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16 October 2022

Meditation – God is true and the source of all truth (The Truth of God – Pt 2)?

by Isaac Overton

Q. What does it mean to say that God is truth?
A. To say that God is truth means that God himself exists as the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be; that his word perfectly determines and conforms to that which exists; and that, in his Spirit, he perfectly, fully, and truly perceives and reveals all things

Q. Why do we say that God himself exists as the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be.
A. We say that God himself exists because holy scripture affirms it, and the creation itself bears witness to his divine power and majesty. Furthermore, we say that he is the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be because by faith in his word we perceive that he made all things.

The scriptures clearly teach that God exists. In the words of the theologian Morton H Smith, “One is struck by the fact that the Bible makes no attempt to prove the existence of God. He is presupposed as existing. The Bible simply opens with the assertion that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Smith, ST Vol 1, p.121). Every single page of holy writ affirms this most basic of all assumptions. Psalm 14:1 is as clear a place to show this teaching as any other: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the ultimate objective reality, and the creator of objective reality in the universe in which we live. To use Bavinck’s first category of truth, God is “essential truth” and the source of all essential truth in creation. Jeremiah 10:9 says “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King”. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut 6:4). 1 Thessalonians 1:9 says that the Christians in Thessalonica “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God”.

In addition to the authoritative teaching of scripture, the book of nature likewise irrefutably declares the glory and reality of God. The song and colour of the birds, the interdependent intricacy and design of the eye and all its parts, the sweet taste of a fresh strawberry, the majesty of the stars, the tenderness of an affectionate touch, the joy of a smile on the face of an infant, the excellence and goodness of the earth and all its riches – “Creation declares the glory of God” (Ps 19:1). The world as we know it did not emerge out of the void, for nothing cannot beget something. God himself, as the Infinite and Almighty One, brought forth the world, and his majesty and excellence is on display at every moment.

Even unbelievers cannot truly deny this fact:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Rom 1:18-20).

In himself, God is truth and true, but in addition to this he is the ultimate ground and source of all that was, is, or will be. Of all that was, he made all things in the beginning (Gen 1:1) and exists “from everlasting” (Ps 90:2). Of all that is, “If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust” (Job 34:14-15). “In him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Of all that will be, he holds the future in his hands with the same complete sovereignty with which he has governed the past, for he “works out everything by the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11). He is indeed Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end.

There are two very important applications that flow out of what has been said here. The first is the imperative of faith. Faith in Christ is not an option in the marketplace of world religions, nor is faith in Christ something which he must earn once he has received the assent of our own reasoning. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Pr 1:7). Christ is King, and God has made the decree (Ps 2:7) that all even of the kings of the earth must be wise and “Serve the LORD with fear” (Ps 2:10-11). Blessed are all who trust in him! God is true and truth, he exists as the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be. Those who suppress this truth in unrighteousness will “perish in the way” (Ps 2:12). And so God now commands that all men everywhere must repent and believe unto salvation.

Following on from the initial converting imperative of faith, there follows on a calling to continue in faith – walking by faith in all things. In the words of Cornelius Van Til, this means that we now have a calling to “think God’s thoughts after him” (Van Til, Essays on Christian Education). “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). This is one of the reasons why Van Til is such an important theologian, because he so extensively expounds this theme. Let me put it this way. In this study, we have seen that God exists as the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be. The implication of this is that as we study all that is, was, or will be, we must interpret and understand it theologically. That is to say, we must consider and study the created world first and foremost as God’s creation. We must consider why he made things the way he did and what his purposes were in doing so. Whether it be maths, art, the natural sciences, or anything else, they all exist as part of God’s creation and so must be studied and taught in terms of God’s design and purposes. We are beginning to open up the importance of a Christian education now.

Let me try putting this still another way. How can a scientist who hates God truly teach the natural sciences? Of course, to an extent he can, but that is only because God gives all men – regenerate and unregenerate – a certain degree of common grace (a topic for another time!). But in essence, he will still teach, for example, a naturalistic view of the world and call it “science”. Naturalism is basically the view that the material world is all that exists. In reality, however, he is touting a lie. Such fundamental lies, along with many other lies of implication, are typical of the godless system of education our world pursues. Positively speaking, the godless scientist not only expounds lies, but he has no notion whatsoever of the positive role that science has to play in the kingdom of God, for he is spiritually dead and lives in darkness. He has no grasp of the kingdom whatsoever, except perhaps for the truth suppressed and the underlying fear of coming judgment.

For us as believers, these things highlight the importance of pursuing Christian scholarship in every area of life. Certainly, we may glean many an insight from the labours of unbelievers, for “the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the righteous” (Pr 13:22). However, true scholarship as God intended remains a task reserved for those who perceive creation through the eyes of faith. God exists as the ultimate ground and source of all that is, was, or will be, and it is part of our calling to understand all things in light of his design, intentions, and purpose. It is our calling to ensure that our children receive a truly Christian education as part of their discipleship. They will not get this education in public schools, and they will get much moral and intellectual indoctrination that wages war against it. Any Christian parent who chooses to send their children to a public school will need to counter that indoctrination with prayers, discipleship, a thorough and diligent use of the means of grace, and an education program that is equal to countering the godless worldview of our culture with a thoroughly Christian one. As citizens in Australia, each believer ought also pursue such a program of discipleship for ourselves. There is much work to be done! May God help us and be glorified in the doing.