. Initially, when galaxies were close together, the effects of gravity were stronger than the effects of dark energy, and the expansion rate gradually slowed. As galaxies moved farther apart, the influence of gravity on the expansion rate weakened. Measurements of distant supernovae show that when the universe was about half its current age, dark energy began to dominate the rate of expansion and caused it to speed up. In order to estimate the age of the universe, we must allow for changes in the rate of expansion. After allowing for these effects, astronomers estimate that all of the matter within the observable universe was concentrated in an extremely small volume 13.8 billion years ago, a time we call the Big Bang.