Foundational truth, guided by wisdom, is the only means by which an individual – and hence a society – will weather the inevitable storms of change. Unfortunately there is a strong movement in these times to sell the idea that truth is relative. We hear this stated oftentimes, in various ways, but few people ever stop to evaluate what that actually means. It might sound good, perhaps even intellectual. Acceding to such a philosophy makes us feel we are connected with the mainstream. Rarely do we hear opposing views to dissuade us. But, truth is NOT relative. Truth apart from wisdom is a dangerous thing. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
The very definition of truth (‘a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality’; Merriam-Webster) negates any idea that it can be relative. There are some areas where there is little disagreement on that. For example, does anyone believe that 2 + 2 does not equal 4? No, there will be no argument with that because it can be seen in concrete form, and there is no moral dilemma associated with it. Each person’s fingerprints are unique. DNA is unique. The laws of thermodynamics are repeatable. In fact, the very essence of research into the physical worlds of health, science, physics, etc, is based on repeatable norms and baseline truths. Rather than dispute these basics the scientist/mathematician accepts them as foundational truth and builds from them.
Why, then, do we so quickly jump to the conclusion that truth applied to life can be relative in certain areas, e.g. morality and the realm of faith? Most, if not all historians agree that moral decline precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire. However, social commentators in the twentieth century have viewed the contemporary decline in morals within Western civilizations as proof we are evolving to a more enlightened state. If God is the Creator of everything (a foundational truth that man has denigrated over the past three hundred years) then every aspect of His axiomatic Self is foundational and fixed. “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens.” (Proverbs 3:19) There must, by definition, be foundational truths that are not variable over time and cultures and generations.
In Western civilization the student has become so full of himself/herself, that he/she questions the very foundations of the knowledge gained from the teacher. Our ego and associated pride create hindrances to accepting the truth of the ages and to realizing just how simple foundational truth can be. “The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.” (Simone Weil) Perhaps we have so dissected the Word of God that it no longer bears resemblance to His authorship, and we then, arrogantly, say we have proven there to be error. The classic conundrum!
The drive to justify self-centered, amoral and immoral lifestyles is gaining so much momentum that any truth standing in the way must be disavowed and discredited. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
A genuine seeker of truth, regardless the venue, remains objective and open to evaluate whatever she finds. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, emphasis mine). This could be considered a challenge by Almighty God. It is one that a large number of people have accepted and have proven true. James, the brother of Jesus, said this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
Don’t be afraid of truth. Don’t allow closed minds to deprive you of an abundant life available through a relationship with the only living God. Seek Him through His Word, the Bible. His Spirit will be your guide