Why Truth Can't Be Created by You
If you remember a few months back (before the broken leg and the moving and everything), I had mentioned I wanted to approach some relevant topics in today's culture. So, for this blog post, I am starting with the topic of TRUTH.
Where do we get truth?
What is truth and why is it important?
Can truth be created or has it always been?
How do we respond to something that is true?
Where do we get truth?
Some of you will maybe say, "You're going to bring God into this aren't you?"
And, the short answer is, "Yes".
Now hear (read) me out here....
God declares himself and his word to be true.
He proclaims that his words will cause us to be filled with joy, that his words will never fail or fade away. Nothing can destroy what is true- namely his word- himself- because they exist together and cannot be separated. (See Psalm 119:142, 160; Psalm 138: 2, Proverbs 30:5; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21; I John 1:6-8; I John 3:18)
He describes the truth as that which will set us free (see John 14:6, John 8:32, Colossians 2:1-3).
When Jesus prays for his disciples in John 17, he asks the Father to "sanctify them through your truth; your word is truth."
And, as we have noted before, Jesus himself is called, "the Word" (John 1).
So, to attempt to create truth as something substantial without bringing God and his word into the picture is pointless. All that we are and how we got here and why we exist stem from what is true, namely, God himself.
For example: do you believe there is good and evil in the world?
How do you know?
Who told you telling a lie or stealing or murder was bad? And, how did they know those things were bad? Who told them? And who told the person before them?
We could keep going on and on about who said what and who told who.
But, the bottom line is, all that is good and all this is evil is described for us in the Word of God.
God himself makes it very clear that lying is sin (evil).
Stealing is sin (evil).
Murder is sin (evil)
These things are evil, not because so-and-so said it, but because God, who is himself truth, said so.
We can't separate them.
And, God explains these things to us so we understand who we are before him: sinners, with an innate nature to do evil, to defend ourselves, to twist what is true to fit our agendas.
Don't believe me?
Think about this:
If you had siblings (or maybe think of your own kids), no one tells them how to want things. No one tells them, "Oh, you should whine when you don't get what you want!" Pretty sure when we see that candy or that sparkly thing or someone else's toy we have no problem wanting that without having to be taught or told we want it!
Or, we are masters at justifying our actions and shifting blame.
"If so-and-so hadn't said that, I wouldn't have had to tell them off!"
Or, "If she hadn't touched me first, I wouldn't have had to hit her back!"
Or, "He took my toy, so I took his!"
This list could go on and on and on and on.
The interesting thing we see here is that in those moments we are creating for ourselves our own truth. And, inevitably, that leads to trouble.
Someone lies about you, you bad mouth them back.
Someone takes what you want, you hit them and get angry with them.
Someone annoys you, you annoy them back.
One person's truth leads to another person's truth clashing with theirs in an epic, never-ending struggle of whose truth is better, which ultimately leads to no one winning anything.
This is why we must get our truth from the correct source outside of ourselves: God himself.
2. What is truth and why is it important?
Truth is that which aligns with what God says- about himself and the world he has created. This is important, because, as we saw above, creating our own truth clashes with someone else's idea of truth and causes trouble.
Well, yes, you say, but people who preach God and his ideas cause trouble. They should just be more tolerant and then things wouldn't be so tumultuous.
That's a good point, but an invalid one.
For example, God says murder is a sin, right? We all agree killing another human being is wrong.
But, when we point this out to someone who believes in abortion, suddenly killing isn't wrong. Or the definition of a human being has to be changed. Or the concept of life and when it "starts" has to be changed. Truth has to be changed.
We are masters at twisting truth to fit our desires and what we want to be true instead of what is reality.
We want inclusivity. We want people to feel loved and accepted and cherished.
But, the problem is we twist the ideas of love and acceptance based on our flawed understanding.
God declares his love for people in this way: He gave his Son to die for them.
Because people could not find their way to a restored relationship with God on their own. People can try as hard as they can to be nice and kind and good and helpful, but no amount of niceness is going to get us to measure up to God's perfection.
We are all evil.
We are all bent toward our own desires.
This means creating our own ideas of love and acceptance only leads to someone always being left out, whether based on belief, gender, skin color, education, likes and dislikes, upbringing, social status, wealth...
But, God made a clear way for all to be accepted and loved and cherished beyond a flawed, selfishly motivated mantra.
This is why truth is important.
If we all define truth our own way, truth is never actually known. It is an endless maze of "what-ifs" and "yes, but" and "I think" and "You should".
3. Can truth be created or has it always been?
In John 1, we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelled among us and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth."
The Word was full of it!
But, who was the Word. And if he was in the beginning, then he must have existed before all things?
But, this also says, that he was with God and was God?
My brain hurts.
If we go back to Genesis, we read that there was nothing.
Nothing except God.
God has always existed. He existed before time even started. He has been and always will be. From him, came everything else.
He spoke and the world came to be. He created everything.
This eternal, all wise, all present God created this ever-expanding universe, of which we know but a fraction.
We are still learning things!
We can't know how many stars there are or how far the galaxies stretch or what will happen tomorrow.
We try to predict and assume and theorize. We attempt to control and manipulate and postulate and determine. We study and muse and discuss.
But, in the end, we are all believing something by faith.
Faith is that funny word, you know?
Faith is that unseen thing that underlies every decision, every belief- and essentially, it determines how we respond when confronted with truth.
So, if I have faith that God will accept me for how good I have been and the merits of my kindness to people here in earth, then essentially, I am believing that I am the pendulum on which my life swings. It becomes all about me. Faith in me.
