Are You Subject to Objective Truth?
Is truth subjective or objective? In order to answer this question we must first understand what truth is. Webster’s Dictionary seems to be confused on the subject.
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact
(2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality
(3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true 〈truths of thermodynamics〉
c : the body of true statements and propositions
Did you catch it? ACCEPTED AS TRUE… Is truth accepted as being truth, or is it absolutely true, with no modifiers? Let me elaborate.
Roger is a man with four children and a wife.
Is his wife beautiful? We do not know, because beauty really is relative to the likes and dislikes of the observer. The answer would be subjective, because there is not a standard set for beauty. When answers are subjective, meaning dependent upon the observer, we enter the realm of opinion and leave the factual arena. So, what do we know? The man’s name is Roger. Roger is married. Roger has four children. Roger is a man. These four statements are objectively true. No one’s opinion can change these facts.
We deal with objective truths every day.
What is 2+2? What is the abbreviation for “they are?” Who killed Kennedy?
I added that last question for a reason. While the first two questions are easily answerable, the last question has an answer, no matter how much it has been hotly debated throughout the decades. No matter who is believed to have killed Kennedy or whether or not man has gone to the moon, the answers exist. Evidence can be gathered. Data can be observed. People can be interviewed. I do not know where the quote originated, but I have heard it said, “Either I’m right and you’re wrong, you’re right and I’m wrong, or we’re both wrong, but we both can’t be right and disagree with one another.” If we both could be right then 2+2 could be 5 or 6.
So, when it comes down to spiritual matters and moral issues we have to decide if we are governed by objective truths, which are facts, or subjective truths, which ultimately are opinions.
On three separate occasions today I discussed salvation and the objectivity of the truth concerning salvation as laid out by the Bible. Acts 2:38 points out that we find the forgiveness of sins in repentance and baptism. It is also at this point that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 59:1-2 elaborates on the effects of sin. Sin hides God’s face from us and prevents His hand from saving us. If the Bible speaks objective truth, facts, then in order to find forgiveness of sin and allow God’s hand to save us we must repent and be baptized. Simple, right? I cannot change it. I cannot deny the truth if the Bible speaks objective truth.
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.” (James 3:14, NASB95)
The Bible claims to speak objective moral truth, against which we are capable of lying. If we can lie against the truth, then it is not subject to our feelings or our personal convictions. If we were capable of changing the truth or having a personal (subjective) truth, then it would be impossible to lie against it.
So, what does this mean for us? We must be diligent students of the word. If the Bible says it, that’s it. No matter what I have believed or have been taught, I am obligated by objective truth to conform my life and standards to that which God has recorded for all time. I would love for all people who have simply believed in Jesus Christ and have “accepted Him into their heart” to have found the forgiveness of sins. But then I would no longer be conforming to the objective truth of Scripture, but would be minimalizing it to the scope of subjective truth, my own opinion.
What’s true for me is true for you, for all time.