But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.
I’ve been thinking about how it is that we find the truth. And maybe the answer is that we don’t find the truth: the Truth finds us.
Some people look to science for truth. After all, science is just looking at the world and describing what we see. The famous scientist Stephen Hawking wrote a book last year about how he thinks science can now explain where the universe came from – and explain it without God. So is that true? Well, Hawking thinks that if more than one explanation works, we should use whatever explanation is most convenient – both are equally true. I think that this is what happens when we trust science too much: our idea of truth becomes confused. What we think we see when we look at the world today is different from what people thought they saw 100 years ago. It’s even different from what they thought they saw 15 years ago (that was when many scientists began to believe that most of the stuff in the universe is a strange stuff called “Dark Energy.” No one had suggested that before). When the things that are considered scientific “fact” change so fast, who can blame Hawking for thinking that there is no stable truth about the world? No, science is good for doing work, building technology, and such things; but it’s not very good at finding out truth.
But if we can’t find the truth by looking at the world, what hope is there of finding the truth? Well, none. This might be part of what the Bible means when it says we are “lost,” “blind,” and “in darkness.” There is no hope of finding the truth about God, of knowing God. We don’t have the ability to do that. Well, a clarification: we don’t have the ability to do that unless we already know God. So how do we go from not knowing God to knowing God? This is the whole story of Christ: we don’t become God, instead he becomes human. We don’t seek him: he seeks us (Rom. 3:11). We don’t find him: he finds us (Lk. 19:10). This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit: to guide us to the truth that we would never find on our own (Jn. 16:13, above).
What good news! Even the scientists should realize that’s the only way we could ever know the truth.