"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thous sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all." (John 18:37-38)
If there is one word that is most in need of definition AND results in creating the most hypocrites it is the word "truth".
To use this word and not be able to define it OUGHT to immediately disqualify a person from representing Jesus...yet, I haven't found ANY "Christian" authors or leaders who can define this word.
In his "What is truth?" podcast, Chuck Colson says "truth is the foundational issue from which everything else proceeds"....yet he couldn't define truth, even when I wrote him twice. Neither could Dr. Dobson, Greg Boyd, Nancy Pearsey, etc.
Worse is there are some people who say there are such things as "half-truths" and "TRUE truths"!
Why is it so hard to define "truth"!
Why do "Christian" authors and leaders continue to tell us what they believe is TRUE, yet they can't explain WHY what they believe is true UNLESS they know the definition of TRUTH?
In fact, Colson and Dobson condemn people for NOT believing truth is objective, BUT are unable to objectively define TRUTH!
Also, there is NO WAY to understand the enemy WITHOUT defining TRUTH!
This week we will resolve the apparent contradictions in the Bible and get a non-contradictory definition of truth...this will put you ahead of 99.99% of the "Christian" leaders, authors, theologians, teachers, and believers. You will realize that almost ALL of the doctrine on the enemy that you've been taught is contradictory and WRONG.
"And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." (John 4:6)
The devil knows the Bible.
The Bible is in him.
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44)
Jesus says the devil CAN'T speak truth because there is no truth IN him.
Before you come up with a contradictory explanation about how the devil can speak things not in his heart:
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34)
The devil spoke the Bible out of the abundance of his heart!
Jesus goes on to say after the verse stating there is no truth in the devil:
"And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God." (John 8:45-47)
Jesus prayed to God:
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)
"Thy word is truth" AND the scriptures are in the heart of the devil AND the devil spoke God's word AND in the devil there is no truth at all!
Now you see why we need a non-contradictory definition of truth.
Now you see why "Christian" authors and leaders FLEE from this discussion.
(I will show you their responses.)
Now you see why when these apparent contradictions are removed YOU will be FAR ahead of "Christian" authors, leaders, teachers, theologians, and believers.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)
How do you know if it is the Spirit speaking to you or your flesh?
How do you know if it is truth or not IF you don't have a non-contradictory definition of TRUTH?
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
We defined "life" in a previous post...something tells me that it is connected to "truth".
Summary: It is not enough to say to people to believe in the truth OR follow the Spirit if you don't know how to objectively determine the truth...and this can't be done without a non-contradictory definition.
Last summer, Dr. James Dobson and Chuck Colson both did a show about how today's sub-25 year old Christians don't believe the Bible and Christianity are true. Both shows occurred in the same week.
Dr. Dobson's show talked about how he met with the 100 Christian "leaders of tomorrow"...these were supposed to be the "cream of the crop". When he asked the group how they could prove the Bible is true, Dr. Dobson lamented that only one person raised their hand...and his answer was "because I believe it is". Dr. Dobson was disappointed that this group didn't know how to use the Bible to prove the Bible was true. Dr. Dobson concluded that these leaders WANT truth to be relative.
I wrote Dr. Dobson the following:
On a recent show, the topic of proving the Bible is truth was presented.
There are two key points:
1. Unless the Bible can be proven to be truth apart from using the Bible, then we are no better than the other religions.
If the Bible can’t objectively proven to be truth, then it is legitimate (I’d even say “honest”) to state that “truth is relative”.
2. I think we do a great disservice when we interpret this answer to mean “these young leaders WANT truth to be relative”.
If we believe the Bible is truth because we WANT it to be, then we are no different than other religions.
"With regard to the actual substance of your concern, I can assure you that your friends here at Focus on the Family share your interest in developing more effective ways of demonstrating the logical and empirical consistency of the Christian worldview, particularly with references to history, science, and other non-biblical evidence. You are to be commended on your efforts to tackle this problem from a specifically scientific point of view. We would simply like to point out that you are neither the first nor the only Christian author to do this. Indeed, your approach has been central to the work of the best and most persuasive Christian apologists in church history."
