My goal with the preceding 12 posts are to give a bit of framework for the way that I’ve understood the Biblical voice on these precise topics themselves, such as truth, ethics, sociology etc. We encounter these topics every single day and the Bible has something to say about all of them (Biblical Worldview). I am doing this in hopes of helping anyone along the way who may be interested in how a Biblical worldview may shapes the way that we live, how it informs our thought-life, and as followers of Jesus, how we can apply that to our day-to-day.
Let’s glance at some ingredients in the discussion about the study and pursuit of truth; Veritology.
What is Truth?
(Adapted from The Truth Project)
What is the goal of finding or understanding truth? For the purposes of the Pearl Project, I’ll primarily be addressing the topic of truth from a Biblical Worldview. There is no pursuit more worthy of our time and energy than to understand truth from God’s perspective.
Since otherwise the most popular view in our culture is that truth is relative and is, hence, anything you wish it to be, there is not much else academically to say about it. However, what if that is not in fact, true? Just as quickly as ‘they’ say (absolutely) the there is no ultimate truth, they created an absolute (a truth) which makes an onlooker weary, and still searching for the real truth.
The opposite of truth is error, so for accuracy’s sake and for the sake of truth on trial, I think it’s worth seeking answers to this question. Because Biblical truth is specific and incredibly precise, the truth claims of God have something to say about every single area of life. To me, that deserves careful introspection since it claims to be the ultimate truth.
Understanding the Biblical worldview is to get the sense that there is no direction that you can walk in which God has not spoken over, and that there is no area of life in which God has not given us the fundamental answers to the questions of life. So the idea is to put together a systematic framework for all of the truth claims of God in a logical way, where the goal is to transform life from the inside out.
For me personally, I reject the idea that the best way to do life, to do parenting, marriage, friendships and family is just by winging it. That makes no sense if you care about the quality of your existence, and even more, if you care about the integrity of your choices. I have to have a compass or a center that sets the bar and the tone for how I think about each area of my life. How I think dictates how I live, and how I live effects others.
When we begin to fully grasp the truth claims of God in the Bible, we are able to discern if something is truth or if it is error according to God.
For anyone who spends a genuine amount of time and effort digging into the Bible and pouring over the truth claims of God, it is difficult not to see the face of God in His character, His attributes, and in His truth because it is a beauty unmatched. When we do gaze upon the face of the Lord in scripture and when He reveals Himself to us in Jesus, we will never be the same again.
I completely understand why no one wants a specific truth to be ultimate, it makes perfect sense. If there were an ultimate truth, that would mean there are such thing as errors in life, or right and wrong living. That doesn’t feel good, to think we err and to be told what to do or what we ought to do. Truth exposes us, it shines light where there had not been any before. It exposes our culture, and often the way that looks is not very pleasant. Let’s jump in.
WHY DID JESUS COME INTO THE WORLD?
He answers that explicitly.
In John 18:33-38, Jesus was standing before Pontius Pilot on trial just prior to His crucifixion. Pilot asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” The question mattered because the Jewish leaders of that day accused Jesus of blasphemy, asserting that He was not the Messiah that was foretold of in the Old Testament. Blasphemy was incredible error to them, and worthy of extreme punishment. In response to Pilot, this is what Jesus said: “For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into this world, to testify to the truth.”
When Jesus said He came to ‘testify to the truth’, the implication is that truth was on trial and the point of His life was to live out what the truth looked like.
Jesus said over 25 times in the book of John, “I tell you the truth…” If we believe the Bible, and the words and life of Jesus, the implication then, is that there is a specific truth.
What does it mean to say that Jesus is the truth?
Jesus said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
This implies that there are in fact sides, which doesn’t play well for the tolerance demanded in today’s culture. This would also imply that those who listen to Jesus, study His words and His life, have the ability to discern and assimilate truth into their daily lives.
The Cosmic Battle from day one in the Bible as we read in Genesis, is the classic statement from Satan, “Did God really say… not to eat the fruit on the tree of Good and Evil? We say the same thing, all the time. Did God actually say that this is wrong? It is the subtle, smooth and super easy twists of the words of God that produce life-altering lies.
The Bible says about Satan,“There is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks his native tongue.” It’s a clutch strategy for direct influence, to make the lie sound really appealing. A lot of lies sound like the truth, but are different enough to make it error. Half-truths. But also, it’s not just that we are innocent bystanders who are so taken advantage of by lies. When the Bible describes our sinful nature, it describes how we find ourselves wanting to do the lies of the flesh because we just want to! I can attest to that in my life. Even if the lies are not that clever, if the lie appeals to us, we do it. Lies matter, and therefore truth matters all the more if we are wanting wholeness and purity of logic for how we approach our lives.
WHAT IS TRUTH:
THAT WHICH AFFIRMS THE NATURE OF REALITY AS IT IS, AS PERCEIVED BY GOD.
A Biblical Worldview says that the truth from God’s perspective in the Bible is the greatest authority on the greatest questions. All over in the Bible, God equates an idol to a lie. How do we begin ‘serving’ an idol instead of God? The Bible claims that a deluded heart misleads us, which is why it is not always wise to “follow your heart.” Modern day definition of an idol, would be a false God, an object of extreme devotion, or a false conception. Anything that fills the God-void in our lives is representative of the lie that we believe, or the worldview (truth claim) that we adhere to instead.
An idol in the practical sense today would be best represented in the love of the ‘self.’
It’s the desire to serve the self instead of the creator. It’s undeniable that we have a self-seeking culture where the way that we spend our time, our money, that way we we live, speak, and respond is by default in a way that elevates our self. The daily regiment of an average individual screams that observation from the rooftops. We act upon that reality, and our actions reflect what we believe to be really real.
If we live as if God doesn’t exist, we move ourselves into His role as creator and sustainer. Yet for all of our perceived confidence, capability, and self-sufficiency, we are the most depressed and anxiety ridden society in the world. We worry, all the time. We are frantic, just trying to keep up with our own lives. Peace within the inner soul is brief and is circumstantial, instead than a state of being derived from a connection with the God who loves us and sustains us.
Jesus speaks to this in Mathew 6.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Truth is not philosophical or theoretical like we try to make it. It’s about God. You have to start with Him and understand Him so that the there is a reference point to determine what is true and what is not. If you want to understand the truth claims of God, it is found in the very nature, character, and being of God and is found in Jesus. When you grip those truths, and they become your reference and your compass, it becomes more difficult to be persuaded by erred arguments concerning truth.
The Antithesis is not just that the Bible is not true, but that there is no truth at all.
To the world in unanimous sentiment, truth is relative. It’s whatever you want it to be, unless it adversely effects you. Then we want there to be a truth that reconciles things on our behalf. But it can’t be both relative and true. There are all sorts of worldviews that are worth mentioning and studying because it is so crucial to dissect every philosophy that effects your own worldview philosophy in order to stand firmly on a solid foundation and have confidence in its inherent truth value.
Throughout the Pearl Project i’ll dissect a variety of truth claims (worldviews) from Post-Modernism to Agnosticism, Paganism, Mysticism, Atheism, Secularism, Humanism etc. For now, the Biblical truth definition that I will be adhering to in principle for the context of any truth discussion from here on out is this:
“Truth is that which affirms the nature of reality as it is, as perceived by God.”