Is all truth God’s truth?

(Jimmy Sellers) #1

@SeanO 's post Witnessing Using Truth in Other Worldviews and the answers that were given made we wonder if I can confidently say all truth is God’s truth? I personally believe that all truth is God’s truth. Having said that I know that there are belief systems that are diametrically opposed to the Truth of God but do have some truth in them. Am I chasing my tail on this or could it pose a problem for some Christians?

A few examples: The Quran says that that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. Science says that the universe had a beginning. From Ayn Rand, Follow reason, not whims or faith and Prosper by treating others as individuals, trading value for value. From Buddhism: The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death.
Would be interested in feedback.

(SeanO) #2

Personally I agree with the spirit behind the statement “all truth is God’s truth”. It’s just a way of saying that we should respect the truth wherever we find it and whoever is speaking. I think where I would be careful, for example with Buddhism, is that sometimes when people saying one thing - such as life including pain - they mean much more. The entire worldview is connected to that one statement - so that it cannot really be taken just at face value.

I think religions tend to have this type of connected truth more often than science. Scientists generally work in a fairly closed domain or specialized field - so when they come to a conclusion it is not necessarily connected to every other branch of science or (necessarily) to a worldview. When dealing with philosophical or religious statements, I think I would be a bit more careful because of the way people connected one idea to another.

It’s like an iceberg - you see the one statement they made - life involves suffering - but beneath the surface icebergs are massive and so are people’s intended meanings sometimes. That one statement - life involves suffering - may include concepts of maya and the eight fold path and karma.

And with your example of Mary from the Quran - that statement assumes that the Quran is a reliable source of information. Which is a separate claim entirely from the statement about the virgin birth.

So I think that would be my personal caveat - beware the strings tied to a statement that appears to be true when you view it from your own worldview.

I read the article linked below - it had some interesting quotes that I listed below the link.

However, I think both Calvin and Bavink, in these quotes, make claims that I find unnecessary. Calvin says that the " the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth" and Bavink says that God is “the truth in all truth”. Bavink’s statement sounds almost eastern - God is not in truth - God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things - truth points to Him, but saying He is ‘in truth’ is a bit odd. Calvin’s point, to me, is slightly off. The Gospel and truth about God are spiritually discerned, but a math problem - 2+2=4 - does not require God’s Spirit to figure out - there are different types of truth.

John Calvin - Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth , we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears (II.2.15)

The Dutch Reformed systematic theologian Herman Bavinck wrote the following: “He [God] is the truth in its absolute fullness. He, therefore, is the primary, the original truth, the source of all truth , the truth in all truth. He is the ground of the truth – of the true being – of all things, of their knowability and conceivability, the ideal and archetype of all truth, of all ethical being, of all the rules and laws, in light of which the nature and manifestation of all things should be judged and on which they should be modeled. God is the source and origin of the knowledge of truth in all areas of life…”

(Tim Behan) #3

I would probably have to think about it a bit more, but I think I actually agree with Calvin and Bavinck to some degree. I totally agree, SeanO, that we must be so careful with what we say and how we say it - certainly because what is on the surface doesn’t always reflect what is underneath as you say.

But I think the concept of truth and the truth of all concepts has to be found in God. What I mean by that is that since God is the source of everything then everything that is commented as ‘truth’ must find it’s ultimate description in God. Does that make sense? So your example of 2+2=4 is true because God is a logical being who (I think) loves numbers. So while we must be careful of what we describe as truth - everything that is true finds it’s ultimate cause in God and so in that way God is the truth in all truth.

Possibly I’m just splitting hairs for no reason… but those are my thoughts in any case.

(SeanO) #4

@tsbehan Yes, without hearing their defense of their own words it would be hard to say precisely what they meant.

I think I am more comfortable with “God is the source of all truth” than “truth in all truth”, simply because I personally have no idea what the latter statement actually means if taken as it stands. Though I’m sure Bavink knew exactly what he meant. If only he was here to ask. Maybe one day I will.

I agree with you that all truth ultimately is rooted in God since He is the source of all things. But to me the statement ‘truth in all truth’ does not necessarily equate to that thought, though perhaps that is what Bavink meant.

Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile: