I’ve been thinking a lot about truth lately, particularly in light of the idea that we are now said to be living in a post truth world, where it is feared that some have ceased to desire truth, preferring, instead, to choose their own reality.
In my opinion, this is nothing new. I would say that, from the moment Eve bought the serpent’s alternative version of truth, everyone on the planet has fit that description.
I would suggest that God Himself is truth, and therefore the source of all reality, and that, regardless of our opinions, he alone always has and always will impart truth as he chooses.
I believe that, in the Garden, humanity decided to trade the one True Reality derived from the one True Source, for the Deceiver's offer of the opportunity to pursue knowledge (speculation) on our own, detached from the Source, with the Deceiver ever doing his best to throw us off the trail.
Arriving at truth on our own was already impossible even without that added impediment.
Regarding all that exists and even what does not exist, there is a truth. Truth is ultimate fact, not an educated guess or an opinion based on experience. It is the indisputable reality of what is.
No human, however, can know the entire truth of even a single thing. No one begins to possess the ability to perceive even all of the questions that would need to be asked and answered in order to arrive at the truth of just that one thing.
We could spend our entire lives deciding, with limited and faulty data, what we will believe is true, never knowing just how near or far from reality we are.
I grew up in a denomination that claimed to possess “The Truth,” as opposed, not only to the World (read: Non-Christian), but to every other denomination as well.
What an intoxicating position to hold. What hubris!
What an intoxicating position to hold. What hubris!
Yet, we all do that to one extent or another, don’t we? Every one of us, at the core, wants to think we are right, as opposed to anyone who dares to disagree with us.
So, if, as I am suggesting, God is the only source of ultimate truth, and he reveals truth as he sees fit, yet humans, including Christians, disagree on so much, what does this mean?
My opinion is that what I believe at any given moment is all I’ve got.
My understanding of truth is evolving and will change as it is informed, shaped and tempered by scripture, study, preaching, conversations, etc., but, in the end, what I believe will always be uniquely mine.
Does that mean that truth is relative? Absolutely not! But, I do believe that our perception of truth, at the core, is always personal.
As no two snowflakes are exactly alike, no two people’s perceptions of truth will be identical.
God, the only True Source of what is, has always met humanity, both individually and as a whole, right where they are, as opposed to some theoretical state of where they should be; because, ever since the fall, in relation to ultimate reality, humanity has never been where they should be.
In the person of Christ, God literally met all of mankind right where they were, both individually and corporately, from the first human to the last, with Truth.
Jesus specifically identified himself to us as the Truth (John 14:6). What, then, is the significance of God gifting Truth to us in the form of his Son?
I believe, first and foremost, that God sent his Son to provide a means of forgiveness for humanity’s original decision to accept the lie that effectively separated us from truth, and for everything that followed as a result of that decision. Then, through Christ, God's purpose was to restore in us the direct connection to the Source.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 2 we read that God’s plan was always to give us the Spirit who searches “even the depths of God,” so that he can communicate, directly to our spirits, the very mind of Christ! To me, that’s a staggering concept, and seems about as personal as it gets.
I believe that God reveals truth in a general way to everyone, but I also believe that he meets each individual that has been called according to his purpose, in a uniquely personalized way, according to their own specific make up and needs.
I know there are some who balk at the metaphor of life being a journey, but, for me, the idea that each person has their own unique, God-guided trek to the same destination, with a specifically created route, having its own starting point and varied stopping points along the way, seems to best align with scripture and makes the most sense.
This understanding affords me the option of relaxing and simply respecting what God might be doing with someone else, even when it appears they are heading in the opposite direction of where I am and, therefore, going in what appears to me to be the “wrong way.”
I can recognize, from the head-shaking twists
and turns in my own life, where I learned something valuable at each “wrong turn”, that these supposed detours are actually what prepared me for the next leg of the trip.
Paradoxically, the divinely-directed-journey framework also gives me the freedom to voice my concerns regarding the direction someone else appears to be heading. My warning may be the very thing God intends to use to turn them in a new direction, or, against my own intent, my words could be the very thing that solidifies their determination to stay on that particular road, down which God himself is actually taking them.
It is God who leads us and he is trustworthy.
He may connect us with each other at a point on the way, only to eventually send us off in different directions.
He may put us in one place and leave us there for the rest of our lives, or lead us in and out of various local church bodies, holding very dissimilar beliefs.
We may even travel awhile completely apart from a local church, while still acknowledging a strong connection to the Church Universal.
The relieving bottom line is, that no one knows the entire truth but God and, thankfully, he is the one directing not only my path to understanding his Truth, but yours.
If we believe that God is the one doing all of the verbs of our salvation from beginning to end then we can trust him to take each of us where we need to go.
Although it is our natural inclination, we do not need to fear or despise the way of another because it does not mirror our own.
Yes, there are warnings throughout scripture of wolves masquerading as sheep. We are admonished to be on our guard and to test the spirits, because there are false teachers and prophets. The Deceiver and his offspring are real, but God has assured us that it is not possible for him to ultimately deceive those who are chosen in Christ (Matthew 24:24). The Shepherd always guards and goes after his sheep.
As we live out our lives, our understanding of truth will, assuredly, never look identical to another’s, but we can respect each other on the way, trusting God as the Source of all Truth, and rest in the promise that,
“[T]he Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28