What Vimy Ridge Can Teach Us
Vimy Ridge was a high point 110 meters tall and almost 10 kilometers long in Northern France that provided cover for a large amount of German territory against Allied guns and infantry. It was a key position of the German line in France as it overlooked the entire Douai Plain. At the time and without the development of airplanes capable of significant bombing capabilities, Vimy seemed invincible.
With hundreds of meters of open ground snarled in barbed wire leading up to it, the German position bristled with machine-gun nests and large batteries of artillery and also commanded an uninterrupted line of sight that warned against any enemy attack. After two years of sending thousands of British and French troops towards a veritable buzz-saw of bullets, bombs, and bayonets, and watching 150,000 casualties as the only tangible result between 1914 and 1916, the Commanders of the mainly Canadian corps decided to abandon the “let’s throw bodies in front of machine guns” idea they’d been practicing in favor of newer, more sophisticated and intelligent strategies.
The taking of Vimy Ridge was a great military accomplishment, assisted by novel battle tactics and preparations. Through the use of improved communications, kite balloons, innovative sound ranging of the enemy’s big guns, the platoon system, indirect machine-gun fire, up-to-date enemy intelligence, and groundbreaking attacks like the “Rolling Barrage,” on April 9, 1917, the Canadian Corps launched an assault that achieved what no one else had been able to do—and in a very short time.
Not without sacrifice, the action resulted in over ten thousand Allied casualties. But their victory that day marked a major turning point of WW I, and the courage and sacrifice of those who fought and died there symbolizes the essence of the victory. At that time, if Vimy had stayed in enemy hands, countless more lives would have been lost and perhaps the outcome of the war itself would have been reversed. The high ground was never recaptured by the German forces, and the Allied forces retained the upper hand they needed to launch further initiatives that resulted in ultimate victory.
The Stronghold of the Entire Spiritual Battle: “Deep Time”
Similarly, today, in the spiritual battle over biblical authority in the West, there seems to be a key position that God’s people don’t seem to be able to overcome. The enemy is using it to hold the church at bay, while they are suppressed, scattered, and ununified for over a hundred years now. And it has resulted in countless spiritual casualties. That position (surprisingly to many) is the concept of “deep time.”
You see, it has become quite fashionable for Christians to attempt to defend the truth of the Bible and engage in apologetic skirmishes on many fronts, willing to debate Bible skeptics in areas like philosophy, the historical account of the resurrection, ethical, moral, and social issues—and even scientific arguments such as biological evolution vs. intelligent design.
However, most are simply too compromised and/or seemingly fearful to attempt to take the high ground in the war against the authority of the Word of God by rejecting the idea of long ages. And because of it, they will never achieve an ultimate victory. Arguing for any part of biblical text means being able to defend all of it—especially the book of Genesis, the seedbed of all Christian doctrines.
The “Big Gun” in Defense of Naturalism
Belief in long ages is the platform that all naturalistic, humanistic, and atheistic attacks are derived from. Because atheists believe God doesn’t exist, they have to have a way to explain their existence without a Creator, which entails, rather, trust in some form of evolutionary process to account for their very being. Some kind of story of evolution is the “only game in town” to prop up their humanistic beliefs. And since evolution requires millions of years of earth history to be plausible, the concept of deep time is just like Vimy Ridge. It is a “die on the hill” battle for atheists because the concept of evolution falls apart without it.
Long ages are often seen like some sort of magical force in many people’s minds. Just think about it for a second. Given that every single so-called scientific argument against God that a naturalist uses will be interpreted through an evolutionary lens founded on the “fact” that the earth is millions of years old, ‘deep time’ is like an entrenched fortress, virtually impenetrable to many modern minds. Deep time itself becomes godlike for many: a miracle-worker, as avowed atheist George Wald stated,
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.1
Rock layers laid down over millions of years, radiometric dating methods, distant starlight arguments: All of these “proofs,” assumed to be scientifically verifiable and practically undeniable, provide a withering cover fire for all evolutionary, naturalistic, and atheistic reasoning. It’s the bedrock foundation of the humanistic fortress that has been built up over the last 200 years in the West. Who dares contest it or stand against it?
Well certainly not secular education or the media. Generations of students have been indoctrinated to believe that deep time itself is a fact, rather than an interpretation of facts to support an atheistic worldview. And that includes the vast majority of the most influential evangelical Bible colleges, pastors, and Christian leaders throughout the West. This is why biblical authority has been abandoned in a wholesale fashion in modern culture. Most are seemingly terrified to stand up and be targeted as “anti-science” and “unintellectual” by secular snipers, thinking they need to either keep their heads down or, worse, collaborate with the enemy to help fortify the secular position even more.
Want to Know Your Weakness? Ask Your Enemy
Atheist and influential evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr clearly explained how he believed Christianity had been overthrown in the West:
The revolution began when it became obvious that the earth was very ancient rather than having been created only 6,000 years ago. This finding was the snowball that started the whole avalanche.2
Notice he clearly identifies the removal of earth’s history as revealed in Scripture and replaces it with the secular concept of deep time as taking the “high ground” of ultimate authority. And the “avalanche” he’s describing is nothing less than the collapse of the Christian worldview and the West into pagan, evolutionary beliefs! This has been affirmed by many sources, including Bible skeptic F. Sherwood Taylor who answered why he believed his home country abandoned biblical authority.
