Truth

Having already argued that emergents think objectivity is as real as a unicorn, they will also concur with this statement: God is truth. Though never directly quoted in scripture, I think we can safely assume that this statement is a consensus opinion among Christians.

Most persons who follow God would without reluctance affirm the assertion that “all truth is God’s truth.” That is, whatever is true necessarily proceeded from God; truth doesn’t come from anywhere else. So if it’s true, it’s definitely from God. Truth and God are somewho aligned, maybe even one and the same. You might say, God equals truth and truth equals God. To those who affirm that statement, we might next ask, Can you describe God in words? Most emphatically and in all humility, most Christians would respond in chorus, “No!” — for human language is limited, finite, and altogether incapable of fully describing God. Few human beings would be so arrogant as to presume to have the ability to definitively sum up God. God’s too big. We can’t get our arms around God, so to speak. Indeed, to claim that we can fully sum up God is idolatry, if not outright blasphemy.

And yet, surprisingly, many people claim an ability to fully articulate truth,and when someone questions their ability to do so, they get rather feisty. But there’s a disconnect here. The same one who claims that God is truth and that God cannot be fully described cannot go on to claim that truth can be fully described. What emergents claim is that talk of truth demands that same humility as talk of God.

But alas, we rarely hear Christians talk about truth with humility. Instead, we hear well-meaning Christians who would never say the same about God proclaiming that truth can be circumscribed, domesticated, and subsequently proclaimed to the unsuspecting masses.

Tony Jones, from The New Christians

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5 comments on “Truth

  1. claire says:

    Allow an oldtimer to counter rationalism with a hymn of love: “…but, I, when i saw you, I loved you; I decided not to deprive you of My graces, but neither of My Cross….hardly were you reborn when My Spirit brought you to cry out: “Abba!” overwhelmed with joy, My Spirit, together with Me and the Father, blessed you thrice and immediately upon this, assembled the Courts of Heaven and said to them: “We shall win great honour from Weakness….”

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  2. I humbly offer this reminder: That talk of God/Truth of any kind be tempered with fact of the remarkably universal human instinct to “desire,” “wish for,” “want,” etc. The habit of longing. My point: eliminate “longing/desire” and you eliminate God/Truth. What do we most long for, most desire? Immortality. Eliminate mortality, eliminate desire. Eliminate desire, eliminate God.

    Read Claire’s hymn above. The subtext? Desire, desire, desire, desire. God will save me from death.

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    • Bill says:

      You touch on some fascinating subjects. It seems to me that the desire to continue living is not limited to humans, but is innate in all living things. Eliminate desire and you’d eliminate life itself. What distinguishes humans from other animals, it seems to me, is not so much “desire” (which all animals have), but a particular desire to understand origins, meaning and purpose. We seem to be hardwired to seek to connect in some way to a greater force that binds all things together. Theists would say it is part of our nature to seek God and atheists would say we have filled gaps in our knowledge by inventing God.

      The concept of immortality of an individual soul is not universal to all religions and is a fairly recent development. The authors of much of the Bible, for example, would have found it to be ridiculous and likely blasphemous. It seems to have entered into Christianity and Judaism from Plato and Hellenistic thought. For tens of thousands of years humans have desired knowledge of God without necessarily desiring immortality (perhaps because the concerns of just staying alive every day were sufficient for them).

      I really enjoy your thoughtful comments. In a time when any claims of absolute truth are viewed with suspicion (rightfully so, in my opinion), Jones’ point seems to be that it should be natural for theists/Christians to be humble about claims to know “truth,” in light of the close connection they would acknowledge between truth and God.

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  3. claire says:

    the ‘hymn of love’ was symbolic language…. representative of Truth; the Truth being, He brings us to Him by loving condescension, not by rod nor voice…

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