Proverbs 14 – Is Truth Subjective?

Proverbs 14In today’s world we hear so many voices, so many opposing opinions. Some people try to tell us that truth is subjective—what I think is truth is true for me, and what you think is truth is true for you. While James does say that, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (4:17), we’ve got to be careful to make a clear distinction between “I haven’t been convicted of this” and “everything is permissible if I think it’s permissible.” (We also need to make a clear distinction between truth and Truth!)

Yes, even in our post-modern world, we still believe in moral absolutes. Even in our “whatever goes” culture, we still have rules. While we as humans may have differing views on abortion, we still believe that it is wrong to murder a fully developed human being. While our concepts of marriage all differ, we still believe that it is wrong for an adult to molest a child. Throughout history, we’ve relaxed many of our morals, but some things remain the same. This points back to a common-thread, a Creator, a set of rules that were once instilled in the hearts of all humanity.

Today we try to skirt around these rules and try to say that some things just don’t matter anymore. Even some Christians have taken the worldview that truth is subjective. The Bible doesn’t support this idea at all. God wrote rules down on stone—signaling that they were to last forever. From Genesis to Revelation, those rules have been lifted up as relevant. Revelation describes God’s people at the end of time as “those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus” (14:12).

Is Truth subjective? Can I believe anything I want, so long as it doesn’t hurt others?

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 14:12

Read the rest of the Chapter!

May we ever be in pursuit of Truth,

Timmy Baze 😀


Post Script: 1/29/15

Now you might be asking yourself the question, what does this have to do with God? What does it have to do with my personal relationship with Him. Too often we are told explicitly or implicitly that truth doesn’t matter so much. The main point of this devotional was to remind people that truth matters to God, and it should matter to us. It really didn’t answer the question, “Why?” Why does truth matter to God? Why should it matter to us?

God’s character is love. Everything He does for us is always out of pure love. When He gave the Ten Commandments, He gave them, not because He liked to be in control, but because He knew we would need some guidelines to live our lives, or else we would be very unhappy people. When He gave us the truths of doctrine found in the Bible, He gave them, not because He wanted us to believe a certain way, but because knowing the truth causes us to see a complete and correct picture of the love of God. If I see God as a being who wants to burn people forever, for example, then I have a horribly distorted, unloving, and unbiblical view of God.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Jesus, who is the Truth, sets us free from our bondage to sin. Knowing the truth, as revealed through the Word of God, both written (the Bible) and incarnate (Jesus Christ), sets us free from sin. It sets us free from a distorted view of God’s character. 

Truth matters because God’s character matters. A loving parent sets rules out of love for their children. A loving God sets rules for His children. A loving parents teaches their children what they believe is true. A loving God teaches His children what He knows is true, because He invented truth. 

I’m so thankful for a God of love who doesn’t keep things hidden from us. He shows us, through His Word, what His character is like. He teaches me how to live, so that I can have the best life possible. He died for me to forgive my sins. How else can I respond but with the words, “What can I do for You, O most loving Lord?” And He says to me, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” How can I say no to such an offer when I know what God has done for me, and I know that His commandments are there for my happiness and the happiness of those around me. How can I say no?


4 thoughts on “Proverbs 14 – Is Truth Subjective?

  1. It feels to me that the question, “Is truth subjective?” is misleading.
    It seems to me a more accurate question would be, “Is my perception of truth subjective?” The answer to this second question is yes, my perception of truth is subject to the knowledge I possess and the values I have come to cherish. Because our level of knowledge differs and our values are rarely identical to that of another person, our view of truth differs. I think this is why Jesus emphasized that while the Spirit is guiding us into truth that we love one another and choose to be united, even as our perceptions of truth differ.
    I do believe that Truth (capital T) exists and I am in pursuit of it. I know others who are in pursuit of it as well. But can I say I have found it or that I now am in possession of THE TRUTH? I think the minute I do that I enter very dangerous territory that would ultimately harm me personally and further harm the cause of Jesus corporately.
    It is good to acknowledge that Truth exists, that it is present, and that it can be perceived, but it is healthy also to realize that my perceptions are just that, my perceptions, faulty, at times misguided, and changing as I receive new input.

    • Thank you, Dr. Roy, for clarifying the difference between capital T truth and lowercase t truth. There IS a big difference. Most truths, mostly those pertaining to time and culture, are indeed subjective. However like you said, Truth is not subjective. That Truth came as the Word of God, both as revealed in Jesus Christ (I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – John 14:6) and as revealed in the Bible (The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. – Psalm 119:160). The “truth” I believe is definitely subject to question, but the Truth I believe in is unquestionable! 😀

