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Radiometric dating techniques indicate that the Earth is thousands of times older than that--approximately four and a half billion years old.Many Christians accept this and interpret the Genesis account in less scientifically literal ways.Many people have been led to be skeptical of dating without knowing much about it. In spite of this, differences still occur within the church.For example, most people don't realize that carbon dating is only rarely used on rocks. A disagreement over the age of the Earth is relatively minor in the whole scope of Christianity; it is more important to agree on the Rock of Ages than on the age of rocks.But because God has also called us to wisdom, this issue is worthy of study.Rocks are made up of many individual crystals, and each crystal is usually made up of at least several different chemical elements such as iron, magnesium, silicon, etc.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.
Assuming a strictly literal interpretation of the week of creation, even if some of the generations were left out of the genealogies, the Earth would be less than ten thousand years old.It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the Earth was created a very long time ago.Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers.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.Once all of the sand has fallen out of the top, the hourglass will no longer keep time unless it is turned over again.