It feels odd wrong to say that someone believes a state of affairs, or that states of affairs are true or false. For that matter, it also feels odd wrong to say that some propositions are facts, that facts are true, and that propositions obtain or fail to obtain. Nevertheless, all of this must be the literal truth, according to the Russellians.
Many philosophers have found it hard to believe in the existence of all these funny facts and funny quasi-logical objects. This deep structure might then be expressed in an ideal-language typically, the language of predicate logic , whose syntactic structure is designed to mirror perfectly the ontological structure of reality. Austin rejects the isomorphism approach on the grounds that it projects the structure of our language onto the world.
On his version of the correspondence theory a more elaborated variant of 4 applied to statements , a statement as a whole is correlated to a state of affairs by arbitrary linguistic conventions without mirroring the inner structure of its correlate cf. This approach appears vulnerable to the objection that it avoids funny facts at the price of neglecting systematicity.
Language does not provide separate linguistic conventions for each statement: Rather, it seems that the truth-values of statements are systematically determined, via a relatively small set of conventions, by the semantic values relations to reality of their simpler constituents.
Recognition of this systematicity is built right into the isomorphism approach. At bottom, this is a pessimistic stance: Advocates of traditional correspondence theories can be seen as taking the opposite stance: Wittgenstein and Russell propose modified fact-based correspondence accounts of truth as part of their program of logical atomism. Such accounts proceed in two stages. At the first stage, the basic truth-definition, say 1 from Section 3, is restricted to a special subclass of truthbearers, the so-called elementary or atomic truthbearers, whose truth is said to consist in their correspondence to atomic facts: This restricted definition serves as the base-clause for truth-conditional recursion-clauses given at the second stage, at which the truth-values of non-elementary, or molecular, truthbearers are explained recursively in terms of their logical structure and the truth-values of their simpler constituents.
Logical atomism exploits the familiar rules, enshrined in the truth-tables, for evaluating complex formulas on the basis of their simpler constituents. These rules can be understood in two different ways: Logical atomism takes option b. Logical atomism is designed to go with the ontological view that the world is the totality of atomic facts cf. F2 by doing without funny facts: An elementary truth is true because it corresponds to an atomic fact: There is no match between truths and facts at the level of non-elementary, molecular truths; e. The trick for avoiding logically complex facts lies in not assigning any entities to the logical constants.
This is expressed by Wittgenstein in an often quoted passage , 4. Though accounts of this sort are naturally classified as versions of the correspondence theory, it should be noted that they are strictly speaking in conflict with the basic forms presented in Section 3. According to logical atomism, it is not the case that for every truth there is a corresponding fact.
It is, however, still the case that the being true of every truth is explained in terms of correspondence to a fact or non-correspondence to any fact together with in the case of molecular truths logical notions detailing the logical structure of complex truthbearers. Logical atomism attempts to avoid commitment to logically complex, funny facts via structural analysis of truthbearers. It should not be confused with a superficially similar account maintaining that molecular facts are ultimately constituted by atomic facts. The latter account would admit complex facts, offering an ontological analysis of their structure, and would thus be compatible with the basic forms presented in Section 3, because it would be compatible with the claim that for every truth there is a corresponding fact.
For more on classical logical atomism, see Wisdom , Urmson , and the entries on Russell's logical atomism and Wittgenstein's logical atomism in this encyclopedia. While Wittgenstein and Russell seem to have held that the constituents of atomic facts are to be determined on the basis of a priori considerations, Armstrong , advocates an a posteriori form of logical atomism. On his view, atomic facts are composed of particulars and simple universals properties and relations. The latter are objective features of the world that ground the objective resemblances between particulars and explain their causal powers.
Accordingly, what particulars and universals there are will have to be determined on the basis of total science. Logical atomism is not easy to sustain and has rarely been held in a pure form. Among its difficulties are the following: How are they determined? Wittgenstein disapproves of universal facts; apparently, he wants to re-analyze universal generalizations as infinite conjunctions of their instances.