The response went on to list other people who have been TRYING to develop MORE effective ways...
What is Dr. Dobson's definition of “truth”?
Mr. Colson's show dealt with an exercise where Christian sub-25 year olds were shown a slide show. When a word representing a concept was shown, the group individually indicated whether the concept was "opinion" or "truth". Mr. Colson was disappointed at the low percentage of believers who felt the Bible and Christianity were "opinion".
Again, if Mr. Colson CAN'T objectively show why the concept is TRUTH, then the HONEST answer is OPINION, otherwise he is asking them to believe something is OBJECTIVE truth WITHOUT OBJECTIVE proof.
Last summer I wrote Mr. Colson asking for his definition of TRUTH. They told me to listen to a podcast called "What is Truth?". I did and wrote the following:
"I checked out the podcast "What is Truth?" talk. Thank you so much!
Mr. Colson says "truth is the foundational issue from which everything else proceeds".
He also talks about "moral truth" and how "Christians don't get it" because they say they are Christians yet don't believe in objective truth. However, I would say these people are actually honest because they won't believe in something that can't be explained...otherwise they could just as easily believe another religion.
Yet, Mr. Colson doesn't define truth...and without this definition, he can't fault anyone for not believing in objective truth...because HE can't define it in an objective fashion. He focuses on defending it...and never defines it.
His explanation of the Christian Worldview is the exact worldview I share in the preface of my book when I show a worldview that has too many holes...then I spend the rest of the book showing the non-contradictory worldview, how comprehensive it is, and how it is Biblical and Christian.
I even define truth in an objective manner...and teenagers get it and out think PhD theologians, pastors, and religious speakers.
I highly suggest that someone get in contact with me before my message gets to a bigger audience and I end up using this podcast as an example of WHY Christians have been ineffective in presenting a Christian worldview to the secular world...
...afterall, truth is the foundational issue and Mr. Colson can't define it...
...what did we think the result would be?,
"Thank you for contacting BreakPoint and Mr. Colson once again. We appreciate your comments and desire for Mr. Colson's feedback to your questions and we hope you can appreciate his iniability to respond personally. Now that he is 75 years of age, our Board of Directors has placed strict guidelines on his availability and, more importantly, his personal desire to focus this season of life on writing about and teaching Christian worldview to the next generation. He is currently writing his next book and hopes you understand his need to stay focused on this important ministry and to limit his correspondence."
TRUTH is something people want to say they have...yet they can't define it objectively...so how can they objectively say they have it?
Tomorrow we will see the definition of TRUTH and find out how it removes apparent contradictions from the Bible AND PROVES our "Christian" leaders and authors don't know what they believe.
Weeks ago, I asked Greg Boyd his definitions for "facts" and "truth". He ducked the question both times.
What is your definition of "facts"?
What is your definition of "truth"?
Notice, the word "fact" (and its derivatives: facts, factual, etc) is NOT in the Bible...
The Bible tells us to speak "truth"...is this different than "facts"?
"Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good." (Proverbs 14:22)
DEFINITION OF TRUTH
Some people say, "Truth is reality". Actually, reality applies to things that exist. AW Tozer had this to say about reality:
"I mean that which has existence apart from any idea any mind may have of it, and which would exist if there were no mind anywhere to entertain a thought of it. That which is real has being in itself. It does not depend upon the observer for its validity."
Notice, there are things that are real, that exist, AND that aren't truth: devil, lies, errors, unrighteousness, etc. Things CAN be real and NOT be true. Likewise, things can be true and not real: dreams, parables, etc. So truth must be something more than reality.
Another definition people use is "truth is facts". The Bible never mentions "facts". It mentions "truth". So either we AREN'T supposed to be factual OR truth is something greater that includes facts.
