What is truth? I’m not sure I’ve ever wrestled with this to the degree others have. For me, the dictionary definition was good enough:
- The true or actual state of a matter
- Conformity with fact or reality; verity
Some want to argue that truth is relative. I don’t understand that thinking. Seriously, if something can be not true, then how can it be true? And how do we know when it is (or will be) true and when it is (or will be) not true?
And if any of this is true then how can you count on anything ever being true?
INTRODUCING LOGIC TO THE CONFUSION
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill
Let’s face it: While feelings and emotions are great indicators of things we need to pay attention to, they are also really good at clouding the issue. This is where a little logic can be invaluable.
Before your eyes glaze over or you think this is all too big or hard for you, let me assure you that I’m going to keep it really simple. You can do this, and it is probably more important to your spiritual life than you realize.
THE THREE LAWS OF THOUGHT
If you take logic down to its most simplistic, most critical elements, you get to the three laws of thought that even elementary students can understand.
- The Law of the Excluded Middle. According to Introductory Logic by Douglas Wilson and James Nance, this law “excludes the possibility of truth falling somewhere in the middle between true and false. Statements are either one or the other.”
- The Law of Identity. This means that “if a statement is true then it is true.”
- The Law of Noncontradiction. This law declares that “a statement cannot be both true and false.”
Without these laws, logical reasoning falls apart, and we end up with the circular reasoning indicative of relative truth. If these three laws aren’t true, then something could be true for you but not for me. But let’s follow this thinking through a bit of logic. If something is ever not true, then it is sometimes not true, which means it is false. And if it is false, then it cannot be true. Truth must always be true, or we have a big problem.
DIGGING INTO SCRIPTURE
So what’s the big deal to our spiritual life? Where does the average Christian run across this? Oh, far more often than you may realize.
1. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
This is a statement that a lot of people want to claim can be true for Christians but not true for everyone else. However, many Christians also struggle with this, wanting parts of the Bible to be true but discrediting or outright ignoring other parts of it. Can the Bible be the inerrant Word of God AND include some parts where God got it wrong? Not logically. It is either true, or it is not.
2. Noah’s flood was global.
If the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, then everything in it is true. Including a world-wide flood, the sun standing still, a talking donkey, and Jesus’s resurrection. If any one of those things is not true then none of them can be counted upon as true.
3. God is love.
Now, this statement can be taken too far when people forget that God is not only love — He is also holy. But that’s going deeper into logic than I want to take us today. What I want you to understand here is that if this is truth then it is always truth. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.
Truth is powerful and it prevails. ~Sojourner Truth
As the saying goes, we’ve only scratched the surface on logic and its impact to our lives, and we didn’t touch on other important aspects like fallacies (where people twist logic into something that might sound good but isn’t logically accurate). But remembering the three basic laws will take you far: Something is either true, or it’s not. If it is true then it is always true. And, if it is true then it cannot be false.