I am starting this new topic at the suggestion of Kaptain K which occurred in the "Questions and Answers" heading.
I don't know if I agree with his suggestion but here goes anyway. I will re-post the original post and also Kaptain K's reply so that everyone will be "up to speed".
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04-April-2006, 03:14 PM Squashed #45
The Slowing Universe & Relativity
As far as time and the universe I believe that time is relative to the speed of light as Einstein alluded to with the theory of relativity. Since physics deals with the four physical forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear; and with matter (which is really just "condensed" energy) then time began with the appearance of energy. The big flash, which is what the big bang really was, began time by the flash of electromagnetic energy that it produced. Energy is what creates spacetime.
The "emptiness" of space is only an imaginary state because space is filled with electromagnetic waves (star light being one), the background microwave radiation, as well as the gravitational fields of countless celestial objects. We measure time by counting the transfer-of-energy cycles within natural processes: the vibration of cesium atoms is our latest method.
So the big flash had an origin and spacetime has expanded ever since outwardly from that origin - at the speed of light. So there is a "universal" time which is the amount of time that light takes to travel from the origin of the big flash to the edge of spacetime. Time continues because spacetime continues to expand in all directions from the point of origin.
According to inflation the expansion of spacetime stretches the waves of electromagnetic radiation and so if inflation stretches spacetime then so should regular expansion of spacetime. This stretching slows the transfer of energy by stretching the wave. This stretching also slows the speed of time (since we measure time by energy transfer). If this is the case then the speed of time becomes relative to the point on the universal timeline at which time is observed. So things happened much faster in the beginning because of the compressed spacetime than happens currently in our "stretched" universe. We are all unaware of this slowing because our methodologies for measuring time "self-calibrate" to the universal time.
But the slowing is not without observable consequence because the amount of time for energy transfers to occur is dependent upon the distance between the originating object and the receiving object. Star light is an energy transfer and since the distances are so great then the stretching of spacetime cause’s red-shifting of the star light as compared with fresh sunlight. Isotopic decay is an energy transference which is slowed in lock-step with the universal slowing and so the rate of radioactive decay is constantly slowing. This all leads to the fact that it is impossible to positively know the age of the universe because our methods of reading age are "stretch-dependent".
It seems that Einstein truly had a stroke of genius when he realized that time is dependent upon the speed of light for it is the speed of light that stretches spacetime and so relativity is not only gravitationally (general theory) or velocity (special theory) dependent but also timeline dependent. So natural energy-transferring events when viewed from differing points on the universal timeline of history occur at different speeds.