“What is truth?” That is the question that Pontius Pilate asked of Jesus, when he was questioning him two thousand years ago. It is the same question that many people are asking today. We live in a society that seems incapable of deciding whether or not there is any truth. If anyone dares to declare that there is an absolute truth, then they are derided for being “judgmental.” The source of truth for many people in our society comes from self, with each and every one of us deciding what truth is. It is really quite convenient since no one can challenge you, because your “truth” is yours alone and no one can take it from you.
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them.
(1 John 4:5 – NET)
Is it even possible to answer Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” It really seems to depend on what your world view is. The belief that there is a God is the world view for many. Humanism is another world view that many people in our society have today. It a system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth. For the humanist, God is out and mankind is considered the final authority in the search to reveal truth. The humanist will claim that their belief system demands proof before declaring that something is true. But, their “truths” are not static, they change when new “knowledge” is gained or our society’s opinion shifts. The humanist god is self, and its religion is science. It is through science that the humanist finds their truth. As the knowledge that science discovers evolves and as society becomes more enlightened, so do the truths that humanists subscribe to.
For the wisdom of this age is foolishness with God. As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:19 – NET)
The Princeton wordnetweb website defines truth as “a fact that has been verified.” Now this seems to be a perfectly reasonable definition in our modern society. But I would bring forth the proposition that truth is truth whether it has been verified or not. Just because we discover something does not make it true. The fact of the matter is that it was already true and we were just ignorant. When Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity, wasn’t gravity already true? When Galileo discovered that the earth revolved around the sun, did that only become true at the point of discovery or was it already true?
Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2: 12-14 – NET)
Christianity teaches that truth already exists in the form of God. He is not dependent on our ability to gain knowledge to verify His existence. For the Christian, truth is revealed through God’s Word. The Bible does not become true only when we have verified its contents. It is already true! In contrast to the humanist, the Christian has come to realize that intelligence and wisdom are not the same thing. Being a follower of Christ means walking by faith and not by sight. God is not defined, limited or cowed by mankind’s supposed intellectual prowess.
Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? God has turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense, hasn’t he? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know God, God decided through the nonsense of our preaching to save those who believe. Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. He is a stumbling block to Jews and nonsense to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. For God’s nonsense is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:20-25 – ISV)
How arrogant our society has become! If truth can only be ascertained through verification, then mankind will continue to stumble through the darkness without any hope that he will find everlasting truth. Mankind must remove themselves from the throne and put God back into His rightful place. Until we humble ourselves before God, He will continue to allow us to arrogantly declare our superiority in intelligence and drive mankind deeper into a pit of self destruction.
So, how will you choose to answer the question, “What is truth?”
WordNet, Truth, Princeton
Dictionary, Humanism, Answer.com