Thursday, September 23

"What Is Truth?"

What is truth? When Pontius Pilate said these words, he summed up the question in the collective thoughts of humanity. What is truth, what is it classified as, and who determines truth? In this entry, I plan to take a look at "truth." If you call your blog "The Truth," it would only be right to have an entry on truth, also, determining truth seems to be a difficult thing for people to do in this day and age. (Photo created using

The antonym of truth is "falsehood." But what are the dictionary definitions of "truth?" Take a look: "conformity with fact or reality; a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths; the state or character of being true; an obvious or accepted fact; truism; platitude; honesty; integrity; truthfulness." Notice, "fact or reality... an obvious or accepted fact... honesty, integrity..." So, if there is an obvious fact, and you attempt to point it out to people, but they refuse to accept it based on their personal worldview and presuppositions, does that change the truth of something? No, it merely means that those people are rejecting truth, believing it to be falsehood, based on their worldview and presuppositions.

We find Pilate's infamous quote in John 18:37-38, "'You are a king then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.' 'What is truth?' retorted Pilate." Historians know Jesus to be an actual person. They call him "Historical Jesus," but they still know he existed. The point there? This man named Jesus was making very bold claims, saying earlier on that he was God himself, that he was the Son of God, and that if anyone listened to him and followed him, they would be following the side of truth. From an objective standpoint, skeptics are prone to say, "But if he was not God, then he would be a liar." Was Jesus truly God?

We as Christians know and believe that he is the Son of God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8) When Jesus was speaking to a crowd, he said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). So if truth is merely an obvious fact, having to do with honesty and integrity, Who determines Truth? Do I? Do you? Does the government? How much of what we are taught in schools is actually fact, and not theory, which may be false? In today's society, we have to find truth, and live by it.

What is truth? A truthful fact would be that at the time of the writing, I am on my computer. The truth is, Barack Obama is the current President of the United States. The truth is, we have gone to the Moon and come back alive. The truth is, as much as I would enjoy writing this blog each and every day, my schedule does not always allow for that possibility, and some days, no new entries are published.  The truth is, I drink more water than I probably should. The titular name of the blog, "The Truth," was derived from Jesus. Jesus actually had a lot to say on the subject of truth, and some skeptics like to point and say, "Oh, that may be true, but Jesus always contradicted himself." No he didn't. He merely clarified in certain points, and people like to take that out of context. Then skeptics say, "If Jesus was all-knowing, why did he not teach the Jews about the Laws of Physics, or Mathematical Equations, or things like that?"

The truth? If someone from 2,000 years into the future came to you, who would be living in a house made of clay, and you had little tech, and showed you a laptop and how to work it, how would they be able to figure it out? You would not, logically, because you are at Point A, and this person is at Point C. You need to get to Point B before you can reach Point C. I made a point of mentioning this based on something individuals have approached me about. I will cover that topic more in-depth in a coming entry.

As stated, Jesus had a lot to say on the subject of truth, going so far as to even say that He IS truth. So Who is truth? "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) That claim in itself is a truly bold claim. He has already claimed to be the Son of God, God Himself, and now he is claiming that unless someone accepts him as Savior and asks for forgiveness of sins, they cannot be saved. (Talked about in separate verses) He is saying that he is the only truth.

Who determines truth? Well, let us see what we, as fellow man, are told: "There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; what things are truthbearers capable of being true or false; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute." Truth, to one person, may be determined by their presuppositions and their worldview. Take for example, a Creationist, and an Evolutionist. They both are shown the same evidence, a Dinosaur fossil. The Evolutionist, based on his presuppositions and worldviews, says, "This fossil must be 65 Million Years Old, and it must have been fossilized over time," whereas the Creationist will say, "This is probably a fossil from the Great Flood." Both the Evolutionist and the Creationist, based on his presuppositions and worldview, will believe his claim is truthful. Which is truth? Well, who determines truth? What is truth? Will we ever know? Do we ourselves decide truth? Not entirely. If we did, the world would be what we have made of it: organized chaos. So does God decide truth? According to Christians, yes. But according to Secularists, they decide truth. That is where things become chaotic.

Please understand something. St. Paul tells us in Colossians 2:8, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." To Christians, God decides Truth, because he created Truth. But to Secularists, they decide truth. Now for an individual to decide truth, we get into logic and the Law of Nature, where, if we are merely evolved species, we should not care about truth, we should have no moral objectives, since we have nothing that designed morals. However, since God designed our morals, we have the capability, through honesty and integrity, to attempt to determine truth. To quote CARM, a Christian Apologetics ministry, "If there is such a thing as truth, then we should be able to find it.  If truth cannot be known, then it probably doesn't exist. But, it does exist... we know it is true that you are reading this."

Troy Hillman

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