By David Welch
While the first digital connection in 1916 was between two locations, the Internet has since exploded into an informational super nova. Unfortunately (and fortunately when considering censorship), this information is pushed unfiltered to computers, news feeds, laptops, and even main stream media sources. Social media, specifically Twitter, has exponentially influenced the spread of misinformation. A study conducted by an MIT PhD research student, Soroush Vosoughi, found that “falsehoods were 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth….” So how do we know what is true? In the age of post-modernism (the philosophical worldview that truth is relative), “what is true for you is not always true for me.” The reasoning behind this perspective is fun to explore but rhetorical laws degrade the plausibility almost immediately; “there is no absolute truth” becomes self-defeating.
While not exhaustive, I’ve arranged characteristics of God’s absolute truth in five easy to remember areas: truth is timeless, revealing, universal, transformative, and hopeful.
Truth is timeless. Unlike humans that recognize time as linear (punctiliar), truth is not bound by any specific point in time outside of its occurrence; once true, always true, or wasn’t true to begin with. God’s essence (His truth) is timeless and unaffected by the ebb and flow of existence: But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8, NIV).
Truth is not only timeless but is revealing. Objectively, truth reveals not only itself, but the realities of our world. Has the earth always revolved around the sun? Of course! But truth revealed itself to mankind and changed the way that we (the creation) interact with the cosmos. Jesus promised a helper to reveal this same truth to mankind saying, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).
Truth is also universal. My personal favorite aspect of truth is that truth is true whether I believe it or not. Truth is not situationally dependent nor is it determined on a case-by-case basis. Truth is truth when it can be applied universally to all of mankind. The favorite memorization scripture John 3:16 goes “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The truth is available for all to see, experience, and know universally to all that seek it.
Truth is transformative. Truth changes the game. Truth will resonate and disrupt the very understanding of one’s moral fiber. The apostle Paul encouraged believers to understand that the truth changes the outward appearance and to be ready to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). The great theologian (my own opinion) C.S. Lewis experienced an incredible moral change from an atheist to an apologist of the Christian God. He says “[m]y argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I gotten this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
Last, but not least, truth gives hope. In Jeremiah 29:11, God declares that there is not only a plan for us as His people, but a plan to give hope and a future: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jesus of Nazareth says that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Our hope rests on His promise and provides a life focused on the end of the race, not the beginning. The adage “it’s hard to drive a car forward while looking through the rearview mirror” proves true.
When the principles of truth are applied to our lives, we can begin to sift out the falsehoods, the falsities, the fallacious, the fiction, the inaccurate, the untrustworthy, the deceitfulness, and the hypocrisy of the world.
David Welch is the students’ pastor at Rocky Hill Community Church. He may be reached by calling 559-623-5063.
Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.