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This attack on absolute truth did not begin with Pontius Pilate, who flippantly asked Jesus, “What is truth!” Some ancient Greek philosophers living centuries before Pilate made relativism their entire life’s work. Parmenides was a late sixth or early fifth century B.C.E.) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Parmenides believed that real knowledge was unattainable. Democritus (c. 460 – c. 370 B.C.E.) was an influential Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, who said, “Truth is buried deep. . . . We know nothing for certain.” And even the most revered of them all, Socrates (470/469 – 399 BC), who was a classical Greek philosopher said that all that he really knew was that he knew nothing.”
Norman L. Geisler writes, “Most relativists really believe relativism is true for everybody, not just for them. But that is the one thing they cannot believe if they are truly relativists, for a relative truth is true for me but not necessarily for everyone. So if the relativist thinks relativism is true for everyone, then he really believes that it is an absolute truth. Of course, this being the case, he is no longer truly a relativist, since he believes in at least one absolute truth. Here is the dilemma: A consistent relativist cannot say, “It is an absolute truth for everyone that truth is only relatively true for me.” If he says it is absolutely true that relativism is true, then he is not a relativist but an absolutist. If, on the other hand, he says, ‘It is only relatively true that relativism is true,’ then we cannot know if relativism is really true, for if it is only relatively true for him (but not for all), then relativism may be false for me. Why then should it be accepted as true? Furthermore, for the relativist it can only be relatively true that it is relatively true for him, and so on infinitely. Either the claim that truth is relative is an absolute claim, which would falsify the relativist position, or it is an assertion that can never be made because every time you make it you have to add another “relatively.” It is just the beginning of an infinite regress that will never pay off in a real statement. The only way the relativist can avoid the painful dilemma of relativism is to admit that there is absolute truth. Indeed, as already noted, most relativists really believe that relativism is absolutely true, for they really believe that everyone should be a relativist. Therein is the basic self-destructive nature of the relativist: He stands on the pinnacle of his own absolute truth to relativize everything else. But as the mythological Hercules understood, one needs a firm place to put a fulcrum before he can move the world. The sinking sand of relativism is not a firm place to set anything.”
He goes on to say, “If relativism were true, then the world would be full of contradictory conditions, for if something is true for one but false for another, then opposite conditions exist. If one person says, ‘There is milk in the refrigerator,’ and another insists, ‘There is no milk in the refrigerator’—and they are both right—then there must both be and not be milk in the refrigerator at the same time and in the same sense. This is impossible since it violates the law of noncontradiction. So, if truth were relative, the impossible would be actual. But that is not possible. In the religious realm, it would mean that Billy Graham was telling the truth when he said, ‘God exists,’ and Madalyn Murray O’Hair was also right when she claimed, ‘God does not exist.’ But, as even a child knows, these two statements cannot both be true. If one is true, then the other is false. And since they exhaust the only possibilities, one of them must be true. If truth is relative, then no one is ever wrong—even when he is. As long as something is true to him, then he is right even when he is wrong. The drawback to this is that I could never learn anything, either, because learning is moving from a false belief to a true one—that is, from an absolutely false belief to an absolutely true one.”
The relativist would argue that no truth can be absolute because we only have limited knowledge of any given truth. It is true that we only have partial knowledge of most things that we know. Thus, begs the question, if you only have partial knowledge of all truths, how can any be absolute? First, we do not have absolute truths on everything, this is meant to mislead or detracts from the actual or otherwise important absolute truth. We do have absolute truths on some things. “One can be absolutely sure that he exists. In fact, one’s own existence is undeniable, for one would have to exist in order to make the statement “I do not exist.” One can also be absolutely sure that he cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. Just as he can be certain, for example, that there are no square circles.”
Geisler goes on to make the observation, “Of course, there are many more things of which absolute certainty is not possible. But even here relativists miss the mark in rejecting absolute truth simply because of the lack of absolute evidence that some things are true, for they fail to recognize that the truth can be absolute no matter what our grounds for believing it are. For instance, if it is true that Sydney, Australia, is next to the ocean, then it is absolutely true no matter what my evidence or lack of evidence may be. An absolute truth is absolutely true in and of itself no matter what evidence there is for it. Evidence (or the lack thereof) does not change the facts. And truth is what corresponds to the facts. The truth doesn’t change simply because we learn something more about it.”
