ATTRIBUTE OF TRUTH OR TRUE-NESS
The second attribute of character for consideration is that of TRUTH OR THE TRUE-NESS of God. By truth is meant that attribute of the divine essence in which God's being and God's knowledge eternally conform to each other.
1. The Biblical material comes from several sources. There are specific passages which make explicit statement concerning God. Then there is material which provides the basis for this inference. There are just two passages in the Old Testament that make reference to the true God (2 Chron. 15:3 Jer. 10:10). Four more refer to Him as the God of truth (Exod. 34:6; Deut. 32:4; Psa. 31:5; Isa. 65:16). In every reference the original Hebrew word comes from the same root, the word which provides the term known to all people as "Amen." This word emphasizes something that is firm, final, unyielding, and absolute.
In the New Testament one word is translated into English by the word true. The word means that which has not only the name and semblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name. It signifies that which is genuine and therefore in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name. This word appears nine times in relation to God (John 3:33; 7:28; 8:26; 17:3; Rom. 3:4; 2 Cor.:18; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 6:10). In the great high priestly prayer, Christ expressed to His heavenly Father, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God" (John 17:3).
In both Testaments, things associated with God are said to be true. Here are some of them: words (2 Sam. 7:28), laws (Neh. 9:13), sayings (Rev. 19:9; 22:6), judgments (Psa. 19:9; Rev. 16:7; 19:2), riches (Luke 16:11), light (John 1:9), worshippers (John 4:23), bread (John 6:32), vine (John 15:1), holiness (Eph. 4:24), tabernacle (Heb. 8:2), heart (Heb. 10:22), grace (1 Pet. 5:12), and ways (Rev. 15:3).
2. A working definition for the word true is necessary in order to develop the doctrine of God's true-ness. The word true must mean conformity to a standard. That standard is what God is in Himself. What God knows or expresses about Himself conforms precisely with what God is, and is therefore said to be true. When Christ affirms that the Father is "the only true God," He is asserting that His being conforms exactly to the highest possible ideal of what God ought to be. God is truth, not in the sense that He knows the truth, or speaks the truth, but in the sense that He is the truth that is known. Truth of being, and not truth of expression, is the intrinsic sense of the words, "the true God." This further means that God is truth apart from and before creation. As an attribute of character, truth implies a conformity of God's knowledge to God's essence, something that antedates creation. In that Christ is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, He was justified in making that absolute assertion, "I am ...the truth" (John 14:6). The same thing may be affirmed of the Holy Spirit when He is referred to as "the Spirit of truth" (John 14:17). The Trinity alone displays this attribute in perfection.
A vital corollary to the fact that God in Himself is truth is the fact that all truth is to be regarded as having its ground and foundation in this immanent truth of the divine nature, in this sense such truth discloses and displays facts in the being of God. Knowledge of truth is knowledge of God. Astronomy, mathematics, anthropology are disclosures of the nature of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psa. 19:1). Separate statements of truth in the area of creation are unexplainable apart from the total revelation of truth as it exists in the very nature of God. It is the totality of truth that provides the context within which every area of truth can be seen in perspective. Since in Christ "are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3), then it follows that no man has managed to place himself in a position to apprehend truth until he has "learned Christ... heard Him... been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus" (Eph.4:20-21), for Christ is the full embodiment of God brought within the grasp of men (John 1:1, 14, 18).
3. In an originating sense God is the God of truth in the sense that He is the source of truth. In words, laws, judgments, sayings, God expresses the truth. His knowledge and His words always conform exactly to reality, that is, to things as they are not only in relation to His own nature, but also in relation to that which proceeds from His nature (Psa. 19:9; Neh. 9:13). "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17). "Thy word is true from the beginning" (Psa. 119:160).
This God of truth discloses the fact that there is a direct association of truth with other attributes. In many texts these attributes are joined with
truth, for instance: goodness and truth (Exod. 34:6), kindness and truth (2 Sam.2:6), mercy and truth (Psa. 25:10), light and truth (Psa. 43:3), meekness and truth (Psa. 45:14), uprightness and truth (Psa. 111:8), faithfulness and truth (Isa.25:1), peace and truth (Isa. 39:8), righteousness and truth (Isa. 48:1), justice and truth (Isa. 59:4), and grace and truth (John 1:14). This is all intended to remind us that these various attributes are no ordinary attributes. They are attributes of the true God who is all that such a God ought to be and is in reality that God.
4. The practical values growing out of this great doctrine are inestimable in their worth. This doctrine guarantees that the material and moral universe is based on truth. It is the God of truth "Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keeps truth forever" (Psa. 146:6). "The works of His hands are verity and judgment; all His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness" (Psa. 111:7-8). "The works" of His hands referring to the material universe, and "His commandments" covering the moral aspects of creation, combine, and both are truth. Both the scientist and the moralist can pursue their investigations, confident that there is ultimate truth in both realms and that that truth is vested in the only true God.
The truth of God assures men that He will respond to all true worship and prayer (John 4:23; Psa. 145:18). It guarantees that God will make good every promise, for God swears in truth (Jer. 4:2). It guarantees to sinners that final judgment and justice will fall (Rom. 2:2; Psa. 54:5). It assures the believer that God will never prove unworthy of truth. Therefore he can join the Psalmist, "Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou Nast redeemed me, 0 Lord God of truth" (Psa. 31:5). In every event and circumstance of life God is a shield and buckler. "His truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Psa. 91:4). This extends to the material, the spiritual, and the intellectual.