What is Truth?

This excellent contribution comes from Br. Mervyn Marshall, on elder from Grace Church Gore.

At the time of Jesus interrogation, Pilate asked of him the following question "What is Truth?" (Jn 18:38). It is one of the most important and timely questions that can be asked. The first time such a question appears is in Gen 3 in the context of the fall of man. Adam and Eve's failure to actually address the question of truth was part of the reason for their fall from grace. It is a question that is equally as fundamental in our day and has to be the most critical question facing society presently.



What is "truth"? How does our culture answer the question? The secularist answers by referring to science – but that is no answer because science by its nature is a seeker of truth, by experiment and research it discovers truth, but can never be the source of truth. What about society how does it answer? The relativistic nature of our society means that truth can be whatever you think it is when every opinion is equally valid how can you know the truth? We all know that not every opinion is correct. Existentialism cannot lead us to objective truth. The world cannot be explained by human experience, because human knowledge is basically empirical.


There is only one source of objective truth, that is the Living God because He is infinite and eternal. God knows all things past and future because He unlike us is not subject to time and space. The Apostle Paul makes reference to this in Acts 17:28, a reference to a technical term that applies only to the Creator God – ontological trinity. What those who deny the existence of God fail to understand is that if God did not exist, then neither would we. The secular world sits in judgement of God which is like a pot sitting in judgement of its potter.

The rejection of objective truth by the culture and its obsession with experience means that the culture hasn’t got the ability to distinguish the rational from the irrational e.g transgenderism.


Coming back to Pilates question. In effect, he answers the question himself when he declares himself innocent of Jesus blood – Matt 27:24. His claim of innocence and his notion of neutrality is proof of his subjective view of truth. Pilate can never claim innocence he had the power and authority to stop Jesus execution and did not. He chose expedience over principle. Pilate stands guilty of Jesus death and is just as culpable is the rest of the human race. It was for the sins of the human race that Jesus died.


Some day the roles will be reversed and Jesus will be in the judgement seat. What question will Pilate ask then? Jesus life, death and resurrection is a validation of Gods truth and a vindication of Gods character. The events of Easter --- first announced 700 years before – are an example of a promise made and a promise kept, who but God could bring that to pass, the sacrifice of His Son satisfied justice and restored hope.


With this wonderful example of Gods grace and mercy before us, consider the words of the great 18th-century evangelist George Whitefield

"If God is not glorified in our salvation, God will be glorified in our destruction"

Pilate will yet get an answer to his question. In this there is a warning to us all, if we reject God and the salvation that comes to us only through His Son we will not escape. (Acts 4:12, Heb 2:3)


In answering the question posed by Pilate how do we answer? Will it be in the subjective nature of modern culture or according to the truth of God, the truth we are told that will set us free? God has provided ample evidence for us, in His Word, His Son and His Creation, if we hold to mans subjective notion of truth, our ultimate end will be destruction. The problem facing the secular culture of our day is that it has become the victim of its own propaganda. There is yet a more serious question that needs to be asked:

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be, Someday you may be asking What will he do with me?

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