“All truth is God’s truth.” This saying is attributed to St. Augustine, but I’m not sure he actually said that. This famous line is an accurate summary of Augustine’s teaching which was stated more eloquently:
“Nay, but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master; and while he recognizes and acknowledges the truth, even in their religious literature, let him reject the figments of superstition, and let him grieve over and avoid men who, “when they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” (From On Christian Doctrine, Chapter 18).
I love the line, “. . . wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master . . .” Truth. It seems to be an obsolete concept. Current thinking, dominated by the “Critical Theory,” suggests that Truth does not exist, that 2+2=4 is not an absolute, and we should no longer be oppressed by these archaic, inflexible ideas. Life is too dynamic and fluid for such rigidity.
And with that simple proposition God is dismissed. If Jesus claims to be “the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6) then He must be wrong (according to Critical Theory). He can no more make such a dogmatic claim than I can fly to the moon. Except, He does.
Without God there cannot be truth. Without truth there cannot be God. Maybe that is why we are eager to dismiss Truth. It does give us a self-perpetuating promotion into godlikeness.
Words Matter. Truth. For millennia we have tried to find a way around it. Absolutes are uncomfortable. They hem us in. They create barriers. They restrict us. But truth is much more than just a list of absolutes. It is the very nature and character of a Person - a Person who created all things and within that created structure embedded “clues” to His existence, His goodness, His faithfulness and His love. Regardless, from the beginning we have sought to displace this Creator to to live independently from Him.
Creation screams the beauty and majesty of God. Its inherent order and complexity demands a careful consideration of the nature of Truth. That is not to say that all of life can be boiled down to a list of absolute rules through which we can control everything or attain perfection. Sadly, that has been a dominate view of Truth, especially from a religious perspective - including the church. No, there is a dynamic quality to Truth because it is the reflection of the Person who is the source of all knowledge and understanding. But there is also consistency. I don’t wake up in the morning worried that gravity will not work and as soon as I get out of bed I will be slammed against the ceiling of my bedroom. I also don’t worry that God’s grace will fail to saturate my day. From providing the air in my lungs to forgiving me for my mistakes and acts of rebellion against Him, I rely on His Truth, His grace, every single minute.
Let’s not be intimidated or overwhelmed by the flippant dismissal of Truth. God’s goodness is clearly seen. Whether or not I choose to acknowledge it does not change that fact. In our character and quality of life, and in our observations about and articulation of God’s created order we can exude Truth. Lives saturated with compassion, forgiveness, and righteousness are as truthful and important as minds skilled and fluent in artistic and academic achievement. Truth matters. All truth is God’s truth.