It is my desire that you would live your lives as thoughtful beings… that you would think about things deeply in ways that would lead you to difficult questions. And then I desire that you would spend a lifetime answering those questions. I desire that you would contemplate common but profound words; words like, “good”, “love”, “beauty”, and “truth”, along with the concepts that these kinds of words represent. For to understand the weightier matters of your life, you must have some inkling of what the ideas being expressed by these words are. Without thoughtfulness, this will not happen, nor can it.
Words are representations of ideas. They are mere sounds. They are tools used for the purpose of conveying ideas. But in order for the true idea to actually be conveyed, the ideas attached to the word in the speaker’s mind must be the same as the one in the hearer’s. Satan’s initial attack on man involved words. His first words in scripture were, “Has God said…?”. For man, the morphing of the meanings of words is normal. Words can mean something completely different over a few decades. But we must be aware that the word does not dictate reality. A rose does not stop being a rose because the word “rose” stop meaning a flower on a thorny bush. But that is a simple example. Words like “love” can morph too, and then attempt to dictate a new reality. That’s why you must think about these things. The words in the scripture are no less susceptible to their definitions morphing into something else. And it is for this reason that you must seek the ideas that the writers were attempting to convey rather than impose the new meanings of words on the writers ideas. The ideas represented by the Word of God can not and must not change at the whim of man.
What does the word “good” mean for example? Is mercy good? Why? There’s good ice cream, and then there’s a good God. It’s the same word, but does it convey the same meaning? Why, or why not? Where do you go for the answer? Do you go to man? If it is legal is it therefore good? Or do you instead consult your emotions? If it “feels” good to your senses, is it therefore good? Can something be pleasing to the senses and not be good? Why not? And if not, then how does man know what is good and what is not? And how do you know?
What does “love” mean? Is it a feeling? An action? A decision? The Bible says that God is love, yet we see much evil in this world. Does love allow evil? How is evil defined? Some say that God forbids Himself from intervening in the affairs of men, and that man has free will, and that is the reason for the evil. Is that true? How do we know if it is true or not? Does the Bible have anything to say about that? Can we even know?
Some say that it is wrong to ask questions like these. Why is it wrong? Is willful ignorance good? On what truth does one base such an assertion, and can we know if that basis is true? Is it good to not know what is good? Others say that what is true for one person may not be true for another. Is that true for those who disagree? Still others yet reject the existence of God altogether because they say that religion, and the belief in God, is evil, and causes evil. How does one then define evil and truth? You, my dear children, must contemplate these things and much more, for if you do not, others will surely do it for you.
At the core of understanding these words is one word: “truth”. That must be your starting point. Without that one word settled there will be no basis upon which to build an understanding of any other word. It should be no wonder then that the Apostle John introduced Jesus as “the Word”: “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1). Or that Jesus called himself “the Truth”. (John 14:6) All of the words I mentioned, you will notice, point to a standard without which they would be meaningless. That standard must be true. If truth is corrupted, then the ideas must be corrupted too. If God is love, and the word “love” has been corrupted, what truth about God can that statement convey? Answer: None. The word “love” must have a true meaning or it is meaningless, and any sentence that uses it is meaningless too.
There is truth. That truth is timeless. That is to say that what is true now has always been true for the entire world for all time. Any other understanding of truth is not true. Man is not the arbiter of what is true. Man can be, and is, deceived. That does not however mean that man cannot know. To not be deceived requires contemplation and thoughtfulness. It also requires a reference point outside of himself by which he can be oriented.
“There is no ‘truth'”, “We cannot know Truth”, “What is true for one is not necessarily true for another”, will be the “truths” in the zeitgeist in which you live. These statements will not only not support their own weight, they are not consistent with each other. They therefore demand thoughtlessness. But that fact will not cause those who attempt to live according to such assumptions from militantly making such claims.
For the thoughtful, the Bible provides a reference point. It is trustworthy. It is consistent. It paints a true picture of you, of your world, and of your Creator. It is a book unequaled by any other in the history of the world. It deserves study. Indeed it has been studied like no other book. Millions have found comfort and answers in its words, and millions have studied it for the purpose of destroying it… and yet it lives and continues to impact the world today. It is loved. It is hated. It is relevant. It belongs in your heart and it belongs in the public square. It said what it meant when it was written, and it says and means exactly the same thing today. The words it has spoken are timeless in meaning. Thoughtful men have embraced that meaning through the ages, and God’s enemies have schemed against them though the ages.
My dear children, think, therefore, about things deeply. Ponder them. Examine them. Refine. Ask questions. Seek answers. Discuss. Do all these things in the light of scripture. It will withstand your thoughts, questions and examinations. No other claim of objective truth can nor will. Pray always.