Truth is a difficult thing to define, especially in an era when it’s been turned into a choose your own adventure story. Remember those? They were the dumbest things. It’s like the writers couldn’t decide how to end the story so they just wrote five mediocre endings, one of which was happy and four of which ended after two pages with a gruesome death. Entirely dissatisfying even if you figured how to avoid plunging off a cliff or being eaten by a shark. Fittingly, that’s what it’s like when we pick our own truth too – a terrible ending.
We don’t get to define truth or select it. Instead we must recognize and adhere to it. Truth is what is real and what is, but it is more than this – much more. If all we did was look around and determine truth by what we saw we would end up exactly where are, in a society where truth shifts, morphs, changes, and loses credibility and value each day. Instead we must recognize that truth expresses reality as it ought to be. It is a standard for reality not just a reflection of what currently exists and happens.
Who determines this standard? Not you or I or scholars or priests or politicians or popes. It emanates from God, and is expressed by Him in His word. Or, I should say, His Word. For “the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” For Jesus is the Word of God. He is the “image of the invisible God.” Jesus is God’s Word incarnate.
So God the Father sent God the Son, the Word, to live among men as truth embodied. But, wait there’s more. (As a rule, there’s always more when it comes to God. Infinity is like that.) The Son didn’t stay on earth, He ascended to His throne and prepare for His return as rightful king. But in the meantime He did something remarkable. He gave us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, a Spirit of Truth. This Spirit is the revealer of truth, the teacher of truth, and the infuser of truth into untrue hearts.
Yet again, there is more, for God did not send His Spirit with a disembodied message. He gave us His written word, the Bible. It is these words, this revelation of God’s character, creation, plan, and work that the Spirit makes alive. It is not an exhaustive description and explanation of God, for that would be impossible (again, infinity). But it is the essential; Scripture enlivened by the Spirit is precisely what we need to know truth.
Truth is Trinitarian. It reflects some aspect of God’s character, persons – all three of them – plan, work, or creation as He intended it to be and will one day make it again. Anything that contradicts this is untrue, a lie. We see may lies around us. Much of life is untrue.
But all truth is God’s truth.
This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Curious Christian: How Discovering Wonder Enriches Every Part of Life, that is due to be released in early 2017.