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 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.
- 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.
Having spent some time in the military myself I find that there are many military parallels in Scripture.
As this article so rightly says, once you abandon the high ground you will lose the battle.
Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 6 to put on the whole armour of God.
If we choose to wear only part of it we lay ourselves open to Satan's onslaught and if there is a chink in the armour he will surely find it.
Every church should invite CMI once a year to preach this important message because much of the Christian church has apostacised and discarded vital truths presented in Scripture.
They seem to have forgotten that this is God's Word that was breathed to special men by the Holy Spirit who Jesus said will lead us into all truth.
Blessings to you CMI.
Keep up the good work.
While looking for web resources to build a website comparing creation evidence with evolution evidence some years ago, I recall reading a web article (sadly, no longer available) regarding education. The article stated that the education system we now see worldwide was designed in the 1930s by John Dewey, lauded in academia as the 'father of modern education'. The system he created (academia down through grade schools to kindergarten) self-exported throughout the world through academia. Anyone in education circles will have come across Dewey, but what most don't know is that he was a signatory of the 1933 Humanist Manifesto, which fitted, the article further stated, with humanism's stated aim to take over the world by taking over the education system and educating a generation of educators who would then educate the next generation of educators, and so on. The article further claimed that Dewey also designed an education system to produce atheist communist workers for Joseph Stalin between 1911 & 1922, at which point he was fired for producing social misfits. Having had the next few years to rejig his ideas, he then built the system we are all products of. I would love to find evidence regarding this but have not had enough time to research it.
Hi Kevan, thanks for your comment.
I am not familiar with the article you mentioned but keywords 'Dewey' and 'education' will bring up a few articles on our site addressing Dewey's secular commitments to education etc.
The deep-time issue is indeed our Vimy Ridge. Assistance in getting the victory to see that fact can start in 1 John 1:9.
Step #1 This wonderful verse is "really, really" to us not on the basis of its wonderful message but because of its textual clarity. Note the meaning-clarification/affirmation textual devices in 1 John 1:9. God could have stopped at "... to forgive us our sins". Instead he reinforces that truth through (a) "and cleanses us from unrighteousness", and (b) inserting "all" into the latter phrase. These additions make 1 John 1:9 crystal clear to us.
Step #2 We use this baseline to assess Genesis 7:19, "the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered." God, here, puts in **three** affirmation elements (going even beyond what is in 1 John 1:9): (a) "under the heaven"--by definition, every point on the earth's surface is under the heaven, (b) inserting an "all" into that phrase, AND (c) inserting an "all" in connection to "mountains". God visibly emphasizes and is crystal clear that Noah's Flood was worldwide.
Step #3 Logically deduce that a massive amount of geological working had to happen in just over a year.
Step#4 Realize that standard geological interpretation--refusing to consider the Flood--has wrongly 'supersized' the timeframe of this geological working.
Step#5 (THIS IS KEY) Be willing to contend for the Bible's corrective teaching in this area of geology and timeframe.
Step #6 You are now equipped--spiritually and psychologically--to honestly examine the Bible's creation account and chronogeneologies.
Getting the victory regarding willingness to publically contend for the Bible's corrective truth regarding timeframe is essential for success in mounting our Vimy Ridge.
The battle is made harder when we suffer from "friendly fire" such as from William Lane Craig who mentioned that he is "embarrassed by YEC's who believe the earth is only thousands of years old". The brain washing runs very deep!
Great article !! Thanks for all you guys do !
Excellent article, Calvin. I would like to reprint this in my church newsletter and, hopefully, send some people to this site.
By all means Jim. thank you for the encouragement.
One of my favorite speeches, is Henry the fiths speech before the battle of Agincourt. If we pharaphrased it for firing up the resolve of our own troops maybe it would read like this.
We few, we happy few, who defend the Glory of our God and jealously protect his word. We would not want one extra man in battle with us that was not commited fully to our cause. In the future men will look back in shame that they did not stand on this rock, but choose instead the easy path of compromise. And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks,
That fought with us on creationism.
