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, knowledge, 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, tools used, not only for the purpose of conveying such ideas, but also for thinking about them. And in order for the same ideas you’re thinking about to actually be conveyed to another, the ideas attached to the words in your thinking must be the same as the ones in the hearer’s thinking. 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 even a few decades. But we must be aware that the word itself does not dictate reality. A rose does not stop being a rose just because the word rose stopped meaning a flower on a thorny stem. But that’s a simple example. To be on your guard against deception and folly you must contemplate the morphing of more important words, like love for example. 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’s for that reason that you must seek the ideas that the writers were attempting to convey rather than impose new meanings to words that the writers used. The ideas represented by the Word of God cannot, and must not, change at the whim of Man. When it comes to such things, just remember again what Satan’s first words were.
Another word to consider is, good. What does that mean? 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’s legal is it therefore good? Or do you instead consult your emotions? If it “feels” good, is it 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’s the reason for the evil. Is that good?
Some say that it’s 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 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 rendered 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. It only succeeds in helping to create a god that is more palatable. The word love must have a true meaning or it’s meaningless also, and any sentence that uses it is meaningless as well.
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 he is, deceived. That does not, however, mean that man cannot know. To not be deceived requires humility, contemplation, and thoughtfulness. It also requires a reference point outside of one’s self by which he can be oriented.
The statements: “There’s no truth, We can’t know Truth,” and, “What’s true for one is not necessarily true for another,” will be the “truths” in the zeitgeist in which you live. These statements are not only unable to support their own weight, they’re not consistent with each other. They, therefore, demand thoughtlessness if they are to be believed.
For the thoughtful, the Bible provides a reference point. It’s trustworthy, it’s consistent, and it paints a true picture of you, of your world, and of your Creator. It’s 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, much to many’s chagrin. It belongs in your heart, it belongs in your head, 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 ideas it has conveyed are timeless. Thoughtful men have embraced those ideas through the ages, and God’s enemies have schemed against them through the same 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 can withstand your thoughts, questions and examinations. No other claim of objective truth can nor will. Pray always.