Tryin’ to Make it Real
“What is truth?” John 18:38
Is the truth important today? Is the truth important when it comes to government, business, science, education, the press, morality, or history? Two thousand years ago Pontius Pilate stood before the Living God and asked, “What is truth?”.
His question was rhetorical. In his intellectual pride, he believed he already knew the answer. You see, Pilate believed, as so many today also believe, that the truth is a relative thing. In the Bible he is representative of those who see the truth as something that can be shaped and molded depending on one’s point of view. Pilate felt that “truth”, was not really important when measured against outcome. In fact, like so many throughout history and today, he believed that “truth” should be shaped to accommodate outcome, a philosophy that has become ubiquitous in our government, in business, in science, in education, in the press, and in our own daily lives.
But Jesus said, “I am the truth… If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then will you know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Just as Jesus is the source of all truth, there is a source for all lies. That is Satan, “…the father of lies.” Does the Living God then imply that the lie will enslave you? What does your own experience tell you about lies? Have you ever been caught in a web of deceit? Have you ever felt that your were living the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? You don’t even have to be the one who lies. When our courts, or our legislators create law based on lies we are all caught in their web. We are all enslaved by their lies.
So, I ask again, is the truth important? And, if it is, then, what really is truth?
The truth is not a relative concept, philosophical view, or scientific theory. The truth is, quite simply, what actually happened. It’s not some individual’s observation, or emotional opinion. It’s not speculative theory based on sparse evidence, or prefered outcome. The truth is absolute. It is what actually happened and, no matter how faded by history, it cannot be changed. It is an anchor in time, immovable, unalterable and secure. So, how can we know the truth? Where can it be found? If you are a seeker of truth, and I hope that you are, then finding the truth may seem a daunting task. For some, it seems impossible, but in reality, the truth is very near you. It is in your heart and in your mind because God has planted it there like an instinct.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse… ” Romans 1:18 – 20
In the end, the truth will become what we choose to believe. The question is, will you choose to believe what actually happened, or will you choose to believe some distortion intended to shape an outcome? This choosing becomes vital because, what you don’t know can hurt you. What you believe about the truth, about history, and about eternity will most certainly determine your future.
The choices you make today and every day have consequences in eternity. Do you believe this? Do you believe in eternity? As hard as it may be to believe, we are destined for it.
One thing I think we can all agree on is that there must have been a beginning. I see time as a bubble within the sea of eternity; a distortion of the ambient surrounding fluid. The bubble is not moving through eternity, but we are moving through the bubble. By its very nature, time and the bubble have finite dimensions. The forces surrounding the bubble are wearing away its outer wall until one day the bubble will collapse and time will exist no more. The space it once occupied will be filled by the surrounding eternal waters. An imperceptible, momentary ripple, virtually unnoticed in the vastness and then everything will return to what was normal before time existed. Such is the nature of our existence.
But there was a beginning and in the final analysis it is the only place where the truth can be found. In the end, what you believe about the beginning will determine your future. What you believe about the beginning will shape the way you see the world. It will shape the way you live, the choices you will make, and the daily attitude of your heart. It will, in effect, shape the way that you see the truth. Knowing the truth becomes very simple when one returns to the root of it, that is, “what actually happened”. It becomes simple, because there are really only two possibilities. One chooses to believe that this bubble of time and all that has grown out of it is the result of a great cosmic accident. The progeny of a fluke. The other chooses to believe that it was created by design. The result of an intelligent plan. They cannot both be true, but only one, or the other.
To know the truth, you must choose which to believe. Accident, or Design? Fluke, or Plan? Speculative reality, or what actually happened? Only you can decide this and so I ask you, “What is truth”?
If you choose to believe that life, the universe that surrounds you and all that is in it is the result of an accident of chemistry and coincidental physics then I must wonder why you bother going on each day? I only pose the question because, logically speaking, there would be no other purpose to your life beyond that of the most useless parasite. You would exist only to reproduce and die. That would mean that Shakespear’s Hamlet had it right in act 5, scene 5, when he said:
“Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools their way to dusty death. Out! Out brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing.”
But don’t stop with Shakespeare, because to believe in a Cosmic Accident has many more ramifications. For example, there would be no God, which means that there is no spiritual component to life, but only the biochemical and electrochemical interaction of the human organism. If life is an accident then it has no value and if life has no value then there is no morality. Without morality anything goes, including killing anyone, even children, or the unborn to suite our own purpose; to “shape an outcome”, as it were. I testify to you that both history and the daily news are filled with the outcome of accidental thinking by accidental people who are living in an accidental world of their own making; because they have chosen to believe in a lie.
But it doesn’t end there either. In order to believe in the “Cosmic Accident”, you must also choose to believe in an impossible, continuing series of accidents that completely defy mathematical probability. Even the scientists who promote this kind of thinking know that, scientifically speaking, their theory defies all statistical evidence and is mathematically and provably impossible. The mathematical odds of human life developing in such a way are (1 in 1040,000), a number too enormous for the human mind to truly comprehend. Their refusal to confess this truth publicly is depravity, and their choice to believe it is religion, not science.
More likely, however, is the fact that, just as politics is more about wealth and power than it is about ideals, science is more about politics than it is about facts. Science is a business, like any other. In an accidental world, where there is no morality, we do whatever it takes to acquire wealth, power and social status; we will “shape the truth” to fit a desirable outcome.
On the other hand, choosing the “Intelligent Design” seems much more logical and certainly opens a few more doors for us. For one, it allows the possibility that there might be more to life than just struggling to sustain ourselves so as to produce the next generation, then, like an insect, suffer death in an endless cycle. It allows that there may be purpose to our lives beyond this life. Purpose equals value, value requires morality. According to “Intelligent Design” there must be an intelligent source, a God, a creator. Thus there is a spiritual component to our existence, a link to the eternal. In the eternal lies the hope for something beyond this life and the knowledge that we are not alone on a planet that is spinning out of control within an accidental machine bent on its own destruction. But, which is true? How can you know which to choose? Is the Emperor wearing spectacular new clothes, or is he naked? You begin by trusting your instincts.
When I was a child I remember seeing Mary Martin play the role of Peter Pan in the Broadway play of the same name. I was mostly unimpressed by the idea of a woman playing the role of every little boy’s hero, but one scene stands out in my mind. It was a scene where Tinkerbell, the tiny fairy, was injured by Wendy’s unbelief. We, the spell bound audience, were told that “only we could save her” and that “if we didn’t do so she would die!”. We were asked to clap our hands if we believed in fairies and wanted Tinkerbell to live. I remember that with tears in my eyes, armed only with a “child-like faith”, I began to clap. I clapped hard and long. I would have clapped until my arms fell off, if that’s what it took to save Tinkerbell. What the story and the scene required was, “faith”.
Most of us today are just hanging on. Just trying to maintain from pay check to pay check; if indeed there even is a paycheck. Les McCann expressed the frustration of life in this world in his song, “Compared to What?”, where the refrain cries out saying, “trying to make it real, compared to what?” It’s an important question so I ask it of you, “compared to what?”
When it comes to truth there has to be a standard. The world is filled with standards that we use for every kind of activity. A standard can be represented in the law, or a stated purpose, or in a specification. But what is the standard for truth? Well, the truth is what actually happened. Was it an accident, or was it design? You decide. I’ll clap for you, but remember, eternity is out there waiting and you won’t live forever, …or will you?