Russell and Armstrong , reject this analysis; they admit universal facts. Russell finds himself driven to admit negative facts, regarded by many as paradigmatically disreputable portions of reality.
Wittgenstein sometimes talks of atomic facts that do not exist and calls their very nonexistence a negative fact cf. Atomism and the Russellian view of propositions see Section 6. By the time Russell advocated logical atomism around , he had given up on what is now referred to as the Russellian conception of propositions which he and G. Moore held around But Russellian propositons are popular nowadays. Note that logical atomism is not for the friends of Russellian propositions.
The argument is straightforward. We have logically complex beliefs some of which are true. According to the friends of Russellian propositions, the contents of our beliefs are Russellian propositions, and the contents of our true beliefs are true Russellian propositions. Since true Russellian propositions are facts, there must be at least as many complex facts as there are true beliefs with complex contents and at least as many complex states of affairs as there are true or false beliefs with complex contents.
Atomism may work for sentences, public or mental, and for Fregean propositions; but not for Russellian propositions. Logical atomism is designed to address objections to funny facts 3. It is not designed to address objections to facts in general 3. Here logical atomists will respond by defending atomic facts. According to one defense, facts are needed because mere objects are not sufficiently articulated to serve as truthmakers. Armstrong and Olson also maintain that facts are needed to make sense of the tie that binds particular objects to universals. In this context it is usually emphasized that facts do not supervene on , hence, are not reducible to, their constituents.
Facts are entities over and above the particulars and universals of which they are composed: Another defense of facts, surprisingly rare, would point out that many facts are observable: The objection that many facts are not observable would invite the rejoinder that many objects are not observable either.
See Austin , Vendler , chap. Some atomists propose an atomistic version of definition 1 , but without facts, because they regard facts as slices of reality too suspiciously sentence-like to be taken with full ontological seriousness. Mulligan, Simons, and Smith Logical atomism aims at getting by without logically complex truthmakers by restricting definitions like 1 or 2 from Section 3 to elementary truthbearers and accounting for the truth-values of molecular truthbearers recursively in terms of their logical structure and atomic truthmakers atomic facts, events, objects-plus-tropes.
Such accounts analyze truthbearers, e. Satisfaction of complex predicates can be handled recursively in terms of logical structure and satisfaction of simpler constituent predicates: These recursions are anchored in a base-clause addressing the satisfaction of primitive predicates: Some would prefer a more nominalistic base-clause for satisfaction, hoping to get by without seriously invoking properties. Truth for singular sentences, consisting of a name and an arbitrarily complex predicate, is defined thus: A singular sentence is true iff the object denoted by the name satisfies the predicate.
Logical machinery provided by Tarski can be used to turn this simplified sketch into a more general definition of truth—a definition that handles sentences containing relational predicates and quantifiers and covers molecular sentences as well. Popper ; Field , ; Kirkham , chaps. Subatomism constitutes a return to broadly object-based correspondence. Since it promises to avoid facts and all similarly articulated, sentence-like slices of reality, correspondence theorists who take seriously objection 3.
F2 favor this approach: The correspondence relation itself has given way to two semantic relations between constituents of truthbearers and objects: Some advocates envision causal accounts of reference and satisfaction cf. Field ; Devitt , ; Schmitt ; Kirkham , chaps.
It turns out that relational predicates require talk of satisfaction by ordered sequences of objects. Problems for both versions of modified correspondence theories: This depends on unresolved issues concerning the extent to which truthbearers are amenable to the kind of structural analyses that are presupposed by the recursive clauses. The more an account of truth wants to exploit the internal structure of truthbearers, the more it will be hostage to the limited availability of appropriate structural analyses of the relevant truthbearers.
