With this post we renew one of our foundational reasons for LIFE MATTERS, answers to good questions about God, the Bible, Christianity, and spiritual things. It is in response to a question asked of me lately by a Christian who was constantly being challenged about his statements regarding God, ‘HOW DO I KNOW SOMETHING IS TRUE?” There is more to come. – STEVE
In the battles over faith people have often made strident statements, filled with emotion and passion. On the surface those statements seem to be “faith-filled,” but are often more humanistic than biblical.
You have heard the phrase, “GOD said it. I believe it. That settles it.” It’s great rhetoric but lousy theology. This “corrected” billboard is far more accurate. It is true because God said it. It’s truth doesn’t not depend upon your experience of it or your agreement with it.
“To come to faith on the basis of experience alone is unwise, though not so foolish as to reject faith altogether because of lack of experience … the quality of a Christian’s experience depends on the quality of his faith, just as the quality of his faith depends in turn on the quality of his understanding of God’s truth.” ― Os Guinness
In our postmodern world, experience has become the validation for truth. It is true only when I have experienced it for myself. More particularly, I will submit to its truth if my experience has taught me that it is good for me or good for my friends. That’s why something can be true for one person and not true for another, and the person who has not experienced it as true can discount its authoritativeness.
There is objective truth. That is truth that has a reality of its own. It is not dependent upon conditions or perceptions or adherents. Mount Kiliminjaro is a mountain. Some clever person might say, “I can make Mount Kiliminjaro, but in reality, even their best engineering genius can only make replica of Mount Kiliminjaro. There is only one such entity, one such reality.
That is objective truth.
Someone might say, “I don’t live in the neighborhood and therefore, Mt. Kiliminjaro is of little meaning to me.” That is a subjective statement. Subjective statements strain at rising to the level of truth. Trust me, if Mt. Kiliminjaro would explode tonight in a great cataclysmic event–it would affect weather patterns, the earth’s gravitational pull, and may even kill your brother-in-law with a piece of debris as his plane flies in the western Pacific. Choosing to believe that it is not a mountain would not change it’s impact upon you.
Christians build their lives, or should, upon objective truth. Truth like– God is God and not like men. God is good. God is faithful. When they base their lives on objective truth and do not try to validate its reliability by how they feel about it, they are on solid ground.
And so God’s Word makes objective statements (not the writer’s opinion) based on the objective nature of God. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8.28) is not suspended because some things that happen to us are bad or because we can’t see what He has done for us lately. Romans 8.28 becomes foundational for us because it is based on the objective reality that God is good.
Deuteronomy 7.9 speaks an objective reality upon which realities like Romans 8.28 are given even further validity. “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
Beware of believing that truth – objective truth – reality, can be dismissed by subjective experience.