The first chapter of the book of Romans is a Divine analysis of the psychology of unbelief . Man is liable to God’s wrath against sin, because “They suppress the truth in unrighteousness”.
In other words, no one will be damned for what He doesn’t know, rather God’s judgment will be on the basis of knowledge spurned and suppressed. Every human being knows enough about God, creation, right and wrong, and judgment, to render themselves liable to the judgment of God. Jesus put it this way;
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather han light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3;20-21
A necessary outcome of this suppression of truth is that man in his rebellion against God’s revealed truth, subconsciously makes three “exchanges” . Last week we discussed the first one, which is the exchange of the dignity of being made in the Image of God, for a lesser view of human origins, and value. What a difference there is between seeing ourselves as God’s Image bearers, as opposed to just being a highly evolved mammal.
Here is the second of such necessary “exchanges”-
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.(Romans 1:25)
The Truth, that man is a created being, who owes his very existence to the infinite ,personal God, has been jettisoned by this generation. This is the meaning of the Creation/Evolution controversy, man would like to be autonomous, to break off the shackles of accountability to his creator
The Lie is that man can define himself, he can decide for himself what is true, beautiful, good, that we can be whatever we want to be ,with no reference to God! This is a variation of the lie the serpent told Eve in the garden…You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil…in other words ‘You don’t need God to tell you what is good , or evil you can know for yourself, and even decide for yourself.’
Such is the philosophy of our day, toxic Postmodernism. A radical rejection of the very concept of truth with a capital ‘T’, that is absolute truth. In place of it is a relativistic, ‘everyman for himself’ approach to truth. Platitudes such as “one man’s truth is as good as another’s”, or “Who are you to say that your right and they are wrong?” are common place, especially among academia. But as Ravi Zacharias says, even the most committed relativist , looks both ways before crossing the street.
The collapse in confidence in absolute truth, is a direct outcome of the willful rejection of belief in God as creator, and in the concept of sin and judgment. If there is no God, there can be no absolute Truth, there can be no sure standard of truth, one man’s truth is as good as another’s. If everything is true, than nothing could be true, the end of this road is the societal madness we are seeing all around us, in for example multiculturalism, or the fiction of homosexual marriage.
Witness the war on Truth in our own lifetime. “Truth has fallen in the streets...” says Isaiah, and Hosea agrees, that,” there is no mercy and no truth…because there is no knowledge of God”. When God is rejected, shortly after, belief in absolute truth is also inevitably abandoned.
There is a heavy moral , and even psychological cost for holding onto the Lie. Continual resistance to truth exacts a heavy toll as this Theodore Dalrymple quote attests-
When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. ~Theodore Dalrymple
The biggest lie of all, is the denial of God, his existence, our creation by him , and the resulting so-called ‘freedom’ and autonomy of modern man. Coming to Christ is a matter of returning to Truth- affirming it, and submitting to it. It’s a paradox really, that when fallen man wanted to liberate himself from ‘bondage to God’, by embracing the lie, he becomes the most miserable slave of all, but when he goes back to the Truth in lowly submission, he gets set free- as Jesus said -
“… to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”(John 8:32)