Sunday, August 16

What is truth?


This post grows out of a response to the long comment chain from this post a couple of weeks ago.

Pilate asks Jesus, "What is truth?"

To me it is an ever-deepening and growing awareness of the truths of our Lord.

Truth is like a house.

We start by getting to know the house by entering through the main door into the foyer. Here we admire the prints on the walls, hang our coat on the rack, and wipe our feet on the door mat.

Just about the time we think we have figured out the house based on our experience and observations of the foyer, our host leads us into the living room of the house. There we discover even more wonders of the house as we sit in the soft chairs, walk on the plush carpet, and admire the flower arrangements on the coffee table and mantel.

With our visit to the living room we are even more sure we know and understand what the house is all about. We begin to tell our friends about all we have seen and experienced based on the foyer and living room.

One of our friends says what he liked about the house was the fried chicken and mashed potatoes he had enjoyed in the dining room.

Fried chicken? Mashed potatoes? Dining room? For one not yet introduced to the dining room and kitchen areas of the house, this sounds suspect from our foyer/living room point of view.

I begin to deny the "truth" of my friends fried chicken experience. I lovingly try to correct him in his error and restore him to the FULL TRUTH as was revealed to me in the foyer and living room parts of the house.

While this is certainly a crude and maybe flawed illustration of how we understand truth, it does reveal how many of us interpret truth based upon our experience of a portion of the whole.

Back 20 years ago, as a new missionary to Guayaquil, a national friend invited a bunch of us over for a Sunday evening parillada (Bar-B-Que). I was horrified and disappointed that the invitation was for a Sunday evening at 7:00pm. Why? That, of course, was the same time as the Sunday evening church service. What would God think of us having a parillada when we all should be sitting in church? Sunday was the Lord's Day, not a day for parilladas and friends.

I remember sitting in church that Sunday evening totally convinced that I was right and my worldly brothers were wrong for going ahead with the parillada. I had understood the truth of church through my limited exposure as something I had learned in the "foyer." Since the kitchen, patio, Bar-b-que grill and dining room portions of this truth had not yet been revealed to me, I was quite certain that my paradigm of church was right, and that my unspiritual brothers were quite immature in their worldly ways. It was up to me to correct their "dining room theology" with my "foyer theology".

Isn't truth an ever-deepening revelation as we allow the Lord to lead us further into his "house of truth?" Just when we think we have finally discovered the truth of one of God's mysteries, He leads us through a new door into another room of the house, revealing yet more wonders which add to our understanding of that truth.

It seems to me a lot of the arguing, and divisiveness going on--especially amongst fellow believers--is that we argue our case for truth out of our limited exposure to only a portion of the whole truth. Those who have journeyed through only the foyer and living room think those enjoying fried chicken in the dining room are way out of bounds.

But could it be that the riches of Christ Jesus, the author of all truth, go so much deeper than most of us have experienced to date?

What do your think? I welcome your thoughts, observations, etc.

7 comments:

Gary Snowden said...

Guy,

I really like the analogy of the house of truth and I think that there's a great deal of truth in what you suggest regarding our taking the partial comprehension of truth that we've experienced and making that the norm and the limit for what God can and should do in dealing with everyone. Some really good food for thought here.

GuyMuse said...

Gary,

It seems like more and more people are trying to make their versions of truth to be the version of truth for everybody. I don't necessarily deny their understanding, but sometimes there is more to the picture than what appears on the surface. Another thing is how quick we are to judge others beliefs without knowing the background, context in which they are speaking.

GuyMuse said...

Gary,

It seems like more and more people are trying to make their versions of truth to be the version of truth for everybody. I don't necessarily deny their understanding, but sometimes there is more to the picture than what appears on the surface. Another thing is how quick we are to judge others beliefs without knowing the background, context in which they are speaking.

Randel said...

Guy,
What is the difference between your house analogy and the parable of the blind men and the elephant that the relativists and pluralists have been using for years to tell us that there is no such thing as absolute truth?
Randel

GuyMuse said...

Randel,

I see you've given me the topic for a new blog post: "What is Absolute Truth?" :)

Jesus is the absolute truth. All things are summed up in Him. To know Him is to know truth. Eternity is about exploring the depths of Jesus Christ (paraphrase of Jn.17) getting to know Him more and more.

I certainly do not know all there is to know about the wonders of our Lord. Each day brings me into new truths and beauties of Him. While I may know some of the most important things to know about Him (eg. He is the only way to the Father, He loves us, the power of the cross; His death, burial, resurrection, sits at the right hand of the throne of the Father, is coming again, etc.) I certainly do not know all there is to know about depths of Jesus Christ. Using my house analogy, I dare say, I know only a small portion of all there is to know of Christ's glorious "house of truth."

Hope this helps clarify where I am coming from. Do you know all there is to know about Christ, the absolute truth of all the mysteries of Christ?

A. Amos Love said...

Guy

What is truth? Hmmm?

What is popular is not always truth.
What is truth is not always popular.

If it lifts up Jesus, rejoice.
It’s probably a truth.

If it lifts up man. beware.
It’s probably a deception.


Here ‘s a riddle about
Facts and Truth.

Amos was walking down the street one day,

And he bumped into his old friend John.

Johnny asked him, Hey how are you doing?

I heard you were in the hospital.

Amos paused for a moment and thought.

Should I speak the facts or the truth?


Is there a difference between

“The facts” and “the truth?”


Keep asking those questions.

GuyMuse said...

Amos,

You ask, Is there a difference between “The facts” and “the truth?” I think so. Truth encompasses more. Truth goes much deeper than simple facts. Facts are important, but they aren't the whole truth!