Thanks Calvin for reminding us of events almost a hundred years ago and that we are in a new world war.
There is much hope, but it is still 2013 and the war is not won yet.
Millions of souls are still lost because the war is not won.
Why are the Allies – the creationists
icr.org, creation.com, aig.org, sciencevsevolution.org etc,etc so fragmented?
Why are the Axis powers- the scientific Establishment - apparently so strong?..
The use of the internet has helped the Allies greatly. However they are still fragmented.
The recent dating of dinosaur bones by Holzshuh to 20,000 years BP at al and the presentation at an international conference is typical of many individual advances made by the allies against the ‘high ground’ of millions of years
However a coordinated action using all creationist resources in a surprise assault ,
as at the 1918 Battle of Amiens is needed to win this war quickly. Canadians, Australians, Americans,
Europeans and others,and not the least God , will be the participants.
Hi Robert, thanks for your comments. I like to think of the different creationist organisations like different arms of the same 'battle-force' if you will. With some groups focusing on research, some making public attractions where the Bible is upheld and some sending 'special ops' into churches to fortify the ground troops etc (you seemed to like the combat analogy so I figured I'd run with it :). Each group strengthens the others as a whole by providing something the others may lack.
Your article is right on as are all others.
However 1st word 3rd paragraph "luckily" I believe should be "fortunately" as nothing happens by chance.
Fuel for the fire-- 1st line "is" should be "in".
Your articles are being passed on.
May the Lord continue to bless your efforts in keeping the record straight.
Thanks Calvin, for joining the dots regarding biblical authority, the age of the earth, the Gospel message, Evangelism and the use of science ministerially rather than magisterially.- and the importance to stand against the onslaught.
I agree wholeheartedly in the assertion that if the age of the Earth is proved greater than 50,000 years old then much of Christianity’s teachings become susceptible to doubt and so-called ‘cherry-picking’. Do not many of you cherry-pick for your own ends however? As an example I would cite the glossing over of more liberal teachings of Christ such as the parables of the Prodigal Son and the Camel attempting to go through the eye of a needle and it's equation with a rich man entering heaven. From the old Testament I also notice that greater emphasis is put on ‘abominations’ such as homosexuality than those such as not eating fish without scales. Surely if you are committed to biblical absolutism there appears to be multiple discrepancies? I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this.
Hi John, thanks for your comments. It would seem strange for a ministry to produce material that emphasizes not to ‘cherry pick’ the Bible and then to supposedly do so would it not ? A quick look around our site’s many articles will show that we do not.
Christ’s message is certainly liberating but it is not liberal. Use of parables is not difficult to understand for those that take the plain reading of Scripture. A parable still has a ‘main point’ and that is the plain reading of it.
For the Jewish people to hear that a rich man would not enter heaven was a shock (check out Christ’s listeners response, they were ‘astonished’) because they would have viewed a rich man as blessed by God (righteous). Christ’s point was that no man is good enough to enter heaven by their own works (Matthew 19:26—“But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”). Only by faith may a person enter heaven.
This is the plain meaning of the parable, and although that conclusion may take knowledge of the Old Testament and certain passages in the New Testament to fully understand that is why Christians are encouraged to take the whole council of God’s word to understand it in context. This further emphasizes not to ‘cherry pick’ the Bible.
See this article for more of how we feel Christians should interpret the Bible and why liberal theology is self defeating:
As for ‘Old Testament VS New Testament’ commands, this article addressing an email from someone trying to highlight the so-called inconsistencies in the Bible should help you understand why the OT law is not binding in the same way for Christians today:
I hope this helps.
Similar to Colin M., this is made more difficult when apologists such as Lee Strobel and Sean McDowell also advocate long ages. So much of Lee Strobel's work in particular, is top-notch and easy to understand, but then it's all undermined by his stand on this issue.