• Dr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

The Truth of Truth!

God is true. John 3:33bNKJV


Question 143 of the Larger Catechism asks, “Which is the ninth commandment?” It gives the answer, “The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” The ninth commandment forbids false testimony and therefore by implication it necessarily demands that we tell the truth. We are responsible to tell the truth because we know truth.  Four times the Old Testament describes our God as “a God of truth,” (e.g. Deut. 32:4; Ps.  31:5). Various Scriptures state that God is the only true God and the One who is true. He loves the truth and hates the lie. He acts only according to truth and despises every false way. He abounds in truth; all His ways are truth; His truth endures forever. So also the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth (John 14:6), and the one who is true (Rev. 3:7). He is full of grace and truth. He came to bear witness to the truth. He is the true vine, the true witness, and the one who is called Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11). And finally, the Holy Spirit is repeatedly called the “Spirit of truth,” (e.g. John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). In fact it is even said about Him “the Spirit is the truth,” (1 John 5:6). The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth, for He only speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth.


Obviously truth is very important to God and our understanding of God. What about you? Is truth important to you? How often do you think about the truth? On trial for His life, Jesus Christ said, “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice,” (John 18:37b). I’m convinced that many in our culture today would agree with the cynical response Pontius Pilate immediately put to our Lord, “What is truth?” That Pilate was being a cynic is indicated by the text which then records “And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews,” (John 18:38). Pilate was not looking for an answer from Jesus. Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge governing the whole region of Judea and all its people, either did not believe in or was not interested in truth.


Is “truth” just a made up word without objective content? And even if there is such a thing as “truth,” is it knowable? Is it the same for everyone? Perhaps like never before in history, our age is an age of skepticism with regard to the truth. The reigning philosophy of our day – post modernism – boldly declares that there is, and in fact more than that, there can be no objective truth for mankind. The argument goes something like this: every person is bound by his own subjectivity: his own biases, opinions, and presuppositions; and so every person necessarily sees things according to his own viewpoint. Therefore, what is “true” for you is not necessarily “true” for me and vice versa, ad nauseam (emphasis on the nauseam). Of course for post modernism’s view of truth to be “true” for everyone (which is the whole point of its argument), then there is such a thing as objective truth which is true and knowable for everyone, which then means that post modernism is false!


Post modernism, as a philosophy and world view, displays the utter folly of our world today. It is inherently self-contradictory and therefore absurd. For if it is true for everyone that there can be no truth that is true for everyone, then what is true for everyone is that there can be nothing that is true for everyone. I don’t know about you, but I’m truly getting a headache thinking about a truth the content of which is: truth isn’t and cannot be true! Truly post modernism confirms the truth of God’s Word, “Professing to be wise, they became fools… because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened,” (Rom. 1:22, 21).


Beloved, the simple answer to the question, “What is truth?” is: truth is that which is real. What is real is true. What really happened is what truly happened. And human beings have minds and bodies which necessarily, accurately apprehend, and therefore, know the truth. And God will hold us responsible for that knowledge. Let us then not be liars. Let us affirm the truth of truth!

A member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)

Reformed doctrine. Reverent worship. Real life.

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