At Jesus’ trial, Pontius Pilate asked, “What is truth?” It does not surprise us that a pagan would ask such a question. What is astounding is that many people in academia, the media, and everyday life are still asking this question. In this post-modern climate, truth is only personal—whatever people experience, decide, or feel.
This post-modern philosophy challenges us because it seems to destroy the very foundation of our faith. If truth is only experienced, it cannot be revealed. Especially, religious truth cannot be known. Therefore, everyone is to live according to their own “truths” and not impose their “truth” on others.
Whether or not Noah had to deal with such “post-modern philosophy,” we are not told. However, when Noah warned the people that God would send a flood, the people clung to their own truth—there is not enough water to flood the whole world. They regarded their science and knowledge superior to God’s revelation. After the rain started falling, their philosophy and truth failed them, and they all drowned.
Modern science has declared that such a worldwide flood was impossible, and it never happened. The story about Noah is just a retelling of ancient myths from other cultures. And while God has promised that He will never send another flood to cover the world, people today forget that Jesus promised to return at the end of the world, when all people will be judged according to His Law. Modern science declares that life after death is a myth, that this world will end billions of years from now—or never—and that heaven is another myth.
The prophets sent to Judah tried to warn the people about God’s judgments. Jeremiah especially suffered persecution because the people and king would not listen to him. They reasoned that Jerusalem was God’s chosen city, with God’s temple in it. Therefore God would protect them for the honor of His name, even if His chosen people worshipped idols and lived wickedly. They would not listen to God’s Word, and many were killed when the Babylonians captured and destroyed Jerusalem.
In the past 100 years, scientists and researchers have discovered many wonderful facts about the universe and world that we live in. Medical researchers have discovered new therapies and medicines that have made life better for millions of people. New discoveries are being reported every day—from barren planets in our galaxy to the nature of the three quarks that make up protons and neutrons.
While these discoveries have brought many changes to modern life, they do not tell the whole story. Because people’s vision and testing equipment is limited, scientists cannot examine everything to say that they see the whole picture and know the whole truth about life, the world, and our universe.
God did not leave it up to mankind to discover the truth about God—for our sinful nature blinds us to the truth and people tend to create gods like themselves. God took it upon Himself to reveal truth to the human race. We confess these revealed truths with the words of the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds.
God’s purpose in His revealed Word is described by John: These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31). The truth we need to know and believe is that Jesus bound Himself to suffer death in order to set sinners free from sin and that He promises a life that will never end (see John 5:24, 6:40).
ELS Pastor Emeritus