We have many definitions of truth; but I am concerned with only one – the one with a capital T: Truth as defined by . . . what?
Biblically, there are many variations of Truth:
- Truth is a quality used to describe utterances that are from the Lord
- Jesus describes himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life
- For Paul, Truth is the message of God
- The Synoptic Gospels scarcely use the word truth at all, while in John it is an extremely significant term referring to Jesus and his ministry.
- In the Pastoral Epistles, truth takes on the characteristics of a repository, or official body of beliefs, of which the church is the faithful steward and guardian.
- Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th century Christian Mystic and the founder of the Christian Science religion, describes Truth in one word: God.
- The Gospel of Thomas professes that the person seeking Truth will be nourished by God and will fashion wings to fly.
- The Gospel of Truth declares that Truth is the Word of God.
Many variations and many interpretations of Truth are available to us, depending on our faith, our religion, our depth of understanding, and our willingness to step outside of our own intellect to examine our relations with God, Jesus, ourselves, and others.
Are any of these wrong? Are some more valuable than others? Is there more than one definition of Truth with a capital T?
The answer is not easy; simply put, the answer is yes and no. Not one of the above examples is completely false; yet, not one is completely true. Where are you in your relationship with God? Or Jesus? This will determine where your definition of Truth comes from. All are similar, yet all are complex.
If we follow the teachings of Jesus, following Him as his apostles did, then we can accept to most restrictive of the above definitions; however, the most restrictive will ultimately be the one allowing us the most freedom. Can we do this in our decadent society, the society ruled by the desire to succeed, to be wealthy, to give up all other desires to provide for our families, giving them educations, cars, houses, money? In our mundane world, Truth is virtually impossible.
We can only do our best to attempt to understand Truth. Jesus’s life is filled with teaching and healing; but it is also filled with not a rejection, but a reformation of practical religion. He felt that Judaism 2000 years ago had strayed significantly from God’s word. If He were alive today, he would say the same about Christianity. Jesus preached on the value of all life, God’s love of all people, and man as the shepherd of God’s creation, Earth.
Have we failed?
Throughout my life, I have wavered greatly in my acceptance of Truth, from abject rejection, to blind acceptance, and finally, to a committed understanding of what my relationship with the Truth is – what my relationship with Jesus and God is. My definition of Truth, my acceptance of the various versions stated above, is that I can truthfully accept all as necessities. My greatest problem with these is the value of the church. The church can be supportive and the church can be the most damaging force in the recognition of God’s truth. I will only draw on the experiences of that German religious scholar, Martin Luther, who recognized that depths that the Christian church had fallen, when he posted his 95 Theses. His objections mirrored the objections that Jesus held 2000 years ago.
Don’t take this the wrong way; I believe in the sanctity of the church. I have a personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I can do without the interference of the church in my own relationship – until I need it. I need the fellowship of other travelers. Fear and indecision can torment me on a daily basis; the community offered by the church is irreplaceable, when considering how lonely and abandoned we sometimes feel. I love my personal relationship with God, but being only human, I sometimes try to second guess my inner demons. Just as Jesus did in his 40 days in the desert. If this was a human frailty for Jesus, I can accept this as my own human frailty. After all, the journey we are on must be shared with others to fully realize the beauty of Life. The beauty of the Life as given by God.