>What Do You Know To Be True?

>A good friend of mine asked me that question at the beginning of this year. I was taken aback but never one to give knee jerk answers I said, “I’ll get back to you”. It’s been almost 6 months and earlier this week I finally gave him an answer.

I know a lot of things to be true but the real journey in life, for me at least, is learning to accept the truth.

I just finished reading “The Great Divorce” by C.S Lewis. In it Lewis shows us a profound grasp of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. It is a place so real, so solidly built on truth and goodness that it can be painful for humans to even walk on the grass at first. In this allegorical story, when you first arrive in heaven you are given a guide, someone from your past life to help you. Everything is revealed by your guide, all questions are answered and the truth is laid bare.

One of the most profound moments in the story comes when a man who prided himself in on having an open mind in life meets his guide and continues to ask questions while refusing to accept the answers, every answer, no matter how plain only leads to another question. Finally his guide becomes frustrated and responds;

Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage.

How many times have you heard someone comment that truth is all in the interpretation, or that there are kernels of truth in all things? That’s just poppycock! Truth is the absence of falsehood. A kernel of truth is not enough to make something right which is otherwise wrong. Conversely, all it takes is a tiny bit of falsehood to spoil the truth.

When I was a boy my father attempted to make fruit wine, goose berry I think. He did everything himself, harvested the fruit, squeezed out the juice, added the yeast and carefully sealed it up in the bottle. Everything was going well until one day he noticed something floating on top of the liquid, barely visible to the naked eye, it was a vinegar fly. Somehow the seal had been broken and the entire batch, months of work, had been spoiled by something no bigger than a speck of dust.

That’s what a kernel of falsehood does to truth. But if we take an eye dropper and place a drop of fine wine into a vat of vinegar we don’t suddenly get wine do we? To get at the truth you first have to eliminate all that is wrong. To take the analogy further rather than drop that fine wine into the vat of vinegar, you remove it, as far away as possible from any potential corruption. You protect that drop of wine like the precious and vulnerable commodity that it is.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like a “pearl of great price”, something to be cherished at the exclusion of all else.

Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it. [Matthew 13: 45,46]

Lewis makes it very clear that no questions remain in heaven all you have to do is accept the answers. To continue to question, after you’ve found the truth would be like dropping fine wine into a vat of vinegar.

So what do I know to be true? Jesus said it best…

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:31,32]

It all comes down to the things He taught.


  1. >Hi Lauren, it seems to me that you are playing with words and stories. The blog subject intrigued me but you have not answered the question…? First you may want to explain what it means to know something is true. Once we understand that, we can then look at what you actually know to be true? I think there's a lot more to look into here 🙂

  2. >I thought I was pretty clear – It's the teachings of Jesus – every thing else that religion and the ways of the world add on top is window dressing that usually pulls us away from the core of the message. If you've been following along lately you should have noticed that everything I write about comes back to that core message. The quote at the end sums it up nicely – if you stick with Jesus teaching you will know the truth.

  3. >Love Great Divorce. May I point out that Lewis was most certainly not a pacifist? He served in World War I before he became a Christian and actively supported the use of armed force to defeat Nazi Germany. I would raise to you Screwtape’s challenge. It does not matter if you are a pacifist or not, but whether your position on war comes to dominate your religious beliefs and become de facto replacements.

  4. >What you described is what I would call "absolute truth." The problem with that is, to claim to know absolute truth makes us absolute fools. Even the great Apostle Paul admitted to lacking absolute truth, when he said that we now know God thorugh a dark glass dimly. What we "see" is a poor image, in other words. And often what we "see" is not even what is really there. The importance of attempting to see what is actually there, rather than what we think we ought to see, or what we expect to see, may help but it can take us only so far.Perhaps that is why Jesus said, "If you said you were blind, you would see, but because you say, 'We see,' you are blind." Aat the very least, true humility always leaves room for a margin of error. For God, perhaps there is absolute truth, if he indeed "knows all things." But for humans, all truth is, indeed, relative. Some of us may be closer than others. Nobody is perfect … yet.

  5. >I'm not talking about Pacifism anymore, not directly at least. What I'm talking about is the truth found in Jesus teaching. If you can find support for just war theory directly from Jesus teaching, I'm listening…

  6. >Ellsworth…That's why I descibed the truth as only a drop of fine wine, not a whole bottle. A kernal of, as you call it "absolute truth" needs to be protected or it will become clouded and corrupt. God does not choose to reveal the whole truth to us all at once, that would be painful, instead he reveals it to us in "drips and drops" but that doesn't make it any less true.The quote you give is from Jesus speaking with the Pharisees after he has healed a blind man. In order to understand what he means by it you need to read the entire context of John Chapter 9. Jesus isn't saying just because you claim to see, your are therfore blind, he is saying that the turth (me) is standing right and front of you, you claim to see me but you are still blind to who I am. Even just be reading a few more verses ahead of where you started we can get get a clearer picture. It starts with Jesus asking the formerly blind man if he beleives in the Son of Man"Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36"Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." 37Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." 38Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." 40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."So again I assert that the Truth is in Jesus teaching. The blind man beleived, the Pharisees did not.

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