After all, the recursive clauses rely heavily on what appears to be the logico-syntactic structure of truthbearers, and it is unclear whether anything but sentences can plausibly be said to possess that kind of structure. But the thesis that sentences of any sort are to be regarded as the primary truthbearers is contentious. Whether propositions can meaningfully be said to have an analogous albeit non-linguistic structure is under debate cf. Russell , King To avoid circularity, a modified correspondence theory be it atomic or subatomic must hold that the logical connectives can be understood without reference to correspondence truth.
Definitions like 1 and 2 from Section 3 assume, naturally, that truthbearers are true because they, the truthbearers themselves, correspond to facts. There are however views that reject this natural assumption. They propose to account for the truth of truthbearers of certain kinds, propositions, not by way of their correspondence to facts, but by way of the correspondence to facts of other items, the ones that have propositions as their contents.
Consider the state of believing that p or the activity of judging that p. The state the activity is not, strictly speaking, true or false; rather, what is true or false is its content, the proposition that p. Nevertheless, on the present view, it is the state of believing that p that corresponds or fails to correspond to a fact. Such a modification of fact-based correspondence can be found in Moore , p. It can be adapted to atomistic Armstrong and subatomistic views, and to views on which sentences of the language of thought are the primary bearers of truth and falsehood.
Most advocates of propositions as primary bearers of truth and falsehood will regard this as a serious weakness, holding that there are very many true and false propositions that are not believed, or even entertained, by anyone. Armstrong combines the view with an instrumentalist attitude towards propositions, on which propositions are mere abstractions from mental states and should not be taken seriously, ontologically speaking.
Against the traditional competitors —coherentist, pragmatist, and verificationist and other epistemic theories of truth—correspondence theorists raise two main sorts of objections. First , such accounts tend to lead into relativism. Second , the accounts tend to lead into some form of idealism or anti-realism, e. Cases of this sort are frequently cited as counterexamples to coherentist accounts of truth. Dedicated coherentists tend to reject such counterexamples, insisting that they are not possible after all. This offers a bare outline of the overall shape the debates tend to take.
For more on the correspondence theory vs. Walker is a book-lenght discussion of coherence theories of truth. See also the entries on pragmatism , relativism , the coherence theory of truth , in this encyclopedia. The correspondence theory is sometimes accused of overreaching itself: Alethic pluralism grows out of this objection, maintaining that truth is constituted by different properties for true propositions from different domains of discourse: Truth itself is not to be identified with any of its realizing properties. Though it contains the correspondence theory as one ingredient, alethic pluralism is nevertheless a genuine competitor, for it rejects the thesis that truth is correspondence to reality.
Moreover, it equally contains competitors of the correspondence theory as further ingredients. Alethic pluralism in its contemporary form is a relatively young position. It was inaugurated by Crispin Wright ; see also and was later developed into a somewhat different form by Lynch Critical discussion is still at a relatively nascent stage but see Vision , chap.
It will likely focus on two main problem areas. First , it seems difficult to sort propositions into distinct kinds according to the subject matter they are about. What are they about? Intuitively, their subject matter is mixed, belonging to the physical domain, the biological domain, and the domain of ethical discourse. It is hard to see how pluralism can account for the truth of such mixed propositions, belonging to more than one domain of discourse: What will be the realizing property?
Lynch proposes to construe truth as a functional property , defined in terms of a complex functional role which is given by the conjunction of the platitudes somewhat analogous to the way in which functionalists in the philosophy of mind construe mental states as functional states, specified in terms of their functional roles—though in their case the relevant functional roles are causal roles, which is not a feasible option when it comes to the truth-role.
Here the main issue will be to determine a whether such an account really works, when the technical details are laid out, and b whether it is plausible to claim that properties as different as correspondence to a fact, on the one hand, and coherence or superassertibilty, on the other, can be said to play one and the same role—a claim that seems required by the thesis that these different properties all realize the same property, being true.
For more on pluralism, see e. According to the identity theory of truth, true propositions do not correspond to facts, they are facts: This non-traditional competitor of the correspondence theory threatens to collapse the correspondence relation into identity. See Moore ; and Dodd for a book-length defense of this theory and discussion contrasting it with the correspondence theory; and see the entry the identity theory of truth: In response, a correspondence theorist will point out: Hence, there will be ample room and need for correspondence accounts of truth for other types of truthbearers, including propositions, if they are construed as constituted, partly or wholly, of concepts of objects and properties.
The assumption can be questioned. That-clauses can be understood as ambiguous names, sometimes denoting propositions and sometimes denoting facts. Deflationists maintain that correspondence theories need to be deflated; that their central notions, correspondence and fact and their relatives , play no legitimate role in an adequate account of truth and can be excised without loss.
A correspondence-type formulation like. Correspondence theorists protest that 6 cannot lead to anything deserving to be regarded as an account of truth. Moreover, no genuine generalizations about truth can be accounted for on the basis of 7. Correspondence definitions, on the other hand, do yield genuine generalizations about truth. Yet, according to 1 and 2 , it is sufficient but not necessary: The genuine article, 1 or 2 , is not as easily deflated as the impostor 5. Correspondence theorists tend to regard this as a minimal requirement. There is now a substantial body of literature on truth-deflationism in general and its relation to the correspondence theory in particular; the following is a small selection: See also the entry the deflationary theory of truth in this encyclopedia.
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This approach centers on the truthmaker or truthmaking principle: Every truth has a truthmaker; or alternatively: For every truth there is something that makes it true. The principle is usually understood as an expression of a realist attitude, emphasizing the crucial contribution the world makes to the truth of a proposition. Advocates tend to treat truthmaker theory primarily as a guide to ontology, asking: To entities of what ontological categories are we committed as truthmakers of the propositions we accept as true?
Most advocates maintain that propositions of different logical types can be made true by items from different ontological categories: This is claimed as a significant improvement over traditional correspondence theories which are understood—correctly in most but by no means all cases—to be committed to all truthmakers belonging to a single ontological category albeit disagreeing about which category that is.
All advocates of truthmaker theory maintain that the truthmaking relation is not one-one but many-many: This is also claimed as a significant improvement over traditional correspondence theories which are often portrayed as committed to correspondence being a one-one relation. This portrayal is only partly justified. While it is fairly easy to find real-life correspondence theorists committing themselves to the view that each truth corresponds to exactly one fact at least by implication, talking about the corresponding fact , it is difficult to find real-life correspondence theorists committing themselves to the view that only one truth can correspond to a given fact but see Moore , p.
A truthmaker theory may be presented as a competitor to the correspondence theory or as a version of the correspondence theory. Some advocates would agree with Dummett , p. Other advocates would follow Armstrong who tends to present his truthmaker theory as a liberal form of correspondence theory; indeed, he seems committed to the view that the truth of a contingent elementary proposition consists in its correspondence with some atomic fact cf. Armstrong ; , pp. Logical atomists, such as Russell and Wittgenstein , will hold that the truth or falsehood of every truth-value bearer can be explained in terms of can be derived from logical relations between truth-value bearers, by way of the recursive clauses, together with the base clauses, i.
This recursive strategy could be pursued with the aim to reject the truthmaker principle: There is one straightforward difference between truthmaker theory and most correspondence theories. Modified correspondence theories also aim at providing a definition of truth, though in their case the definition will be considerably more complex, owing to the recursive character of the account. Truthmaker theory, on the other hand, centers on the truthmaker principle: There is a growing body of literature on truthmaker theory; see for example: See also the entry on truthmakers in this encyclopedia.
The argument is based on two crucial assumptions: In the version below, the relevant singular terms will be the following: The argument has been criticized repeatedly. Critics point to the two questionable assumptions on which it relies, i and ii. It is far from obvious why a correspondence theorist should be tempted by either one of them. Opposition to assumption i rests on the view that expressibility by logically equivalent sentences may be a necessary, but is not a sufficient condition for fact identity. Opposition to assumption ii rests on the observation that the alleged singular terms used in the argument are definite descriptions: The objection that may well have been the most effective in causing discontent with the correspondence theory is based on an epistemological concern.
