How does gravitational time dilation affect our understanding of the age of the universe?


(RZIM Connect Member) #1

In general relativity, matter seems to produce spacetime curvature , and spacetime curvature seems to be a product of gravity. If time dilation is a consequence of spacetime curvature, which is a consequence of gravitational behavior, and if ( by the field equations ), a bounded universe and an unbounded universe have the same energy-momentum, and therefore their curvature tensors will also be identical, then time behaves identically in a bounded and an unbounded universe.
Is this statement :
a.) rational
b.) complete
c.) true ?

(Hugh Ross) #2

Under the conditions you stated, the answer is yes. Because in general relativity gravity can bend light pathways, general relativity predicts that there will be gravitational time dilation. However, the gravitational field must be enormously strong for there to be any measurable gravitational time dilation. The bending of light by gravity, on the other hand, is relatively easy to measure. It was first measured in the 1918 solar eclipse. It is now routinely measured where foreground galaxies and galaxy clusters gravitationally lens the light coming from more distant quasars.

(RZIM Connect Member) #3

In a follow-up question concerning gravitational time dilation, how does this affect the relationship of the Earth to the center, or null point of the Big Bang origin of the universe? Does it or does it not bear no ultimate consequence on the relative passage of time on the Earth vs. more distant reaches of the Universe ?

(Hugh Ross) #4

The short answer is that it bears no consequence at all on the passage of time on Earth relative to the passage of time in more distant reaches of the universe. A longer answer is that young-earth creationists, like Russell Humphreys have tried to appeal to gravitational time dilation to resolve the light travel time problem of light from distant galaxies reaching Earth is less than ten thousand years. First, the gravitational field that Humphreys needs for his model would rule out the possibility of physical life on Earth. Second, his model predicts that clocks in the distant universe would run about a million times faster than clocks on Earth. Humphreys is aware of this but mistakenly presumes that we astronomers lack clocks in the distant universe, We don’t. Supernovae, Cepheid variable stars, and pulsars are examples of such clocks. In the Humphreys model supernovae in very distant galaxies would proceed from normal to maximum to minimum brightness brightness in about 17-18 seconds compared to a predicted 9-10 months in a standard hot big bang creation model. Our observations of hundreds of supernovae in distant galaxies refute the Humphreys model, affirm the hot big creation model, and establish that the universe was created 13.8 billion years ago. For much more on gravitational time dilation, the age of the universe and Earth, and why there is no possible solution to the light travel time problem in the context of a young universe, see my book, A Matter of Days, second edition, pages 160-180. That book also shows how a consistent, literal reading of all 66 books of the Bible rules out the possibility of an Earth younger than a million years and establishes that the days of creation in Genesis 1 must be six consecutive non-overlapping literal long periods of finite time.

(Kay Kalra) #5