Relativists argue that if we have absolute truth, there is no room for new truths or progress. In other words, if truth is absolute, it can never change. Thus, there ca never be new truth or progress on that truth. The truth of the matter is, if a new truth or progress about a given truth, it is only new to us, as it has already existed. While we might have an absolute truth about some form of cancer, as to what it is and what it does, or does not do, this does not mean that if we add to that knowledge, grow in understanding; it somehow negates our absolute truth. Then, if we discover the entirely new truth, like in the field of science, i.e., scientific discover, this is only new to us, it has been there all along and anything we learn about it, just as to the truth. Thus, new truths once they have become known do not change from being a truth any more than old truths change because we learn additional information.
The relativist would also argue that absolute truths change with new knowledge and understanding, so how can it be absolute. An example would be that God created the heavens, and the earth is absolutely true. This author believes that the creation days were periods of time, not literally 24-hours long. If new or additional information came from science or a better biblical understanding, or archaeology, which showed it, was literally 24-hour days, would this new information change the absolute truth that God created the heavens and the earth? Moreover, let us say that new information comes to light that undoes a truth that we thought was absolute, does this mean that there are no absolute truths? No. Really, the absolute truth never changes, the only thing that ever changes is the knowledge and understanding of that truth. Let us take an atheist that does not believe in God and is an apologist for atheism for his entire life. Then, science makes a breakthrough that offers impeachable evidence that a Creator exists. Does this information mean that there is no absolute truth about God? No, there is just need to humble oneself in light of the new information and reevaluate one’s view of God. Geisler offers, “When science truly progresses it does not move from an old truth to a new truth but from error to truth. When Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) argued that the earth moves around the sun and not the reverse, truth did not change. What changed was the scientific understanding about what moves around what.”
The relativist will also argue that belief is absolute truth is untenable, dogmatic, and obnoxious. Geisler says, “This objection misses the point. All truth is absolute, for, as we have seen, if something is really true, then it is true for all people, times, and places. So in this sense, everyone who claims anything is true is ‘dogmatic.’ (And, as has been demonstrated, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t claim that something is true.) Even the relativist who claims that relativism is true is dogmatic. Indeed, the relativist who claims that relativism is absolutely true is particularly dogmatic, for he is claiming that he has the only absolute truth that can be uttered, namely, that everything else is relative. Further, something important is overlooked in this charge of dogmatism. There is a big difference between the pejorative charge that belief in absolute truth is dogmatic and the manner in which someone may hold to this belief. No doubt the way many absolutists have held to and conveyed their belief in what truth is has been less than humble. However, no agnostic would consider it a telling argument against agnosticism that some agnostics have held to and communicated their agnosticism in a very dogmatic manner. What we have here is an entirely different issue, and while it is one that certainly is worthy of our examination, it has nothing to do with truth being absolute.”
Many liberal-progressive minded young ones, who have grown up on this relativism, might argue that they are just being open-mindedness, which only brings a positive impact on humanity. In contrast, like in the above, relativists would argue that those who believe in absolute truth are dogmatic and obnoxious, bringing nothing but a negative impact on humanity. Does relativism really bring a positive impact on humanity though? What about you, how does it really affect you? Do you believe that truth is relative? If you do, you may very well believe that to search into biblical truths about God, about humanity, about the future of humanity is nothing more than a waste of your time. Therefore, belief in relativism, it may very well influence your future, especially your eternal future. This book is not about defending absolute truth, proving its existence, or undermining those that hold to relativism. Rather, it is for people that believe that the Word of God is truth and those who may not believe such but want to investigate further. In addition, it is to help its readers understand what it means to be sanctified in the truth. Now, let us take a brief moment to look at the meaning of some biblical Hebrew and Greek words.
