Friday, February 25, 2011


"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." [111 John verse 4.]

It goes without saying that walking according to what is truth is important. But where do you find the truth? Truth, as I'm using it here, [There are at least nine legitimate definitions in the English language.] would be best thought of as a statement that describes reality. Whether a statement is referring to something that exists or something that has happened or even the truth about an idea, that statement must correspond to reality for it to be truth according to my definition.

It is a simple fact that the purpose and value of truthful statements is that they are intended to reveal reality. An inaccurate statement is false, not truth, and would lead one away from any comprehension of what is reality. But truth, by definition, is an accurate statement that describes what is actual reality.

It is also important to remember that truth is NOT the reality itself. It is simply an accurate statement of the reality. So you can see I'm making a distinction between "truth" and "reality."

Does the world in which we live present us with reality? There are various voices in the world that are making statements which claim to be declaring truth about what is real. But are they truthful? Should we believe them? Are those human voices making statements accurately presenting reality in this world in which we live? I think not!!

My reasoning is based on the simple fact that none of them were there when it all started and the only knowledge any one person can have of reality is what they have by virtue of simply being a human being. That means they know only what they have experienced through their encounters with the world as they have gathered data, sought it's meaning, and assumed a conclusion. That is limited from the outset.

Then, add to that the fact that their own motivations, biases, and other things of a personal nature, highly influence their understanding regarding the reality of the world they've encountered. So one must conclude, it seems to me, that all human sources for truth are limited in scope and highly subjective. Knowing this makes it vividly clear, to me at least, why fallen humanity has produced only self-centered false statements while trying to describe a reality that that winds up being totally inaccurate at the very best.

I read where someone said.."Like the Matrix, in the movie by that name, sin has created a virtual reality for our world to live in. But it does not describe the reality which God created." That says it all when speaking about human ideas of reality in my judgment. We wind up as the scripture puts it.."The blind leading the blind."

Well, if human sources for truth are subjective and unreliable, creating a virtual reality about this world, where does one find a RELIABLE truth? This is the reason I personally believe the Bible to be worthy of consideration as a source of truth concerning reality. If it is, as I believe it to be, God’s Word, then we have a source of truth that is from the Creator Himself.

Who better would know what this world is like than the One who was there at it's making? And should He chose to reveal truth in the scriptures, [Which are His statements about His Son and how life relates in reality to Him.] it would be, for me, a needed and reliable source of truth about reality.

However, I do believe God has warned us as to the nature of His truth about reality and it is not something that is easy for us to comprehend. After all, our minds have been programmed by the world’s view of reality since birth, and when we are convinced that what we've heard from the world is truth, it’s hard to consider it to be, in fact, lies. You see the problem.

Here's how God Himself says it. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:9)

To understand this verse it would be helpful, as I once read, to think of the thoughts of a people as being the source of their values and the ways of a people as being the methods by which they implement those values. It could be said then that the sum total of values and methods make up the given culture of a people.

Accepting this concept, what God is saying in the above quoted verse is that He has a totally different culture (values and methods) than that of human beings and it's radically different from any culture you will EVER find in this world. Our hope as fallen humanity is in recognizing there is a Kingdom culture that exists that is beyond our comprehension until we hear, understand, and embrace the truth from God as stated in the reality of Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.

When Kingdom people begin to see this, our minds will give up on the world's understanding of how to live life and embrace the truth from God about it all. Gone will be slick management skills, psychological ploys and financial techniques that are said to really be the way to experience life and what will arise will be a biblical wisdom that will radically change the way we relate to even our enemies, much less each other. This will enable God's people to be a radical people of "The Way" in REALITY instead of just another variation of the cultures of the world. It's called Real Christianity.

So you can see that once we've given up on the truth of the world and decide to walk according to God’s truth, we will discover and personally encounter a biblical description of reality that is vastly different from the reality being described by Man’s truth. It is that kind of truthful thinking that will lead to TRANSFORMED lives as opposed to just another religious belief system that occupies the minds of fallen human beings and creates a set of values and methods that are really simply a variation of other religious groups.