I myself have little doubt that in England it was [uniformitarian, long-ages] geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation.3
By replacing God’s Word with man’s word in the area of ultimate origins, the entire battlefield was transformed and overturned, as biblical authority was lost. The major action had been won, and the remainder was simply a mop-up procedure that could be done at the leisure of the humanists through the school system and propped up by media allies and compliant “useful idiots”4 within the church.
What Does Biblical Authority Mean?
You see biblical authority is about whether the Bible actually means what it plainly says. And many Christians just don’t seem to see the dots connecting biblical authority, the age of the universe, the gospel message, and evangelism. Jesus himself explained that believing the “earthy things” the Scriptures teach is tied to belief in the “heavenly things”5 it also contains. And if you can’t trust the Bible regarding earthly things like the age of the earth itself, why trust it when it talks about baptism, marriage, or salvation?
Obviously, the Bible actively teaches against millions of years and rather plainly teaches a young-earth timeframe. That’s why Ernst Mayer was able to identify when the “avalanche” against Christianity began as when science supposedly proved the earth was not 6,000 years old. That 6,000-year figure was derived from a simple addition of major biblical chronology from creation to the cross to present day. And the vast majority of lay Christians, church fathers, and reformers held to a young earth over the last 2,000 years because of what the Bible plainly says. So any Christian that holds to a long-age timeframe does so because of influence from modern science, not Scripture.
This means interpreting Genesis 1 in a way that doesn’t take it as plainly written and therefore concedes biblical authority. Because from that point forward, any time a Christian points to any part of the Bible as plainly written to justify why they hold to some kind of spiritual or moral position (like why traditional marriage or gender roles should be upheld for example), all someone has to do is ask if they hold to what the Bible plainly says about the age of the earth. And when they say no, because of “science,” they are admitting that in their mind, man’s word has authority over what the Bible says, nullifying their ability to quote Scripture in any meaningful way with authority.
As a perfect example of the effective use of this type of tactic, look at the very liberal theologian Rev. Michael Roberts, an Anglican Vicar in the UK. As an evolutionist and anti-creationist, here’s his strategy in his own words 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.6
Logically, why believe scientists’ claims that Genesis isn’t true but still believe a virgin birth and resurrection? Modern “science” says those things aren’t true! Modern science says donkeys don’t talk, axe heads don’t float, people can’t walk on water unless its frozen, and dead people don’t come back to life. So what leg does a believer have to stand on if they give up one area as plainly written but argue others should be?
Arguably one of the most powerful atheist voices over the last few decades, Richard Dawkins explains it quite clearly:
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?7
Suppression of the Gospel
The most crippling and disheartening effect that the fortress of long ages has suppressed is the advancement of the gospel itself. For example, there is only one place Christians can logically attempt to incorporate long ages into Scripture, the six days of creation. But once one says the six days were really millions or billions of years in length and that the rock layers seen all over the world were laid down during those six days, then you are conceding that the fossils found within came into being before Adam and Eve. Which would mean there was death and suffering in the world before Adam sinned, but the “wages of sin” is clearly defined in Scripture as death (physical and spiritual)!
The Anglican Priest Tom Ambrose, succinctly portrayed the “god of an old earth” when he stated the following in his article in The Church of England Newspaper:
Fossils are the remains of creatures that lived and died for over a billion years before Homo Sapiens evolved. Death is as old as life itself by all but a split second. Can it therefore be God’s punishment for Sin? The fossil record demonstrates that some form of evil has existed throughout time . . . People try to tell us that Adam had a perfect relationship with God until he sinned, and all we need to do is repent and accept Jesus in order to restore that original relationship. But perfection like this never existed. There never was such a world. Trying to return to it, either in reality or spiritually, is a delusion. Unfortunately, it is still central to much evangelical preaching.8
That’s why even the meaning of the good news has been undermined by the acceptance of deep time in culture and the church. That’s why compromising Christian leaders are now saying we need to re-define the gospel!
You simply can’t any longer say as traditional Christians that death was God’s punishment for sin. Death was around long before human beings. Death is a necessary aspect of an evolutionary world . . . One generation has to die for new generations to come into being. In a way, it is more satisfying . . . than to see it as a sort of arbitrary punishment that God imposed on our primeval paradise.9
Living Among the Ruins
What has been the result of the failure of the church in its mission to man the walls of the fortress of biblical authority and maintain the high ground in the spiritual battle we face? Millions of young people from churched homes have been mowed down under a barrage of anti-God teaching and sentiment while many others are crippled with compromise and inconsistency in their beliefs.
Discerning believers worldwide are waking up to a brave new world where governmental control is now looming on a global scale, and draconian, anti-biblical doctrines are being mandated and forced upon culture with seemingly very little push-back from its citizens. Christians can boast of small wins and temporary victories here and there, but the humanistic underpinnings founded on belief that man’s word has authority over God’s Word reigns supreme and is reflected in our laws, education, and entertainment.
Jesus and Geology? Really?
The direct connection between how what people believe about geology affecting what they believe about Jesus is often a bridge too far for many Christians to really understand or accept, because they’ve failed to recognize it is actually the pivotal battle that must be fought in order to re-establish biblical authority.
Just like the Allied leaders at Vimy needed to re-think and abandon their old, failed methodology, Christian leaders today need to re-group and re-assess how to regain the ground that has been lost over the years and implement a gospel reset into their church, communities, and culture. And the first thing to recognize is exactly where the battle rages from. As this quote (often misattributed to Martin Luther) emphasizes, Christians must not simply stand on guard but seek out and fight the enemy where the battle is fiercest.
If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.10
Let’s honor those who fought for our freedoms in the past by doing our part today.