Dear Theophilus: Why is Absolute Truth Crucial?

person sitting on his car outside

Mark Kreitzer
Faculty, college of Theology

Dear Faculty,

Why is absolute truth necessary for life, or is it?

Sincerely,

Theophilus

 

Dear Theophilus,

This is an awesome question that has actually been discussed for millennia. Pontus Pilate asked a similar question (John 18:38) after Jesus prompted him by saying that he came “to testify to the truth” and anyone “on the side of truth listened” to him. A couple of weeks earlier when the disciples asked him to show them “the way,” he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) – not the law, which the Jews thought was the way, ultimate truth and life (Romans 2:20).

Jesus meant that truth is not merely some abstract thing floating out in space that we have to mystically experience or something we have to force our will to follow, but it was a person, himself. “In Christ,” Paul adds, “all the riches of the Godhead dwells bodily” and in him also “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden. Paul’s desire was that the Colossians would not be deceived by “fine-sounding” philosophical “arguments” (Colossians 2:3-4, 9), but that believers would find all truth in Christ. Truth is thus not abstract, empty philosophical reasoning that depends on human teaching and elemental spiritual forces but a Person.

After all, philosophy tends to think that truth is merely and only abstract propositions. However, this does not answer Pilate’s ultimate question. Where does absolute truth come from and who gives truth? Paul says every truthful thing in the universe is found in Christ as the Word, Wisdom and Knowledge belonging to God Himself. When we neglect him, we have no real truth and nothing ultimately makes sense.

This is why many no longer talk about a universe but a multiverse, or a university but a multiversity. Postmodernism says that everyone is their own truth. Paul, following Jesus, disagrees. Jesus is the very revelation of the truth of his Father. He alone explains him, who is the source of truth (John 1:18).

Only one way exists to know ultimate truth and all other truths cohering to that absolute Truth. That way is through the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, the Truth incarnate (Ephesians 1:17). He is not merely religious truth as some think; he is absolute truth in every area of life. He thus transforms a multiversity into a university and upholds a single universe (Hebrews 1:3). He is the Word and Wisdom of the Father, opened up to us by the Spirit through the written Word. Jesus possesses the very mind of the Father, one with the Lord Yahweh himself (1 Corinthians 2:15; citing Isaiah 40:13). The mind of Christ is the truth of Yahweh himself.

Practically, this means we ought, therefore, to carefully listen to our King in every area he addresses, such as the age of the earth, when humans came upon that earth, how many humans survived the flood and whether we can find God through philosophy.

Interested in having a question answered by Dear Theophilus writers? Send them all to cotblog@gcu.edu with “Dear Theophilus” in the subject line. You can learn more about GCU’s College of Theology by visiting our website or clicking the Request More Information button.

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