Help The Gospel Coalition continue supplying free resources to strengthen the global church.

Absolute Truth in an Upside Down World

Wa-da Daddy, wa-da!

Hearing my “name” I looked over to see my 2-year-old son laying on his back on our bed, his head hanging off the side upside down, his eyes staring out of the window and his finger pointed skyward. I walked over to the window and muttered, “Yeah buddy, water” without any idea of what he was talking about. Sensing the lack of understanding in my voice, he repeated himself more emphatically: Wa-da Daddy, WA-DA! I peered through the window again, intently trying to solve the mystery. Looking upward in the direction of his pointed finger, it dawned on me what he was trying to say. It was a beautiful 70-degree day and, other than a few whispy cirrus clouds, the sky was perfectly clear. The sky was crystal blue as far as the eye could see, like when the horizon meets an ocean of . . . water! Oh, water, buddy! I confirmed excitedly. He looked at me as if to say, Duh, Daddy. So I explained that while the sky may be blue and look like water, it’s actually quite different. He knows this fact, since he and his brother go crazy at the sight of each passing airplane when we’re outside.

His problem at this moment, though, was that he was upside down. And because he was upside down, so was his perception of the world.

It seems silly to an adult with decades of life experience, but my son believed just as strongly that the sky was the sea as I believed that it wasn’t. But our respective feelings about the location of the sky were irrelevant. As sincere as our feelings may have been, they had no bearing on the truth that the sky is above the earth, encompassing the globe.

Anchorless in the Storm

Whether we realize it or not, we all end up at times on our backs staring at the sky screaming, Water! In our family, political, occupational, and even spiritual lives, we make decisions and take stances based on bad theology, personal benefit, political correctness, or simple convenience. We think the right thing to do is whatever the majority thinks at the time. Like a ship without a sail, we are tossed back and forth by the prevailing trends and stances of our cultural leaders, anchorless in a storm of popular opinion.

In a moment of misguided sincerity, my baby boy needed absolute truth. And contrary to popular belief, absolute truth is what we all need. As Proverbs 14:12 warns, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” No doubt the person in this proverb is sincere in his beliefs. He may even think he’s doing what’s best for himself, his family, his country. Unfortunately, though, sincerity by itself is never an accurate indicator of right and wrong. Many of the decisions we make—both individually and collectively—that we think are good are ultimately leading us down pathways of destruction. In fact, many of us deceive ourselves by assuming our thinking is wise—or, as we sometimes express it, “enlightened” or “evolved.” The apostle Paul counters:

For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (1 Cor. 3:19–20)

Our human pride leads us to believe we know better and that we can edit or improve what God has laid out on the eternal pages of Scripture. How foolish! Should the created teach the Creator? Nothing but our sin nature leads us to audaciously believe we know better than he does. How can we, who on average enjoy 75 years on this terrestrial ball, turn our backs on the Word of the Everlasting? May it never be.

Finally the prophet Isaiah issues a warning we can all heed:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil;
who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20)

God doesn’t look on this reversal lightly. It’s not okay just because everybody else is doing it. It’s not okay that our sin “isn’t hurting anyone else.” Truth, as much as we’d like it to be, isn’t subject to personal convenience. Don’t be a cultural casualty who shuns the reality of absolute truth. We are upside down in our thinking, and only Christ can free us from the bondage of a depraved mind. Each of us confuses right and wrong at times. It’s in our gene pool, passed down all the way from our first parents.

Standard of Standards

Like God himself, his Word is timeless and unchanging. It is living, active, and sharper than any double-edged sword. It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and training in righteousness. The Bible reveals our hearts and unclothes our needs. It gives hope on our darkest day, wisdom in our most foolish hour, truth in a world full of lies. God’s Word is the only word by which life truly makes sense. In fact, his Word is the only way we know about true life. It is the standard by which all other standards must be compared.

Our worldview should always be grounded in God’s Word. Who are we to think we know more than he does?

Even though those white cirrus clouds may look like foam on breaking waves, the heavens will never be the raging sea. When I took my son off the bed and placed him upright on his little feet, his view of the world was corrected, and he realized the folly of his ways. He had been seeing and thinking upside down. I, as his father, knowing infinitely more then he does, wouldn’t let him wallow in his wayward thinking. How much more will our omniscient heavenly Father take us off the bed, stand us up and correct our sight, if we truly want to see? 

The bed can be quite warm and comfortable. Rest assured—you will have plenty of company. Sadly, some of us don’t even know we’re on the bed. And some who do, for various reasons, don’t want to hop off. Instead, we’d rather keep looking at the sky, upside down with our finger pointed, yelling, Water!

LOAD MORE
Loading