Correct, Eric. One can come to understand things that are true, such as the wrongness of raping children (moral laws/truths), or that something cannot contradict itself (logical laws/truths). However, one could not make sense of these truths (totality) without the source of Truth, namely that there is a Moral Order with Moral Laws and a Moral Lawgiver (God), that there is a Perfectly Logical and Rational Being (God), that there is a Personal Creator (God). This source of Truth is found as the Fullness of all knowledge and wisdom. Since we could hardly begin to understand such an infinite being, He decides to reveal himself to humanity, which so makes sense of truth. This revelation is found in the Word of God (as we use this to refer to Christ Jesus, whom represents the fullness of God’s Grace and dwelling).
“Miguel A.: Leonard, can you clarify? Are you saying we can achieve truth through logic or revelation?”
I. ON TRUTH AND GRACE
Truth with a capital T, is known through the personal Revelation of the mighty God we find in Scripture, which reveals to us the Word of God (Christ Jesus). God’s Words telling us of He in whom God’s fullness dwells (the Greater Prophet, the King David, the Sacrificial Lamb, the Christ of the Old Testament, and the Jesus of the New). He is the author of truths, the very source of it, for it is His very character (He IS Goodness and Love and Mercy). This Truth is different from simple truths, which people can know. Some people even presuppose truths without understanding why. This is usually made most evident when one discusses with the nonbeliever the wrongness of Hitler, or raping children. They presuppose that a moral truth exists there, and in the effort of maintaining foolish human philosophical consistencies, you’ll see them try to hold on the one hand the wrongness of it all, and on the other it simply set as a social ‘convention’.
Again regarding Truth. In Christ Jesus Truth is made known. God is not known exhaustively by men, as we may be spending all of eternity (heaven) getting to know the infinite God. After all, we as finite beings cannot expect to know the infinite God. However God makes known what He wills for us to know, and He Fully dwelled in Christ. Scripture contains truths, as they’re descriptive of God’s character. Some foreign religions may very well rightly explain truths (Golden rule, sexual immorality, etc). But the difference is that Christianity makes known Truth. Not simply in an immaterial impersonal manner. It makes Truth known in the very Person of Christ Jesus. The Personal God of Heaven, the Mighty Creator of the Universe, the Infinite source of Wisdom, the inexhaustible Pool of Mercy, makes himself fully known in Christ Jesus.
II. ACCORDING TO JOHN
What is amazing of this God is that it simply does not provide us with truths. Christianity is not a religion of moral or legalistic truths. A heresy to trivialize the gospel. What makes Christianity so different is that is is both Truth and Grace. It is God’s inexhaustible pool of Grace that makes Truth known to us. The personal God chooses, and acts upon, the desire to make us known to Him and have us in relation with Him. It’s not simply another effort by man to understand truths.
John gets this point in the introduction of His Gospel. Notice the richness of his Christology. His advanced theology. The Word was God. Life was in Him. He came into the world even though the world was created for him. The Word became flesh. It took up residence among us!
Now note, after explaining this high Christology, presenting Jesus in such a manner of revealing the fullness of God, what John says to explain all this (the act of God taking residence to save humanity from sin):
“The Word became flesh, and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:14).
Don’t miss this. Repetitions are very important in Scripture. Think of them as the ancient version of bold/underlined/capitalization:
“Indeed, we have all received grace after grace, from His fullness, for although the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (1:16-17)
In Christianity, we are remarkably unique, because we don’t simply provide an explanation to truths. Rather, Truth is made known to us through Grace, and this action, salvific in nature, is found through Christ Jesus.
III. ACCORDING COLOSSIANS
Also note the words of Colossians. Paul explains this well in the letter. Go through the first chapter and underline the word ALL wherever you find it. Note also how Paul sandwiches the Gospel above and below the section on the Preeminence of Christ. Again, note:
“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,” (Col 1:11)
The fullness of spiritual maturity and truth is found in Christ Jesus. A heavy claim to state Jesus Christ carried in Him the fullness of God. Note Paul’s Christology:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15)
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible [material: planets, plants, water, animals, etc., immaterial: logic, mathematics, goals, laws, etc], whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–ALL things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ” (Col 1:16-17)
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” (Col 1:19)
And what for?
“and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:20).
Hinted is the major difference between Plato’s God, and the Christian God.
IV. CLOSING WORD
There is then a difference between truths and Truth. What is remarkable about the Christian faith is its explanatory power. Humans foolishly take truths they discover, and explain them away with systems of human thought. They then deify themselves and their philosophies. They, as pushed by the very pulse designed to drive them to God, develop systems of thought to try and explain their universe and derive purpose. It is the same sin found consistently throughout the Israelite history: The worship of Idols, the worship of man’s. Note Paul’s aggressive word on the effect of sin on epistemology, and man’s foolish philosophies, and the natural vs. spiritual man in Corinthians and Romans (‘vain imaging’ Rom 1:18-23, ‘darkened understanding’ Eph 4:17-28, ‘natural man cannot understand’ 1 Cor 2:14, ‘mirror dimly’ 1 Cor 13:12).
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7).
What’s Remarkable about the Judeo-Christian God is that He, Truth itself, the Being deserving of Worship, decides to reveal Himself, to reveal Truth, in a way we understand (incarnation). He does this, motivated by Love and Mercy, to save us from this sinfulness of man to worship himself and his things. Worship is disoriented on our part, and the God of Heaven, who loves us so very much, reaches to us in a form beyond our understand. Although the world and our very nature is sewn with truths, the God of Heaven, Truth itself, makes Himself fully known in Christ Jesus, to save us from us.
In Colossians, after providing for us that high Christology, that high presentation of Jesus as the Fullness of the Image of God, notice how Paul closes regarding the coming of Christ Jesus:
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,” (Col 1:21-22).
To think the very source of truths, the very Truth that makes sense of all things visible and invisible, does such a thing for you and I. Does such a thing for me…
He is indeed worthy of worship!