Truth and Falsehood: Absolute or Relative?

The Bible is clear on the existence of truth. We can be led into truth (Ps. 25:5), people will lean on the truth (Isa. 10:20), Jesus tells the truth (Luke 4:25), and Jesus even calls Himself the Truth (John 14:6).

In fact, the sentence “There’s absolutely no such thing as absolute truth” is a self-defeating statement because the statement proclaims the very thing that it says doesn’t exist. Yet, we have a problem with absolute truth—namely, our ability to understand and comprehend it. To say that absolute truth is real is one thing; to say that we absolutely understand it, well, that’s something else entirely.

The apostle Paul says that we “see in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor. 13:12, ESV). This means that while we can certainly understand things, hear things, and see things, we also have our unique personalities and challenges in interpreting truth. We have only a limited and subjective perspective on the truth. Even within the Gospels, we find four slightly different accounts of Jesus’ story. Sometimes their stories overlap, and other times they include different details. Jesus even tells His disciples that He has things to share with them but “you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12, NRSV). None of us will have a completely objective knowledge or understanding about anything this side of the Second Coming. However, that doesn’t mean God won’t give us the knowledge we need, when we need it, as we prayerfully seek it.

Jesus tells us that He sends His Spirit to help lead us to an understanding of truth (John 16:13). In addition to the Spirit, Jesus calls us into the community, where we can share meaning and perspectives on reality. The Bible encourages us to stick together, “not neglecting to meet together” (Heb. 10:25, ESV). As we study, as the Spirit speaks to our hearts, and as we share truth in the community, we are led to grasping truth that is sufficient to help us understand the plan of salvation and our Savior Jesus Christ.

If you feel like you don’t know everything, or have questions, know that you’re not alone. There is always more truth to discover, even truth about the ones that we already know, and we can have different views and perspectives on truth, even absolute truth.