Setterfield Simplified


When the concept of an expanding universe entered the secular scientific arena, it was ridiculed. It was condescendingly nicknamed the "Big Bang", even though the idea did not include any kind of explosion. It was rejected as being too close to the "silly ideas" of the Bible. Since the Bible was 'clearly' mythology, there was no way the truth of the cosmos could come anywhere near what the Bible said happened.

The Bible does say the universe expanded. But it uses another term for it. In the Bible, God says He stretched the heavens. He says this twelve times. The difference between the idea of the "Big Bang" and the Biblical explanation is that the Big Bang says the expansion continues to this day, whereas the Bible says it was a one time, complete event.

The data used to support the idea that the universe is still expanding has to do with the redshift of light from distant galaxies. In the same way a siren's sound drops its pitch at the point of passing you, the idea is that the further away the observed light source, the more its light has 'dropped' to the red end of the color spectrum. Is this because the object emitting the light, like the fire engine where the siren sound originates, is speeding away from us at a fantastic rate? Or is there another cause for what we see - this red shifting of light from distant objects?

If there is another cause, then is the Bible right when it indicates that the universe is not expanding anymore?

If the universe is expanding, and if this expansion is causing the redshift, then we should be seeing redshift measurements all the way from zero to the farthest measurement seen in a series of smoothly increasing numbers. It should look like a car accelerating along a freeway, going smoothly from entry speed up to the speed limit.

But that is not what we see in the redshift measurements. What we see are a small series of jumps. The measurements are sort of clumped together and then there is a jump, or jerk, to a new set of measurements, with nothing gradual in between.

How strange! Is the universe expanding in jumps and starts? That's hard to cope with. Especially when some of these redshift groupings split right in the middle of some galaxies! Which they do.

If the universe is NOT expanding, what is causing the redshift? And the jumps we see? What is REALLY going on?

Hold that thought.

If you take a container of some sort, and get rid of every atom and particle in it, we have a vacuum, right? Well, yes, but there is still heat energy producing radiation. OK, now turn down the thermostat. To absolute zero. No heat energy left.

Problem: there is still radiation energy which can be measured in your container. A lot of it! Because it is in evidence at zero mark on the Kelvin thermometer - absolute zero, no molecules can move here - it is called the Zero Point Energy, or ZPE for short.

They found a way to measure it. They found a couple of ways to measure it.

Then another problem popped up. These measurements indicated it was increasing. Why? What was going on?

Hold that thought, too.

When we are in school, be it high school physics or college or university, one of the things we NEVER hear is the idea that some of the atomic constants might not be so constant. This absolute 'constancy' is the backbone of a good part of physics today.

It was not always so. Up until 1941, the subject of the varying measurements that were being seen on some of the constants was one of the major topics in the journals concerned with this sort of thing. A number of things were showing unexplained changes. One of them was called Planck's constant. That measured the ZPE. It was increasing. Another one was the speed of light. That was decreasing. An interesting note popped up here: the speed of light MULTIPLIED by Planck's constant was always the same. As one went up the other went down in a precise inverse ratio.

When we got around to being able to measure the mass of an electron, lo and behold, that appeared to be changing, too!

Not only that, both Planck's constant and the mass of the electron are STILL being measured as changing.

What about the speed of light? Well, ever since they decided to measure it by other atomic constants, it has not appeared to be changing at all. But think about it, if you measure one changing constant by a constant that is changing in conjunction with it, you are not going to get a measured change in the first, are you?

So what is going on? Just a series of mistakes where measurements of redshifts and atomic masses and Planck's constant and the speed of light are all concerned? Or is there something affecting all of this together?

The key to all of this appears to be in the ZPE, the Zero Point Energy, and its increase with time. But where is it coming from? What has caused it?

Go back to the beginning - of both this article and of creation. God stretched the universe, or the heavens. Stretch a rubber band. Blow up a balloon and stretch the fabric of it. Both times you have put the energy of your movement into the stretching. Since the energy is not doing anything unless you let it go, it is a sort of 'hidden' energy called potential energy. But let that rubber band go, or don't tie the balloon and let go of it, and all that energy explodes into motion. This energy in motion is called kinetic energy.

