In a world that pretends to offer an almost limitless number of claims of “The Truth.” It is no wonder that many people are confused, or just refuse to believe that absolute, objective truth even exists.
Let’s start with the question of whether or not absolute truth, i.e. ultimate reality, even exists, though. The answer should be obvious and axiomatically clear. Yes, there is truth in a general sense.
Next, can we know it? Well, if we can’t, then we are in the same boat as if it doesn’t exist. So then, we should assume that it can be known, and begin to look for it. Many people of course deny that statement and feel that ultimate truth can never be known. In some sense, it is true that no man can comprehend or know everything; however, to assume that we cannot know objective truth in some limited but very meaningful way, is to doom one’s search for truth before it even begins.
Another axiom one should consider is, “Life has meaning and purpose.” Why should we just grant that as an axiom? Well, because it’s obvious. If you look around you right now, absolutely everything you see has meaning and purpose, and so do you. That doesn’t need to be proven. It is a self-evident truth, an axiom. And affirming the opposite is self-defeating. If life doesn’t have meaning and purpose then what is the point of even talking about it?
Consequently, we have some platform to stand on. There is objective reality, we can know it, and life has meaning and purpose. So now let’s build some structure.
Question. Does meaning and purpose come from the past, the present, or the future? I would propose that ultimate meaning and purpose always come from the future. Otherwise, they are limited or temporary. What do I mean by that? Here is an example of what I mean. Take two apples. One is poisoned, the other is not. In the moment that they are presented to Snow White, it seems very significant which is which. However, if in the next moment, the dwarves had arrived home early and scared off the witch, then it would have become irrelevant, because in the end she wouldn’t have eaten either one. The decision only appeared significant. Why? Because the future is really what determines the significance of the present.
If we project that idea forward into time indefinitely, then we can reason out that either A) our lives can only ever have temporary meaning and purpose, because someday everything we’ve ever done will be wiped away and forgotten, or B) there must be an eternity where we continue on and the things we did in life continue to matter.
Now, I may have lost some of you at this point, but here is what I am saying. Now that we have accepted that 1) There is objective truth, 2) The truth can be known, 3) Life has meaning and purpose. We can also add, 4) Life continues on after death into eternity.
Let me ask another question. Can life have meaning and purpose without right and wrong? This might be easier to think about in terms of math. Are there right answers and wrong answers and does it matter? Or, think of this in the context of music. Does it matter if one plays the proper notes at the proper time to play a song? Is there a difference between playing a song well or poorly? Again, what I am trying to say, is that implicit in the idea of there being meaning and purpose, is that there is also such a concept as right and wrong. In point of fact, right and wrong help determine or destroy meaning and purpose. For example, in Snow White’s selection of one apple over another, when one was poisoned and one was not. In this case, there clearly existed a right and wrong answer.
Thus, we can now add 5) There is such a thing as right and wrong.
Furthermore, if there is a right and wrong, then there must also be consequences, punishments if you will. Think of it like speed limits. If there is a posted speed limit, but there is no consequence for breaking it, then it really isn’t a limit, is it? Therefore, if right and wrong exist, so must punishment and reward. Otherwise, it all breaks down, and we are left with nothing matters, anyway, so why are we even talking about this? Which, I’ve already mentioned is obviously false, so we can add 6) There exist both punishments and rewards for our actions.
Now logically, if all of the above is true, and I’ve tried to show you why they are, then we can also deduce that punishments and rewards must be eternal, as well. Why? Because of the concept of eternity. In a temporal world, with a finite amount of time, punishments and rewards can be for some meaningful percentage of your life, and as a result, are meaningful. However, when the timeline of your life is eternity, then any temporary, finite reward or punishment becomes insignificant, even nothing, over time. How? What is any finite number divided by infinity? Zero. And so, logically, punishments and rewards must be carried into eternity, in order to have meaning and significance.
Again, I may have lost some of you here, but I’m saying that you can now add a seventh truth. 7) The only punishments and/or rewards that ultimately matter from this life are the ones that carry into eternity.
