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Can we know the truth?

Published: 16 January 2010 (GMT+10)
Photo stock.xchng A Bible, Gospel of John, which contains Jesus' words, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:31–32)
Jesus said to those who believed him, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:31–32)

We received this feedback from Marc K. (South Africa) after he had read about Mercury on our website:

Hi. I am a strong Christian.

Now, I would like to just give the reader something to ponder.

I don’t claim the truth, only God knows the full truth.

I read the argument of Mercury, and I find it fundamentally flawed, but I wish to raise another point. How do you know that God exists? Or: How do you know that Jesus is the living God? There is only one answer: because of personal experience of Him. There are other gods, other bibles other theologies, and who’s to say they aren’t correct? Personal experience, and God’s revelation to each person in relationship with Him.

In the same way, how can one deny evolution? The Bible does not say evolution did not happen, it says God created the heavens and the earth. Whether the means by which He created them was through evolution or not.

Now, about personal experience; surely anyone who looks at God’s creation can see how creatures of the earth (including human beings) adapt (evolve) now. Different races of people physically look different. How does this explain how we were made in God’s image and likeness? Our soul is made in God’s image and likeness. Thus, humans could have evolved into the form which allows us to live in the environment we do, and when the human body was formed perfectly to God’s specification, He would imbue the human body with a soul which reflects God’s image and likeness.

I hope this brings us all closer to the truth. God bless!

CMI’s Lita Sanders responds:

Dear Marc

Hi. I am a strong Christian. Now, I would like to just give the reader something to ponder. I don’t claim the truth,

Including what you’re writing now? smiley face

only God knows the full truth.

Certainly, only God knows all truth, but Christians can make truth claims based on Scripture, because God has revealed His truth to us, and what He has revealed is completely sufficient for us (2 Timothy 3:15–17).

I read the argument of Mercury, and I find it fundamentally flawed, but I wish to raise another point. How do you know that God exists?

There are many things that we can point to as evidence of a Creator; our website has many articles on design in nature. Also, I would point to the existence of the Bible as evidence for God. This collection of 66 writings was written by men with vastly different vocations, living possibly 1600 or more years apart (depending on the dating of some of the books), and with vastly different levels of literary talent. Nevertheless, these 66 books somehow manage to be entirely internally consistent, meaning that there is no statement in one book that is inconsistent with something in another book. This phenomenon is such that I would argue it constitutes evidence for its divine inspiration and origin. Some of our articles in our God Questions and Answers page might be helpful for you to give further evidences.

Or: How do you know that Jesus is the living God? There is only one answer: because of personal experience of Him.

I believe that this is very flawed. Personal experience is a very weak guide for belief and practice—there are people who claim to have experienced alien encounters, or who have hallucinated things that they then take as reality. The Bible’s teaching indicates that we only experience part of reality (1 Corinthians 13:12), and so it shouldn’t surprise us if a lot of life seems to not make sense if we try to make sense of it apart from what God has revealed to us in Scripture.

There are other gods, other bibles other theologies, and who’s to say they aren’t correct?

And this is precisely the problem with the argument from personal experience. I don’t trust in Jesus for salvation because one night I got a spiritual feeling when I thought about Him; I trust in Jesus because I believe that Scripture’s witness about Him is completely true, and that He is the only way to be saved. He proved His credentials by rising from the dead, a historically attested fact. Other religions might well give me ‘spiritual feelings’ if I tried them; Mormons appeal to “burning in the bosom”. But this is immaterial; the question we have to ask is, “Is it true?”

Personal experience, and God’s revelation to each person in relationship with Him.

If this is truly what you believe, I can’t help but question your claim to be a strong Christian. Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12), and that His sacrifice alone can atone for sin (Hebrews 10:4–14). If we believe this, then we will automatically believe that no other religion can offer salvation, because no other religion affirms this.

In the same way, how can one deny evolution?

Quite easily, as you’d see if you had read our site at all.

The Bible does not say evolution did not happen, it says God created the heavens and the earth. Whether the means by which He created them was through evolution or not.

See the Theistic Evolution heading on our Creation Compromises Questions and Answers page.

Now, about personal experience; surely anyone who looks at God’s creation can see how creatures of the earth (including human beings) adapt (evolve) now.

CMI agrees that various kinds of animals adapt to their environment, but we disagree that this constitutes evolution in the molecules-to-man sense, and we show this convincingly. See for example creation.com/muddy and our Speciation Questions and Answers page.

Different races of people physically look different. How does this explain how we were made in God’s image and likeness? Our soul is made in God’s image and likeness. Thus, humans could have evolved into the form which allows us to live in the environment we do, and when the human body was formed perfectly to God’s specification, He would imbue the human body with a soul which reflects God’s image and likeness.

The Bible never says that only our souls are in God’s image. The Bible says that God created man in His image. The ancient Jewish conception of the human being was that a human being is incomplete and not really human without both a body and soul. Therefore, when the Bible says that God created man in His image, they would have seen it to mean the whole human being. Being created in His image and likeness doesn’t mean that we physically look like God, it means that in some ways we are like God, and we stand for God in relation to the rest of creation; we’re His stewards. The Fall corrupted this image, so we’re not like God in ways we once were, and our stewardship too often becomes wanton destruction, etc. But that image was never destroyed. See also Made in the image of God.

I hope this brings us all closer to the truth. God bless!

I hope you now acknowledge that the truth is knowable, and that you will find it. Jesus Himself said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). He Himself is the “Truth, the Way and the Life” (John 14:6). Everything we can know about Jesus objectively and reliably is contained in His Word, the Bible, which is “true from the beginning” (Psalm 119:160). If it were not totally true and reliable, God’s communication to fallen humanity, and if we could choose which parts of the Bible were true and which were not, we would have no hope of ever being sure of anything, as we would not have a way of determining which was truth and which error.

God bless,

Lita Sanders
Information Officer
Creation Ministries International

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