Ask anyone today, “What is truth?” and you’re sure to start a sparked conversation. Is it absolute? Is it relative? Is it objective? Is it subjective? Is it completely personal to the individual?
Try it on a university campus and you’re likely to receive laughter, scorn, and derision. The concept of truth has clearly fallen on hard times, and the consequences of rejecting it are ravaging human society.
I was in a graduate course on epistemology (the study of what knowledge and truth are) when my major professor encountered a student who began by saying, “Dr. M. I just can’t figure out what it true.” This great teacher grabbed the student by his necktie and marched him to the back windows in our second story classroom. While the student sputtered about what the old Doc was doing, Doc opened the back window and said, “I’m going to throw you out this window to prove to you that the Law of Gravity is absolutely true.”
He didn’t, of course, but the object lesson was spot on. There are some absolute truths, and we banish or reject them at our peril.
So, let’s go back to the starting point and answer the question: What is truth?
One of the most profound and eternally significant questions in the Bible was posed by an unbeliever. Pontius Pilate—the man who handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified—turned to Jesus in His final hour, and asked, “What is truth?” It was a rhetorical question, a cynical response to what Jesus had just revealed: “I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.”
According to John MacArthur, two thousand years later, the whole world breathes Pilate’s cynicism. Some say truth is a power play, a metanarrative constructed by the elite for the purpose of controlling the ignorant masses. To some, truth is subjective, the individual world of preference and opinion. Others believe truth is a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus, and still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether.
So, what IS truth?
I hold a well-researched Christian Worldview, so here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, the will, the character, the glory, and the being of God. That is the Biblical meaning of truth. Because the definition of truth flows from God, truth is theological.
Truth is also ontological—which is a fancy two-bit philosophical word meaning it is the way things really are. Reality is what it is because God declared it so and made it so.
Therefore, God is the author, source, determiner, governor, arbiter, ultimate standard, and final judge of all truth.
Why does this matter in relationships?
- If Truth is relative and subjective, then anything I believe to be true is true. ‘My truth’ is as good as yours. The end of that path makes nothing wrong or unlawful or sinful if it squares with ‘my truth.’ This devolves into some form of anarchy where every person is a law unto him or herself. There are no consequences for violation of truth since truth is whatever I choose it to be.
- If Truth is Absolute and there are Divine Laws about the universe and mankind…about sexuality and marriage, and about such things as life and death and afterlife, then I disobey them at my own peril.
If, when I die, I am wrong about having lived a life of obedience to Divine Truth, then nothing really happens to me. I just lived a circumspect life full of grace, and I won’t face any eternal judgment at all for following my concept of Absolute truth.
On the other hand, when I die, if I am right about having lived a life of obedience to Divine Truth, then I am accorded eternal life with God in heaven and you face eternal separation from God in a place the Bible calls Hell.
I think I’ll take the Absolute Truth path…it is safer now and certainly safer after I die.
Take your time, try doing relationships God’s way for a change and see what happens. There is no shortage of things none of us get taught about how to get relationships right. Let me know how that works out for you. If you need some help and guidance, that is what we are here for. www.24kGoldMarriage.org
Take time to learn how to do it right…it’s better than learning all your lessons the hard way…and that’s the TRUTH!