Galaxies that weren’t supposed to exist

It’s hard to overstate the discrepancy between secular expectations and the James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) observations. Remember, just a few years ago, astronomers believed that galaxies would need at least three billion years (and possibly up to six billion years) to form.

Secular astronomers were already shocked when massive, mature galaxies were found to exist when the Universe was supposedly five billion years old. Now they have to grapple with JWST’s observations of galaxies that (according to their worldview) already existed just 230 million years after the Big Bang.

The left image (from NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI) is from Hubble. The right image (from NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI) is from JWST. Note that the JWST doesn’t just produce more detail—it also reveals objects that weren’t previously visible at all. It’s turning out that many of these regions contain a lot more galaxies than were previously known. They were too dim to be seen with other telescopes, but they are visible to the JWST. In the images above, there are many examples of this. Look at all the galaxies in the JW photo that aren’t apparent in the Hubble photo. And a surprising number of these newly-discovered galaxies aren’t irregulars or peculiars. They’re disk galaxies.

That’s less than one-quarter of one billion. (And it’s only eight percent of three billion.)

Put another way, the JWST is showing galaxies that (from a secular perspective) already existed more than 2.75 billion years before they were supposed to be possible.

And even though this is shockingly early from the secular perspective, the problem is actually even worse than that. These galaxies weren’t forming at this time; they had already formed.

This means that the actual formation process must have occurred even earlier. Possibly much earlier.

We see this in a variety of ways:

  • As we’ve already mentioned, the JWST is observing massive galaxies at these distances. If small irregulars formed first and then merged into more massive galaxies later (as secular astronomers believe), then this had already happened in the regions that JWST is observing.
  • There is also evidence of larger-scale structure. Some of the galaxies have the same approximate redshift, indicating that they are in a “group or proto-cluster”. The models say that this structure wouldn’t exist immediately, so it would take time to form. But in these images, it seems to already exist.
  • Many of the faraway galaxies are quite bright. A few are comparable to, or even brighter than, our Milky Way galaxy.
  • Many of the galaxies are quite dense. As this study notes, in some regions stellar mass density is “three orders of magnitude higher than anticipated.” In other words, some of these galaxies have a density of stars that’s more than 1,000 times the expected value.
  • They are chemically mature. For example, there is a “surprising richness” of elements such as oxygen. But if the Big Bang model were true, at least two generations of stars must have already formed in order for this to be possible.2

However, these mature and already-formed objects being observed by JWST are supposedly very close in time to the Big Bang. And there’s little time available for all this to happen.

We see then, that in multiple ways…

The JWST images are showing galaxies that are not at all what secular astronomers had expected.

And remember, the JWST has only been operational for a few months. We’re only seeing results from the first few studies. So we’re only seeing a small sample of what will be discovered and published in the coming months and years.

This means it’s quite possible that mature galaxies at even farther distances will be found. In fact, it’s reasonable to expect this.

As we discussed earlier, if the Big Bang model were true, then there was an epoch of galaxy formation long ago—a time when immature and peculiars were just beginning to form, and more mature galaxies did not yet exist.

But even as the JWST has observed deeper and deeper into the cosmos, no hints of this epoch have been found.

As this study notes, “we have not reached the limit of where the first ellipticals and spheroids have formed. We will need to probe even higher redshifts to find when and if there are no spheroids or disk galaxies.”

But scientists are running out of time within which they can look for this alleged period of galaxy formation. As the JWST looks deeper into space, and thus (from a secular perspective) farther and farther back into time, there’s less and less “time after the Big Bang” available for the first galaxies to have formed within.

This “mature galaxy” crisis has been building since the mid-2000s, but now the JWST is pouring gasoline on the fire. In the creation movement, many of us were expecting discoveries like these, but the JWST has produced results that are even better than we could have anticipated.

It’s a great time to be a creationist!

So… is this the final nail in the coffin for the Big Bang model? Does this mean that secular astronomers are panicking, as some articles have claimed?

The new observations are certainly creating some confusion in the secular scientific community. And perhaps we could argue that secular theorists should be panicking. But despite the articles you might have seen on social media, they aren’t. And this isn’t really surprising. Here’s why.

No panic (not even at the disco)

First of all, there was indeed a recent paper with a title that began with, “Panic! at the Disks.” But this was not meant to describe the authors’ emotions; it was actually meant to be a joke.

(The title was supposed to be a play on words, and was referring to an American rock band named “Panic! at the Disco.” Yes, even scientific papers include bad puns sometimes.)

