Whenever I see people expressing opinions that I feel are wrong, I immediately feel a rush of indignation and wish to correct them with my own opinions…which are sure to be just as wrong as theirs. Far better if I can realize that yes, those around me are flawed, but in just the same way I am flawed as well.
Indeed, if I could mold the world in my image it would be a sorry place indeed. I would not wish such a reality upon anyone. I simply do not understand enough to create a world of perfect harmony and balance. The only time I ever feel confident that I speak the truth, is when I am speaking God’s truth, and not my own.
This study was a good opportunity to remind myself of these things. It helps me to dismiss the biases in the world, but also the biases in myself as well. Self-interest, jealousy, and pride dissipate as soon as I feel the truth of these messages in my heart.
Truth Is Things As They Are
There is only one requirement for there to be a truth, and that is for things to exist in a state. So long as things exist in a certain way, then truth is any accurate statement of what that way is. Humanity is itself a state of being, the state of immortal spirits enfolded with a temporal body. This creates a system, and necessarily there will be facts about that system and its various states. And given that there are facts and states within our system, there will always be particular patterns of behavior that will be in harmony with our own well-being. These patterns we call morality.
In order for morality to change, our very condition of humanity (that of eternal spirits bonded with temporal bodies) would first have to change. A change of personal opinion or societal trend would not be enough, for those are not changes of the basic human condition. And so the principles of morality remain consistent through the years, whether we want them to or not,
But how are we to know these principles? How can we divide opinion from fact? It is very difficult for a system to know itself. In fact, as proven by Kurt Gödel, it is impossible. Thus the only way for us to know all of the behaviors for our well-being is to be shown it by another. And not just any other, but it must be one that is above our state, one that exists on a higher order, one that can see us the way that we really are. This the one that can truly reveal our own hearts to us.
1 Corinthians 14:25- And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Doctrine and Covenants 93:24- And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.
Our Flourishing Depends on Following Truth
We live in a world that tries to regulate moral decisions by popular opinion. This pattern of democracy is necessary if there is to be liberty, and most often the masses will elect to follow that which is good.
But this pattern of governing the masses only works so long as individuals allow themselves on a private level to be governed by the conscience given of God. If instead individuals vote according to the passions of the flesh, then society will deteriorate just as surely as if it were ruled by a tyranny. It might take longer to get there, but the simple truth is that no structure of man will ever be able to safeguard us when eternal truths are ignored.
Any system based upon imperfection will eventually deteriorate. We have not yet built the thing that will not break. Entropy is undeniable. Any system conceived of by man will be necessarily flawed, even when made with the best of intentions. Our perceptions are limited and our reasoning is biased, so how could we ever hope to see things as they really are? How could we ever hope to adhere to the truth purely by our own devices? How could we hope to ever maintain ourselves, let alone flourish, without God in our lives?
1 Corinthians 1:25- Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 13:10- But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
The Evidence of God is in Living the Truth
If God truly did exist, and if He existed as described within the gospel of Jesus Christ: omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, then there could be no logical argument against following him. It would be nonsensical to not adhere to the teachings of one who knows all things and only wishes for your own good. If we knew, really knew, of the existence of such a God and still chose to live in defiance of that being, then we would be knowingly acting in a manner of self-harm.
But, of course, the conundrum is that we cannot really know this God, we cannot understand Him in the way that we understand the things of this world. For Him to be all-knowing and all-good, he must necessarily exist in a higher order that we cannot perceive.
Yet we are not without hope. For even if we cannot know God perfectly, we can still know Him imperfectly. Even though we cannot see His face we can see His shadow. Even though we cannot understand how all of His principles will complete us, we can still follow them and feel them complete us all the same. By acting in faith, and tasting the fruit that follows it, we can come to know, even when we cannot understand.
1 Corinthians 2:7- But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.
1 Corinthians 13:12- For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.