Monday, March 17, 2014

TRUTH: How Can We Know? (Article 4)

Sequoia tree, California.
Internal Consistency

We should expect truth to be consistent with truth.

Jesus said,

"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:"

If a person makes two statements and those two statements are not compatible, or are contradictory, we know that (a) one or both of the statements are false, and (b) the person is at least partially wrong.

We live like this daily in our relationships with other people.  We meet a new person, we begin with their name and where they are from, how old they are, and begin to get to know them.  We begin a new relationship with a mix of trust and caution. As we learn more of this person--their actions and words--we look for consistency.  We judge as to weather or not their words and actions are consistent.  Our trust or caution (dis-trust) for this person will increase or decrease according to their consistency.  [External verify-ability also comes into play, but that will be dealt with in the next article.]

Internal consistency cannot stand alone.  A series of lies may advance in perfectly logical sequence and have internal consistency.  Internal consistency must come under the scrutiny of verify-ability--next article.

This requires something of you.  To know the truth will require that you care about knowing it enough to work at it.

Personal Testimony:
In regards to the Bible: I came to know Jesus Christ personally when I was 15 years old and I have been studying the Bible ever since.  Over the years there have been a few things that I initially thought may be contradictions--things I could not see how they were consistent.  But, after more study found, as I learned more of the God's Word (the Bible), that the Bible was demonstrated to be consistent.  This has happened so many times that when I now come across something I do not understand I try to be patient and keep studying.  Besides, I realized that it was high-minded pride to assume just because I do not understand the Bible that the Bible must be wrong.  What a fool I can be.

The fact that the Bible has been written by 40 different men over a period exceeding 1,400 years and conveys a singular and consistent message is a testimony that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be--the Words of God to man.

You will be able to find many people that say the Bible is full of contradictions.  I have found that these people fall into two basic categories: (1) Those that claim the Bible has contradictions but could not open a Bible and show you these supposed contradictions.  Most fit into this category.  (2) Those in academia that approach the Bible with the pre-condition that all is doubted until proclaimed true by human intellect or observation.  On this second point let me ask, who lives like this?  When a person tells you what they did this past weekend and it is a consistent account do you say, "I will not believe a word you are saying until I see empirical evidence.'  Even in Western law we deal with people on the basis of innocent until proven guilty.  When a claim is made the onus is on you to disprove it; not on the one making the claim to prove it.

Can I challenge you to take personal responsibility for the truth.  As I have written before, there are many voices speaking out there.  The Lord Jesus asks you, "For what shall it profit [you], if [you] shall gain the whole world, and lose [your] own soul? Or what shall [you] give in exchange for [your] soul?" (Mark 8:36-37).  If you will begin reading the Bible intelligently and patiently, desiring to know the truth, you will be rewarded.

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