Thursday, June 20, 2013

All Truth is God’s Truth

The quote, “All truth is God’s truth,” attributed first to Augustine, implies that truth should be easy to come by. If this world belongs to God, then all that is truly true must square with God, and with His truth. But for practical purposes, our search for truth is not that simple. Many people are out there giving answers. We have to ask, “Whom can we trust?”

Our brains easily opt for true/false solutions and easy answers. What is true stands in white over against that which is false, which is painted in black. This absolute dichotomy leads to a “right answer” kind of faith that tends to trust Wikipedia more than we trust God’s Word. It’s quicker and more concise. 

So two kids are taking a true/false quiz. One student struggles with a question, because the “true” answer would be basically right, except in maybe just a couple of cases. But if it’s not true in every case, then it’s not absolutely true, and so must be false. He marks “F.” Another student has no clue, and since he has marked “F” on the 3 previous items, he throws down a “T.” The teacher judges “T” to be the right answer, but who really knows the “truth”? Point: a lot of people get the right answer and don’t know the truth.

A Hebrew (rather than Greek) approach to truth has more to do with reliability than with right answers. You go to a wise man for advice, not just to get right answers, but because he is wise, and because he has shown his wisdom through a pattern of living and advising. It is not that he does not give right answers. But his advice is more dense, contextualized, and properly applied.

When John 1:14 tells us that the Word (Jesus) is “full of grace and truth,” we are not being told that he is nice and has right answers. We are being told that he initiates a covenantal relationship in which he is completely faithful and even undertakes for the failings of his covenant partners (grace), and that he is perfectly faithful in all that he does to fulfill the covenant and in all the promises that he makes to us (truth). He rarely gives easy, right answers. But we can trust him, lean on him and learn from him, and follow him.

No comments: