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Absolute Truth for a Relative World, by Dennis R. Dinger,
presents the absolute truths of God to all who are interested in the
answer to Pontius Pilate's question, "What is truth?" Many today believe that
everything is relative and nothing is absolute, but that is incorrect.
God's truths are absolute, regardless what man thinks of them.
Furthermore, God reveals His truths to each
one of us. No one can truly say, "I didn't know." Those who
are searching for truth and light in this relative world will find this an interesting and valuable
Excerpts from the book:
What is Truth?
When Jesus was questioned before Pilate,
the following discourse took place: "37Pilate
therefore said unto Him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou
sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I
into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that
is of the truth heareth My voice.’ 38Pilate saith unto Him,
‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again unto the
Jews, and saith unto them, ‘I find in Him no fault at all.’"
We all know that after asking this
apparently rhetorical question, "What is truth?", and after finding
no fault in Him, Pilate nevertheless condemned Jesus to die on the cross.
This same question plagues each man,
woman, and child born into this world. What is truth? What should we
believe? What should we ignore? Where do we find the truth?
Pilate was unwilling to believe his own
eyes and ears. He was face to face with the man Jesus. He was face to face
with God incarnate. He talked with Him, questioned Him, and found no fault
in Him. Then, being a good politician of his day, he ignored his own eyes,
ears, thoughts, conclusions, and the solid evidence before him, gave in to
the will of the people, and sentenced Jesus to death.
How would we have reacted, decided, or
behaved, if we stood in Pilate’s shoes that day, or if we participated in
that crowd? Unfortunately, we would have responded the same way they did.
Romans 5:10 says that all of the people, which would have included
each one of us had we been there, were "enemies" of God. We would
have behaved similar to Pilot and the people. Had we been Pilate, we would
have sentenced Jesus to death. Had we been one of the people in the crowd,
we would have joined in the cry, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
What is truth? The Bible contains the
answer to this question if we are willing to search it out. Of course, we
can find the truth and still reject it as Pilate did. Or, we can find the
truth, and assent to it. Or, we can find the truth, and believe it.
It is difficult for natural man to believe
the truth, however, because the truth is certainly not flattering to man.
The truth contains many hard sayings. But the way of life is contained in
the truth. To seek it, to find it, to believe it, and to cling to it are
valuable and necessary tasks for any who want to know What is truth?
and who want to enjoy the abundant life available to those who abide in
The psalmist wrote, "Behold, thou
desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make
me to know wisdom." (Psalm 51:6) God desires truth in our inner parts.
He wants truth to be interwoven into every fiber that makes up the fabric
of our beings. That is His desire for mankind.
In this book, we will study what the Bible
has to say about truth. One nice characteristic of absolute truth is that
it does not change. It does not change by the book of the Bible in which
it is located, and it does not change by the time period during which it
was revealed, or during which it is studied. The truths in Genesis are the
same truths that are found in Revelation. The truths that applied at the
time of the creation, applied in Jesus’ day, just as they apply today, and
will apply in the future.
All of the truths of the Bible are as
relevant to all of us today as they have been to all who have come and
gone before, and as relevant as they will be to all who are yet to come.
God’s truth was revealed to Pilate, but he
chose not to believe it. Pilate did not have access to the completed,
written Word of God that we have today, but he stood face-to-face with
Jesus, the very Son of God. He had the opportunity to directly question
God the Son.
After directly questioning and speaking
face-to-face with Jesus, Pilate rejected Him nevertheless. Not only did he
reject Him, he sentenced Him to death by crucifixion.
Many people throughout time would have
given anything (ANYTHING!!) to talk directly to God and to discuss truth,
life, and salvation with Him. Pilate had that opportunity.
What a wonderful topic to discuss with the
Lord! "Are you a king?" "Yes! I am!" Pilate was face-to-face with the Son
of God. He was face-to-face with the truth. The supporting evidence was
consistent with the truth! "I find no fault in this man." But as
history records, Pilot condemned Jesus to death.
Our prayer for all who study the subject
of truth is that, when faced with the truth, they will recognize it as
truth and believe it, rather than scrap it (as if it were refuse) as
Truth in 21st Century Society
It is incredibly difficult in today’s
society to discover the truth about anything. Truth is absolute. Many say
there is no such thing as absolute truth because everything is relative.
To some, everything is black or white. To
others, nothing is black or white, but everything is a shade of gray.
Everything must be taken in its context. Everything depends on something
else. Some hold fast only to things that are politically correct, or to
those ideas (determined by polls) that are representative of the
population at large.
What is one to believe?
