Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them.Even though the Earth's age is never mentioned in the Bible, it is an issue because those who take a strictly literal view of the early chapters of Genesis can calculate an approximate date for the creation by adding up the life-spans of the people mentioned in the genealogies.

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However, some Christians suggest that the geologic dating techniques are unreliable, that they are wrongly interpreted, or that they are confusing at best.

Unfortunately, much of the literature available to Christians has been either inaccurate or difficult to understand, so that confusion over dating techniques continues.

Most of the elements in nature are stable and do not change.

However, some elements are not completely stable in their natural state.

The passage of time can be charted by the reduction in the number of parent atoms, and the increase in the number of daughter atoms.

Radiometric dating can be compared to an hourglass.

Similarly, when all the atoms of the radioactive element are gone, the rock will no longer keep time (unless it receives a new batch of radioactive atoms).

The rate of loss of sand from from the top of an hourglass compared to exponential type of decay of radioactive elements.

Most processes that we are familiar with are like sand in an hourglass.

In exponential decay the amount of material decreases by half during each half-life.

You cannot predict exactly when any one particular grain will get to the bottom, but you can predict from one time to the next how long the whole pile of sand takes to fall.