A secondary goal of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is to study galaxies over time, and hopefully learn how the galaxies were created and how they evolve over time. It is a strongly held belief among the scientific community that JWST will be able to look into the past.
“Webb’s unprecedented infrared sensitivity will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.” (https://webb.nasa.gov/content/science/galaxies.html)
However, there are creation scientists that believe JWST will see something entirely unexpected by the general scientific community. While they agree that light traveling from these distant galaxies may represent time, the big bang theory is dependent on the assumption that the galaxies were formed over time and not created instantaneously. Galaxy evolution has been a problem for the big bang for a long period of time and those supporting the theory are hoping to prove it with the use of JWST.
Edwin Hubble was the first to classify galaxies based on their shape; he listed five main categories of galaxies ranging from the simple to the most complex. The classifications are ellipticals, lenticular, spirals, barred spirals and irregulars. Though it was never his intention to suggest that galaxies evolved from the simple to the more complex forms, it was broadly accepted that galaxies start off looking like ellipticals, then mature to spirals and end their lives in irregular formations. The main reason behind this thought process is that spiral galaxies are usually more blue in color and are therefore younger, because young stars burn blue and bright as they burn through their fuel quicker, and spiral galaxies are more red, consisting of older stars that burn slower. However, there have been numerous discoveries that counter the theory as we look deeper into space. One such example is Hoag’s object, a ring galaxy that was discovered in 1950. The galaxy did not fit any of the known patterns and had a strange mixture of old (red) and young (blue) stars.
There is another issue with the big bang theory and galaxy formation; the big bang theory does not allow for distant galaxies to look “mature.” These distant galaxies should not have well-formed structure so soon after the big bang, yet some have been found. The best example to date is the Wolfe disk, a galaxy at Z=4.26, believed to be 1.5 billion years younger than the universe. Scientists supporting this theory are racing to find an explanation as they are expecting to find even more early galaxies that look mature.
There are two opposite competing theories of galaxy formation, the bottom-up and top-down theories. Top-down suggests that the largest and most well formed structures in the universe formed first and then divided into clusters, groups, and galaxies. Bottom-up speculates that gravitational forces pulled smaller particles together over time to form protogalaxies, which evolved into galaxies, groups and clusters. However, there is one additional theory, the one least likely to be accepted broadly among the scientific community, and that is that God made them the way they are; the Universe is young and created, rather than formed over time.
I do not believe we will find definitive proof of either opposing main theory, but rather see the shocking reality that we do not understand the formation of the Universe. I expect that JWST will discover mature distant galaxies and force the scientific community to either re-evaluate their formulas for calculating the age of the Universe, to make it much older than currently expected, making the assumption that we have not looked far enough into the past to see the formation of mature galaxies. However, it would lead me to believe in creation as an explanation even more. If God created the Universe in the six days of creation a few thousand years ago, then the light we see from the distant galaxies is not observing the past at all, but rather the light was created with the galaxies, and was already reaching the ends of the Universe at the time of creation. We are observing the Universe exactly as it was created and the laws of physics that we have observed can easily support a young Universe. If we take the Bible as the truth and base what we observe against that truth, we will make great discoveries. Until next week, stay safe and learn something new.
Scott Hamilton is an Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at https://www.techshepherd.org.