And it’s also true that astronomers are surprised by the new observations. Media stories have contained quotes like these:

“The models just don’t predict this… How do you do this in the universe at such an early time? How do you form so many stars so quickly?”Garth Illingworth, University of California at Santa Cruz

“The reality is just kind of blowing our mind.”Jeyhan Kartaltepe, Rochester Institute of Technology in New York

“No one was expecting anything like this.”Michael Boylan-Kolchin, University of Texas, Austin

“This is way outside the box of what models were predicting.”Garth Illingworth, University of California (UC), Santa Cruz

“Right now I find myself lying awake at three in the morning, wondering if everything I’ve ever done is wrong.”Allison Kirkpatrick, University of Kansas in Lawrence

But these quotes only mean that these astronomers don’t understand how their models about galaxy formation could accommodate the new observations.

The quotes don’t mean that they are questioning the overall context of the Big Bang model.

Some scientists are even emphasizing this. For example, Eric Lerner, in his article The Big Bang Never Happened, reproduced the quote from Ms. Kirkpatrick (“I find myself lying awake…”), and implied that she is doubting the Big Bang model. She responded by changing her Twitter username to “Allison the Big Bang happened Kirkpatrick.”

It might seem strange that secular astronomers aren’t reacting more strongly than this. The JWST observations are so inconsistent with secular expectations that it seems logical to question the broader model that produced those expectations.

But this would be to ignore the bigger context. With very few exceptions, the secular astronomical community accepts the Big Bang model as fact. Secular scientists aren’t questioning this model, because it doesn’t even occur to them to do so.

Will the JWST observations force the secular community to re-evaluate their models of galaxy formation, early star formation, and so on? Yes, certainly. In fact, this process has already begun.

But the overall idea of the Big Bang is being exempted from this process.

Mature galaxies: not even the worst problem

History tells us that the new JWST observations probably won’t be enough to topple Big Bang cosmology.

Previous discoveries had already falsified the model, but they didn’t matter. Secular astronomers still hold to it anyway. So there’s no reason that the JWST’s discoveries will fare any better.

Let’s discuss a few examples.

The Big Bang model violates the laws of physics. It suffers from a problem I call the secular dilemma. Either something came from nothing (which violates the laws of physics in one way), or there has always been something (which violates the laws of physics in a different way). Either way, the Big Bang is inconsistent with the laws of science. The only cosmological model that explains our Universe and is also consistent with physics, is that a supernatural Creator (outside of the Cosmos) is responsible for it.

The Big Bang requires cosmic inflation: a contrived, just-so story about an “inflaton.” This is a made-up particle, completely outside of physics, that was invented purely to save the model from evidence that would be fatal to it otherwise.

It also requires a multiverse (an infinite number of Universes). This idea is not only unscientific, it’s anti-scientific3—but the secular community embraces it anyway, because the Big Bang model needs it (in order to explain away the overwhelming amount of fine-tuning and apparent Design of the cosmos).

The model requires dark energy—a mysterious anti-gravity force (and again, completely outside of known physics), that was invented to protect a fundamental secular assumption4 from being disproved by the data. And so on.

Although the JWST’s discoveries are radically inconsistent with secular predictions about galaxy formation, these predictions will just be changed soon to accommodate them. Compared to all the other fatal problems that the Big Bang model has—and all the contortions that the secular community has gone through to protect it—creating new predictions for accelerated galaxy formation will be child’s play.

The continued survival of the Big Bang model—despite a long list of should-have-been-fatal-to-it discoveries—shows us that it isn’t a scientific model after all. Scientific models are discarded when evidence accumulates against them, but the Big Bang has been immune from this.

That’s because it’s not actually a scientific model. It’s an ideology. It’s an unquestioned and unquestionable belief held by the secular community.


The James Webb Space Telescope was designed to show us more of the Universe. And even in only its first few months, it’s already doing just that.

Along the way, it’s also revealing something else.

The new telescope is also illustrating the hollowness of modern secular cosmology. We’re seeing the failure of more of its predictions. We’re seeing more inconsistency between the observed data and the model’s implications.

And most of all, we’re seeing the emptiness of the Big Bang’s claims to being a legitimate scientific model.


  1. Because objects that are more distant have a higher redshift. The JW was specifically designed to be able to observe objects with high redshifts.
  2. The Big Bang model says that the Bang was incapable of making anything other than hydrogen, helium, lithium, and perhaps trace amounts of beryllium. Thus, for heavier elements such as oxygen to exist today, the model says that first, stars had to form from the hydrogen and helium. They then burned for a while, and created heavier elements via nuclear fusion, until finally they reached the end of their lifespans and exploded. The new heavier elements were then distributed throughout the cosmos. Only after all this happened could another generation of stars form that might incorporate the new elements.
  3. I discussed this in more detail in the video Our Created Universe.
  4. The so-called cosmological principle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.