Does God exist? Are there multiple gods? Is man his own god? These questions have drawn lines across the world. These questions affect not only relationships between people, but those between people and their governments. Under some governments, certain religions are forbidden and persecuted, while others are promoted or enforced. In the United States, a government founded on Christian principles and a trust in God, the government is increasingly allowing persecution of all forms of Christianity while enabling the progression of Islam. This is quite ironic considering adherents of Islam have been actively engaging in terrorist actions against the United States. Additionally, the government has been taking steps to suppress freedom of speech regarding Christianity, while encouraging atheistic religions such as evolution and humanism. The frustration that exists with all of these entities is each is operating by a set of values that they believe is established in truth. They each view the other entities as either ignorant or operating in a deceptive manner to bring others under the umbrella of their perceived truth. Coming from a Biblical approach, the viewpoint given in this article regarding truth is that the Word of God, the Bible, is truth.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Pontius Pilate, a Roman official, during the time of Jesus Christ, stated “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Though subject to much and continued criticism, it is the Christian’s conviction that the Word of God is inerrant and truth. Geography, history, physics, geology, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, are all affirmed as the Bible has recorded their occurrences and processes and modern day man has later discovered them. No other recording has accomplished this. Recorded over fourteen hundred years by numerous authors in differing locations, the Bible is unique from any other book the world has known. It is documented by more manuscripts than any publication every written, dwarfing the closest competitor by multi thousands. Its words of prophecy have been validated over the course of time without error. Confirmed in the first century with miracles, its confirmation now comes from its own inspired words. This is why men hold it as truth and put it up as a standard against other such claims. This is why man has been told to share the Words of God through preaching. Let people decide if the Bible is true based on what the Bible presents (I Corinthians 1:21). Were there men and women of old who tried to add to the words of the Bible with their falseness? Yes. Are there folks of the modern era who have attempted the same? Yes. The Bible has shown their teachings, writings, and prophecies to be false. It has stood on its own since its completion in the first century. It has stood true since the first word was penned long before the first century.
Psalms 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
So if everyone holds to perceived truths, why are the truths not the same? The answer is twofold: Ignorance and deception.
Ignorance can come about in two different ways. It can exist because there has not been opportunity to gather knowledge or it can exist because it has been chosen. A child may be ignorant of traffic laws because they have never been exposed to them before. In the same manner, a person may yet be ignorant of God’s truths because they have yet to be exposed to them. However, the truths will become evident for God has prompted all men to realize his existence through creation (Romans 1:20). It is at this point they will choose to seek God or not. If they seek Him, they will find Him (Matthew 7:7). God will give them time to find Him (2 Peter 3:9).
Ignorance is not always a matter of not having the opportunity to yet know. Ignorance can also be a choice a man makes (Proverbs 23:9). A man may decide when confronted with the idea that there is a God who demands obedience from him that he does not want to know that God. Consequently, he closes his mind toward any teachings regarding God. He chooses rather to hold other aspects of life as truths regardless of whether they are factual, consistent, or verifiable. Ignorance is also chosen in religion when someone gains partial knowledge, agrees with it, and follows portions of it, yet fails to continue to grow in and walk in the full belief he has accepted (Matthew 7:26). There are a great number of men and women in all religions who fall into this category. It is a type of spiritual laziness. It results in a person being in a religion which is false their whole life, because they choose to be ignorant to the remainder of the truth they have accepted. There are not only a great number of well meaning Christians in this group, but a large number of well meaning ministers as well. They choose to be ignorant of certain aspects of their religion because it might mean lesser numbers would gather, it might cause conflict, it might bring in less money to fund their efforts, or it might mean a loss of power. The world which they have chosen as their god, has blinded them. God does not leave an excuse for such behavior today and has given them opportunity to change:
Acts 17:30 – And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
This brings in the next aspect to be examined in regard to why the same truths are not held by all: deception. If someone is teaching falsely and it is not because of ignorance, they are doing it to deceive. To be clear, many entities are not above deceiving others in order to gain their adherence to their perceived truth. Nor do they all deceive to destroy. Many people deceive because they believe in their perceived truth. For example, consider the Global warming advocates. There have been many instances exposed in which data was altered, suppressed, or created erroneously to support claims being made. These activities were willingly engaged in to sway people to their umbrella of perceived truth. Do a great number of them believe in what they are doing? Yes. However, to strengthen the attraction to their beliefs they go beyond being honest.
Romans 16:17-18 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
There are many change agents today who are teaching postmodern doctrines, those which are “cutting edge” so that they can draw more people to them. This is the attraction of community churches. They believe they are doing right. They use bells and whistles to influence those who do not know God or those who rely on their emotions rather than truth. Yet, God said it is to be the power of the Gospel preached that should draw men. Teachers who stray beyond piercing the heart of man with the gospel preached deceive those that assemble. Such preachers have become ear ticklers.
2 Timothy 4:3 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.
A second branch of deceivers deceives to destroy. Men such as these know what the scriptures say, but purposely distort the gospel. Some of the atheist religion fall into this category. They claim “discrepancies” in scripture when they know their own arguments to be false. Atheists are not alone in their deceptions; even some in Christian assemblies attempt to destroy other Christian assemblies through deceit. One of the most ridiculous internet claims ever published is from a Baptist preacher who has a so called list of items a “Church of Christ Preacher” cannot answer. Of course the distorted list is simply refuted and has been for a great long time, but the claim is still made. It is a pitiful deception to those seeking Christ. It is much better to say “Here is what this body believes and here is what the Bible says” and then let the person take a Bible and decide. Regardless of the Christian faith held, ministers have dealt with such questions and are typically not without answer, correct or not. Where the truth is ultimately discovered is when men sit down together with scripture and earnestly seek using the full breadth of the Bible and not a single (often out of context) verse for an answer. This is a far better approach to combating a belief than making false claims in hopes that it will turn folks away from it. Sitting down and doing so takes love and patience which a deceiver will rarely extend if at all.
Acts 17:11 – Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.
Ignorance and deception have long been enemies of the truth. They will stand toe to toe with the truth until the end of all things. Men choosing these paths are more than enemies of the truth, they are enemies of God. Their battling against the truth, based on their own love of the world, is like a man trying to hold back the ocean. Their efforts ultimately will fail. God’s truths cannot be suppressed. Ignorance and deception will fall by the wayside while truth will continue forward eternally.
Isaiah 40:8 – The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.