What is Truth?

The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus that very question nearly 2,000 years ago. I guess he did not own a dictionary. According to Webster: Truth means to have the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity (exactness) to the original or standard.

In a nutshell, truth is “telling it like it is.”

Sadly, according to a Barna Group national survey in 2002, most Americans do not base truth on facts or reality. Rather they base their truth on feelings.

Barna found that by a 3-to-1 margin, adult Christians said that truth is always relative to the person and their situation, while only 6% of teens believe in absolute moral truth.

Substantial numbers of Christians currently believe that activity such as abortion, homosexual sex, cohabitation, drunkenness, and viewing pornography are morally acceptable. George Barna noted that “Without some firm and compelling basis for suggesting that such acts are inappropriate, people are left with philosophies such as ‘if it feels good, do it,’ ‘everyone else is doing it’ or ‘as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s permissible.’ In fact, the alarmingly fast decline of moral foundations among our young people has culminated in a one-word worldview: ‘whatever.’”

Americans by and large, have bought into the lie of relativism and we are paying a heavy price for it. Relativism is the belief that “truth is relative”, especially moral truth. People who believe in relativism often say things like, “Well, that may be true for you, but it may not be true for me.” Dr. Robert Jeffress in his book “Outrageous Truth… 7 Absolutes You Can Still Believe” describes relativism with a simple dictum: “Everything is right sometime, and nothing is right all the time.” In reality though, relativism doesn’t hold water and is easily dis-proven.

Logic means to reason and is the God given foundation which is engrained into the human mind so we can think properly and discover truth. Without using logic we could never make any solid conclusions about anything. Without some logic, balancing your checkbook or even spelling your name correctly would be completely impossible.

The First Law of Logic is the Law of Identity. It states that something is what it is, and is not what it is not. For instance: A banana is a banana and not a chimpanzee.” Symbolically it is written: “A is A.”

The second Law of Logic is the Law of Contradiction. It states that A cannot be A and not A at the same time and in the same relationship. Do not let that scare you. All it means is that completely contradictory statements are false. For example, If I said: “My only dog Rover is now in the kitchen eating his dinner and my dog Rover is now playing outside in the street.”, any reasonable thinking person instantly knows that my statement is false. Its a contradiction. It cannot possibly be true.

Why am I explaining this? Because, the Laws of Logic are basic truths and also an expression of the way God thinks and how we are also supposed to think.

When a moral relativist says, “Well, that may be true for you, but it may not be true for me.”, he is being completely illogical. When a relativist says that there is no such thing as “absolute truth” what he is saying is, “I know it to be absolutely true that no truth is absolute.” See? He is breaking the Law of Contradiction.

There are three premises concerning truth. All truth is Universal, Exclusive, and Revealed.

1) Truth is Universal: Truth applies to everyone, everywhere, and at all times, regardless of what any particular person or group believes. It corresponds to reality. Take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja, he firmly believes that the Jewish Holocaust did not take place during WWII. Does his belief mean the Holocaust did not occur? No. The Holocaust is an historically proven fact – a truth.

Likewise, if I believe “with all my heart” that I can dawn a cape, jump off a skyscraper, and fly to California like Superman… What is going to happen when I try that stunt? What would happen to anyone? It doesn’t matter what anyone believes. They jump off, then the truth of gravity takes hold, and then they plummet to the ground.

2) Truth is Exclusive: Take the simple mathematical equation: What does “5+5=______”. Ten right? Even for a person who cannot add or subtract, the absolute truth is that 5+5=10. The relativist may try to be politically correct and say, “Well, I believe, 5+5=11 and you say it only equals 10… Perhaps, we are both correct?” No. He is breaking the Law of Contradiction. 5+5 cannot equal both 10 and 11 at the same time. The truth is that 5+5=10 and 5+5 can add up to nothing other than ten.

Likewise, the Holocaust either occurred in history or it did not. Saying that “Maybe it is true for you and not true for me.” again breaks the Law of Contradiction. The Holocaust ether occurred during WWII or it did not. Only one statement can possibly be true. Truth is always exclusive.

3) Truth is Revealed: Truth has to be earnestly sought out and discovered. Some people once believed it to be true that the earth was flat, but science later proved the “truth” that the earth was round. Truth is never created by man. The relativist on the other hand believes truths are constructed by individuals and society. They also believe that no single truth applies to everyone.

With such a belief system, who has the right to say Hitler’s extermination of the Jew’s was right or wrong? Murdering Jews was perfectly legal for the Nazi’s in Germany at the time. Likewise, who is to say that the terrorists who flew the hijacked planes loaded with innocent passengers into the Twin Towers on 9/11 were doing anything wrong? In the minds of the Islamic Jihadists, according to the Koran they were doing a really good deed. The relativist cannot answer these simple questions. He has nothing but his own personal opinions, emotions, and feelings to work with. He cannot know absolute moral truths because he isn’t basing truth on facts, reality, or fidelity with the original standard.

So, what is the moral standard God has set for us? According to the Bible we are to be conformed to the image of Christ. All moral truth is a reflection of the person, character, and nature of God. It shows us what our never changing eternal Heavenly Father is like and what he desires for us as well as from us. Understanding God’s absolute moral truths is quite simple once you understand this concept.

So, why is it wrong to murder? Simple. No fidelity to the original. God is Life. He is the source and giver of life. Murder goes against the person, character, and nature of God.

Why are we to be pure? Fidelity to the original. God is Pure.

Why is justice right. Because God is Just.

Why is it wrong to lie? God is Truth.

Why is it wrong to hate? No fidelity to the original. God is Love!

Every commandment in the scriptures is an expression of the person, character, and nature of God.

To summarize, as Josh McDowell once said, “Anything we do that goes against the person, character, and nature of God is wrong. Anything that we do that has fidelity to the person, character, and nature of God is righteous.” And these truths are exactly like all other truths. They are universal, exclusive, and revealed. They apply to everyone, regardless of what anyone personally believes.

Jesus said, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” When Jesus said, “I AM the Truth” He was claiming to be equal with God! Jesus was saying in effect, “I AM the Truth. Because, I have fidelity to the original. When you have seen me you have seen the Father!!!”

Just read John 14:6-9 in context:

Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Now let’s go back to Pontius Pilate:

Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” – John 18:37

Have a Blessed Day!

Sean Kirkpatrick

Additional Recommended Resources:

Book on Absolute Truth: Outragious Truth... 7 Absolutes You Can Still Believe by Dr. Robert Jeffress

Outrageous Truth… 7 Absolutes You Can Believe

By Dr. Robert Jeffress


Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged (DVD)

By Josh McDowell

Sean Kirkpatrick posted at 2011-7-28 Category: Truth and Logic