Friday, April 6, 2012

Finding Truth in the Abyss

(1) That which is real, and true, is opposed to the ficticious, or imaginary. Jehovah is the True God because He really is God. Heathen gods are nothing but imaginary beings, having neither existence or attributes.

Exodus 20:7 " You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."

The idea for most of us is that taking the Lord's name in vain means swearing with it. But the word for vain means empty, breath, meaningless, worthless, without result, idly, falsely. We are commanded to never use His name as though it were false, or worthless, or idle, impotent or as if it had no real meaning, because His name represents all that is Real and True.

(2) The True God is that who in reality exactly corresponds to His manifestation. The True God is a God in whom the idea of God is fully realized. He is true because He really is what He declares Himself to be; He is what He commands us to believe that He is; all the declarations He makes about Himself correspond exactly to Who He is.

Exodus 20:5-6 "You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

(3) Therefore, the True God can be depended upon, does not fail, change, or disappoint. God is True as He is immutable and faithful. His Word and promises cannot fail. His Word abides forever, and all that He has revealed about Himself can be confided in as exactly corresponding to what really is, or will be.

1 Peter 1:24-25 For, "All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, but the word of the LORD endures forever. Now this is the word ['eternal truth,' my translation] which by the gospel was preached to you."

(4) The Truth of God is therefore the foundation of all religion. His truthfulness is the ground of our assurance. Truth is also the foundation of all knowledge. All knowledge is founded upon faith, i.e., the belief that God is true! But it is not just belief we are after. And it is not just the object of belief we are after, we are after true genuine belief that Our God is always True! True faith believes in the truthfulness of God.

Genesis 15:1-6 "After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, 'Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.' But Abram said, 'Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?' Then Abram said, 'Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!' And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 'This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.' Then He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.' And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."

Abraham believed that the True God and the Word that He spoke about His promise of the Seed were true. And when he had faith in the truthfulness of God's promise, it was "having the like force and weight of righteousness." Abraham's senses were not deceived; the promise was what it appeared to be. Abraham believed that God was true in His word, and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

The Truthfulness of Scripture

The Bible is authoritative because it compels us to believe and obey it, and makes such belief and obedience equivalent to believing and obeying God Himself. To believe all of Scripture means that we have confidence in the complete truthfulness of the Scriptures.

The doctrine of inerrancy means God and man so cooperated in the production of Scripture that the end product is ‘God's word in human language.’ The word of prophesy spoken by human beings in Scripture is not a human matter then, in spite of the fact that it proceeded from the Spirit through the words of men. It is a divine matter which has a divine origin. Because it has an origin in God Himself, it can be relied upon as truthful.

Titus 1:1-2 "Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie [literally, 'the unlying God'], promised before time began,"

Because God cannot speak a lie, His words can always be trusted. Since all of Scripture is spoken by God, all Scripture must be 'unlying,' just as God is. Here is exactly what Paul's argument is:

(a) The Bible is God's word; (b) God never lies, (c) Therefore: the Bible never lies.

God promised eternal life ages ago in Scripture and says the promises were made by God "who never lies." So Paul calls on the truthfulness of God's own speech to prove the truthfulness of the words of Scripture.

Hebrews 6:11-18

11 "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things [oath and promise], in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us."

Two unchangeable things are His oath and His promise. God cannot lie, because if He did, he would no longer be who he is; and if God cannot lie because of an oath or a promise, then it is impossible for Him to lie ever! Interestingly, Jesus rebukes those who tell the truth only under oath: Mt.5:33-37; 23:16-22; cf. 2 Samuel 7:28.

See then: Psalm 12:6; Prov. 30:5; 119:89; Mt. 24:35; Num. 23:19.

There is no untruthfulness or falsehood affirmed in any statements of the Bible. (Every word is true; even the syntax and grammar are true; and Jesus' words are no more true than any other words of Scripture). God's words are the standard of truth, the ultimate. In John 17:17 Jesus says, "Your word is truth," not "your word is true." Truth itself. The Bible is the ultimate standard of truth. It is the reference point for every other point claim to truthfulness to be set against. Truth is what God says, and we have what God says accurately, though not exhaustively.

No new fact can contradict the Bible. It would not be possible for a new fact to be found that would contradict Scripture because God knows all true facts (past, present and future) -- Acts 15:18 -- and no 'fact' can turn up that God didn't know ages ago and take into account when He authored Scripture.

It is written Scripture that Paul says is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). It is Paul's writings that are a "command of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37).

Thus, the New Testament concept of truth conforms to that of the Old Testament and is predicated upon it. Truth originates in God, who is the source and measure of all truth. Truth is opposite to falsehood and lies. Truth is that which corresponds to things as they really are. Truth can be witnessed to, stated propositionally, and tested. Truth is reliable and right because it is valid; it is from God, measured by God, rooted in God, and required by God. Truth finds its absoluteness in God, that is, because God is absolute, truth is absolute. Because God is authentic, real, genuine, and perfect reality, all truth corresponds to reality.


The following conclusions may be made concerning the biblical concept of truth:

(1) God is truth. Truth is ontologically (ontos = Gr. being, literally 'the study of being,') rooted in God. Truth is an unchanging, fixed, absolute attribute of God. Truth is thus unchanging, fixed, and absolute.
(2) Truth is correspondence to reality. Truth is what is true as opposed to falsehood and lies.
(3) Truth is propositional and verifiable.
(4) Truth is revealed and therefore objective, knowable, and subject to systematization. Because God's Word was spoken and written, it may be taught and learned.
(5) Truth may be personally practiced inasmuch as truth determines what is right and wrong, moral and immoral, righteous and unrighteous, real and unreal. The person who is faithful to God is so because he or she is "true to God," that is, ideologically and morally aligned to the true God, the God of truth.

The biblical concept of truth may thus be summarized by two overarching propositions:
(1) Truth is theocentric and therefore absolute.
(2) Truth is correspondence to God-interpreted reality.

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