Truth is certainly factual. However, the devil spoke facts to Jesus when he quoted the Bible, but we saw that Jesus says there is no truth in him AT ALL (John 8:44). So truth must be something more than simply "facts".
Truth has to be different in a way that goes beyond the actual words or concepts stated because we know the Bible is truth, yet it wasn't truth when the devil quoted it. The only thing left is the purpose of the words. Truth must depend on the intent of the user of the facts.
What was the devil's intent? It was to take Jesus off His goal. It was to make Jesus unprofitable; that's ALWAYS the goal of the devil! The devil quoted facts to Jesus. Facts are "good". However, the devil wanted to use facts in order to destroy. He wanted to use a "good" object for an "evil" purpose. Once again, we get this picture of the problem with dualism. Evil takes "good" attributes and uses them for the wrong purpose - to destroy.
The devil uses facts to steal, kill, and destroy.
Jesus is THE truth because He uses facts to create.
God's Word is truth because when God speaks it, it results in creation. (The word in the Greek for "word" in John 17:17 applies to spoken words.)
The PROOF that you are following the Spirit of Truth is whether something of value is created in the Long Term.
How can we define truth in a non-contradictory manner? Truth is "facts that create in the Long Term".
In order to create something of value in the Long Term, you must use facts. You can't create anything of value in the Long Term by using things that aren't factual. For instance, you couldn't solve a math word problem by using calculations or arithmetic operations that are incorrect.
When someone quotes a fact, it is only truth if the fact creates something of value in the Long Term. For example, the Bible is fact. However, the Bible is ONLY truth when it is used to create. This is why it is important to understand what the Bible MEANS, not just what it says. People who quote the Bible with an incorrect meaning (intent) AND assert it as truth just because it is from the Bible are behaving in the SAME MANNER as the devil!
We all understand what the Bible says yet we still disagree. We disagree over what the Bible MEANS. Simple facts can oppose other facts. Simple facts can even contradict each other. Recall that we remove contradictions by taking a Big Picture view beyond the realm of the simple facts.
However, truth cannot oppose itself. Truth is non-contradictory. Truth is PROVEN with the four principles: contrastive thinking, non-contradiction, causality and growth.
This is why it is crucial to understand these principles and how to apply them intentionally. We already apply these principles perfectly to everyone EXCEPT ourselves. THIS guarantees we will get the OPPOSITE effects. This PROVES we are in the flesh. Knowing these principles and using them correctly puts you ahead of 99.99% of the "Christian" authors, leaders, teachers, believers, etc.
Long Term creation can ONLY occur with truth. We can say creation is an effect of truth. Since creation and profitability are interconnected, profitability is an effect of truth.
Here is another way to look at Truth:
Truth is a Right WHAT with a Right HOW/WHY.
A Fact is a Right WHAT.
The Right HOW/WHY is the cause of Profitability...the cause of something being created in the Long Term.
So another way of saying, "Truth is a Right WHAT with a Right HOW/WHY" is...
Truth is "facts (Right WHAT) that create in the Long Term (Right HOW/WHY)".
When someone quotes a Right WHAT, it is only Truth if it includes a Right HOW/WHY. Said another way...
When someone quotes a fact, it is only Truth if the fact (Right WHAT) creates something of value in the Long Term (because of the Right HOW/WHY). For example, the Bible is fact (Right WHAT). However, the Bible is only Truth when it is used to create (has the Right HOW/WHY) in the Long Term. This is WHY it is important to understand what the Bible MEANS, not just what it SAYS.
People who quote the Bible (WHAT) with an incorrect (Wrong HOW/WHY) meaning (intent) and assert it as Truth just because it is from the Bible are behaving in the same manner as the devil did when he tempted Jesus! WHAT they are stating may be correct, however, WHY and HOW they are stating it is Wrong. The proof is that it doesn’t create in the Long Term.
