The Quest For Truth

In #All, Apologetics, Christianity, Law & Gospel, Naturalism, Science, Testimony by Justin Hornbaker

Truth is taught to us, we hear it, we see it, from our first memory, till our last moments, we know or we think we know. Can these truths be known with certainty? If not how can we ever know anything but by experience?

As a child I was raised a Christian and grew up believing in God. It was a forgone conclusion, a fact that required no evidence, or belief. As I grew up I began to question those beliefs and the ideas and worldview than underpinned them. In college an entirely different worldview was pressed upon me and I had to examine what I believed. I had no reasonability to my faith but I could see that neither did those with a naturalistic worldview.

As time progressed I came to the following conclusions: I did not know what was, I did not believe in God entirely but I would continue to pretend to in order to be accepted and avoid harassment by my family and friends. Also, I believed it likely that all things were naturalistic and my reasoning was that I believed all things that had been discovered scientifically could be explained materialistically, thus it was the most consistent worldview. And finally even though I did believe at some level that there was some sort of God, I knew I could not come even close to living up to his standard, so it was so much easier to pretend there was no God.

Eventually, I did get involved with a small group from my church and began to discuss and learn the things of God again. What if truth cannot be known, I thought. If reality is so obscured by our own senses and conditioning, what value is there in seeking out the truth? I would have considered myself to be intellectually agnostic at the time. I cried out to the God I wasn’t sure existed, asking for answers, for proof, for understanding, and in His time, he answered.

Kenneth D. Boa once said “The heart cannot rejoice in that which the mind rejects.” For faith to be strong it should be reasonable.

I do not put much value in emotional experience as evidence for God. While I know that God works in emotions I cannot quantify them and I do not trust them. One thing that gave me hope was this promise, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7). God did not promise to show us miracles to give reason to our faith but he does promise answers to those who seek. Hebrews 11:1 states “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Kenneth D. Boa once said “The heart cannot rejoice in that which the mind rejects.” For faith to be strong it should be reasonable.

As college drew to a close, my faith grew, not because I found proof of God intellectually, but from a reminder and reexamination of what I already knew…that God is and that he is self-evident (more to follow). While the next year of my life I spent training in the Air Force, I was launched from the home I knew for 15 years into the world alone. In my life, never have I been as depressed as I was during this year. God was not far from me even though I was far from him. He used my fiancé to encourage me and keep me from despair. But even still, it was not until the end of training that I began to fellowship again with Christians. It was here I really began to seek God again and to seek answers to the questions I had about truth. Through this group of Christian friends, God led me to share the gospel and that resulted an increased desire for apologetics.

Can truth be known? Let us examine the consequent. If truth cannot be known can we ever know that to be true? No. Then what value is there in believing truth cannot be known? None. Then the only reason to believe truth cannot be known, then, must be emotional and irrational. If thus, the only rational conclusion is that truth can be known, we must seek it. To seek truth though we must abandon the ideas and concepts we want to be true and seek what is reasonably true. In this quest for truth, I discovered there are many things I knew to be true that cannot be tested scientifically.

First, that I am. I exist as a being, an entity, and not simply matter imitating consciousness; for while I cannot prove to you outside of my consciousness that I am, I objectively sense that I am. If I were merely matter imitating consciousness, I would act as if I was conscious but I would never have an objective “internal” knowledge of it. In other words, imitation of conscience can never produce the inner you that you sense.

Secondly, that the world around me is, and is testable and knowable. This is reasonable and irrefutable. For if the world is not testable and knowable, then all things are void including the conclusion that the world is not testable and knowable.

Lastly, that something all-powerful and all-knowing must be the cause of all that exists. Let me explain. Through countless tests, scientists have demonstrated the repeatable nature of matter and energy and shown that the sum total of all entropy in any closed system always increases with time. Let us define the universe as the sum total of all matter and energy. Then the universe is observably a closed system. Thus the universe must have a beginning because the universe has a finite accumulation of entropy. This can also be demonstrated by examining the evidence of the expansion of the universe and numerous other ways. All things that have a beginning must have a cause, thus since the universe must have a beginning it must have an adequate cause. This cause must have the power to create all that the universe is, as well as, the knowledge or complexity to design it in a specifically complex way (i.e. the universe is not purely random and has a finite amount of entropy). This closely correlates with the God of the Bible.

…people do not spend their lives looking for truth, they spend their lives looking for what they want to find. Seeking to validate beliefs they want to be true.

The more I became convinced of the truth of God, the more I searched scripture. The more I searched scripture, the consistency and oneness of the message and character of God became apparent. And, as I discovered the manuscript evidence for the authenticity of scripture (it has not changed over time) the case became irrefutable. How can so many people be so deceived from the truth? But, people do not spend their lives looking for truth, they spend their lives looking for what they want to find. Seeking to validate beliefs they want to be true.

It is remarkable how mankind prefers playing God over finding Him. Yet, if there is no God then the sum total of our existence is nothing, no value, no good, no evil, and no purpose, just meaningless finite existence to end in total darkness and annihilation, for that is the only end possible for a materialistic universe. The question is this, “Are you willing to spend your moment of existence seeking truth, eternal value, and the God that must be?” or, “Will you waste it away in the hope of being annihilated?” You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by seeking the truth. But, you must be willing to accept that all you have in life here is truly of no value. The Bible says, when you die, you are going to stand before God and give an account for your life.

Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? This is derived from the scientific law that even the tiniest action has infinite chain of increasingly significant consequences. In the same way does it not make sense that moral choices also would have eternal consequences? The Bible states that our moral choices have eternal real consequences. Because God is just and good, He will judge you and me according to the perfect, moral standard of His law. If you’ve ever lied, stolen, or taken His name in vain; He will find you guilty of breaking His Law. Because God is good, He must punish our sin; and the punishment for all sin against God is eternity in Hell. But God is also merciful, loving, and kind in that He provided one way to escape that punishment; and that was through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ: fully-God and fully-Man, without sin. He died on the cross, a death He did not deserve, in order to take upon Himself the punishment you rightly deserve, for your sins against God. And then, three days later, He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. What God requires of you is that you repent (turn from your sin and turn toward God) and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

He is under the illusion he is safe until his perception collapses as it collides with reality.

I believe truth is the most important thing in the world, and while it may be popular to assert there is no truth or that truth is relative, both are self-refuting (if there is no truth than that statement can’t be true, and if truth is relative then that statement is relative). And while Universalist illusions that “everyone is good” or “all roads lead to heaven” are pleasant they are logically impossible and, they leave people in the same position as a driver who changes lanes into another vehicle. He is under the illusion he is safe until his perception collapses as it collides with reality. Nothing you can do or believe can change what is true, whether you seek it or live in ignorance, you are subject to it. I want to know the truth no matter where it leads. This quest for truth leads me to affirm that the Bible is true, that Jesus is God, and that I am in desperate need of a savior.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” – John 14:6

By Jonathan Young


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