It is not easy to walk by God’s truth because it is so different from this world’s truth. It centers on that One Person that transforms every thing and every one He genuinely touches in reality. For the one walking in this truth it gives place to a grace-filled servanthood that is hilariously free of a fear of death and is, at the same time, seriously committed to the living of life to it's very fullest. That life is characterized by a love that defies logic and crosses every established boundary of fallen man.

To then love the world would be to miss reality and this they will not do. This chosen submissive way of thinking about His statements concerning REALITY will bring about a lifestyle that was intended from the very beginning for mankind.

We will delight the Father because of the truth of His Son who is real to us and we WILL, in reality, walk in that truth.


Aussie John said...


Lost humankind can never accept such a practical statement as you have made, because they simply don't want to, and cannot, accept truth/reality, because they will have to admit that they cannot explain the world by mathematical, psychological, or scientific method, nor can it be done by using plain old common sense.

Look at this statement describing the questions raised by a BBC TV program a "The quest to explain the nature of reality is one of the great scientific detective stories. Are we part of a cosmic hologram? Do we exist in an infinity of parallel worlds?"

There has been a lot of coverage of the Christchurch earthquake. As can be expected, there are those who, foolishly interpreting Scripture by events, claim God has deliberately caused it as punishment for sin.

The truth/reality of the matter is that, like unredeemed mankind, Christchurch is built on a faultline, and, as your article shows, so is natural man. Without the One who said "I am the truth", that faultline,will eventually show the reality.

Truth is that which conforms to reality, as you say.

Reality is the state of the universe, and all that is in it, as it really is, rather than as we might want it to be. That's the truth!

Steve Miller said...

Brother Paul,

Appreciate your reference to 3 John 4, it is one of my favorites. Since we seem to always be in the framework of elections in our country, I am reminded of Chuck Colson once stating that if three issues are not addressed then the stance by which one is examined is not fully addressed. He stated the three issues were: the direction of the radical Islam movement in the world, the dignity of the human race and understanding and developing truth (not just what is true). I would offer the three issues have not changed.

Just as Pilate sarcasticly addressed Jesus in John 18: 37-38 with, "What is truth?", we have those today who stare at truth but fail to recognize its identity. Truth is anything that corresponds to reality. It has been said that truth is true even if everyone denies it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone affirms it.

As we walk in the truth of Jesus then our life and worldview becomes one of apologetics in contrast to so much bad philosophy.

Thank you brother

Steve in San Antonio

Anonymous said...

You can get into a lot of deep philosophy concerning the 'nature' of 'truth'.
What I do know is that God cannot contradict Himself, and this is a source of much comfort. For me, this helps to reconcile the truths of the natural world (science) and the wonders of Creation.

I found some Flannery O'Connor quotes to share that might interest those who read here:

"Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not."


The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
Flannery O'Connor

I'm particularly fond of that last quote, myself, and used it frequently on several blogs to support Debbie Kaufman in her recent courageous efforts to stand up for the truth, in the face of some heavy verbal abuseffrom some bloggers.
BTW, she was successful!


Anonymous said...


I'm in the motel lobby and will respond tomorroe. Thanks for stopping by. Good comments.

Paul B.

Paul Burleson said...


I think Christiane has nailed it when she said you can get into a lot of deep philosophy of truth very easily.

I think she is right. In fact, I'm convinced it is the philosophical approach of "truth allowing us to understand truth," as if truth is a 'thing,' that is really problematic. This is where the concept of "Absolute Truth" comes from. Even Christianity has bought into this concept.

But my thinking is do we need, to know the “absolute truth?” Or do we need to know, from a “reliable truth,” the absolute reality?

For me this makes what Jesus said make perfect sense. He REALLY IS "The Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is the one reliable way TO reality. He is the reliable truth ABOUT reality, He is full human life BASED on reality. He Himself is what reality is all about.

Only God Himself could be the reliable source for the way, truth, and life that is reality. He was all that in the person of Christ.

This whole concept was introduced to me a few years back by someone who wrote under a pseudonym and the material I came across is no longer published. I'm still examining it.

Aussie John said...


If I am understanding correctly, your philosophical approach to truth allows truth to be relative?