In fact, there is a common term that describes a Right WHAT with a Wrong (or no) HOW/WHY...DECEPTION!
Think about it, someone stating a Wrong WHAT is NOT going to DECEIVE you. Deception occurs when someone accepts a Right WHAT with a Wrong (or no) HOW/WHY! The enemy states a Right WHAT...with a Wrong (or no) HOW/WHY. Be careful...
We will look at more applications of this definition of truth tomorrow...
The quickest way to show a contradiction in someone else's definition of truth is to focus on honesty. For instance, you could tell your spouse how a specific movie star has a physical attribute that is more handsome or beautiful than your spouse. When your spouse becomes upset, all you would have to say is, "I'm just telling the truth."
Actually, you would be factual. It is ONLY truthful if it creates a value in the Long Term. The Bible doesn't require us to speak facts; it demands more of us. It tells us to speak truth.
Better yet, keep track of all the mistakes your pastor makes during a sermon. Then go up to him after each sermon (or e-mail him) and let him know all the mistakes he made. When he asks why you are doing this, tell him you are just telling the truth.
Most churches have gone through the process of listing their statement of beliefs. Almost all of the churches who do this list "TRUTH" or "HONESTY" as a core belief...without defining it. Just tell the pastor that you want to make sure you are being honest at all times.
The correct way of dealing with this is to define truth in a non-contradictory manner...a fact that creates in the Long Term. However, if a person doesn't define it this way, then the response to the previous two scenarios usually involves a rationalization for LYING. "Well sometimes it is good to lie."
Lying is the other topic that most quickly exposes contradictions in a person's definition of truth. What is lying? What are the effects of lying?
Lying is a intentional misstatement about reality.
Lying is NOT a FACT.
Lying is NOT truth.
Lying does NOT create in the Long Term.
When you lie to someone, you become THEIR slave.
When you lie to someone, you have faked reality for that person and now the burden of keeping up the appearance of that reality is YOURS. You MUST maintain this alternate version of reality for the person you lied to. This alternate version of reality is a worldview. So, you have basically created a contradictory worldview and the job you have just given yourself is maintainer of that worldview. You MUST constantly be on your guard against facts that would contradict YOUR worldview...NO ONE else is responsible...AND you are doing it purely for another person. You are a SLAVE. This will eventually wear you out.
A "white lie" is the WORSE lie!
A white lie attempts to create in the short-term...however the destruction is done in the Long Term. A blatant HOT or COLD lie can be disregarded in the short-term and little to no Long Term damage is done. A white lie is a LUKEWARM lie that does ALL its damage in the Long Term.
In the comments, Rahab was brought up as an example. In Joshua 2, Rahab lies about the location of the spies. It was her responsibility to fake this worldview...until the Israelites killed these leaders. Then Rahab didn't have to fake it any more. She states that she knows the Israelites are going to conquer the city.
Rahab's life was spared BECAUSE she put a scarlet cord in the window of her house. She could have lied, not put the scarlet cord in the window and STILL ended up dying.
Someone could say that her lie created the lives of the spies. However, the spies had their lives before she lied. Her lie didn't give the spies something they didn't already have. If the spies were caught and her lie got them released, then that would have created something.
Look carefully...Rahab's lie didn't CREATE anything of Long Term value that didn't already exist. It was not the CAUSE of creation. For instance, she is NOT the cause of them taking over the city. ACTUALLY, she is A cause of a lot of destruction...
LIFE is the ability to repair.
Repair occurs through CREATION.
When Jesus said He is the LIFE...He is the ultimate way to repair.
When Jesus said He is the TRUTH...He was telling us the REASON He is the ultimate way to repair: He is the ultimate source of creation.
Jesus said He is the WAY. What does WAY mean?
The definition for the word WAY in this passage is "progress, road, means, or journey". Jesus is the journey!
