What is Truth?

Truth is what:

  •  Tells it like it is.
  • Corresponds to the facts.
  • Matches its object.

What is False?

False is what does not:

  • Tell it like it is.
  • Correspond to the facts.
  • Match its object.

(Norman L. Geisler)

The Truth About Truth

  1. Truth is what corresponds to reality.
  2. The correspondence view of truth cannot be denied without using it since:
    • Those who deny it assume their view corresponds to reality.
    • In reality everyone holds to a correspondence view of truth
    • Those who deny it in theory, use it in practice.

(Norman L. Geisler)

Arguments for the Correspondence View of Truth:

  1. It is implied in the ninth command (“You shall not bear false witness”), i.e., don’t misrepresent the facts.
  2. It is entailed in Acts 24 when it says you can “learn the truth” when you “verify [the facts]” (vs. 8, 11).
  3. It is manifest in Genesis 42:16 when Joseph said they should look at the facts “so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth.”
  4. It was employed in the test for a false prophet whose prophecy was considered false “if the word does not come to pass or come true” (Deut. 18:22).
  5. It is utilized in everyday conversations when we consider something false if it misrepresents the facts (e.g., we say “check the facts” and “check it out for yourself” and the like).
  6. It is essential to a legal oath when one promises “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Answering Objections to the Correspondence View:

Objection 1: Jesus said, “I am the truth” (not, “I correspond to the facts”).

Response: Jesus’ lips and life perfectly corresponded to the facts. Persons can represent truth as well as propositions.

Objection 2: God is truth, and He does not correspond to any reality beyond Himself.

Response: God’s words and actions do correspond to His mind and nature.  Thus God is “true” to Himself.  This is perfect correspondence.

(Norman L. Geisler)

The Opposite of True is False:

Opposite ideas cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. (The Law of Non-Contradiction)

  • The Earth is Round
  • The Earth is not Round

The Law of Non-Contradiction:

It is undeniable. For it cannot be denied without being affirmed. For example,

  • The one who claims: “Contradictions can both be true” does not believe that the contradiction of that statement can also be true.

  • Or, the one who says “Opposites can both be true,” does not believe that the opposite of that statement can also be true.

(Norman L. Geisler)

Sure-Fire Way to Convince a Skeptic!

“Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.” 


Relative Truth is:

Something true only: For SOME people, Or in SOME places, Or at SOME times.

Serious Problems with Relativism:

  • Relativists believe that relativism is true for EVERYONE.
  • But if relativism is true for EVERYONE, then it is no longer a RELATIVE truth, but an ABSOLUTE truth.
  • Relativism is self-defeating.

Absolute Truth is:

Something true:  For ALL people, in ALL places, and at ALL times

A Defense of Absolute Truth:

Whatever is true, is true for ALL people, in ALL places, and at ALL times!

Examples: (1) Did the sun once revolve around the earth? No! Truth didn’t change;  our view did! (2) The statement “It is cold at the North Pole and hot in Egypt” is true everywhere. The truth does not change when it is uttered in different geographical locations.

(Norman L. Geisler)