In a nutshell, the objection is that a correspondence theory of truth must inevitably lead into skepticism about the external world, because the required correspondence between our thoughts and reality is not ascertainable. It is typically pointed out that we cannot step outside our own minds to compare our thoughts with mind-independent reality. Yet—so the objection continues—on the correspondence theory of truth, this is precisely what we would have to do to gain knowledge.
We would have to access reality as it is in itself, independently of our cognition, and determine whether our thoughts correspond to it. Since this is impossible, since all our access to the world is mediated by our cognition, the correspondence theory makes knowledge impossible cf. Kant , intro vii. Assuming that the resulting skepticism is unacceptable, the correspondence theory has to be rejected, and some other account of truth, an epistemic anti-realist account of some sort, has to be put in its place cf.
This type of objection brings up a host of issues in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and general metaphysics. All that can be done here is to hint at a few pertinent points cf. The objection makes use of the following line of reasoning: There are two assumptions implicit in this line of reasoning, both of them debatable. The assumption may rest on confusing requirements for knowing x with requirements for knowing that one knows x.
This is highly implausible. By the same standard it would follow that no one who does not know that water is H 2 O can know that the Nile contains water—which would mean, of course, that until fairly recently nobody knew that the Nile contained water and that, until fairly recently, nobody knew that there were stars in the sky, whales in the sea, or that the sun gives light. Similarly, as far as knowing that x is true is concerned, the correspondence theory does not entail that we have to know that a belief corresponds to a fact in order to know that it is true, or that our method of finding out whether a belief is true has to involve a strategy of actually comparing a belief with a fact—although the theory does of course entail that one obtains knowledge only if one obtains a belief that corresponds to a fact.
One might also wonder whether its competitors actually enjoy any significant advantage over the correspondence theory, once they are held to the standards set up by this sort of objection. However, the connection between correspondence theories of truth and the metaphysical realism vs. On the one hand, deflationists and identity theorists can be, and typically are, metaphysical realists while rejecting the correspondence theory. On the other hand, advocates of a correspondence theory can, in principle, be metaphysical idealists e.
McTaggart or anti-realists, for one might advocate a correspondence theory while maintaining, at the same time, a that all facts are constituted by mind or b that what facts there are depends somehow on what we believe or are capable of believing, or c that the correspondence relation between true propositions and facts depends somehow on what we believe or are capable of believing claiming that the correspondence relation between true beliefs or true sentences and facts depends on what we believe can hardly count as a commitment to anti-realism.
Keeping this point in mind, one can nevertheless acknowledge that advocacy of a correspondence theory of truth comes much more naturally when combined with a metaphysically realist stance and usually signals commitment to such a stance. History of the Correspondence Theory 1. Truthbearers, Truthmakers, Truth 2. Simple Versions of the Correspondence Theory 4. Arguments for the Correspondence Theory 5. Objections to the Correspondence Theory 6.
Correspondence as Isomorphism 7. Modified Versions of the Correspondence Theory 7. The Correspondence Theory and Its Competitors 8. More Objections to the Correspondence Theory 9. An object-based definition of truth might look like this: A judgment is true if and only if its predicate corresponds to its object i. Five points should be kept in mind: It is intended to refer to bearers of truth or falsehood truth-value-bearers , or alternatively, to things of which it makes sense to ask whether they are true or false, thus allowing for the possibility that some of them might be neither.
One distinguishes between secondary and primary truthbearers. Secondary truthbearers are those whose truth-values truth or falsehood are derived from the truth-values of primary truthbearers, whose truth-values are not derived from any other truthbearers. This is, however, not a brute ambiguity, since the secondary meanings are supposed to be derived, i. For example, one might hold that propositions are true or false in the primary sense, whereas sentences are true or false in a secondary sense, insofar as they express propositions that are true or false in the primary sense.
It is often unproblematic to advocate one theory of truth for bearers of one kind and another theory for bearers of a different kind e.