Our ability to make progress on our journey depends on a continual improvement in our interactions with Him. We need to continually let Him direct our actions. (GRACE) It is a process, not a one-time event. Jesus was able to be the ultimate LIFE and TRUTH because He continually let God direct His actions through GRACE. Through Jesus, all things were made...
Tomorrow we will see how this definition of truth explains the devil, eternal death, and how so many teachers misrepresent the devil.
Jesus says the devil is a murderer who seeks to destroy. The devil is evil.
We've seen that good creates.
We've seen that truth creates.
Since the devil doesn't have truth, he can't create.
The devil is actually more limited than what people represent, for instance: Does the devil have faith?
We saw that faith is a belief in something that can't be seen and/or something that hasn't happened yet.
Faith is proven in actions.
Faith is built on experience and understanding.
The devil definitely has experience.
He thousands of years of experience.
However, does the devil have understanding?
We saw that knowledge means a person knows facts.
Understanding is the ability to combine several facts in order to create new knowledge.
Wisdom is the actual choice.
Notice, the devil quoted facts (knowledge) to Jesus. In fact, the devil can only quote knowledge. The devil has no understanding. If he did, he would be able to create. The Bible says knowledge leads to pride. The Bible says in Ezekiel 28 that the devil fell because of pride.
Therefore, the devil doesn't have faith. He does not have profitable actions (wisdom). Why? He has no understanding. However, he has experience and knowledge.
We have the ability to understand. We have this ability to create because of God. If we believe it comes from ourselves, we are in pride. Notice, the devil ACTUALLY depends on God (through us) for understanding. The devil CAN'T predict the future...that is an act of creation. Everything the devil speaks of accurately is the present and the past. ONLY God (and us because of God) can predict the future.
The devil is not omnipresent. He cannot be more than one place at a time. People who say the devil himself is attacking them are pretty egotistical. What does the devil do?
The devil is EXTREMELY legalistic. He is CONSTANTLY in search of a defendant and a judge. The devil KNOWS the law. The law doesn't CREATE anything. Paul said the law is not sin...but it is used to prove sinfulness.
The devil KNOWS he cannot have the SAME person be defendant and judge. In the Bible, the devil DOESN'T make direct statements (accusations) to the person he's accusing. He makes accusatory statements ABOUT a defendant TO a judge.
If he speaks to the defendant, he asks questions or presents "IF/THEN" scenarios. When the devil tempted Jesus, it was with three IF/THEN statements. In Job, the devil is making statements ABOUT Job TO God. When people feel the devil is condemning them, they are wrong. What the devil does is ask a person a series of question to LEAD THEM to BECOME the JUDGE...that is, draw a conclusion.
The devil will ask you a series of questions to prove your guilt and stop just short of making the conclusion. WE MAKE THE CONCLUSION! THEN we tell everyone the devil is accusing us...to us! Wrong. When people realize THEY are the ones drawing the conclusion, they are better able to overcome condemnation...BECAUSE THEY are the ones judging and condemning themselves.
I'm AMAZED at how contradictory people are who get paid to teach us about God and the devil. People who say the devil has faith, is wise, or tells half-truths are proving their lack of understanding with their presentation of these contradictions.
We've seen that life is the ability to repair.
We've seen that repair ONLY occurs with creation.
Therefore repair occurs ONLY with truth.
Notice, people who have eternal life have the ability to repair...which means they will have access to truth. What about people who don't have eternal life?
It appears they won't have the ability to repair themselves, even though they will exist for eternity. In order for them not to be able to repair, they will not have the ability to create. This implies they will not be able to use truth.
But these people will KNOW truth. The Bible says every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord (Philippians 2:10,11), yet they won't be able to have eternal life. They will have knowledge of facts that COULD create. How will they be prevented from using truth?
What does it take to use truth? It takes thought. A person must choose to think. How will people be prevented from thinking about truth and creating? Remember, people have a free will. They can choose to think or not to think. God can't impose His Will on these people unilaterally. God always responds according to justice. God can't remove their brain or make them cease to exist (the soul is eternal). God can't wipe out their memory. This wouldn't be just. How can God justly prevent these people from thinking?
