“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness . . . “ While Isaiah is writing prophetic words to the nation of Israel, they reveal the heart of man. A deep root of the problem of sin is the rejection of that which is true, which is part of the rejection of God. Today, Christians find themselves lamenting the growth of relativism that suggests the truth is relative according to what each person determines.
With good reason, there should be a concern.We live in an era in which the definition of truth is fluid, changing based upon circumstances, conditions, and counselors. At the Ligonier Ministries West Coast conference in 2014, Steve Lawson battled the absurdity of this concept saying the following:
- Humanism says that man is the truth.
- Pragmatism says that whatever works is the truth.
- Pluralism says that everyone has a piece of the truth.
- Mysticism says that intuition is the truth.
- Skepticism says that no one can know the truth.
- Existentialism says self-determination is the truth.
- Positivism says that whatever man confesses is the truth.
- Hedonism says whatever feels good is the truth.
- Secularism says this present world is the truth.
- Relativism says each situation determines the truth.
Because the truth is defined relatively, we now live in a world in which knowledge is non-existent (perhaps this is why logic as a discipline is no longer recognized).
Many long for ‘the good ole days’ when people didn’t obliterate concepts, such as truth, to suit one’s needs. While they cry about the status of our society, laboring in prayer that the Lord would restore us to our previous essence, many discount the notion that this is no new concept. Consider Pilate’s discussion with Jesus Christ mere hours before the crucifixion. What does Pilate say? Three simple words: “What is truth?” (John 18:38). While the words are simple, Pilate’s sarcastic and sneering attitude towards truth with this question is not so simple. He was, in essence, denying absolute truth, both in the form of reasoning and logic and in the form of a man (cf. John 14:6). So the good ole days never were and the rejection of truth has long been an issue.
Instead of rejecting truth though, we should be thankful that absolute truth does exist. Christ declares that Scripture is the truth (John 17:17) while also exclaiming that he himself is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6). Why should we be thankful for such a concept? Because without the existence of absolute truth, we could never do or be. What was truthful in one moment may change the next, and thus, we never have any solid footing to stand upon. Like sand, when truth shifts, that which it was built upon will fall.
There is a larger issue at stake here: salvation. If truth were not absolute, a person could never know their status before God. However, Scripture constantly points us towards that knowledge (1 John 5:13) suggesting there is a way to know. Not only would salvation be a mystery, but so would redemption, justification, and sanctification. Because the truth is not relative we are able to know that we are saved, that we have eternal life, and we are able to be comforted by the Lord’s promise of care. Much hinges upon the absoluteness of truth and so, and to believe so is an act of worship to God.
Photo “Shifting Sands” courtesy of user Kristian Dela Cour” and Flickr.