By Bob Webster
What is Truth?
Many people say there is a conflict between science and religion. There should not be, but there certainly is. True Religion is in conflict with both False Religion and False Science. Likewise, True Science finds itself in conflict with False Science and False Religion. The only two in harmony with each other are True Religion and True Science. Not even False Religion and False Science are in agreement with each other. This unhappy porridge of conflict might be diagramed as follows:
True Religion False Religion
True Science False Science
It is no wonder people are confused, when they are being confronted by all four positions, each claiming to represent “the truth.”
One incorrect assumption that people make is thinking that all parties honestly desire the truth. History shows that most people prefer to be socially accepted than be right. They will accept the position of the popular majority rather than be right, or fair, or good. Seldom have the majority, as a mass of society, accepted the truth if it was not socially popular. Rarely has more than a minority adhered to the truth.
Even more noticeable is the reality that the majority group is seldom content to allow the minority to believe as they wish. Majorities usually seem determined to persecute the minority in an effort to force it into social compliance with the majority. Usually, determined minority dissenters have been treated as “enemies of society,” to be done away with. The “natural man” tends to act that way.
On earth today, False Religion and False Science dominate the beliefs of the majority of people. There is a reason for this condition, a reason which only True Religion can adequately explain.
Pontius Pilate was not the only person to ask the penetrating question, “What is truth?” (Jn.18:38). Joseph Smith, the Latter-Day prophet, also ventured to ask. But whereas Pilate received no answer directly from the Savior, the youthful Joseph did, by revelation, providing the world with this eternal definition:
“Truth is knowledge of things as they are, as they were and as they are yet to be.” (D&C 93:24)
Before you continue, repeat that definition to yourself another time or two.
You may have heard the philosophical argument that, if several people witness an identical event, such as an automobile collision, that non of their testimonies will agree exactly. Therefore, the argument concludes, there is no absolute truth. In this same manner, some critics dispute the Bible, concluding that, since there is no absolute agreement in the accounts of the various Bible writers. There is no truth … hence no God.
In every field of interest, including science and religion, there seems to be a driving passion to declare that there is no God. But the truth is, there is a God/Creator. And even though several eye witnesses may give varied accounts from their varied viewpoints, God knows the event did occur, and how, and why. Whether it was an automobile collision, or an event in your personal life, God knows the truth of it totally. When we consider that Bible records have survived centuries of efforts to copy, compile and translate them into many languages, it is no wonder that modern readers in different cultures and languages differ in their interpretations and understanding of the same passages of scripture (Before continuing, please read I Ne. 13:26; and II Ne 29:3-10).
TRUTH IS TRUTH regardless of the source. Truth doesn’t depend on haw many believe or disbelieve it. Truth does not contradict itself. It can’t. When God says He created the earth, that’s the truth, and there is no other acceptable explanation. All truth originates from God, and it may be discovered to man’s satisfaction.
Consequently, both the scientific method for discovering truth, and pure faith – the religious method for receiving revealed truth, will yield the same result – TRUTH. If the Creator considers certain information appropriate for man to know, He can make it available for man to discover or receive by the appropriate method. Truth does not vary according to the perceptions and descriptions of the observer. Truth exists! Only the observers’ perceptions and descriptions may vary. It is up to the observer to bring himself into harmony with the truth, to accurately identify it, and then to conform to its reality.
Ever since the Fall of Adam, man has been divided in his belief by a dual nature. On one hand, he seeks for good – to advance and improve. On the other hand, man follows a natural tendency toward disbelief, disobedience and degenerate behavior. Generally man has shown a greater inclination for degeneracy and evil than for enlightenment and good. The reality of the Great Flood in Noah’s time, followed by the Tower of Babel confusion of languages, are just two of the many historic testimonies of man’s propensity to degenerate from high standards and truth.
That’s how the natural man is, until he becomes converted and committed to the Savior’s standards – “born again” in the Holy Spirit – and puts off the old natural man and becomes a new, spiritually reborn man in Christ (Mosiah 3:19). Until that happens, man not only pulls away from the truth, but seems determined to attack the truth, and to persecute those who have learned to love and follow truth. All of this arises from the CONFLICT diagramed earlier.
Again, TRUTH IS TRUTH, and whether revealed from God or discovered by scientific search, it is TRUTH. Whereas religion deals with WHAT happens and WHY, science attempts to discover the HOW of truth.
True science follows the scientific method of discovery of empirical evidence; it tests all possibilities and accepts all relevant evidences. The inevitable result is, True Science discovers truth. This discovered truth will harmonize perfectly with the revealed truth received by True Religion. We must remember, however, that so far, both sources of truth are dealing with incomplete information. Not all truth has been revealed by God yet, and many secrets of the earth, like missing pieces of a puzzle, are not yet discovered by science. Some truths are not available to be discovered by the traditional scientific method.
In addition, the water is muddied further by False Religion and False Science. False Religion not only denies the power and true nature of God, but it even denies much of His revealed truth. It prefers “the philosophies of men, mingled with a little scripture.” In similar fashion, False Science prefers to believe the theories of vain and deceiving men, ignoring the discipline and honesty of the scientific method of discovery. False Science even ignores or discards many obvious evidences from many sources which may conflict embarrassingly with its preconceived theories.
Science looks for tangible proof, not faith. Yet both the Creationist and the Evolutionist begin upon a similar premise, which requires faith. The Creationist believes (faith) there is a God/Creator. The Evolutionist believes (faith) that his theory can account for all things, which eliminates the need for a God.
The major difference is that the Creationist begins with a God/Creator who has actually revealed Himself and His works to man. In contrast, the Evolutionist begins with his own self-conceived theory, and then attempts to force all evidences to support that theory, even when the realities of true science do not and cannot verify or support it.
The Apostle Paul soundly rebuked the worldly beliefs of both False Religion and False Science on several occasions:
I Cor. 1:25-27 “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise
2:14 … the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
II Tim. 3:7-8 “… ever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
4:3-3 “… they will not endure sound doctrine … and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.”
I Tim 6:20-21 “Timothy, keep … avoiding profane and vain babblings, and operations of science, falsely so called; which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”
Col. 2:8 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
(Also I Cor 3:19-20)
The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi spoke similarly when he said:
II Ne. 9:19-20 “… O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of man! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they harken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they harken unto the counsels of God.”
In other words, a learned scientist who is also a man of God will find and accept the truth from all evidences and all sources, and he will recognize them as harmonious, as they must be and are. But an investigator who rejects or ignores evidences because they may not fit his pet preconceived theory, distinguishes himself as a False Scientist, unworthy of trust before men or God (II Pet. 2:1-2; 3:3-9).
With truth defined in the brief introduction to this point, let’s examine the truth of Creation. It all began out there in space. The mistake many people make here is they want to jump right into the heat of the argument over the “age of the earth,” without first settling the question of truth, as just discussed. It is nearly impossible to discuss the matter with any hope of agreement, unless some basic truths are first agreed upon:
1. There is a God/Creator, He is all knowing and all powerful.
2. God created this earth, and He created it for man, who is God’s literal offspring.
3. Earth and man are programmed to pass through a pre-planned series of develop- mental stages. Those who are obedient will become perfected, as God is.
4. Man is born free to act and choose for himself which course he will follow. His own conscious decisions will influence and determine his eternal destiny.
If we can agree that there is a God/Creator who exists with a purpose for man and earth, then we are in a better position to examine and appreciate the truth of CREATION, which is presented in Chapter Two.
Chapter Two will be posted in one week.
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