Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” John 18:38
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness Ephesians 6:14
We believe in truth. Truth is important. Arguably, truth is popular. Bad guys lie. Good guys tell the truth. In a just court of law, truth is supposed to win. We want to know the truth and often pay top dollar to get “the truth,” particularly if we get it before others.
I’ve long found it ironic how militant atheists claim to be so passionate about what they claim to be true about God. Why should they care? If they’re correct and someone believes a falsehood, there’s no ultimate consequence because there are no ultimate consequences, aside from annihilation. In contrast, if Christians are correct, there are eternal consequences for being wrong about the truth.
We know the truth in our hearts. Perhaps it’s part of being made in the image of God. Our fallen natures affects our relationship with the truth, yet the truth remains.
Nearly all people will speak in terms of what is true or otherwise presume that “truth” exists. Yet, the fact that we’re certain truth exists proves something.
“Truth” presupposes God and consistent with that, Scripture makes it clear that truth is not just a “what.” Truth is personal; truth is a “who.” The existence of “truth” proves there is God. Further, the Bible explains that Christ is the source and foundation of all truth, and is in fact truth incarnate.
Think about it. If there is no God, i.e. a transcendent and eternal intelligence beyond our dimensions of space and time, then the materialists are most likely correct — everything we see happened by blind chance. Mechanical processes led to what and to whom we are and what we believe. But that cannot be. Truth presupposes a transcendent standard.
If I smashed ten bottles, I would have ten smash patterns and a mess. No more. No less. That’s it. If I smashed ten million bottles, I’d have a bigger mess and larger smash pattern. If I continued that smashing for billions and billions of years I can expect lots of patterns. But that’s it. It would neither be true or false. It would just be.
If our reality is simply the result of random, unguided physical processes, we would be nothing more but an extremely complex and unlikely “smash pattern” of sorts. No more. No less. The pattern is neither true, nor false. It simply is. If we were simply an evolved mechanical pattern, there would be no apparent reason for our consciousness to create standards, let alone deeply felt standards, that transcend our smash pattern. That would be pointless. But indeed, we hunger for more than accurate observations, we hunger for truth.
Notwithstanding the best efforts of Zen Buddhists, we’re hard-wired to believe in “truth.” We pursue truth and we presuppose its existence. It’s such a natural part of what we are and how we’re made that we hardly question its existence. Whether you believe in objective or subjective truth, it’s still “truth.”
The universe provides compelling reasons to encourage and corroborate our belief in truth. Instead of finding random smash patterns, we find order and precision. Everywhere. There are ordered laws that govern and control how matter and time relate. From where did such ordering come if not the mind of God? Why would thoughtless, random time and matter promulgate any laws, let alone intricate and amazing laws and order from the uniform weighting of sub-atomic particles to the movement of universes.
There is a temporal aspect to truth. Truth was, is and will be. There is also an empirical form of truth. From the tiniest particles to the largest galaxies, we do not find randomness. We find order. We can know where Jupiter will be tomorrow based on those laws. We can know that the snow forming in the clouds overhead will fall to earth.
The transcendent nature of truth becomes more apparent when we leave temporal observation in favor of non-observational truths. Put in other words, we can “see” truth more when it “shows” itself in those things we cannot see. Truth exists beyond what we can see and measure. For example, it’s self-evident that the statement “all knowledge is empirical” immediately collapses under its own self-contradiction. Moral truths provide a “clean” example of transcendent truth, e.g. it is wrong to kill an innocent person. We “know” that is true. We do not need to observe murders to ascertain whether it is “wrong” or to derive a definition of “wrong.”
Transcendent truth runs even deeper than morality though, to the very forces that animate our existence. In my experience, the most important truths at work in the lives of individuals are faith, hope and love. Yet, faith, hope and love are not really “forces.” They are not empirical. They transcend space and time, yet the reality or truth of faith, hope and love (or lack thereof) provide the greatest forces (or devastation) in our lives. With neither faith, hope or love, a person perishes.
Finally, truth manifests most clearly in the person of Jesus Christ, whom scripture reveals as the truth. Scripture teaches that through Him all things were made. As explained above, time and space corroborate truth by the way Christ ordered and structured creation. This certainty of ordering and being able to observe and know the ordering is the foundation of science. It is also the fingerprints of Christ. Scripture also teaches that when Christ is in us, then we will be true. Finally, the Word teaches that if we teach the truth, we teach the Gospel of Christ. Christ was, is and forever will be the fount and foundation of truth. Outside Him, there is no truth.
We live, move and have our being in His creation. His truth surrounds us and testifies to Him. The soul’s hunger for the truth is no more and no less than its hunger for our eternal Lord, creator and savior Jesus Christ, the ultimate truth. Amen!