In order to understand absolute or universal truth, we must begin by defining  truth. Truth, according to the dictionary, is “conformity to fact or actuality;  a statement proven to be or accepted as true.” Some people would say that there  is no true reality, only perceptions and opinions. Others would argue that there  must be some absolute reality or truth. (See also: “What is Truth?”)

One view says that there are no  absolutes that define reality. Those who hold this view believe everything is  relative to something else, and thus there can be no actual reality. Because of  that, there are ultimately no moral absolutes, no authority for deciding if an  action is positive or negative, right or wrong. This view leads to “situational  ethics,” the belief that what is right or wrong is relative to the situation.  There is no right or wrong; therefore, whatever feels or seems right at the time  and in that situation is right. Of course, situational ethics leads to a  subjective, “whatever feels good” mentality and lifestyle, which has a  devastating effect on society and individuals. This is postmodernism, creating a  society that regards all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth claims as  equally valid.

The other view holds that there are indeed absolute  realities and standards that define what is true and what is not. Therefore,  actions can be determined to be either right or wrong by how they measure up to  those absolute standards. If there are no absolutes, no reality, chaos ensues.  Take the law of gravity, for instance. If it were not an absolute, we could not  be certain we could stand or sit in one place until we decided to move. Or if  two plus two did not always equal four, the effects on civilization would be  disastrous. Laws of science and physics would be irrelevant, and commerce would  be impossible. What a mess that would be! Thankfully, two plus two does equal  four. There is absolute truth, and it can be found and understood.

To  make the statement that there is no absolute truth is illogical. Yet, today,  many people are embracing a cultural relativism that denies any type of absolute  truth. A good question to ask people who say, “There is no absolute truth” is  this: “Are you absolutely sure of that?” If they say “yes,” they have made an  absolute statement—which itself implies the existence of absolutes. They are  saying that the very fact there is no absolute truth is the one and only  absolute truth.

Beside the problem of self-contradiction, there are  several other logical problems one must overcome to believe that there are no  absolute or universal truths. One is that all humans have limited knowledge and  finite minds and, therefore, cannot logically make absolute negative statements.  A person cannot logically say, “There is no God” (even though many do so),  because, in order to make such a statement, he would need to have absolute  knowledge of the entire universe from beginning to end. Since that is  impossible, the most anyone can logically say is “With the limited knowledge I  have, I do not believe there is a God.”

Another problem with the denial  of absolute truth/universal truth is that it fails to live up to what we know to  be true in our own consciences, our own experiences, and what we see in the real  world. If there is no such thing as absolute truth, then there is nothing  ultimately right or wrong about anything. What might be “right” for you does not  mean it is “right” for me. While on the surface this type of relativism seems to  be appealing, what it means is that everybody sets his own rules to live by and  does what he thinks is right. Inevitably, one person’s sense of right will soon  clash with another’s. What happens if it is “right” for me to ignore traffic  lights, even when they are red? I put many lives at risk. Or I might think it is  right to steal from you, and you might think it is not right. Clearly, our  standards of right and wrong are in conflict. If there is no absolute truth, no  standard of right and wrong that we are all accountable to, then we can never be  sure of anything. People would be free to do whatever they want—murder, rape,  steal, lie, cheat, etc., and no one could say those things would be wrong. There  could be no government, no laws, and no justice, because one could not even say  that the majority of the people have the right to make and enforce standards  upon the minority. A world without absolutes would be the most horrible world  imaginable.

From a spiritual standpoint, this type of relativism results  in religious confusion, with no one true religion and no way of having a right  relationship with God. All religions would therefore be false because they all  make absolute claims regarding the afterlife. It is not uncommon today for  people to believe that two diametrically opposed religions could both be equally  “true,” even though both religions claim to have the only way to heaven or teach  two totally opposite “truths.” People who do not believe in absolute truth  ignore these claims and embrace a more tolerant universalism that teaches all  religions are equal and all roads lead to heaven. People who embrace this  worldview vehemently oppose evangelical Christians who believe the Bible when it  says that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and that He is the  ultimate manifestation of truth and the only way one can get to heaven (John 14:6).

Tolerance  has become the one cardinal virtue of the postmodern society, the one absolute,  and, therefore, intolerance is the only evil. Any dogmatic belief—especially a  belief in absolute truth—is viewed as intolerance, the ultimate sin. Those who  deny absolute truth will often say that it is all right to believe what you  want, as long as you do not try to impose your beliefs on others. But this view  itself is a belief about what is right and wrong, and those who hold this view  most definitely do try to impose it on others. They set up a standard of  behavior which they insist others follow, thereby violating the very thing they  claim to uphold—another self-contradicting position. Those who hold such a  belief simply do not want to be accountable for their actions. If there is  absolute truth, then there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and we are  accountable to those standards. This accountability is what people are really  rejecting when they reject absolute truth.

The denial of absolute  truth/universal truth and the cultural relativism that comes with it are the  logical result of a society that has embraced the theory of evolution as the  explanation for life. If naturalistic evolution is true, then life has no  meaning, we have no purpose, and there cannot be any absolute right or wrong.  Man is then free to live as he pleases and is accountable to no one for his  actions. Yet no matter how much sinful men deny the existence of God and  absolute truth, they still will someday stand before Him in judgment. The Bible  declares that “…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has  made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible  qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being  understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although  they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but  their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although  they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans  1:19-22).

Is there any evidence for the existence of absolute truth?  Yes. First, there is the human conscience, that certain “something” within us  that tells us the world should be a certain way, that some things are right and  some are wrong. Our conscience convinces us there is something wrong with  suffering, starvation, rape, pain, and evil, and it makes us aware that love,  generosity, compassion, and peace are positive things for which we should  strive. This is universally true in all cultures in all times. The Bible  describes the role of the human conscience in Romans  2:14-16: “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature  things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do  not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written  on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now  accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will  judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

The  second evidence for the existence of absolute truth is science. Science is  simply the pursuit of knowledge, the study of what we know and the quest to know  more. Therefore, all scientific study must by necessity be founded upon the  belief that there are objective realities existing in the world and these  realities can be discovered and proven. Without absolutes, what would there be  to study? How could one know that the findings of science are real? In fact, the  very laws of science are founded on the existence of absolute truth.

The  third evidence for the existence of absolute truth/universal truth is religion.  All the religions of the world attempt to give meaning and definition to life.  They are born out of mankind’s desire for something more than simple existence.  Through religion, humans seek God, hope for the future, forgiveness of sins,  peace in the midst of struggle, and answers to our deepest questions. Religion  is really evidence that mankind is more than just a highly evolved animal. It is  evidence of a higher purpose and of the existence of a personal and purposeful  Creator who implanted in man the desire to know Him. And if there is indeed a  Creator, then He becomes the standard for absolute truth, and it is His  authority that establishes that truth.

Fortunately, there is such a  Creator, and He has revealed His truth to us through His Word, the Bible.  Knowing absolute truth/universal truth is only possible through a personal  relationship with the One who claims to be the Truth—Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed  to be the only way, the only truth, the only life and the only path to God (John 14:6). The fact that  absolute truth does exist points us to the truth that there is a sovereign God  who created the heavens and the earth and who has revealed Himself to us in  order that we might know Him personally through His Son Jesus Christ. That is  the absolute truth.

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