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Different theories of truth applied to bearers of different kinds do not automatically compete. The standard segregation of truth theories into competing camps found in textbooks, handbooks, and dictionaries proceeds under the assumption—really a pretense—that they are intended for primary truthbearers of the same kind. Confusingly, there is little agreement as to which entities are properly taken to be primary truthbearers.
Nowadays, the main contenders are public language sentences, sentences of the language of thought sentential mental representations , and propositions. Popular earlier contenders—beliefs, judgments, statements, and assertions—have fallen out of favor, mainly for two reasons: The problem of logically complex truthbearers. A subject, S, may hold a disjunctive belief the baby will be a boy or the baby will be a girl , while believing only one, or neither, of the disjuncts.
Also, S may hold a conditional belief if whales are fish, then some fish are mammals without believing the antecedent or the consequent. Also, S will usually hold a negative belief not everyone is lucky without believing what is negated. This means that a view according to which beliefs are primary truthbearers seems unable to account for how the truth-values of complex beliefs are connected to the truth-values of their simpler constituents—to do this one needs to be able to apply truth and falsehood to belief-constituents even when they are not believed. This point, which is equally fundamental for a proper understanding of logic, was made by all early advocates of propositions cf.
The problem arises in much the same form for views that would take judgments, statements, or assertions as primary truthbearers. The problem is not easily evaded. Talk of unbelieved beliefs unjudged judgments, unstated statements, unasserted assertions is either absurd or simply amounts to talk of unbelieved unjudged, unstated, unasserted propositions or sentences. It is noteworthy, incidentally, that quite a few philosophical proposals concerning truth as well as other matters run afoul of the simple observation that there are unasserted and unbelieved truthbearers cf. If the former, the state of believing, can be said to be true or false at all, which is highly questionable, then only insofar as the latter, what is believed, is true or false.
Mental sentences were the preferred primary truthbearers throughout the medieval period.
They were neglected in the first half of the 20th century, but made a comeback in the second half through the revival of the representational theory of the mind especially in the form of the language-of-thought hypothesis, cf. Some time after that, e. Four points should be kept in mind: The notion of a truthmaker is tightly connected with, and dependent on, the relational notion of truthmaking: For illustration, consider a classical correspondence theory on which x is true if and only if x corresponds to some fact.
One can say a that x is made true by a fact , namely the fact or a fact that x corresponds to. But they are importantly different and must be distinguished. Note that anyone proposing a definition or account of truth can avail themselves of the notion of truthmaking in the b -sense; e. Talk of truthmaking and truthmakers goes well with the basic idea underlying the correspondence theory; hence, it might seem natural to describe a traditional fact-based correspondence theory as maintaining that the truthmakers are facts and that the correspondence relation is the truthmaking relation.
However, the assumption that the correspondence relation can be regarded as a species of the truthmaking relation is dubious. Correspondence appears to be a symmetric relation if x corresponds to y , then y corresponds to x , whereas it is usually taken for granted that truthmaking is an asymmetric relation, or at least not a symmetric one. It is hard to see how a symmetric relation could be a species of an asymmetric or non-symmetric relation cf. Talk of truthmaking and truthmakers is frequently employed during informal discussions involving truth but tends to be dropped when a more formal or official formulation of a theory of truth is produced one reason being that it seems circular to define or explain truth in terms of truthmakers or truthmaking.
However, in recent years, the informal talk has been turned into an official doctrine: Therefore, logically speaking, this statement condemns itself as meaningless. If truth claims are to be debunked, deconstructed, and overthrown, why not this one? It, too, claims a power as dominant as any religion. So what, then, does the Bible say about truth? Everyone on the side of truth listens to me. No one comes to the Father except through me. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. But, for Christians, Jesus is far more than just a truthful person; he is the truth incarnate.