Absolute versus Relative Truths
Those who believe everything is relative
must have some basis for a reference point. Usually, the reference point
for man is ME, I, or MY. For example, "I will judge the validity of
any statement relative to whether I like it, whether I
believe it, whether it helps me, whether it flatters me, or
whether it puffs up my ego!" To define truth in this way is to
utilize a totally self-centered point of view. But such a point of view is
totally consistent with the Bible’s description of natural man.
The self-centered point of view provides
man with a safe position to take – at least many men and women
think it is a safe position. If everything is relative to me, or to
someone else, or to anything else, then there can be no such thing as an
absolute. It is a safe position to take (supposedly) because it
protects from having to deal with absolutes. If I maintain that the only
good things in this world are those things that are good for me,
and you maintain that the only good things in this world are those things
that are good for you, then we will never agree on what is truly good. If
we must agree, but we cannot, then maybe we are both right and everything
is relative. If everything is relative, and there are no absolutes,
then there are no hard decisions that anyone needs to make. This approach
allows many to deny the existence of absolute truth.
Proponents of this point of view can deny,
push aside, sidestep, and ignore anything. They are never guilty of
anything. They never break any rules because there are no absolute rules
to break. All is relative. Their collective experiences all point to the
‘fact’ that all is relative. They can say, "It may be truth to you, but it
is not truth to me, so I do not need to address it." At this point, the
subject, and the discussion, end. ... if everything were relative, that
But God says there are many truths. There
are many absolute truths. And since they are absolute, they don’t
require any assent or belief on man’s part to make them true. Absolute
truth is absolutely true, regardless what anyone thinks or says about it.
For example, Jesus said, "I am the way,
the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) Jesus told Pilate, "... for
this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the
truth." (John 18:37) These two verses, as well as many more, teach
that there is such a thing as absolute truth. These are absolute truths.
There is right and wrong. There is a right way. There are many wrong ways.
There are truths. There are lies.
The dilemma for mankind is this: either
there is no such thing as absolute truth, or there is. If there are no
absolutes, we can all do as we please. Anarchy can reign. If there are
absolutes, however, then we each must deal with them.
If there is no such thing as absolute
truth, no one needs to worry about answering Pilate’s question: What is
truth? All is relative. Nothing is absolutely true. There is no answer to
Pilate’s question; the question is totally rhetorical; and you can believe
whatever you please ... if absolute truth doesn’t exist.
But ... if Jesus is the
personification of truth (as He said) and He actually did come into
this world to bear witness unto the truth (as He said), man is in a real
predicament. In this case, man cannot simply hide behind the
‘everything is relative’ argument, but man must face the truth and
deal with it. Man must not only ask the question that Pilate asked, but he
must search for the answers and make some decisions. And since the
question deals with absolutes, the decisions will either be
right, or they will be wrong.
As long as everything is relative, right
and wrong don’t enter the picture. But when dealing with absolutes, along
come the next two concepts men and women must also deal with: right
and wrong. When absolute truths exist, we can no longer hide in the
fog of relativity, but we each must deal with the clear issues of right
That is why mankind gravitates to the
safe position of all things being relative. But God’s Word says that
hiding behind a smokescreen of relativity is not a safe position. Men and
women must face absolute truth and deal with the concepts of right
The Bible teaches that each of us will
someday stand individually before the court of God, with God as the
sitting Judge. That judgement will be based on absolute truth, and the
flippant argument, "everything is relative," simply will not fly!
When God tells a person standing before
Him, "I sent you My Word which is My truth. What did you do with it?" That
person can say:
• "The Bible did not apply to me, so I
ignored it." or,
• "I did not like what it said about me,
so I chose not to believe it." or,
• "I never studied it carefully, so I
really have no idea what it says." or,
• "The Bible is full of lies and
contradictions. It is garbage."
There are a whole host of other excuses
that could be added to this list. But none of these arguments or excuses
will be of any value to anyone. Whoever uses such arguments will be judged
The mere existence of absolute truths puts
each man and woman into the dilemma that requires honest answers to honest
questions. Not only must each of us ask, "What is truth?" but then, when
we learn the answer, we must each ask, "Do I believe it?" Ultimately, the
answer had better be, "Yes."
An interesting consideration applies to
absolute truth. When truths are absolute, it does not matter whether you,
or I, or anyone else, believes them. Absolute truths are absolutely true.
They are true, whether we believe them or not. They are not relative. So
we disbelieve at our own peril.
Black versus White versus Gray
There are many current political
and religious issues which allow valid positions that are all over
the spectrum – from the extremes of black and white, to a variety of
shades of gray in between. Each person can make their stand at positions
at an extreme or anywhere in the middle, wherever he or she likes. All
positions are valid and acceptable. Others may disagree, but there can be
no wrong positions because there are no truly right
Sometimes the ‘truth’ is determined by
polls. Of course, the ‘truth’ determined by polls is not really the truth
at all. But many people trust the crowd and conform their opinions
accordingly. In fact, many would rather trust the crowd than trust the
truth according to God.