Or let's say I don't believe in God at all. There's nothing out there controlling the universe- it's all one big chance and one pointless existence. Okay, but, says, who?
Well, you. You are having faith in you. You are determining truth. And truth without knowing what is truth is just an opinion. It's faith in you.
But, if we believe that God is truth, that he created truth, and that truth has always been because he always been, then we can actually get somewhere.
Our faith and our beliefs must coincide with reality.
4. How do we respond to truth?
The faith of those who believe the Bible is not a blind faith that is dependent on some magical or unpredictable outcome or event. Rather, this faith is grounded in facts- truth.
We are not blindly believing God made the world, is all powerful, all knowing, and all holy. The Bible confirms itself by the things mankind has discovered through the years.
For example, people have assumed or theorized that the stars could be counted. Science has confirmed that to be impossible. And, God declares it to be so: "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me” (Jeremiah 33:22).
This is just one example that proves God to be all-knowing and all-powerful, and there are countless other examples: the world hanging on nothing, life beginning at conception and having value, along with thousands of fulfilled prophecies.
But, what about the all holy or all good bit? Is that true?
When we think about ourselves and how we attempt and strive to be good, we inevitably are disappointed with ourselves- and others- in the whole realm of what is good and who is good. No one person can ever be good enough to please everyone. So, clearly this means good cannot be possible. Only evil exists, and that is all we can ever know.
In the beginning when God created the world, everything was good. Perfectly good. Good that way God defines it. No brokenness, confusion, stress, angst, fear.
God made mankind to rule over the world, to use it, and continue making it a beautiful and profitable place to live.
But, mankind chose to believe a lie. A lie that said mankind could know everything like God and be in power like God. This lie rooted itself into man's choices, bringing death and destruction to the world and all mankind.
Because we can never be God. That can never be our reality. Created things can never be their Creator. Instead the created things attempt to usurp their authority causing mayhem and destruction at every turn. Things are hopeless and confusing without a clear authority and a submission to that authority. When we are evil and the Creator is good, we will always strive against that Creator in our own attempts to be good. It doesn't work.
So, what is the truth?
The truth is God, in his holiness, knowing we could never be good apart from himself, did not give us a useless bunch of instructions on how to better ourselves or "pull ourselves together" to make him happy. He knew there was NO WAY we could ever do that. So, he came here, himself, in the person of Jesus.
Jesus was perfect. He did not live as we do, striving against each other and giving in to evil. Instead, he lived blamelessly, teaching about the kingdom of God and what it looks like to live as a follower of God. His teachings were counterintuitive: to lead you must serve; to live you must die; and to find joy you will suffer.
He proved this by doing all these things himself.
Yet, the crux of the matter is that he did not stay dead. He defeated all that was evil by never giving into it and by bearing it all in his death. He then conquered death by rising from it and thereby denouncing its power. He crushed all that bound us by proving himself to be all that we would ever need. He then calls us, as we believe in his sacrifice and power, to live as he taught- with service, love, and joy.
This sounds idyllic, in a way.
But, this also means that we respond to God's truth in the way that honors him. It is not our word to interpret as we want, but to live out in accordance to what he has declared about himself.
So, if God declares himself to be holy, we cannot say we are holy without him.
If God declares lying to be evil, we cannot say "it's not that bad".
If God declares taking the life of another person- murder- to be evil, we cannot say, "well, that's not really murder". We can't define our own terms on truth- we have no authority or power to say otherwise.
Essentially, the choice is up to us.
Will we blindly believe our own created form of truth that is based on nothing but what we want?
Or will we believe, by a living and abiding faith, the reality that God governs all things and that how we live is in direct response to what we believe to be true about God?
There's not really a middle ground here.
You're either choosing passive ignorance or active allegiance.
And the outcome for each belief system determines your destiny.
As I mentioned before, Jesus declares that if we know the truth it will set us free.
We all have a choice to either confess ourselves to be evil and accept Jesus' righteousness as our only hope of freedom from that evil. When we do that, our lives should then express that we live for a greater kingdom than ourselves. The truth of existence isn't about us anymore. It's about the One who has set us free!
In I Peter, we read, "Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God."
And, how do servants of God live?
"Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."
Ah. So, see? We are to honor and love everyone, right?
So, you need to respect my choice and my lifestyle and let me do whatever I want.
Read it again:
"Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil."
And, what is evil?
Anything that goes against what God says to be true.
The passage also says, "Fear God".
If I am doing whatever I want, instead of following God's word, am I proving by my actions that I have been set free from my bondage to evil and that I want to honor and respect God above everything else?
This reality of truth becomes the basis for every issue and problem we face.
There are lots of rabbit trails and other questions we could delve into, but for now, I want to finish with this:
Truth matters. It has always mattered. Our lives depend on it.
Has the truth set you free? If so, are you living like it?
Check out some resources below, including some great videos on the Bible (Kid-friendly!):
This is a great, concise video by Sean McDowell:
This is a 2-sermon series on truth by Alistair Begg:
The three videos listed here share how the Bible came to be and why it can be trusted. Watch them with your kids!
Check out this sermon by Kevin DeYoung on Jesus being "the Final Word". He addresses prophets, how God spoke in the past, and that Jesus is the completion of all priestly work, that we need no king or prophet to further the full and final work necessary for redemption and revelation. "Scripture is enough because Christ is enough!"
This article is lengthy (and from a few years ago), but I love how she presents different tactics people (specifically Richard Dawkins) use to distract us from what is true. Long, but good read.
Check out this book review (and maybe get the book while you're at it!)