In Jesus, the truth came to earth to confront our lies, transform our minds, heal our hearts, fill us with joy, and liberate us from slavery to deceit. But we need to pull back the lens a little. The Bible tells us this over and over again: Every word he speaks is true, because it comes from his own nature. We can run to him, cast ourselves on him, and depend wholly on him, because he is true.
His words are true and his ways are true. There is nothing false in God. Consider this bit of a poem written by Moses: A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath. According to the Bible, the Lord is the true God, the one who really lives and reigns.
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Because he is the true God, he has sovereign power over all. When the Bible says that God is true, it implies that he truly exists, that he is perfectly truthful in all he says and does, and that he alone knows all reality perfectly and immediately. Pulling together many biblical passages and themes such as these, the nineteenth-century Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck wrote: He is the ground of the truth—of the true being—of all things. God is the source and origin of the knowledge of truth in all areas of life; the light in which alone we can see light, the sun of all spirits.
Because God is true, all truth derives from and corresponds to him. We saw above that because God is true, all he says is true. God worked through the human authors of Scripture in such a way that they freely wrote precisely what God intended them to. What Scripture says, God says.
But how is this possible? Jesus tells us that the Father accomplished this by the power of the Holy Spirit: He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears , and he will tell you what is yet to come. So what the Spirit revealed to the Apostles is true. This gives Christians confidence that what the Bible says about Jesus is true. And it ultimately gives us confidence that all the Bible teaches is true.
In sum, the Bible is true because every word of it is the word of God. God inspired the Scriptures in such a way that he actually breathed out the very words of Scripture, by the Holy Spirit, through the free agency of the human authors. Because the Bible is the Word of the God who is true, the Bible itself is true. In his Word, God does not hide anything from us that would cause us to be misled. In his Word, God does not include anything that would lead us astray. We can—and must—allow the Bible to shape and reshape our thoughts about God, ourselves, and our world.
The Bible tells a sprawling, epic narrative. It begins with the creation of all things and concludes with the recreation of all things. It tells the story of how God created people to rule the world under his dominion, and so enjoy fellowship with him and cause creation to flourish. With this decision, sin entered the world.
Yet Jesus was crucified by people who, like all of us, loved lies rather than the truth. So that if we would turn from sin and trust in Jesus, we could be reconciled to God, forgiven, and adopted into his family. On the third day after his death, Jesus rose from the grave. All people everywhere are called to submit to, trust in, and follow Jesus.
This is the main point of the Bible. It tells us how to be saved from sin and how to live out salvation. The Bible is true, but not exhaustive. This means, first, that nothing that contradicts the Bible is true. But remember also that God knows all things perfectly. Anything we can know, he knows already. Thus the Bible ultimately provides a firm footing for seeking truth in all realms of inquiry: Because God created us to inhabit the world, we can trust that our senses mediate actual knowledge of the world rather than a mere illusion.
Because God made the world, it reflects his own wisdom and truth. Because God is a speaking God, we can use language to communicate with him and with each other. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Though we can never know perfectly or exhaustively, we can know truly. We can know God. We can know each other. We can know the world God has made. The Apostle Paul says that truth is meant to be obeyed. He wants the very core of our being to be true—just like him. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. True disciples of Jesus are those who do what he says.
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They take his words as true, his commands as true, his promises as true. They hold to his teaching like a drowning man holds to a life raft, like a child holds to their parent. And when they do this, they come to know the truth. Because they come to know him who is truth in person. Jesus is the truth. To know him is to know truth. To live as he lives is to live truth. And to know and live the truth is to be free—truly free. So what is truth? From a biblical perspective, all the views we surveyed earlier in this essay contain at least a grain of truth.
Therefore, in addition to critiquing these four takes on truth, the Bible also fulfills and transforms them. Have you ever thought that truth could be a person?
Or that truth could set you free—from sin, from condemnation, from any and all lies? Copy the following code and paste it into your website's code to display this article on your site. The Bible is full of advice. What does it say about how we should handle our money?
Jesus is the central figure within Christianity. What does the Bible say about him?