Well, God didn't quite let things go, and they didn't all pop back into something tiny, like a collapsed balloon. Instead some of that energy God invested into the universe when He stretched it out was transformed into tiny, tiny (much tinier than electrons) particles called Planck Particle Pairs. Each pair has one positive and one negative member.

Hold that thought for a moment and go fill up your bath tub with water. Easier, just imagine it filled up. Put your palms together and then put them into the water. Pull your palms apart fast and hard. What happens to the water? It begins to spin in a series of small vortices or whirlpools.

Go look at a picture of the galaxies on the net. Here is one:

courtesy of


Sort of like what the water did, isn't it?

The little Planck Particle Pairs did the same thing. As the heavens were stretching out, they were separated and started whirling about. This separation and whirling by these little tiny charged particles was the origin of the Zero Point Energy. Their activity does not depend on temperature (that's the Zero Point part) or any bits of atomic or subatomic masses (that's the Energy part).

Just like the rubber band or balloon let most of its energy go at once, so did the stretched out heavens. Kazillions of Planck Particle Pairs were formed very rapidly (excuse the technical language there) and began spinning and whirling about. Then things started to settle down a bit. Since most, and then all, of the Planck Particle Pairs had been formed, maybe the Zero Point Energy should have started downgrading a bit.

No. Remember that the Planck Particle Pairs each has one negative and one positive unit? They started to recombine, or flip back together. Not all at once, but bit by bit. And each time one pair slammed back together, a bit of energy was given off. This is the second source of the ZPE, and it is the source that is still going on today.

The strength of the ZPE is measured by something called the Planck's constant. Don't get this mixed up with Planck Particle Pairs. They both carry the name of the very brilliant man for whom these are named, but they are not the same thing. Planck's constant is represented by the letter 'h'. Planck's constant has been measured as increasing right up until 1970 or so, when some decrease in the measurements was noted.

As the ZPE was building through time, matter itself tried to resist the change, just like if you try to push a glass of water across a table it will not move at first and then jerk forward a bit. And, unless you push even harder, the glass will continue to move in jerks across the table. This is because it takes a particular level of energy from you to build up enough to shift the glass.

Atoms are the same way. As the ZPE built up, atoms and their composite particles would resist the change until it could no longer be resisted, then they would react, absorbing that amount of energy change, and so moving to a higher energy state. And every time an atom took up a higher energy state, the atom would emit light that was a little more energetic, or bluer. The red end of the color spectrum is the lower energy level, and the blue end a higher energy level. If the ZPE and the reactions of atoms are the way this describes, then we would expect to see jumps and starts in the redshift measurements as we look out into space (and thus back into time).

In this way, the building ZPE appears to be the 'parent' and the quantized redshift measurements the 'child.'

But the changing ZPE resulted in other changes, too. Remember Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2? 'E' is energy and 'c' is the speed of light. The small 'm' is atomic mass. It is pretty widely known that this equation indicates that energy and mass are interchangeable. If this is hard to understand, think of an atomic bomb, and the immense energy generated by that little bit of mass. That's because, to get that much energy, mathematically you multiply the mass you have by the speed of light, squared.

It makes a lot of energy.

BUT, not all mass explodes into energy! Instead, what we see at the atomic level with Einstein's equation, is that the energy itself is what is constant. It stays the same. But we have measured the mass of the electron as changing! If energy is constant and the mass is changing, that can only mean the speed of light is also changing.

And that is what was discovered through three hundred years of measurements of the speed of light -- up. Up until 1941 when it was decided to simply declare the atomic constants, and in particular the speed of light to be constant, regardless of the data, the data itself showed light speed to be slowing.

Why would it be doing that? Was it 'tired'? That was one theory - that light got tired after awhile and started slowing down. But that is not what was happening.

Remember Einstein's equation? There is a possibility of mass and energy trading places. That does happen for extraordinarily brief nanoseconds of time throughout space. The enormous energy present in the ZPE will cause something called a 'virtual particle' to snap into and then out of existence. In a way, it's energy concentrated to act like a particle. These virtual particles also come in pairs - negative and positive. But they are a lot bigger than the Planck Particle Pairs. Virtual particles are about the size of electrons. But they don't hang around for long.