They will be tortured to the point they won't be able to think. Is this just? God uses justice to give these people what they have chosen. They didn't choose to value thinking during their time on earth, so they can be put in an environment that doesn't allow them to think.
When someone comes against us, our amygdala fires. This is an almond shaped neuro-structure in the front of the brain. It sends a signal to the adrenal glands to send out adrenaline. At this point, we cannot think. All we can do is fight or flight. All that is going to come out is what has been rehearsed in our hearts.
This is why it is important to take time and calm down before acting once we've been attacked. This is also why it is important to rehearse good behavior and watch movies, TV shows, and people who set a good example...because THAT is getting planted in our hearts as the way to respond to situations that we have never personally experienced.
At the end of the Bible, hell is cast into the lake of fire. The people who are in the lake of fire will be tortured to the point that their amygdala will constantly be firing and their brains will not work. A person in the lake of fire wouldn't even be able to think: "2+2=4".
God can't allow people into heaven who don't want to be there. This would violate the free will of the individual. People show their will through their actions. They express their desire to go to heaven when they choose to let God work through them. This is a process.
The basic skill needed is thinking. We are beings of volitional consciousness. We can choose to think or not to think. When people choose to understand, they are expressing their will they want to go pursue truth and grow rather than be comfortable.
How do people stay comfortable? They refuse to think. This is done in many ways. If a person's actions aren't driven by thought, then what is the cause of their actions? All that's left is their instinct and emotions. The Bible calls this the flesh. This refusal to think (understand) brings judgment on them and the only just way for them to spend eternity is not thinking.
Tomorrow I will do a short one day separate post that will set up next week's discussion about the role of truth in disagreements and arguments.
Michael asked a question about torture...here are excerpts from an article shortly after 9/11. Torture is defined as inflicting pain AND limiting a person's will. Inflicting pain causes the amygdala to fire a message to the adrenal glands. Adrenaline is secreted and the person wants to FIGHT or FLIGHT. When the person ISN'T allowed to FIGHT or FLIGHT, this is torture...and it physically damages the brain. The way to respond to torture is either HATE the torturer or EMPATHIZE with the torturer...that is to choose to FIGHT verbally OR choose to overcome the adrenaline and NOT FIGHT. Jesus did this on the cross!
Aletheion asked about biology now versus in eternity...I believe it is the same qualitatively. I believe how we are built now is emblematic of how we will be built after this world. Here are the excerpts:
The current theory is that torture not only harms the body, but it also corrupts the portion of the brain that screams at the body to fight back or flee — when the body is restrained and can do neither.
That function comes from the same section where sensory perception functions operate, so a new and destructive pattern of reactions to sounds, smells and images is branded into the programming.
At the same time, the front portion of the brain responsible for filing memories in their proper chronological places is disabled, says Bessel van der Kolk, a professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and a leading researcher in the neuroscience of trauma. Like a computer hard disk unable to store its data properly, that part of the brain leaves the horrifying memory out on the brain's desktop where it can be launched automatically by various situations, setting into motion an almost uncontrollable chain of physical reactions, he says.
"The brain becomes very sensitive to danger, and that reaction that the person was unable to have at the time of the abuse then is triggered by certain sounds, smells, physical sensations, images, light patterns," says van der Kolk, co-author of Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society. "Physical inability at the moment of torture is probably a very important element of the permanent alteration in the brain that occurs."
Van der Kolk says the subjugation of the flight-or-fight response also explains why torture is a more scarring, insidious form of trauma than that endured by, say, survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Very few people who ran out of the World Trade Center were permanently damaged in the same way because they ran and ran and were able to save themselves," van der Kolk says. "Over time, most people do recover from those experiences unless they had a prior history of trauma."