Let’s review the platform of truth that we are now standing on:
There is another axiom that needs to be added now. There is a God who made everything in the universe, who defines right and wrong, and who decides who gets punished and who gets rewarded into eternity. Now, hold on, some may be thinking. You can’t know that or prove that! Well, let me try and convince you. There are only two real possibilities. One is that everything in the universe happened by accident. Or two, someone or something unimaginably intelligent, created it all on purpose. We are here by accident, or we are here on purpose. Those are the only two options.
Since we have established that this is a true duality, with only two options, we can consider the probability of either of those options being true. Let’s begin with the probability that life happened by accident. Each and every thing, appearing by random chance. Even the Laws of Nature, forming by random chance. The Earth and all of its perfect balance, occurring by chance. The myriad forms of life all differentiating and coming into being by random chance. Each of the 50,000 known proteins in our bodies, assembling into just the right formulation, by random chance. Now no need to calculate that right now, but let’s just say it’s one in a million, or a 0.0001% chance (In truth, it’s more like a 0.000-one million zeros-0001%, but that would take a long time to write out.).
[If you’d like to read about how impossible getting even one protein by accident is, read my blog titled, Do You Believe in Science?]
You get the idea. The probability is very small. Secular scientists answer this question in one of two ways. The first, is by rationalizing that since there is no other way that we could reasonably have gotten to where we are (the possibility of creation is rejected as being “unscientific” and therefore is not even considered as a reasonable possibility), then no matter how unlikely it seems, it must have happened. The second way that this is sometimes explained is by using the multi-verse myth. I call it a myth because there is of course absolutely no objective evidence for the existence of an infinite number of universes. But it aids their answering the improbability problem by admitting that the probability of everything in our current universe existing by accident is infinitesimally small, however, since there are an infinite number of universes, we are just lucky enough to live in the one where everything turned out well and became so beautiful and meaningful, even though we know the rest couldn’t have. Which again, even with that mythical assumption, is still very unlikely.
So now that we have established that life by accident is completely unlikely. What is the probability that everything in the universe was created, on purpose? Well, that’s hard to estimate directly, but since we have established that there really are only two possibilities, then logically, the probability that everything in the universe was created on purpose is one minus the probability that it all happened through random chance. In other words, 1 – 0.000001, or a 99.9999% chance everything was intentionally created, which again is really a 99.999-one million nines-9999% chance.
So what does that tell us? Well, for one, that logically, there must be a God who made everything in the universe. And based on how truly remarkable everything in the universe is, he must be all-wise and all-powerful. He must also be good, because while evil does exist, so does beauty and goodness. Now as for why evil exists at the present time, that’s an important, but tangential question, which has been answered well by people like C.S. Lewis in his book, The Problem of Pain.
Now I know I may have just lost a lot of skeptics with the “logically, there must be.” I probably skipped a few steps for brevity sake. But, if God isn’t good, then there is nothing worth talking about. In ordinary differential equations, you often have the case where there are two answers, zero and another real answer, but you always reject zero as a solution and solve for the meaningful answer, assuming that there is one. Well, since you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that I support assuming that life has meaning and purpose, and therefore the meaningful answer rather than zero. If God wasn’t good, then you have a malevolent opponent who you can assume will never let your life have meaning and purpose, and therefore that’s a dead end conclusion. The idea of whether or not you can assume or deduce that God is good could be debated ad nauseam, but again, if He isn’t then there isn’t any hope anyway, so let’s stay focused on the meaningful solutions.
What does all of the above tell us? That there is a good God out there who is knowable. If there isn’t, then the whole thing breaks down into meaninglessness.
So are you looking for God? Have you looked in the Bible?
If haven’t or aren’t anymore, is it because you are mad at him or his followers who have mistreated you or done things you feel are wrong? Or is it because your life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped, or because you have suffered a loss that I could only imagine? I’m not trivializing anyone’s pain. I’m trying to say that you shouldn’t refuse treatment for an ailment because you’re in too much pain. Let the Great Physician into your life and heart so that you can begin to heal. Jesus Christ is still healing hearts and minds, and in many cases even bodies, if you’ll let him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.Revelation 3:19-22
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Blog image: Author photo: Le Penseur (The Thinker), Rodin Museum, Paris, France