“What is truth?” It’s the question debated by philosophers of old. It’s the question that college students wrestle with as they venture into the marketplace of ideas. It’s the underlying question we face at 2:00 AM when doubts and questions keep us up at night. It’s the question that Pontius Pilate asks as he speaks with Truth incarnate (John 18:38).
In today’s fast-paced, communication-soaked society, we too are forced to ask this question. “Truths” are shouted to us from every angle, as if we are shoppers in a supermarket.
“A slim body will lead you to happiness,” says the advertisements.
“Sex is limitless,” says the box office.
“Live your own truth,” says social media.
Culture sells “truths” to any willing consumer. But the “truths” change. People disagree. What we once believed fails to hold the weight of reality. And we are left with our supermarket baskets filled with everything, yet nothing at all. Because when everything is true, nothing is true. “There must be something else out there,” we wonder. Is there absolute truth?
And there is.
First, let us define what truth is. Webster’s dictionary defines truth as “that which is in accordance of fact or reality.” Our personal definition of truth is the current that moves what we believe about ourselves, how we treat others, and how we view God. Therefore, our definition of truth matters. And from the very first page of Genesis to the last in Revelation, the Bible communicates that God is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Restorer of His creation. The Bible proves that God is Truth.
God Is the Creator of Truth
Before God was nothing. The world was formless and empty. By the sound of God’s voice, He created light, the sky, dry land, vegetation, and every little creature (Genesis 1). He alone names every star in the sky (Psalm 147:4). He alone knows the location of the storehouses of snow (Job 38:22). He alone numbers the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). And because God created the heavens, the earth, and everything in it, He claims ultimate authority over all. Through the creation narrative, we learn that truth is divine. It does not originate from humans nor from any other power, for God existed when nothing else did.
God Is Truth Despite Our Failures
And then, God creates mankind—His most beloved creature—for man was made in His image. God would dwell among man and woman in peaceful community in the Garden of Eden. The couple would thrive under His provision and protection. Yet, Adam and Eve fell prey to false truth. Satan, in the form of a cunning serpent, hissed lies into Adam and Eve’s ears. The lie made them doubt God. The lie separated them from their Creator. And so, Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the garden, the only fruit within God’s Creation that they were not permitted to eat (Genesis 3:1–7). From their disobedience, sin flooded the world, selling cheap hope, quick fixes, and consequence-less pleasure to mankind.
Yet, even in mankind’s fallen state, God never stopped pursuing them. God created a people of His Own—the Israelites—who would symbolize God’s covenant faithfulness to His creation. They would display the truth of God for all to see. Yet, they too doubted God. Throughout the Old Testament, as God’s people stray, He generously leads them back to truth. God sent plagues upon the Egyptian people that their own prophets could not replicate (Exodus 8–11). Before the city of Jericho, God let the walls of the city crumble for the sake of His people (Joshua 6). Before four hundred fifty prophets of Baal, God proved Himself the one true God by consuming an offering by fire at the request of Elijah (1 Kings 18). Throughout the Old Testament, God proves Himself true over and over again—the one God of not only the Israelites but of all people and of all creation.
Christ Is Truth
All the while, God promised His people that one day, their search for truth would end. A Messiah, or a Savior, would come and be their everlasting King. Through a history of battles and exiles, misplaced hope and corrupted leadership, the promises of this future leader helped Israel persevere. The God of truth does not lie. And therefore, the hope of a Savior was not questionable but certain.
And Christ came. Truth incarnate—the mind and heart of God within skin and bones. Jesus, God’s only Son, fulfilled each of God’s prophecies to the Israelites. He was born in a stable in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4-7). He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Mark 11:1-10). He suffered greatly and was pierced for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:3-5; Matthew 20:19). Jesus’s perfect life accomplished what no man could. God incarnate laid down His life to pay for the sin of His people. Light overwhelmed darkness. Truth overcame lies. Jesus’s life proved that God is who He says He is. God’s promises are proven true in Jesus.
Even more, upon Jesus’s ascension, He sent His promised Holy Spirit to His followers so that they may never live apart from the Truth. The Holy Spirit teaches and transforms those in Christ the image of Truth Himself, Jesus.
Christ Silences Lies
Because the Christian knows Truth, we can have confidence that the God who was true yesterday and today is the same God that will be true for eternity (Hebrews 13:8). Christ has come and conquered. He now reigns in heaven as King of the World. But His work is not quite finished. And we see this all around us. It is why we struggle with the question, “What is truth?”
We live in what theologians call the “already but not yet.” The truth of Christ has been revealed, but the world still teems with lies. However, one day, Scripture promises that heaven will open and Jesus will emerge victorious, riding on a white horse, and will proclaim Himself Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11–16). Evil will be ousted once and for all. Lies will be silenced. The world will be made new. Those who believe and confess the truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus will celebrate the glory of the One True God forever and ever.
How Do We Live in Truth?
Now that we know that God proves Himself true throughout the story of Scripture, there are profound implications for our life. We no longer “shop” for truth. Because we know that absolute truth is divine, God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit become our metrics from which to measure and evaluate all other truths. As bankers hold bills to the light to determine their authenticity, we can hold up ideas to the light of Scripture to discern whether they are sound or counterfeit.
[Text Wrapping Break]Just because we know the truth does not make living truthfully easy. Our lives will likely look different than our neighbors. We may be mocked or ridiculed. Our priorities may have to shift. Yet, the value of knowing truth is incomparable. Because Christians believe and confess in the truth of who Jesus is, they have access to the strength and knowledge of God through the Holy Spirit. Thus, lies will cease in light of eternity.
May we have faith and hold on tight. When this world attempts to threaten the truth, let us respond to Jesus in faith as Peter did in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words to eternal life.” All other “truths” are counterfeit. All other hope is temporary. God is truth. And the truth will set us free (John 8:31–32).
Additional Resources on Truth