Friday, September 14, 2012
Questions, Questions, Questions
What is truth? Pilate asked Jesus this question as recorded in John 18:38. Jesus had just said, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to me.”
For some reason, truth is a difficult concept in today’s world. It’s not only difficult because there is so much lying going on at every level, but it’s difficult because people don’t know what it means and they don’t basically care to live by its implications.
Pilate asked the question. What does our Webster dictionary say? Truth is “the state of being the case: fact; the body of real things, events, and facts.” Another definition given is that truth is “the property of being in accord with fact or reality.”
A statement or proposition that is true is one that describes things the way they actually are. If someone says, “It is snowing outside,” that statement is open to verification. One can look out the window and see if it is snowing and therefore “prove” whether the statement was true. Sometimes a statement needs to have modifiers on it. A child may say it is snowing outside and you look out and see that it is 70 degrees and the flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining. When you say, “What are you talking about?” the child may say, “It is snowing – in
Antarctica; and that’s outside, isn’t it?” I think most of us know what the idea of truth is.
Where things get difficult is when we are discussing issues related to the Bible, God, and religious things. We Christians believe that when the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, it is making a true statement. Someone else can come along and say that they believe that is a false statement. This sets the stage for solid discussion and debate.
However, what is happening today is that many people do not believe in truth as a concept. If I say I believe that there is a God and someone else says they believe there is no God, many people believe that we are both right! If I need a god, then for me there is a god. And if the other person doesn’t feel that need, then he can do without god. When the idea of truth is lost, the ability to have a thorough going discussion ceases.
So we need to make it clear to people what we are saying. When I say there is a God, I’m saying that God exists, just like when I say there is a sun I’m saying the sun exists. We can’t see God like we can see the sun, but nevertheless I’m saying that he exists. My statement is either a true or false statement. If I believe with all my heart that there is a God and if he doesn’t actually exist, all the believing in the world is not going to create him! But the reverse is also true. If the God spoken of in the Bible actually exists, then all of the hoping and believing that he isn’t there won’t make him disappear.
The Bible makes some very strong claims that any thinking person should investigate thoroughly because the Bible claims to be the truth. Jesus said, “I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
What Jesus said is either true or false. If it is true, every thinking person who values truth should listen to what Jesus says and give it a good, solid, fair hearing. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. He also said, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
People all around are hungering for life and freedom. Jesus claims to provide both. Do you believe him? Is he telling the truth? Pilate didn’t care. He went on to other things, and that’s what most people do.