The Bible claims that there is such a thing as Truth.
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction and understanding (Proverbs 23:23; ESV).”
Jesus prayed, “Father, sanctify them by the Truth; your word is Truth (John 17:17).” He also stated concerning Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).”
The concept of truth is not a universally popular one.
When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, in order to deflect away from an uncomfortable conversation, Pilate famously and rhetorically asked, “What is truth? (John 18:38)” He wanted to believe that there were no constraints on his behavior, and no reason to feel guilt for doing that which seemed politically expedient at the time. For many in the political realm, truth as a concept remains a flexible concept, being whatever they think their supporters want to hear, or that which will keep them in power a little longer. But if truth is flexible, able to change with the needs of a moment, it ceases to be true; it ceases to have a connection to reality.
Even in matters of physical reality, there are those who don’t want to accept truth as a constant. About a hundred years ago, speculative fiction writers, especially those of a more atheistic bent, began to imagine places in the universe, or even other universes, where truth was different than in our region of the galaxy. Perhaps, they imagined, there was no central order to the universe, and if you traveled far enough, even the laws of physics would change. Such thinking has only grown more popular over time, and as men move further away from God, so too they will ultimately move further away from trusting there is such a thing as constant truth.
In matters of science, religion, and morality, it has traditionally been true that it is the believe in God which provides an anchor for reality. Modern science, with its central concept of the scientific method, is founded on the believe that truth remains constant, and that what will work once, will work again under the exact same conditions. The scientists who developed such a radical notion, men like Galileo, Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon, all argued from the idea that there was a God who had ordained the cosmos, and who kept all things running according to His divine edict. The Bible itself starts with such a premise, showing us in Genesis 1, God creating all things, and ordering them according to certain natural laws so that like reproduced like, and the heavens worked as a clock (cf. Genesis 1:11-12, 14-18, 24-25). Those who believe in God expect that, because God has made all things, and by His will they continue (cf. Hebrews 1:3), so too gravity will continue to work, the earth will continue to rotate around the sun, and if we visit the moon, the same natural laws will continue to operate. Truth is from God, and truth is what is real, because God has made it so.
The same principle applies equally to matters of morality and spirituality. What God has said is true regarding morality must be as true and as real as gravity, or the Law of Biogenesis, for the same Lawgiver who ordained the latter likewise ordained the former. Lying, murder and theft all remain wrong, no matter the situation, because God has said it is wrong, because such behavior is contrary to the very nature of God and His word is Truth and He Himself is the eternal Truth, and the absolute reality which underlays all things.
Likewise, God has promised men the possibility of salvation, spoken to us of a life after mortal death, and given us a pattern of doctrine through which we, in faith, can obtain eternal life. These promises and doctrines come from the Author of Reality, and can be trusted to be true and unchanging. This is why Jesus could pray, “Sanctify them by the Truth; Your word is Truth.” As God has given us His word, we can have every confidence in everything He has said as being True and Trustworthy.
The Bible describes this Truth as according “with godliness, in hope of eternal life,” as coming from a God, “who never lies,” and as having been “manifested in His word (Titus 1:1-3).” The message preached by Jesus and His apostles, remains as true and real today as ever it was; for as sure as gravity remains a constant, so too does the saving message of Christ. These things, given by God are True, which means they are real and unchanging.
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Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.