What evidences are there on elements having a “half-life”? I know all
elements contain a half life… but does this mean ALL matter can not be

First, there are just under three hundred stable atomic isotopes. These
atoms do not decay radioactively at all. According to science they are
“eternal,” although this does not mean that the same omnipotent God who
made the universe and all the matter in it could not do whatever he wants
to with the matter he created! This, however, would be outside the range
of discussion for scientists. Stable isotopes include carbon-12,
nitrogen-14, hydrogen-1 and 2, helium-4 and so forth. In addition to these
stable isotopes, there are some atoms with an unstable arrangement of
neutrons and protons in their nuclei. Samples of these isotopes will be
changed through radioactive decay into more stable isotopes, with the
emission of alpha, beta, gamma or other particles in the process. Some of
the more famous radioactive isotopes are carbon-14 and uranium-238. These
unstable isotopes have a very predictable rate of decay which can very
easily be measured in a laboratory. They are said to have a half-life
because no matter the size of the sample and no matter the concentration
of the isotope, and even no matter the temperature, the time it takes for
half of a sample to decay to more stable isotopes is the same. For
example, the half-life of carbon-14 is about 5700 years, while the
half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years. Since 1907, scientists have
proposed and designed ways to measure the concentration of both the
original (parent) and final (daughter) isotope in a sample. Using this
information and knowledge about the half-life it is a simple matter to
calculate the age of the rock or cloth sample or whatever. Carbon-14
dating has been used to show that the famed Shroud of Turin was not the
burial shroud of Jesus Christ, as it was created out of flax about AD
1200. Uranium-238 dating has been used to show that rocks in the crust of
the earth are as much as 3.6 billion years old.

Therefore, some atoms are “eternal” if you will, while other atoms are
temporary. However, according to the laws of science if the sum total of
mass and energy are taken into consideration, matter and energy are
neither created nor destroyed in the universe. This is the law proposed by
Einstein. The law has stood up to all experiment since this time. Having
said that, God can certainly do what he wants with the matter he created.
Scientists can only discover the laws of nature which are obeyed under
“normal” circumstances. God can break these laws any time he so chooses,
especially since he created the laws of nature which scientists discover
in the first place.

John Oakes, PhD

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