Absolute Truth

TruthEarlier this week I spent a day teaching a class to doctoral students titled, “Ethics in a Global Society.” I brought up the fact that the bottom line to any ethical system can be summarized by Jesus’ words, “Treat others as you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12) and how some form of the Golden Rule is found in every major world religion. The Golden Rule applies to ethics at every level, local or global.

I also stated that it is difficult to consistently be ethical without a belief in absolute truth. A student then asked me if I believed in absolute truth. I answered, “Yes I do. But I am not so sure how much absolute truth I actually know.”

That type of admission troubles some people.

image112I believe God is absolute truth. I believe Jesus is God and thus Jesus is absolute truth. I also believe absolute truth is found in God’s Word. However, my understanding of God and of Jesus, and my interpretation of His Word, is not absolute truth. I must always leave open the possibility that I could be wrong. My understanding could be incomplete. My interpretation could be misguided or biased. If I don’t leave open the possibility I could be wrong I will become arrogant, judgmental, and condescending. Worse, I will quit learning. My responsibility as a follower of Jesus is to pursue truth, and to search for it as a hidden treasure (Proverbs 2:4). In my search I have a promise from Jesus that the Holy Spirit will “guide me into all truth” (John 16:13). But it is a critical mistake to confuse my propositional statements and my creeds and my denominational distinctives and my personal convictions and interpretations as absolute truth.

Absolute truth is out there, and I am to search for it, but I am to never think I have fully grasped it.

The moment I think I have grasped absolute truth, I am god, and that’s an absolute lie.

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3 thoughts on “Absolute Truth

  1. Wonderful, honest and humble thoughts for sure. This article reminds me to be thankful that I know God who is absolute truth. What a comfort as we plod along this journey toward sanctification, hopefully taking a few more steps forward than the ones we take backward. This is a solid reminder that we must look to no man for answers, including that man in the mirror, but only to the infinite God/Man, Christ Jesus. Just as soon as we think we’ve got it all figured out we become puffed up with pride and arrogance. May we continue to grow as we continue looking up.

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