Humanity’s depraved motive to manipulate truth for selfish gain has been a violent, insane, treacherous road of desperation, full of switchbacks, deadfalls, and detours through rivers of blood. Even a cynical agent of Rome (an empire built on violence), Pontius Pilate, asked the very essence of truth himself, Jesus Christ, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), but received no reply.
Why? Because simple reality is the long and short of truths definition. But the bitter irony is that as depraved humanity throws itself into this rabid misuse, truth’s reality crowds us like a hungry lion seeking us as prey. Pilate’s ill motive toyed with truth, even as divine eyes of its reality burned his soul with a desire to be known by him. Ironically, God’s sublime truth was not Pilate’s prisoner at all. No, Pilate used what he required for selfish gain, then literally attempted to wash his guilty hands of the rest of it. But as he would come to learn, truth evilly entreated is coiled with the deadly strike of a rattlesnake.
Pilate was not alone in his crisp question. The builders of the Tower of Babel, the ancient Persian astronomers, the Greek philosophers, even the Mayan priests and other seekers the world over, including those of modern times, were, and are, motivated toward a blind thirst for facts to be used as tools of power whereby their own hand can unify and satisfy the search for humanity’s origin, purpose, and destiny. As Mark Twain once observed, “Get your facts first, then you can distort them any way you please.” Although couched humorously, he spoke true words. But as Solomon said of such selfish aims, “all is vanity…” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Regardless of our tumultuous history, our daring explorations, and our fantastic discoveries, today’s human condition shouts to us that our selfish hands are yet empty. Truth’s essence of humility yet runs through our misguided fingers like quicksilver slipping through sand, and disappears.
Probably the most faithful metaphor for truth is light and perhaps the best Scripture verse describing it is, “Whatsoever maketh manifest is light” (Ephesians 5:13). Simply translated, it means, Whatever reveals reality is truth. The best illustration of it is to enter a pitch dark room and then turn on the light. Everything suddenly lights up in plain sight, in full reality for every normal eye to behold in true perspective. But a self-made blind man who enters and turns on the light is yet blind and misses reality because it doesn’t match his preconceived imagination.
Again, simple reality is truths definition. Truth is factual and real. It is not a product of human intellect; instead, human intelligence is a product of truth. Truth is ahead of us, not something we have in tow. The wise do not own it; rather, it owns them, and wisdom’s rightful definition is that a man is possessed of it, not its dictator. The very nature of reality is that it has fixed laws, and these may be regarded as the White Stallion of Truth. For example, the law of gravity may be foolishly violated, but such foolishness falls to the ground to be trampled by the razored hooves of truth.
We should learn that truth never progresses, for it is an eternal essence; we either progress, digress, or regress in knowing it. Never the deceiver, it always tells the truth. It never changes, is never new, never old, never evolves, it just is, ever present, never compromising. It laughs hard at so-called “Situation Ethics,” but sits rather as a lead weight in the pit of every stomach who fantasizes, philosophizes, doctrinizes, or compromises. Truth demands respect, and has a sharp presence equally in slums or mansions, churches or brothels, on death row or the Supreme Court, in the seat of a garbage truck or the one in the Oval Office. It is always simple reality, the nose on our own faces regardless of who looks down it, be it Joe Stalin, Genghis Khan, Geronimo, or the Pope; whether we be farsighted, nearsighted, ego-sighted, or stone blind. Truth always wins every debate because it is in essence its own proof of what winning is. Though all humanity should call it false, it yet looms before us because it cannot not exist. It is never the captive, but itself either sets free or imprisons. It never bounces because it is the bouncer. It is unmoved if missed, if stumbled over, or even if it kills you. Although humanity’s recklessness to ignore it should turn the landscape into a chaotic nightmare of confusion at the cost of millions of lives and human suffering, there it yet looms as an unmarred granite monolith amid utter human chaos saying, “I was right here all along; how could you possibly have missed me?”
By observing humanity’s sordid past (and present), one might reason that no honorable search for truth exists. Oh, but it does! You see, the facts contained by reality are actually for the pleasure and benefit of those who seek truth in humility, not for selfish gain. “The meek will he guide in judgment: And the meek will he teach his way,” (Psalm 25:9). He who truly finds it embraces its very embodiment. He does not crucify it as a subservient to a perceived higher power, as did Pilate. Rather, he discovers that truth itself is a higher power to be embraced in broken humility. Those grounds are not for Neros or Hitlers, nor are they for intellectual stiff necks. Such as these will be ground to powder, but “the meek… shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Who are the meek? These are they who found that life worth living never came from tyranny, but from following Him whose very name is Truth (John 14:6; John 17:17; and 1st John 5:6). Such passages declare truth to actually be a person, even though secular minds tossed that idea aside long ago as useless nonsense. Nevertheless, the moral principle of perfect goodness, intuitively known among depraved humanity, demands the existence of a Perfect Person to judge the validity of right or wrong.
It is in fact the driving force in the natural law of cause and effect, a process Jesus Christ aptly called sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7, 8). Our bad moral choices in the very face of truth’s reality renders us victims, much like the insanity of beating our own faces bloody against a stone wall. The truth Himself declares with omnipotent authority, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6), but our dull ears and scaled eyes, swollen with inflated egos, are why our guilty hands are yet empty. Even though “The heavens declare the glory of God,” and although the very firmament above us, and the world of wonders engulfing us below, shows his power (Psalm 19:1), we vainly ignore truth’s guarantee that, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Until we come humbly to know truth personally, intimately, and until all our ego, genius, pride, and debate, dissolves into God’s personal presence and fellowship, until that day, our grasping, clutching hands are yet empty. What great eternal loss is that when his resounding voice echoes through the chambers of our souls, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).