Faith: What is truth?
“What is Truth?” This is the question Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Palestine, asked Jesus 2,000 years ago before He was crucified. It’s a question that philosophers and sages have been asking for as long as human beings have been walking the earth. What is Truth?
Perhaps there’s another way of asking the question that doesn’t seem so abstract, so unrelated to our day-to-day lives. One might ask, “What gives your life meaning?” What gives your life purpose? What is your aim?“ There’s a sense in which what we strive for, what gets us out of bed in the morning, is where we find meaning – the “truth” of our lives. Some may strive for wealth and success; others may find their purpose in family and friends. Still others may search for meaning in something like “happiness,” however they define it.
The problem is, are we aiming high enough? Is what motivates us the highest goal we could possibly achieve, or are we settling for something far less?
The reality is that we are created to be in relationship with God. There is no higher meaning than that. The Bible tells us that God created human beings in His “image and likeness.” That is to say, we bear the stamp of God upon us, like the image on a coin. We are created to reflect who God is.
Pilate’s question, “What is Truth,” was actually framed the wrong way. The real question is not “What,” but “Who.” Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He is the Way to know God. He is the ultimate purpose, the Truth of our existence. He is Life itself. As Christians, we believe that God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. We believe that He has, quite literally, entered His creation in history, in space and time, to reveal to us that which we could never discover on our own. While we are created in the image of God, that image has become blurred and distorted, because we seek fulfillment in all kinds of things and pursuits that aren’t God. In other words, we aim too low. The Bible calls this condition, “sin,” which literally means, “missing the target.” And so we find ourselves constantly frustrated, always looking for something more on the horizon.
These days in which we live may feel chaotic and uncertain. It seems as if everyone is trying to define their own “truth,” and that we are locked in endless conflict and disagreement. We choose sides, we identify with various groups. We try to find peace and meaning in so many ways, many of which are destructive, and none of which ultimately satisfy us.
St. Augustine, a bishop in the fifth century, once wrote that, “Our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in God.” In other words, we will never know fullness of life, we will never know the Truth about ourselves, until we come to terms with who we are in relation to God. He is both the source and the goal of our life. In Him, “we live and move, and have our being.”
Fr. David Henderson is priest at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Church
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