I had a class in grad school that was pretty tough. It was a class on theoretical aerodynamics (yep I am one of those). We would start a theoretical proof from some basic assumptions that we knew were true like pressure varies with temperature (ideal gas law) and other really geeky boring stuff for most of you. The point is we would spend hours deriving all these relationships. They were “facts” about how stuff worked based on the “laws” of aerodynamics. I was pretty good at the “facts.” I could derive or had memorized pretty much all the stuff we were supposed to know. I even tutored others on “how it worked.” I felt really smart. I “knew” a bunch of cool stuff (cool for me at the time). So then came the final exam. I don’t remember the exact numbers but I know the final exam was a huge percentage of our grade. I opened it up and there were some “fact” questions. “From a differential control volume derive the Navier-Stokes equation in two dimensions assuming time is a constant” kind of stuff (told you I was a geek). These were the 5 and 10 point kind of questions, the low hanging fruit. I had a cheat sheet (it was allowed for the simple identities) and lots of practice. So number 2 pencil was in full impartation mode. Then came the killer question. It was about plates and fluids and forces and…”what??? numbers….he wants an answer to a real, no kidding, problem that has meaning and application?” I was all about the facts. This question was not on my fact list. I hadn’t memorized anything that I could use for this problem. No facts applied to the solution. What was I going to do? Failure was looming on the horizon.
Then I had one of those “light bulb” moments. I took a deep breath and asked myself “what do I know.” It seems like a stupid question but in my mind I was going backwards through all the facts to the basic “truths” we began with. I wrote down a few truths like conservation of momentum, viscosity is proportional to shear…whew it is getting nerdy in here…and began from there. Believe it or not, in no time I had an answer. Really a number. I found the answer by starting with the truth and didn’t use a single fact. It was “one of those moments.” The funny thing is I just remembered that exam as I was thinking about “facts or truth.” I believe God has a lot to say about facts and truth. Let me start with a few definitions and try not to go too Greek on you.
This is what Webster says about Fact -a thing that is indisputably the case. In regards to LAW – the truth about events as opposed to interpretation. Derivation: late 15th cent.: from Latin factum, neuter past participle of facere ‘do.’ The original sense was ‘an act or feat,’ later ‘bad deed, a crime,’ surviving in the phrase before (or after) the fact . The earliest of the current senses (‘truth, reality’) dates from the late 16th cent.
Can you see how our definition of this word has morphed over the years? Based on this definition I believe we have blurred the lines between truths and facts. Here is a “fact” in the Bible highlighted in bold.
Luke 8:35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. (ESV)
When we ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil we became consumers of facts. We actually use facts to derive what we call truths based on scientific theory. In God’s Kingdom it doesn’t work that way. He is truth.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am ·the way, and the truth, and the life [or the one true way to have life]. ·The only way to the Father is through me [No one comes to the Father except through me]. (EXB)
As a slight detour check out this translation of the same verse:
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
John 14:6 Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life; no man comes to my Father but by me alone.”
I really like how “I am” is translated as “I am the living God.” That is really cool and oh by the way a “truth.”
In the Kingdom of God, He reveals things. We don’t use facts to find truths, He gives them to us. These truths are His nature. When we “see” these truths it translates into faith. Check out this word for proof and its context in Hebrews:
élegxos:a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the conviction concerning those things that are in hope, as if it were these things in action, and the revelation of those things that are unseen; (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
Here is the Webster’s and Greek definition of truth.
truth:the quality or state of being true.
225 alḗtheia (from 227 /alēthḗs, “true to fact”) – properly, truth (true to fact), reality. [In ancient Greek culture, 225 (alḗtheia) was synonymous for “reality” as the opposite of illusion, i.e. fact.]
Do you see it? In the original language “truth” was reality. Religion promotes facts. A natural man wants to promote facts. I actually heard a pastor once say that “coming to Jesus is a matter of weighing the pros and cons.” That is no more than trying to prove the existence of God through facts. I hope I don’t burst your bubble but God is spirit. His creation is evidence of Him but not the substance of His nature. His nature is the truth. His truth is in the believer. His truth, His nature has been written on our hearts. Here is Paul’s caution to Titus:
[Tts 1:14 KJV] 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
God makes it very plain that He testifies to the truth and He is in us. How awesome is that?
1 John 5:6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (ESV)
Jesus said that the knowledge of His truth sets us free!
John 8:31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Now this is where it may get a little rough. When Jesus says abide in my “word” this is the definition of the Greek word:
3056 lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying. 3056 /lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit.
It is the thoughts of God, the nature of God, the expression of God. It is not “The Bible.” The Greek word for “The Bible” is this word:
1124 graphḗ – properly, writing. 1124 (graphḗ) is used 51 times in the NT – always of holy Scripture, i.e. the inspired, inerrant writings of the Bible (the 66 books of Scripture, 39 in Hebrew, 27 in Greek).
Don’t get me wrong. I am not bashing the Bible. The LOGOS of God is found in the Bible. The truths of God can be found in the Bible as the Holy Spirit reveals them. The problem is Religion and man’s fallen nature (flesh) wants to find facts above truth. Facts without a tutor will never reveal truth. Truth has to be taught by God. Facts don’t prove truth but can be evidence of truth. Deriving truth from facts doesn’t work in the Kingdom of God. We actually have to already know truth to use facts for anything. For example here are a couple of truths about God:
1 John 4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
So if you hear preaching that tries to “bring you to repentance” through the use of fear, it is not from God. It cannot be from God. It is not His nature. His goodness brings us to Him (Rom 2:4).
So I would encourage you to stop living by facts but be seekers of truth. God absolutely wants to reveal to you His nature. He died to make it possible to share Himself with you. He died to make His home in you. He went to the cross to reconcile you back to Him. He walked this planet as a man to show you what truth looks like. You are in Him and He is in you. His truth is in you. Sometimes it takes a little simmering to bubble up to your understanding center but it (He) is in you. This is surrender…giving up your right to facts but instead trusting in His revelation of truth. That is where faith is found. That is where freedom reigns. That is where you always know the answers to every question in life. The answer is found in Jesus, and that’s the truth.