Am I reading correctly when I understand the concept you are proposing as truth is fraught with uncertainty and indistinct?

And that: If there are no absolutes regarding truth, it becomes a matter of subjectivism, rather than objectivism?

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I may not be saying well what I'm meaning. In fact, I'm still figuring out the best way of saying it. So thanks for asking your question.

I'm trying to learn to speak about truth as being a correct statement about Absolute Reality [God] because I'm trying to avoid thinking of it as if it's a thing within itself. [Apart from reality or God Himself.]

It's like when the scriptures say.."You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." Too many times I'm afraid people think of that as a statement about this thing called 'truth' or 'beliefs' or a' written record.'

I think it is saying "You shall know [intimately be related to] the Truth [The One Who is Himself Truth.] and the One Who is Truth will set you free."

So, I'm wondering.. IS Truth “some thing,” that is itself apart from God? If so, perhaps we can refer to Truth as absolute. But if Truth is a correct statement about the absolute reality of God, [ All reality is found in God of course.] we can have" CONFIDENCE" in the "Truth" and "FAITH" in God.

I certainly don't believe correct statements about Absolute Reality is left to just anyone's opinion. Only God is the source of what is correct statements about Himself. I accept scripture as those totally correct statements that He has given about Himself as revealed in the absolute reality of the person of Christ. [In the original manuscripts.]

The only thing relative that I think I mentioned in the post is the relative nature of man's wisdom or the world's wisdom. This is if "Relative" means "existing or possessing a specified characteristic only in comparison to something else." The comparison is the worlds wisdom compared to God's wisdom.

So, I say again, Truth that is truth will correctly speak of absolute reality and it is from God Himself.

I may not be making any sense and am wide open to your thoughts about it. In fact, I'm open to being incorrect here.

I REALLY desire your thoughts here. And anyone else's.

Aussie John said...


Thank you for your response.

I agree with you when you say"... it is saying "You shall know [intimately be related to] the Truth [The One Who is Himself Truth.] and the One Who is Truth will set you free."

From the spiritual perspective, God IS truth revealed in Jesus Christ,who is the object of both faith, as well as truth, but there is a subjective element,to this as Kierkegaard acknowledges,"... seeking the truth means that the seeker himself is changed, so that he may become the place where the object of his search can be.

I love that!

A discussion on this subject would exhaust the time I have left to even consider the matter!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

That IS good.

When you offer a word of caution, I'm advised by my own mind and heart to heed it. I'm going to be careful in my thinking and continue to look at it all.

You're right..there are many important subjects for us to ponder. We can leave this one lest it become as useless as angels on pinheads.

I'm already on to other things in my post writing. Thanks for being a vital part.

traveller said...

Paul, I am responding to your request in the comments of the next blog posting. If this is not what you were referring to please correct me.

Your thoughts in this posting are quite solid. I would not disagree with anything just add some perspective on a couple of points.

First, while I believe the Bible does provide us truth that reflects reality, our understanding of it, as you allude to as well, is tainted by the very influences you mention. So, while the Bible gives us a truthful understanding of reality it is difficult for us to grasp it. This leads to much of the disputation over what the Bible is actually saying and as I have learned personally I need to be careful not to become too firm in some of my interpretations because the Holy Spirit always seems to be refining that understanding in surprising ways. Examples for me are my understanding of how women and men relate in the family, the church and other situations. Another example is my understanding of what "evangelism" is different today than earlier in my life. I certainly hope that these are more mature and accurate today than earlier in my life.

I heartily agree that this does lead to transformed lives when it happens but I must admit to feeling somewhat discouraged that we are corporately moving adequately in that direction. It may be because we are living in such a tumultuous time that it is difficult to see progress being made among Jesus followers.

Nevertheless, I think you have captured the idea quite well.

Anonymous said...

...For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known... - 1 Cor. 13.

I'm a history major and can without a doubt say that knowledge of all things is subjective in the mind of man. The Truth given by God is a part that we can know but only in part. Our understanding is limited by the world and body in which we live - God is not limited by either.

Absolute truth can only be known by Him that KNOWS every detail absolutely.

I. Parks