Some issues have solid positions at each
extreme, with no apparently valid positions in the intermediate gray
areas. Some issues have relatively clear truths associated with them.
There are definite right and definite wrong points of view associated with
such issues. Other issues do not appear to have any clear rights or
For example, on the issue of abortion, if
you are not "Pro-life", then you must be "Pro-choice". In politics, if you
are not a Republican, then you must be a Democrat. If you are not a fiscal
or a social Conservative, then you must be a fiscal or a social Liberal.
If you do not subscribe to Calvinism, then you must subscribe to
Arminianism. If you are not a Dispensationalist, then you must be a
Covenant Theologian. Some of these examples have lots of acceptable,
distinct, gray, intermediate positions between the extremes. Others
apparently have none.
Some positions are euphemistically named.
This helps to confuse the issue and to hide obvious truths. If the choice
was between "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Death", the acceptable position would be
relatively obvious. But the choice is between "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice".
Everyone believes in life, and everyone believes in free choice, so the
issue has been muddied. It is not a clear choice and the truth has been
Then there are the politically correct
(PC) positions on everything. The PC position on religion says that no one
religion is the true religion. Each denomination or religion thinks it is
the only correct one, and there are lots of those to choose from. So the
PC position says that all choices are equal. To be PC, you cannot favor
any one religion over another. As soon as you take a side and make a stand
on one religion, then you are no longer politically correct. All choices
must be equal.
If all choices are not equal, then some
must be better and some must be worse. To tell someone that they have made
a bad choice will make them feel bad, which will hurt their self-esteem
(which, according to PC dogma, everyone knows is bad), so we cannot
have any of that! All religions are (and must be) equal. That is
Of course, if you read newspapers or pay
any attention at all to the news media, you will find that some religions
are more equal than others. In fact, Christianity is less equal
than all others. Within today’s public schools, students can freely study
almost any religious book in the world, except the Bible.
"We have separation of church and state,
you know." What we really have is separation of Christianity and state.
Studying any of the writings of any of the other world religions, falls
under the category of diversity – which, by the world’s definition,
is good. But studying any of the writings in the Bible is bad. That falls
under the category of separation of church and state, and that is not
allowed! (So much for equality of religion!)
This may not be right, but it is
politically correct. Inequality and bias are socially acceptable as long
as they are aimed in the proper direction (read: left, or read: consistent
with popular opinion.) Satan is definitely at work in this world pushing
The politically incorrect view is
that there is one true God who is the God of the Bible. It is politically
incorrect to believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to teach us
the truth, to believe that He is truth, and to believe that His Word is
It may be politically incorrect to believe
this, but in fact, God’s Word is absolute truth and there’s nothing
relative about it! It is all black and white with no gray areas at all.
What Should Man Believe?
My father-in-law, the late James E. Funk,
taught that the Bible was the simplest book in the world to understand. It
can all be boiled down to this: The Bible teaches about God, and it
teaches about man. It does this throughout all 66 books of the Bible.
Jim also taught that it was extremely
simple to understand the Bible if you knew the key. According to him, the
key to understanding the Bible is this: The Bible teaches that God is
good, and man is bad. It is simple. It is no more complicated than
His key may seem overly simplified, but it
is nevertheless accurate. All of the Bible teaches that God is absolutely
good. And as unflattering as it may sound, all of the Bible teaches that
natural man is bad – absolutely destitute of any redeeming value.
If you want absolute truth, there it is in
its purest, unvarnished form. The Bible is not flattering to man! What is
man to do? Believe it, ignore it, or reject it?
Out of man’s inherent pride, we label this
as baloney. If all is relative, and a person thinks he is pretty good by
comparison with the next guy, he can choose to take his chances before
God’s court. "Man is inherently bad?? Hah!!"
But if there is such a thing as absolute
truth, and the Bible presents itself to mankind as absolute truth, do we
dare ignore it, or reject it, without giving it due consideration? The
obvious, logical answer is "No, we dare not ignore it!" The human answer,
however, is frequently, "Yes! Not only can we ignore it – we
will ignore it!"
As we continue through the study in this
book, we will consider truth. We will study many of the truths presented
by God to man. We will show the Bible’s teachings on a variety of aspects
of this subject. The goal is to help each man and woman in this world who
must yet answer for themselves the question Pilate asked: "What is
May those of you who study this subject
arrive at a better answer than Pilate did.