|August 09, 2012|
Jesus sets us free fom the limitations of half-truth.
Truth is not something to be equated simply with factual knowledge. Truth involves moral insight and spiritual perception.
- Victor H. Fiddes, Science and the Gospel
"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." "I am the truth..."
- John 8:32, 14:6
I wonder what most Christians understand about Jesus' claims to be the truth. Do we read this as some kind of spiritual affirmation, something determined only for the orientation and wellbeing of our souls, but without any connection to the material world?
Certainly Jesus did not qualify His claim in such a way. Nor did the Apostle Paul, who averred that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are to be known in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3).
Jesus is truth in a way that establishes a framework or context for everything else. Nothing can be rightly understood apart from this framework, this final point of reference. Jesus is truth, and any claims to truth must be evaluated in the light of His assertion. If Jesus is not truth, if there is truth to be known which does not have its final reference as Jesus Christ, then Jesus is merely relative truth - relative to whatever anyone may choose to make of Him.
We believe that science leads us to truth, that is, to a true or reliable understanding of the workings of the world, and how we may engage those workings in ways that produce cultural goods and services. The Christian affirms this right alongside the secular scientist and the unbelieving technician.
But the Christian cannot be content with truth that stops merely at the point of physical description and explanation. Or even of truth that becomes applied through technology to the benefit of humankind and the creation. The Christian sees in every bit of truth some expression or reflection of Him Who is truth, Him from Whom all truth issues and to Whom all truth must return if it is to be understood in it fullest and used to its most fruitful extent.
Jesus is truth, and Jesus sets us free fom the limitations of half-truth, truth-in-a-relative-framework, or truth-from-this-or-that-perspective. Jesus is the explanation of all that is, all truth, and looking to Jesus we learn how truth in all its forms may most fruitfully and beneficially be put to work.
Which is why science needs theology; scientists need theologians; scientific research needs the spiritual and moral insights of the Scriptures.
The challenge to us who agree with this is to show that it is so and that, being so, science can be the better for its participation in this dialog in search of the truth.
A double onus is upon us therefore: First, to make sure we know Jesus and are learning Him according to how the Scriptures (Eph. 4:17-24; Jn. 5:39); and second, to familiarize ourselves with the issues and language of the sciences, and to encourage our brothers and sisters who are already at work in those arenas, so that, together, we may bring the truth - Jesus, the truth - to bear on the work of science in new and more beneficial ways.
T. M. Moore
Senior Theologian and Historian