  2. Why do we as Christians so often start from the paradigm that God LIMITS our Freedom?
    Why do we believe that one of the primary ways God showed His Love for us was to bestow upon us Freedom of Choice – and yet that God’s avowed Freedom is nothing but an illusory shell game? Although we purportedly possess ‘Freedom of Choice’ we are sentenced to eternal separation from Him if we make a single wrong choice with regard to THE Truth?
    What if God actually gave us Freedom because He wants us to be Free?
    As I read each paragraph of this post, the clear implication is: Figure out “THE Truth” and then Live THE Truth. Because God allows for zero margin of error. Do things God’s way or go to hell. The backdrop behind your articulate and well-reasoned writing seems to be a God who is inflexible, dictatorial, and is so ego-centric that if I am unable to figure out THE Truth (amongst ‘so many opposing opinions’ as you sagely point out) on every single point of Truth or Law He has proffered . . . He withdraws His Love, eternally separating Himself from me.
    It is really ‘do what God says or else!?’ Can God ever employ Fear as a motivating tool? And if He could, would He?
    Or is it possible that fear, regret, and worry are the primary tools of our enemy? Implements designed to ensnare us in the Lie that I am unworthy of God’s Love or the Deception that if only I would have made better choices God would somehow Love me more. Must I go through this Life with the constant worry that if I have incorrectly deciphered THE Truth – the Fires of Hell are my sole reward for sincerely, but inaccurately, attempting to serve our Tender Lord?
    I believe that the Deceiver’s first-known accusation directly leveled against God was something akin to: God is an unfair, unreasonable dictator who LIMITS the Freedom of His created beings without His Creation having any say in the matter.
    Is it possible that when we start an analysis of THE Truth from the paradigm/worldview of: You must correctly figure out THE Truth and Live it Without Mistake . . . or Die — that we inadvertently further our enemy’s argument that God is a ruthless, unloving, dictator — rather than advancing the Platform of Love upon which our God campaigns?
    Most of us Christians have been raised to see the world as you do, Timmy, and I commend you for having the courage and tenacity to follow the Way. We were likely raised in similar fashion and I rejected the Way for years. When faced with important decisions I still find myself standing on a Joppan seaport and often choosing to travel via a Tarshish Schooner (with a transfer pass marked “Whale Belly”) instead of a fine Assyrian Sailing Vessel to Ninevah.
    But does God Love me even one speck less because I “Jonah” God and make my Life much more difficult?
    Does God really reject me for not being crystal clear on the State of the Dead or being able to determine THE Truth with the same exactness that Heaven possesses with regard to, say, the signs of the Time of The End? (And, if so, my October 22nd boarding pass aboard Whale Belly cruise number 1844 is looking pretty good right now 😉
    Are you positive of THE Truth that God’s greatest act of Love for us was giving us a bunch of rules that we must decipher without a single error and follow exactly as He dictates to the last letter? I believe the Apostle Paul says a dozen different ways that, ‘The Rules cannot Save and Never had the Power to Save.’
    After this reply, I would be the first person to admit I am in no position to ask you for a favor. I will ask anyway: If you are a parent, would you spend five minutes writing down the most Loving things you have ever done for your kids? If you are not a parent, pick someone else you Love (I picked parent as it would seem to be the best analogy since God styles Himself as our Heavenly ‘Father’).
    After the five minutes, I would be curious if the imposition of a single rule or exposition of Truth made your List of Loving Things You Have Done for Your Loved One. If so, how high was it on the list?
    Is God not even more Loving than earthly parents? Is it possible that He is not overly concerned with THE Truth vis-à-vis HIS bruised ego or feelings? But rather, gave us the TEN BLESSINGS as a supreme act of Love that would guide us to Living Fulfilling Lives of Meaning and Abundance? And Jesus came to fill in the gaps of my Truth and the times I fall short of THE Truth even when I know what it is?
    Is it possible that God actually meant it when He said: ‘Come, let us reason together,’ and ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice’?
    It is possible that He Loves you and me with such a ridiculously-scandalous Love that He would do just about anything to SAVE us from ‘the curse of the Law?’
    It is possible He is DYING to do just that?
    Is it possible that GOD is not anxiously looking to send me to hell for each wrong way I might interpret THE Truth – but actually designed THE Truth to Save me from the hell of living on sinful earth? It is possible THE Truth, no matter how much or how little I currently possess, is designed for one purpose:
    “The Truth Shall Set You Free”
    Is it possible the above six words are THE Truth.
    And That God meant those six words when He said them?
    That is MY Truth and I am willing to ‘bet’ my Salvation on MY Truth. MY Truth is also that I see Inspired Writing from you, Timmy, in this post and others — the writing of a sincere Man of God, a brilliant thinker, an insightful and wise writer, and a disciple hand-picked by God to spread His message wherever your words are read. While I disagree with the paradigm or backdrop, I found this post to be a great, well-reasoned article and cannot dispute a single point it contains on its face. This world needs you and your writing! Fair you well, Man of God, may you hold fast to the Way of Peace, Joy, Truth and Love.

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and comment on it. I really do appreciate it! When I first read your comment, I found it very appalling that you assumed that the paradigm behind the article was one of an egocentric and dictatorial God! So I reread the post, and after thinking about it, I can definitely see where you may have drawn that conclusion. I can assure you that the paradigm I understand from reading the Bible is far from a dictatorial God! You’re right–God is a God who gives us the freedom to choose. Sometimes the choices we make are subjective, other times they are between life and death. I believe that the reason God wants so much for us to choose life is out of complete love for His people. That’s why He gave us rules to live by–because by them we can have an abundant life! He doesn’t force us to keep these rules, He just knows that we’ll be happier when we keep them.
      We can see this through Moses’ heartfelt plea in Deuteronomy, after Moses had repeated much of their history and laws: I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life that you may live! Our God can’t stand to see us suffer. That’s why He begs us to choose life!
      I’ll see if I can’t edit this a bit to bring that out.
      Thank you so much for your comment and your words of encouragement. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him!

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