Truth is a shape sorter


shape sorter

There is a certain way the world is, whether we like it or not. I think of a shape sorter for example. There are certain places where things fit and certain places where they don’t fit. A square is a square and goes in a square hole, not in a triangle hole.[1]

We could imagine doing a shape sorter box blindfolded. It would be difficult. We would have to feel our way to what was right. And imagine if someone was getting in our face and trying to distract us and give us the wrong pieces to put in the wrong spot… It would be extra difficult. It would still be clear that there’s a correct place for the pieces—i.e. a correct way the world is to function—yet it would be difficult to make things function the way they are supposed to without the correct guidance.

We can try and go against this reality but it’s going to be problematic. Things won’t fit. People all the time say things like: “Have it your way,” “Make your own reality.” But that doesn’t mean you actually can.

In John 18, Pilate speaking to Jesus said: “What is truth?” Ironically, Pilate was talking to Truth Himself (Jn. 14:7). That was over 2,000 years ago.

The existence of truth has been questioned for a long time.

Pilate said, “What is truth?”

People today say, “We make our own truth…”

Deceit is the bastion of the wicked.

The absence of truth is a work of Satan. It is a work of darkness and brings darkness (and is itself a defilement). Satan is the father of lies and there is no truth in him (Jn. 8:44).

Satan is the archenemy of God. God hates untruth (Is. 59:4, 14-15).

When truth is not followed or truth is doubted it brings an avalanche of evil and destruction. Untruth leads to (or is) injustice. Untruth is far from the good of God’s character and design.

Thus, truth is vital. People are destroyed when they lack right knowledge (Hosea 4:6, 14).

Truth is the seal of the Savior and is (or should be!) the seal of the saved.[2]

We must obey the truth (Gal. 5:7) knowing that the truth sets free (Jn. 8:32), sanctifies (Jn. 17:17), and purifies (1 Pet. 1:22). Thus, the truth must be preserved (cf. Gal. 2:5). Scripture, the truth, must be treasured (Ps. 119:105; Jn. 17:17).[3]


[1] The external universe necessarily functions according to fixed rules. There is cause and there is effect, that’s the way the world is. The law of noncontradiction—that “A” cannot be “A” and “non-A” at the same time and in the same relationship—is necessary for things like Wi-Fi and Winnebagos to work. So, it seems, at least on some levels, that we like reality and the application of truth.

When truth, however, hits closer to home, when it is less convenient and brings conviction we react much differently. This is curious because in the external world understanding and applying truth leads to all sorts of good (AC and ice cream come to mind). It seems then that the reality of a pervasive and inner and invincible and objective truth for morality and meaning would be sought with much interest. Again, think of the prosperity that modern science has brought. Yet, to quote an old line that has become a mantra: “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38).

The world functions in a certain way; we can be aligned with that reality or crushed by it. Gravity governs the way things fall and God tunes all; all the principles in a certain way—including morality. Morality is true to and connects with God’s character. It seems that other “natural laws” like gravity make sense and allow the functioning of the world we inhabit. So, gravity, like morality, are necessary for the ultimate end that God has in mind.

[2] Christ Himself is the truth (Jn. 14:6). And God is true (Jn. 8:26; cf. Jn. 3:33; 7:28; Rom. 3:4). Yet, the Truth was crucified. Meaning was murdered.

[3] People often act as if Christianity is a big hoax and cares nothing about truth. That caricature couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bible is obsessed with truth and says that if what it claims to be true isn’t true then it should be abandoned.


About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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