Christianity is a religion whose founder claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) We are told to test everything and to hold on to what is good. (1 Thess. 5:21) The law of the Lord is said to be true (Psalm 119:142) and Wisdom says she says what is true because she hates wickedness. (Proverbs 8:7) Throughout Scripture, God is described as true.
Yet how high a priority are we placing on truth? We are told that if we know the truth, it will set us free. (John 8:32) Do many of us really seek truth as much as we seek confirmation of what we believe? How can we claim to live as followers of the truth if we are seeking to ever avoid the truth?
Of course, it might be best to say what is meant by truth. By truth, I mean that which corresponds to reality. If I say “it is raining outside,” and it is not, I have not spoken truly. If I say “It is sunny outside,” and it is, then I have spoken truly. For such a correspondence to exist, the Law of Noncontradiction must apply to reality. (LNC for short from here on.)
The LNC states that A cannot be both B and non-B in the same time and in the same sense. For some, that might be complex. A definition has been given entirely of one syllable words. “If one says of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, he speaks the truth; but if one says of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, he does not speak the truth.” (Kreeft, BHH, 27)
What does this mean? It simply means that contradictory statements can’t be true. I am sitting right now. I cannot be both sitting and not sitting in the same time and in the same sense. It also means that each word I type has a meaning. If there is no difference between A and non-A, then the referent of Apologiaphoenix is not only myself but is also RumTumPotter, Ivo (GASP!), DDW, theologyweb itself, my parents’ cat, Socrates, and even God himself. For any word to have any meaning, the LNC must exist.
It must also be stressed that the LNC applies to God as well. God cannot violate his own nature. It is impossible for God to lie (Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18) as he cannot violate his own nature of truth. He cannot cease to exist as he cannot violate his own nature of life. If the LNC does not apply to God, then God can be contradictory and God can lie. We’d have no reason to say even that the nature of God could not be different from that of the devil.
All of this is simply to state the radical need that we should have as Christians to honor truth and live in correspondence with reality. Do we really do such though? Have we spent our lives in many cases trying to avoid the truth? How badly do we want the truth?
There is a story about a boy coming to Socrates, a man who knew what it meant to spend your life searching for something, and told him that he wanted wisdom. Socrates took him out to a lake and when in a deep part, took the boy and held him underwater. When the boy came up, he was obviously furious as Socrates led him to shore, where Socrates then had to block some of the rage of the young man. Socrates then said to him “What did you want most while you were under the water?” The boy answered, “I wanted to breathe!” Socrates reply was, “When you want wisdom as much as you want to breathe, you will find it.”
Do we want truth that much? Should we not want it? Do we not serve a God who knows all truths and who affirms all truths? Do we really believe in the idea that there is a God out there who is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and the pinnacle of perfection? Are we really living a life in seeking out the knowledge of the God who is there?
Spurgeon spoke well of the desire and while this is lengthy, it takes the whole to capture the passion that Spurgeon has:
It has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel—
“Great God, how infinite art thou, What worthless worms are we!”
(taken from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/se...titlepage.html)
How revealing! Are we as Christians really living this though? Do we see sin in this light? Have you ever really considered sin as living in denial of who God is? If God is omniscient and he tells us to not do something, and we do it anyway, are we not saying that he is wrong? Are we not claiming to be God instead? If so, then we truly see how monstrous an action sin really is for it is claiming to be the God of God.
How about trust? Are we really trusting God? Are our lives more often holding back? Do we pray really believing that there is a God who is there and loves us and will hear us? Do we give our offerings with gladness to the work of the gospel believing that God loves a cheerful giver and that he will bless us in our giving? (Please note also that I am not affirming the prosperity gospel. I do believe in a hundredfold return, but I believe it applies more to the next life than to this one and I do not affirm giving to get.) Do we really believe God is able to meet all our needs? (Philippians 4:19)
The sadness is that more often, we believe in the God of our own creation than the God who is there. How much different our lives would be if we only did affirm the God who is there! We so often in suffering begin by looking at ourselves. While there is no wrong in analyzing where we are, in order to give an accurate description, we must include in reality the God who is there and who knows what he’s doing. When we start doubting that he knows what he’s doing, then we will start to doubt who he is and whether we can trust him or not.
If we are affirming all truths though, we must be sure to affirm that about ourselves. We cannot affirm more of ourselves than we are which would be pride. Equally though, and I say this as one who is his own worst critic, we cannot affirm less of ourselves, which is often times described in Christian circles as humility. How can it be Christian though to say of yourself what is not true?
Also, to affirm a truth does not mean that you like the truth. I would that the truth of my living in an apartment be that I have $50,000 in my savings account. Unfortunately, the truth is that I am nowhere close to that. If I choose to live though like I do have $50,000 though, I will suffer for it. It does no good to live in denial of reality. Reality always has a good way of bumping up against your false beliefs.
This is also why the Christian needs not fear any truth. Bring on whatever science wants to bring. Whatever can be found to be true, let us affirm it. Let the philosophers examine our faith to the nth degree. If we want to believe the truth, then we should welcome it. If something is true, we should readily embrace it. This could mean we have to change some beliefs on some issues in the light of evidence. So be it! It is better to live in correspondence of reality than in denial of it.
So what is your verdict on your life and what is my verdict on my life as I am just as much a student as I am a teacher. Are you living life as if you believe in the God who is there? Are you praying to the one who is there? Are you avoiding sin and living a life of virtue in light of the God who is there? Are you able to face suffering because you believe in the God who is there?
Examine yourself and be sure. Christianity is not a faith for those who want to stick their heads in the sand and avoid reality. It is a faith for those who are willing to face reality head on. It is not an easy faith, to be sure, but you can be sure that it is a true faith.
Kreeft, Peter “Between Heaven and Hell.”
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