September 30, 2005

Truly, Truly?

Greg Koukl makes some good points in response to a post by Doug Pagitt on John 14:6

Some of Doug’s comments were …
I had a conversation today where the typical question presented to people who hold to a non-foundational approach - "Wasn't Jesus' statement 'I am the way, the truth and the life' a foundationalist presupposition"? I can't count the number of times that people have used this statement to suggest an exclusivist view or foundationalist view ...

... It would be like taking the other seven "I Am" statements in John and thinking of them as literal statements - Jesus is really bread, really a vine, really a shepherd, or a door.
Now, I wouldn't use the verse he pointed out to prove that Jesus believed in Truth (I’m not really sure what I’m suppose to think Truthness means.) I'd simply point out that the phrase "Truly" appears over 80 times in the Gospels alone (and many more times in the whole Bible.)

What is the point in Jesus using that phrase so often if it means nothing? Why is it that Jesus includes this so often before he makes a statement? Or is pagitt merely saying “this verse is a bad example” even though there are plenty that are good examples?

As to Jesus comparing himself to the Torah, I think Greg’s far more on track then pagitt on this … what of when Jesus said:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40
This statement seems to backup Greg’s idea that Jesus is saying that the Torah points to, or is only a flicker of the light that is the Lord Jesus.

What about John opens his Gospel in 1:17
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
Well the Law was the Torah, but Jesus is something else to John, not just the Torah.

What about when people come to ask Jesus about taxes:
“And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.” Mt. 22:16
Basically what’s going on here is they are trying to trick Jesus into stating publicly something they want, and start of by saying “hey you’re going to be honest and tell the truth we know that…” thinking that Jesus won’t be the type to lie, so they’ll be able to forcehim to let out what they want him to say. Of course, Jesus twists them back.

How about how Luke opens his Gospel?
“… it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write {it} out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1:3-4
What is this exact truth? Other translations state “you may have certainty” … how can we have certainty about anything is truth really is relative?

How about in John 8:45-46 where Jesus just got finished saying the truth will set you free --- then goes on to state that some of his detractors father isn’t Abraham as they claimed but the Devil and said the Devil has “nothing to do with the truth” and “no truth in him” --- a “liar” and “father of lies” --- but that Jesus says “But because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.”

Clearly Jesus is saying here that truth is something that can be known, and even contrasts truth with lies, and says that the devil is lies, and has no truth in him. Now seems to me here Jesus is talking about a pretty clear cut idea of Truth, of Truth in reality.

How about when the Holy Sprit is called the “Spirit of Truth?”

Or Jesus’ famous truth exchange with Pilate?

Or when John ends his Gospel and says:
“And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.”
Just seems to me there is an abundance of examples of the idea of truth all throughout the Gospels alone. You might be able to point out how some people misunderstand one, but all of them? And so say when Jesus says that “I Am” the truth … that we must take every time Jesus uses the statement as literal like as in a vine?

Well Truth is an idea or concept, and that’s exactly what the vine concept was (or the door or Shepard, or doctor.) Jesus is being literal with the concept of the vine, the concept of being a doctor and he is very much literal about the concept of truth.


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