Charge the hill
Taking back the high ground of biblical authority
Published: 29 January 2013 (GMT+10)
Illustration by Caleb Salisbury
A ridge too far
On 9 April 1917 Canadian Corps soldiers advanced through sleet and snow to engage German forces in the pivotal battle of Vimy Ridge. Their victory that day marked one of the turning points of WW I, as Vimy Ridge was a key position of the German line in Northern France.
In the battle over biblical authority there is a key position that is critical to hold against the enemy’s attack, and that position is (surprisingly to some) the age of the earth.
Nearing ten kilometers in length and 110 meters at its highest point, Vimy Ridge not only commanded the view of the entire Douai Plain (providing the Germans an uninterrupted line of sight of all enemy advances) but it shielded vast amounts of German territory against allied guns. The combination of artillery, machine gun nests and cruel barbed wire guarding the hundreds of meters of open ground leading up the slope made Vimy seem impenetrable. The 150,000 British and French casualties inflicted between 1914 and 1916 attempting to take it starkly reinforced that belief. At the time of battle, the German defenders comprised three divisions under the command of General Ludwig von Falkenhausen.
Luckily the Commanders of the mainly Canadian corps (British Lt.-General Sir Julian Byng and Canadian Major-General Arthur Currie) decided to abandon the “let’s throw bodies in the path of machine guns” approach so typical of former attempts. Instead, they adopted several innovative strategies in their planning and execution of this seemingly impossible task to take Vimy. Although the action resulted in over ten thousand casualties (including 3,598 dead), ground breaking strategies like the ‘Rolling Barrage’ of artillery, indirect machine-gun fire, improved communications, the platoon system and up to date enemy intelligence allowed the Canadian Corps victory within a very short time. 4,000 German soldiers were captured to become prisoners of war. Four Canadian soldiers received the prestigious Victoria Cross for valour.
Capturing Vimy Ridge was incredibly important to the allies in defeating the enemy because of its strategic importance. The Vimy attack was a part of a larger operation by British forces across no-man’s land. If this high ground had stayed in enemy hands the initiative would have failed and countless lives would have been lost (The Germans never tried to recapture this ridge). So the lesson is; they that hold the high ground win! How does this relate to Creation Ministries’ stance on biblical authority VS atheistic naturalism and the whole question of origins?
Holding the line
In the battle over biblical authority, there is a key position that is critical to hold against the enemy’s attack, and that position is (surprisingly to some) the age of the earth. Many Christians will defend the truth of the Bible and engage skeptics against biological evolution or moral and social issues. However, they do not want to take a stand on this more highly contested and volatile battleground.
Why is the age of the earth so important? Biblical authority is about the trustworthiness of Scripture and ultimately rests on whether the Bible actually means what it plainly says. Because the Bible actively teaches against millions of years and rather plainly teaches a young earth timeframe, any Christian that holds to a long age timeframe does so by saying that the Bible doesn’t have to mean what it plainly says (and therefore concedes biblical authority). They also undermine Christ Himself, because He clearly taught that Adam and Eve were there “from the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6–9), not millions of years later.
Notice the evolutionist, anti-creationist and liberal theologian Rev. Michael Roberts’s (Vicar Cockerham [Anglican], UK) strategy on how to destroy someone’s belief in the plain reading of Scripture:
“My primary aim is to demonstrate the age of the age of the earth, or rather the vast age of the rocks … for the simple reason that if the earth is more than 50,000 years old Biblical literalism is a dead duck … If I can persuade someone that the earth is at least a million years old I consider the war to be won.”1
The age of the earth issue is primarily about the trustworthiness of Scripture, and so compromising with long ages can severely undermine the Gospel message and hinder evangelism. For example, why believe Genesis isn’t true as plainly written because of ‘science’, but still believe a virgin gave birth and a dead man came back to life in spite of modern ‘science’ denying those possibilities. All compromise positions concede that ‘science’ should be allowed to modify our interpretation of Scripture and so gives science more authority than Scripture. I.e. they erroneously use science magisterially rather than ministerially. This often puts Christians on an incredibly slippery slope, because they can now use the compromise in one area where they believe the Bible isn’t to be taken plainly to any area of Scripture they become uncomfortable with (often because of secular social pressures).
However, belief in long ages doesn’t just hinder Christian faith by conceding biblical authority; it’s actually the source of ammunition from which all atheistic attacks come from!
Fuel for the fire
Because all atheists profess God doesn’t exist, they must trust their existence is the result of some kind of evolution (self-creation). Since evolution cannot occur quickly, they must logically also believe in millions of years of earth history. Think about it. How many reasoning people would believe in evolution if they didn’t believe in MoY? Zero …
Deep time is a ‘die on the hill’ battle for atheists, and once a belief in ‘deep time’ is established it becomes like a magical creative force in many people’s minds. Creationists arguing about ‘statistical improbabilities’ and ‘design in nature’ are often met and dismissed with an unshakeable trust in ‘millions of years’.
[G]iven enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once … . Time is in fact the hero of the plot … . Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs the miracles.2
Every evolutionary argument (cosmological/geological/chemical/biological and human evolutionary hypothesis) a naturalist uses will be founded and interpreted based on the entrenched dogma of a deep-time fortress that has been built up over the last one hundred and fifty plus years. And as George Orwell wrote:
He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.3
Secular education and media viciously control the present as far as widely disseminating information about the history of our planet. They have taught generation after generation of students that deep time is a fact (rather than an interpretation of facts designed to satisfy atheistic expectations). So millions of young people from church homes have abandoned belief in biblical authority. And stalwart Christians that hold to deep time are crippled in their defense of the Bible by clever skeptics pointing out the inconsistency of their beliefs. Leading atheopath Richard Dawkins shows his contempt for compromising churchians:
Christians may win skirmishes and temporary victories…but are losing the war under the relentless onslaught that the ‘high ground’ of ‘millions of years’ provides to atheists and humanists.
It seems to me an odd proposition that we should adhere to some parts of the Bible story but not to others. After all, when it comes to important moral questions, by what standards do we cherry-pick the Bible? Why bother with the Bible at all if we have the ability to pick and choose from it, what is right and what is wrong?4
The Battle for the Bible
Many wonder why ministries like CMI are so dogmatic about the age of the earth without realizing that it is the pivotal battleground on which biblical authority is fought. Christians may win skirmishes and temporary victories here and there. But they are quickly losing the war under the relentless onslaught that the ‘high ground’ of ‘millions of years’ provides to atheists and humanists.
Like the Allied leaders at Vimy, many Christians today need to abandon the old failed strategy of simply teaching ‘heavenly things’. Rather, they also need to provide solid biblical teaching and equipping to enable their people to defend the ‘earthly things’ (compare John 3:12). The world is using these ‘earthly things’ to mow down our (especially young) Christian soldiers on the front line. Like Vimy, regaining this ground may seem like an impossible task, however, ministries like CMI can provide the tools and the strategy to do it. As we have said before; we can ‘make the bullets’ (or ‘thought bombs’) in this spiritual war, but we need you to help fire them.
- Creationism on the Rocks, March 2003 Web Article. Return to text.
- Wald, G., As George Wald (Evolutionary biologist and Nobel Laureate), The origin of life, Scientific American 191(2):44–53, August 1954. (Quote on p.48.) Return to text.
- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, 1950 (written in 1948; the “84” was “48” reversed). Return to text.
- Richard Dawkins, The root of all evil?, BBC broadcast on Channel 4, 16 January 2006. Return to text.