The Source of Truth

Jesus said "I am the truth"

Defining Truth

This complex subject is discussed at depth in What is Truth? Let's summarize 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? 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 limits on our human search for truth, we must turn to a source outside ourselves.

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, global warming and electronic ID, although obviously omitting scientific details.

Conditions on Truth

A fundamental biblical concept here is that guidance into 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 come." (John 16.13)

So who is the Spirit of truth? According to the Bible He is a person, the third person of the Godhead (see also The Trinity). He is sent into the world by God to help and guide those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.

The gift of the Spirit is specific to believers (Jn 14.17) and so in this sense, truth is supernaturally revealed. Unbelievers cannot receive this revelation. Put another way, the Holy Spirit 'unlocks' truth.

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 ..." (John 14.6)

Here Jesus is claiming all truth (including biblical truth) comes from Himself. Since He is 'one' with the Father, He reveals truth originating from the Godhead and the Holy Spirit is the mechanism if truth revelation. Moreover, Jesus claimed that absolute truth exists by being dogmatic on such issues as heaven and hell, morality, creation, judgement and the need for reconcillation to God. Christians are often accused of being fundamentalist or dogmatic, but they are simply following biblical teaching - which claims to be transcendent.

If you follow Jesus, ask Him to guide you as you grapple with difficult issues. His Spirit will guide you.

If you do not know Jesus, first ask Him to come into your life. Jesus will then send His Spirit 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 Saint Paul says:

'Now I know in part, but then (in the resurrection) I will know fully' (1 Cor 13.12)

Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible