How Do I Know What Is True?
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
What is truth? This question was once asked of Jesus Christ by a man named Pontius Pilate. The scene was a Roman courtroom. Christ was being tried on charges of sedition, of trying to overthrow the Roman government. It was a strained situation that prompted the question about truth. Pontius Pilate was a governor in the land of Israel. His office was political and had been purchased by power maneuvers. During his reign, truth had been irrelevant in his political conquest. Bribery, graft and corruption, linked with murder and violence, had been tools of Pontius Pilate in maintaining Roman supremacy. Now Pilate raises the philosophical question, “What is truth?”
One can readily understand his quest for truth. Had truth been in his grasp he would have possessed that what men have been seeking since the dawn of humanity. These words, “What is truth?” found neither their beginning nor ending with Pilate. Several hundred years before Pilate, there were the Greek philosophers who spent their lives seeking truth, and today, centuries later, some still seek truth. We have made tremendous strides down the corridors of knowledge, but the search for truth continues. The scientist seeks to know the truth about life in outer space. The philosopher wants to know if truth is relative or absolute. The sociologist searches for the truth about ridding society of poverty and inequality. The economist desires to find truth about meeting the needs of both the rich and the poor.
Defining truth is among the most important issues of life today. One dictionary attempts to define truth by saying that it corresponds to reality. In other words, it is what actually exists. Is it not logical that to find truth we should turn to the One who is the First Cause of all that exists? Plato talked about the “Demiurge.” Aristotle spoke of an “Unmoved Mover”‑‑a force so great that nothing could be greater. We call Him God. Lloyd Morgan, the English zoologist, spoke of God as the “divine activity.” French philosopher Henri Bergson speaks of Him as the elan vital.
Whatever men call Him, if truth is that which corresponds to reality, surely the most important thing in life is to know the reality of the God of the Bible, The Almighty, the Creator of all things. The greatness of God in creation‑‑the greatness of His power in bringing to pass the reality of existence‑‑this has been self‑evident to all men from the dawn of humanity. The philosophers, the scientists, along with the heathen and the superstitious, have realized that God manifested His power in creation. However, to some, God was only a creative power, a force that created.
But the true God is not merely a force. He is not merely a philosophical concept. Neither is God a “What”‑‑an impersonal “It”. He is both spirit and person, and He has revealed Himself to men through the person of His son, Jesus Christ. His revelation to men came through the loving act of sending Jesus Christ to earth, God in human flesh.
The story of God’s revelation to humankind is contained in an infallibly inspired Guide to Life. We call it the Bible. You can know God through Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “He who has known Me, knows the Father.”
Resource reading: John 17:1-19