The Hebrew term emeth is often rendered “truth, “firmness,” “faithfulness:” “faith” “faithful,” “faithfully,” faithfulness,” and designates that which “firm,” “faithful,” “trustworthy,” “stable,” true,” or “established as fact.”
|WORD STUDY: emeth
faithfulness, reliability, trustworthiness, i.e., a state or condition of being dependable and loyal to a person or standard (Ge 24:27); 2. LN 72.1–72.11 true, certain, sure, i.e., that which conforms to reality, and is so certain not to be false (Dt 13:15), see also domain LN 70; 3. LN 88.39–88.45 honesty, integrity, i.e., be in a state or condition of telling the truth, and living according to a moral standard (Ne 7:2); 4. LN 33.35–33.68 unit: כְּתָב אֱמֶת (keṯāḇ ʾěměṯ) a reliable book, formally, Book of Truth, i.e., a writing in a heavenly scroll giving details of future things, with a focus on both certainty and reliability (Da 10:21+); 5. LN 67.78–67.117 lasting, enduring, i.e., a duration of time, without reference to other points of time (Jer 14:13)
The Greek word aletheia stands in contrast with falsehood or unrighteousness, (πλάνη) going astray or wondering (μῦθος) fiction or myth, (ψεῦδος) lie or falsehood, (ἀδικία) wrong or evil, (πρόφασις) pretext or excuse and denotes that which conforms to “the quality of being in accord with what is true, truthfulness, dependability, uprightness, the content of what is true, truth.”
|WORD STUDY: aletheia
of what has certainty and validity truth (EP 4.21), (2) of the real state of affairs, especially as divinely disclosed truth (RO 1.18), (3) of the concept of the gospel message as being absolute truth (2TH 2.12); (4) of true-to-fact statements truth, fact (LU 4.25), (5) of what is characterized by love of truth truthfulness, uprightness, fidelity (1C 5.8; 13.6), (6) of reality as opposed to pretense or mere appearance truth, sincerity (PH 1.18), idiomatically ἐν ἀληθείᾳ literally in truth, i.e. really, truly, indeed (MT 22.16); κατὰ ἀλήθειαν literally according to truth, i.e. rightly (RO 2.2); ἐπ̓ ἀληθείας literally on truth, i.e. really, actually (AC 4.27)
Really, to be frank, not one single person really believes that there is no truth. When it comes to physical truths, such as medicine, mathematics, or the laws of physics, even the most steadfast relativist will believe that some things are absolute truths. Find one relativist who would ever dare to ride in an airplane if he or she did not believe that the laws of aerodynamics were absolute truths? Truths that can be verified do exist. They are all around us. Moreover, we place our lives in the figurative hands of these absolute truths every day. Knowing that there are absolute truths means much to Christians. It means that the living hope eternal life that the apostle Peter spoke of is based on facts, (1 Pet. 1:3) on realities, on absolute truths. The Bible proverb says: “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” (Proverbs 23:23) To reject truth as relative or nonexistent is to miss out on the opportunity of our lifetime, the most thrilling fulfilling quest that has ever been offered. To find truth is to find a living hope; to know and love truth is to know and love the Father, the Creator of our universe and the Son who paid the price for our living hope; to live by truth is to live with purpose and comfort, joy, happiness, as well as peace of mind, now and into eternally.—Proverbs 2:1-5; Zechariah 8:19; John 17:3.
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 Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, Volume One: Introduction, Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 120–121.
 Ibid., 121.
 Ibid., 122.
 Ibid., 122.
 Ibid., 123.
 Ibid., 124.
 See Ex. 18:21; 34:6; Deut. 13:14; 17:4; 22:20; Josh. 2:12; 2 Ch. 18:15; 31:20; Neh. 7:2; 9:33; Esth. 9:30; Ps 15:2; Eccl. 12:10; Jer. 9:5
 LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon
+ I have cited every reference in regard to this lexeme discussed under this definition.
 James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
 See Mark 5:33; 12:32; Lu 4:25; John 3:21; Rom. 2:8; 1 Cor. 13:6; Php 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:10, 12; 1 John 1:6, 8; 2:4, 21
 William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 42.
 Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker’s Greek New Testament Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 42–43.