When the universe was new, there weren't many virtual particles because not much of the expansion energy had yet changed from potential to kinetic, so the amount of ZPE was low. As that situation rapidly changed, and the ZPE built up quickly, the number of virtual particles in any given volume of space at any given time increased dramatically. And each time a virtual particle appeared, it was capable of absorbing a photon of light. But then the virtual particle would snap out of existence and off the photon would go on its way again. As the ZPE built up and the number of virtual particles built up, the number of times any photon of light would get absorbed and then re-emitted on its way to its final destination increased. And each one of those times took a tiny, tiny amount of time. But it did take time. And so, as the universe got older, and the ZPE increased, and virtual particle numbers increased, light itself appeared to slow down between point of origin and destination. Its speed was still the original speed between virtual particles, but with that many absorptions and re-emissions, it was like a runner going over hurdles - the light needed more time to arrive at wherever its destination was.

Just like the rate of increase of the ZPE and the rapid redshift changes at the beginning, the speed of light dropped very rapidly at first. The curve looks like this for all three (the letter 'z' is the redshift measurement):

Is this a Setterfield dream extraordinaire? No. The data is what led to this conclusion.

And there is one more bit of data: time is measured by two different clocks, and they run at different speeds. Our calendar clock is a measure of 'orbital' or 'dynamical' time. It measures the days and months and years by the earth's rotation, and the orbit of the moon around the earth and the earth around the sun. This measurement of time depends on gravity. It is the measure of time man is told to make in Genesis 1:14 by God. It is quite steady.

The other way to measure time is atomically - or the speed at which atomic processes take place. This clock has actually been measured at moving at a speed different from orbital time. In other words, when radiometric dating declares a rock to be a million years old, that does not mean the earth has orbited the sun a million times since the rock was formed. It means that IF atomic processes have always been the same THEN the earth would have been orbiting the sun a million times.

However the ZPE strength affects the speed of atomic processes! It is interesting that in every decay rate equation, we find either the speed of light in the numerator or its opposite, Planck's constant, in the denominator! We know that 'hc' (Planck's Constant multiplied by the speed of light) is a constant. That has been measured and checked numerous times. But that does not require either 'h' or 'c' to be constant. It does require that if one has changed, then the other has, too - but in the opposite direction. And they have. As the speed of light has been measured going down, Planck's Constant has been measured as going up.

And the faster the speed of light (or the lower Planck's Constant) in the past, the faster the radiometric decay rate. So, for instance, if the speed of light were one million times its current speed, then a million atomic years would be measured in the space of one of earth's circuits about the sun.

Two ways of measuring time. Two run rates on two different clocks.

When the correction of atomic dates is made using the redshift/lightspeed curve shown above, we find that both the majority of atomic dating is right in terms of atomic years, and that the Bible is also correct in terms of this being a very young creation.

It's all there in the data.

The following articles are where this conclusion is reached showing data and math:

The data concerning the speed of light measurements was originally published by Flinders University in Australia after Lambert Dolphin, a (now retired) senior research physicist at Stanford Research Institute International requested a paper regarding the light speed changes. It is here:

Two papers dealing with the redshift and what it means are here:

The paper dealing with whether or not the redshift means the universe is expanding now is here:

More discussion on the vacuum of space itself is here:

The link between general relativity and the Zero Point Energy is here:

The paper exploring the mathematical link between the redshift and the ZPE is here:

A couple of papers linking everything as it pertains to the cosmos itself, including our solar system and then to the earth itself, are here:

The section of one paper dealing with the two types of time, atomic and orbital is section 4.4 of this one:

A group of three charts showing measured changes of the speed of light, Planck's constant, and the mass of the electron with the references is here:

As recently as today, November 7, 2004, as I finish this explanation, we have been reading of more changes involving these constants. They are doing exactly what Barry Setterfield predicted they would be doing.

Also on the Setterfield website is a whole series of questions that have been asked of him and his responses to them. Those that are archived in the Discussion section can be found here:

Those that have just been answered and put up are here:

Please feel free to email any questions you may have to Barry at

Our schedule does not always permit an immediate response, but there will always be an eventual one!

Helen Setterfield
November 7, 2004

Home Page