Sunday, November 20, 2011


Now I know what you're thinking... you came here expecting a post on Einstein's general theory of relativity. Sorry to disappoint, but we can save that for another time. This post; however, is one on the relativism of truth.

What is truth?

Is it absolute?

What makes a statement true?

Well, let's see... what is truth? Webster defines truth as: "the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality." Okay, that is acceptable. So to have truth, we need facts or reality to compare our statements against.

Is it absolute? Well, I think there are absolute truths. The sky is blue. That is a statement in accord with fact or reality. I can look at the sky and see blue (assuming it's not cloudy). When I drop an object, it will always fall. Another absolute truth that I can observe by picking up the pen on my desk and dropping it. Even if I drop it one million times, it will never once float in the air when I let go and hover miraculously. The truth of the matter is, it will always fall.

What makes a statement true? This one tends to be a little bit tricky. As Webster defined truth, we need fact or reality to compare this statement to. By looking at reality and gathering facts, we can assess statements as being truthful or false. For example, suppose I say to you, "The sun revolves around the earth." You could disprove this statement by showing me models of the solar system that prove the planets revolve the sun. You could explain to me how gravity works. You could show me other solar systems where planets are revolving their sun. In essence, you prove my statement false by looking at reality, gathering facts, and presenting them in a way that makes an indisputable, absolute truth.

Now, suppose I say to you, "Truth is relative." How would you respond?

But wait a second... haven't I just made an absolute truth statement? By saying truth is relative, I'm implying--absolutely-- that all truth is relative. It's a false argument. I disprove my own statement.

At my church this morning, we discussed truth as we begin our study in the Gospel of Luke. The culture we currently live in loves relative truth. We hate to think that someone else is wrong. We would hate to be looked at as intolerant. However... as we've just discovered, truth cannot be relative. There must be absolutes. There must be facts and statements about reality that are absolutely true.

Luke writes in his account of the Gospel:
"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught." - Luke 1:1-4
Luke writes this account so that Theophilus, likely a Roman official, might have "certainty".

What am I certain of? Am I certain that if I drop my pen, it will fall to the ground? Am I certain that the sky is blue? Am I certain that Jesus' death paid the penalty of sin?

Sometimes it's easier to be more certain about some things than others. As we discussed earlier, I can always drop my pen and watch it fall. I can always peek out the window and marvel at the blue sky (not now though, it's dark). But how can I be certain that Christ is who he says he is?

Well, as a matter of fact, I can peek inside my Bible and see that indeed, Christ is who he says he is. I accept the Bible as truth because it is comprised of statements and facts in accordance with reality. Romans 3:23 states: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". That is an observable fact. I can look at the world and see sin. I can see that no person is perfect. I can see that each has fallen short.

Because the Bible is composed of absolute truth, this truth is absolute--in Romans 5:8 Paul writes, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

I love truth... and that is a true statement.

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