The Source of Truth
Jesus said “I am the truth”
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 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 (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 … (John 14:6)
Here Jesus is claiming all truth (whether absolute, or situational requiring a choice) comes from Himself. Since He is ‘one’ with the Father, the risen Christ reveals truth originating from His Father, 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 reconciliation to God. Christians are often accused of being fundamentalist or dogmatic, but they are simply following transcendent biblical teaching.
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 me (Psalm 25:5)
And as Saint Paul said:
Now I know in part, but then [in the resurrection] I will know fully (1 Corinthians 13:12)