All Truth is God’s Truth

There is an often quoted statement that says, “all truth is God’s truth.” Arthur Holmes wrote a book with this title in which he explained that there is no divide between sacred and secular knowledge. The quote is a paraphrase from one of Augustine of Hippo’s writings. He said,

A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth
belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even
in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and
avoiding those who ‘though they knew God did not glorify him as God’ . . .*

Wherever truth is found, if it is indeed truth, it is known to God and is part of what we too can know if God allows us to know it. We can trust that truth is a good gift from his hand.

Of course truth must be separated from untruth, lies, and superstition. That is often the challenge. How do we know things? How do we know truth when we see it? Is what we think to be true, actually true or simply something we have always believed? These are difficult questions and we may always find some uncertainty in our answers. When it comes to understanding God’s revelation in the Bible and God’s revelation in the created world, we must read the two together and allow each to help interpret the other.# Science that reveals truth is God’s truth as much as God’s word in the Bible is truth. Augustine goes on to say that

matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy
Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without
prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in
headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in
the search for truth justly undermines our position, we too fall with it. We
should not battle for our own interpretation but for the teaching of Holy
Scripture. We should not wish to conform the meaning of Holy Scripture to our
interpretation, but our interpretation to the meaning of Holy Scripture.

The science of our day, some of it being done by followers of Jesus, is revealing many things that we could not previously dream of knowing. Some of it is very challenging to our traditional interpretations of the Bible.^ Does this mean that the Bible is wrong? No, the Bible is still God’s word and is true. Could it be that our interpretation of the Bible is wrong? Truth and truth will agree. In some places, we may need to reinterpret our understanding of the Bible, but the truth of the Bible will indeed fit with truth wherever it is found. The challenge will be for theologians to understand God’s meaning in his word and find a way to understand the truth in light of truth found elsewhere. There is much work to do and some scholars such as Darrel Falk at the Biologos Forum are seeking to help with the conversations that need to happen. He has said

have some re-thinking to do, but it can be done and will be done within the
context of a Christian faith that is fully orthodox and thoroughly evangelical.
Any time we draw closer to truth, to God’s truth, we have nothing to fear.
There is still much to learn, but we can look back at what we have learned with
awe—absolute awe.&

Truth, wherever it is found, is truth; it is not hidden from God. All truth is God’s truth.

*Augustine, On Christian Teaching II.75

#For further explanation of the two book metaphor see the article by Loren Wilkonson in Crux.

^ As one example, see these articles by Dennis Venema at the BioLogos Forum.

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