The Source of Truth
Life is a search for absolute truth – something that is always true and non-negotiable. Science can only make tentative claims to absolute truth since different ‘truths’ may emerge later. Darwinian evolution is not absolutely true since it is only a theory based on tentative scientific evidence.
The source of absolute truth is available, but such truth is beyond the finite human mind (it is transcendent). Man must look outside the world. Jesus [Yeshua], claimed to be the Son of God and the source of absolute truth. So He was dogmatic on key issues like heaven and hell, morality, creation, judgement and the need for reconciliation to God. God promises to guide believers into absolute truth through the Holy Spirit.
This complex subject is discussed at depth in What is Truth? Let’s summarise the concepts:
- Statements like “All truth is relative” or “Absolute truth does not exist” are themselves claiming an absolute truth. So absolute truth exists
- Truth (in the absolute sense) can be used as a moral attribute of a person e.g. are they consistent, reliable, dependable? Christians claim God is true or faithful to His word
- Truth is often used in an intellectual sense (which is also an absolute sense). For example, historical truth states what actually happened, scientific truth is something that can be tested or measured, and logical truth is something that can be proved by reason. So for a statement to be intellectually true it must agree with knowledge (fact or reality), or be logically correct, or both
Guidance into Truth
Life is a search for absolute truth. If we are looking for intellectual truth, we may be able to discover it ourselves. We could do an historical investigation, or a scientific experiment. But often science can only make tentative claims to absolute truth, since different ‘truths’ may emerge later. For example, is the ‘Big Bang’ theory of our universe absolutely true? And is Darwinian evolution absolutely true, or is it a theory to be tested?
At any point in time there is a limit of what we have discovered in terms of intellectual truth. Similarly, there is a limit of what we have discovered in terms of absolute ‘moral’ truth. Who sets the moral standard, and what is it?
If we accept our human search for truth is limited, we must turn to a source outside ourselves. We look for transcendent truth – a truth beyond human comprehension!
Christians maintain that such absolute and transcendent truth (in both the moral and intellectual sense) can be found in the God of the Bible. They maintain that absolute truth about life is revealed to man in various ways, but primarily through the Bible. They hold that we can be guided towards the moral truth on difficult issues, such as sexual ethics, justice, and the dilemma of the Palestinians.
They claim the Bible also gives guidance on intellectual issues, such as the origin (and future) of the earth, see dating the earth, evolution, climate change and cashless trading, although obviously omitting scientific details.
Conditions on Truth
A fundamental biblical concept here is that guidance into truth (that is – absolute truth) can only come from the ‘Holy Spirit’ or the ‘Spirit of truth’. Jesus said:
When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth … and He will disclose to you what is to comeJohn 16:13
So who is the Spirit of truth? According to the Bible the pronoun ‘He’ is a person, the third person of the Godhead (download The Trinity). He is sent into the world by God to help and guide those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. He indwells believers in Christ.
The Source of Truth
Jesus said that He Himself is the source of all truth. He said:
I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through MeJohn 14:6 (emphasis added)
Here Jesus uses the definite article to distinguish Himself as ‘the Way‘ and ‘the Truth‘ and ‘the Life‘. He is claiming all truth (whether absolute, or situational requiring a choice) comes from Himself. He claimed to be ‘one’ with the Father, and so we conclude that the risen Christ reveals truth originating from God the Father, and that the Holy Spirit is the mechanism if truth revelation to man.
Of course, people question Jesus’ claims. To such C. S. Lewis would say:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.C. S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity
So it is logical to believe Jesus’ claims. Moreover, Jesus claimed that absolute truth exists by being dogmatic on such issues as heaven and hell, morality, creation, judgement and the need for reconciliation to God. Christians are often accused of being fundamentalist or dogmatic, but they are simply following transcendent biblical teaching; the teachings of a person who most certainly was not a lunatic.
If you follow Jesus, ask Him to guide you as you grapple with difficult issues. His Spirit will guide you. If you do not yet know Jesus as Lord of your life, first ask Him to come into your life. The living Jesus will then send His Spirit (the Spirit of truth) to help you unlock biblical truths.
Of course, being fallible humans we can never grasp the complete truth, but we can certainly be supernaturally guided towards absolute truths. As the Psalmist David asked:
Lead me [LORD] in Your truth and teach mePsalm 25:5
And as Saint Paul said:
Now I know in part, but then [in the resurrection] I will know fully1 Corinthians 13:12