There is our first answer, that the universe looks old because God created it to look old. This was design, not deception, just as was the case for Adam, the human being who had no history, no parents, no infancy, no childhood.
I’m glad that Mohler/Challies equated the young earth to the literal Adam. At the risk of repeating myself, both suffer the same logical problem. The special creation of Adam requires that all of the basic knowledge that makes us “human” be implanted in Adam and Eve’s heads directly by God.
As far as this goes …
Paul says in Romans 8 that the world is groaning, “And in its groaning it does look old. It gives us empirical evidence of the reality of sin.” The universe looks old rather than young to display the evidence and consequences of sin, for once we see this we are but a short distance from considering the joy, necessity, and beauty of redemption.
… I don’t know what to say. The reason that the universe looks old is to display “empirical evidence of the reality of sin”? Really?! So, the vast distances that give the appearance of great age to the universe are somehow “evidence of the consequences of sin.” The Grand Canyon appears old in order to bear witness to sin. This would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. What sort of silly, twisted logic is this?