I was posed with a question that I did not know exactly how to answer, one
of many that I am unable to answer is; “If you discovered a truth that
was truer than the Bible, would you go for it?” In other words, if you
were to discover there to be a higher truth than the Bible, do you really
love truth enough to put your convictions aside and adhere to it? Or
would you fight to defend the truth you now have?

My first response to this interesting question was that this
sounds a bit like one of those “if a person was convinced of Jesus in the
middle of the desert and wanted to be baptized, but there was no water,
and he died, would he go to heaven?” kinds of questions. I assume you
know what I mean. Then I thought about it for a bit longer, and I think
that this is actually a deep and significant question. Please forgive my
first reaction!

Actually Augustine of Hippo faced a similar question at one
time in his life. He had formerly been convinced of the truthfulness of
Manicheanism, but had a nagging question which none of the leaders in his
religion could answer. It was a question about a Manichean teaching about
the heavens which seemed to him to be in contradiction to the clear facts
of observation. Finally, the leading intellect of the group came to his
city. This respected leader blew off the question rather than explain the
apparent inconsistency. When his questions went unanswered, Augustine was
forced to reject the entire premise of his religion. It was not long
after that that he was drawn to the religion of his mother–Christianity.

I would have to say that yes, in principle, if I could find a
set of truths which fundamentally were more in line with what I know and
with how things obviously work….. if I was shown a truth-claim which had
deeper and more convincing evidence (although it is hard for me to imagine
what form such evidence would take), I would have to say that I would
absolutely have to reject what I have believed and accept the new
“truth.” There is an interesting analogy in the way science
works. Science progresses by revolutions rather than by slow steady
growth. Thomas Kuhn was the first to apply the word paradigm to the
completely new, out-of-the-box model change which has happened
occasionally in science. Examples are plate tectonics, germ theory,
relativity and so forth. In every case, there was a former paradigm which
seemed, for the time, to explain all phenomena in that field for a long
time, but eventually, evidence arose which was unexplainable by the
current “truth” (paradigm). Such inconsistencies eventually lead to new
models–new paradigms with broader and more consistent explanatory power.

Having said all that, I struggle to understand what truth
could overthrow the resurrection of Jesus. Have you read my book,
“Reasons for Belief: A Handbook of Christian Evidence”? The evidence for
inspiration and the evidence that Jesus was not a liar seems absolutely
overwhelming to me. However, a truth which is not examined is to be held
in fear, and I would have to say that, at least in principle, one must be
honest with oneself and hold out the possibility of having been mistaken
in one’s interpretation of the evidence.

Let me turn it around on you. What kind of evidence might you
imagine which could overthrow the resurrection of Jesus? I do not say
this to ridicule the question, but to ask a sincere question which I
have. It seems that this new truth would have to either contain Jesus or
overthrow Jesus. To contain Jesus means that there is a sense in which it
cannot be greater than Jesus. To overthrow Jesus is to prove him mistaken
about being God.

So, in summary, I have to say yes to your question in general
grounds, but I
struggle to see what form this higher truth might take. One of my
favorite quotes seems to address this question. It if from Michael
Faraday, a renowned scientist and a man of deep convictions about the
Bible. He said, regarding the search for truth, “The man who is certain
he is right is almost sure to be wrong; and he has the additional
misfortune of inevitable remaining so.” I believe this truism even
applies to belief in the God of the Bible.

John O.

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