Knowing the Solution Assumes We’ve Identified the Problem, Part 1: Truth Matters
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
I haven’t seen any polls to back up what I’m about to say, but I don’t think anyone would disagree that there are some serious problems in our society, nation, and world today. There are relational problems between men as evidenced by war, riots, and protests. There are problems that exist between humanity and the created order as evidenced by disaster and disease. There are problems that exist within the fabric of society as evidence by overreaches of power and corruption. Many people have offered their opinions concerning what they think the root of these problems are, and thus what the solution should be.
The socialist believes that the root problem is primarily a lack of economic equity, therefore the solution must be an economic one. If the playing field were leveled and those who had much were forced to give to those who have little, then all would be well.
The social activist believes that the root problem is a corruption of society, most commonly identified as an ingrained and inherited racism. This problem only affects a certain portion of the population (white people) and affects them so severely that they can never be free of their inherent racism. Society must therefore be changed to protect the innocent from these natural and unwitting racists by barring them from power or any meaningful level of influence and replacing them with those who are free of this inherited curse.
The anarchist also believes that our problem is a corruption of society, but specifically a corruption of all things government. Any and all representation of government authority must be overthrown, undermined, or disbanded in order to rid society of this root problem.
The environmentalist believes that humanity is itself the problem plaguing the world. If only we could at least curb, or better yet eliminate, humanity’s footprint upon the globe then this world would stand a fighting chance of thriving.
The globalist believes that the main problem is a simple lack of organization. If all the tribes of the world could unite under one flag, with one goal, and under one leader then we would all benefit from the surgical precision and thorough infiltration of government leadership.
Who is correct? If we stop and think about each of these perspectives, we admit that there is some overlap between a few, but ultimately they will come to different conclusions because they have different starting points. As a society, it serves very little purpose chasing down one of these solutions if it does not lead to the cure. Why are there so many different claims as to what our root problem is? Why are there so many competing ideologies as to the cure? What we have here is a worldview crisis.
Where to Find the Answer
What should be the standard of authority? What must we submit to as the final authority that informs us what we are, how we should function, and what our purpose is? If there was an authority of this kind, would it not tell us what the root problem is and thus reveal the solution? But what authority must we appeal to? How can we know that what we know is really real? Or phrased somewhat differently: what is truth, and where can we find it?
Many champion humanity’s ability to observe and reason as the standard by which we should measure truth. We are able to observe and experiment with the world around us and can therefore establish certain principles that now are labeled truth. Yet this ideology will never lead to truth. Truth is timeless and eternal. If something is true, then it always has been true and will always remain to be true. The only knowledge we gain from observation and reason is trapped in a prism of historic and current consistency but makes no promise as to the future. For example: through observation and reason we can determine that gravity historically and currently exists. We can chart a consistent pattern as to gravity’s properties and thus present facts that we know to be true, but what is factual now may or may not be factual tomorrow. We can know facts through observation and reason alone, but we cannot arrive at intrinsic truth.
Others, and this has become the overarching worldview in our day, rely on personal or societal experience. This view champions the subjective experience of the individual in order to establish what is true for him or her. In fact, their experience may determine that they are neither him nor her but some strange third, fourth, or fifth option never before observed to exist. But once again we have to come back to the reality that truth is unalterable, unchanging, and eternal. Truth is objective and constant, unable to remain to be truth while shifting from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.
If truth is eternal and infinite and we are ephemeral and finite, then we can never hope to come to absolute truth through observation or experience. Truth is something that must be revealed to us. The Christian knows that truth is not an abstract theory but a personal and perfect attribute of Almighty God. This is not the product of guess work. The Bible clearly teaches this very thing. God Himself declared that He, His own person, defines truth. This is declared when He presented Himself to Moses.
“Yhwh descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of Yhwh. Then Yhwh passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘Yhwh, Yhwh God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.’” – Exodus 34:5-6
Mankind can know truth only as God reveals Himself to mankind. God has revealed the truth of His existence as the creator and the owner of all creation.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” – (Ps. 19:1-6)
All of creation screams out with wordless praise the glory of the Almighty. Yet this revelation is rejected by humanity.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” – Romans 1:18-23
But God has not left mankind with only His creation as a source of revelation. In addition to His created world He has given us His Word.
“The law of Yhwh is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Yhwh is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Yhwh are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of Yhwh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yhwh is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of Yhwh are true; they are righteous altogether.” – Ps. 19:7-9
The conclusion of these verses is that the Word of God, the Bible, reflects and reveals God as truth. It is righteous (correct, accurate, and appropriate) altogether.
Here we have found our standard by which to view and measure the world around us. God the creator and sustainer of all life and His holy Word. What does the Bible say about the root of all our problems?
Our problem cannot be found in creation, humanity as individuals, nor society. God created both the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1), human beings (Gen. 1:26-28), human societal relationships (Gen. 2:18-25), and declared that all of His work was very good (Gen. 1:31). Therefore, if we were to illuminate or alter society, humanity, or creation we can assume that the problem would remain. The answer must be found after God had completed His perfect creation, yet thousands of years prior to our current environment.
The problem is identified in a single and simple word: sin. Sin must be understood as rebellion against what God has commanded, what is consistent with His character, and what contradicts His will. Adam, the first human, rebelled against God’s explicit command and thus became a sinner – a rebel. As a result, God cursed His creation. The earth would no longer yield its fruit with ease. Childbirth would be painful and strenuous. And all life will die (Gen. 3:16-19). Sin changed everything and everyone.
Every single person born since Adam’s fall is born as a sinner (Rom. 5). Cain murdered his brother Abel because it was in his nature as a sinner to do so (Gen. 4). The entire globe became filled with violence and wickedness because every single desire of man’s heart was only bent toward evil (Gen. 6:5). But eliminating humanity from the picture did nothing to eradicate the curse. God drowned all life in a global flood (Gen. 6-8) yet sin remained (Gen. 9:20-27).
The problem with the world is not poverty, racism, global warming, government overreach, or lack of organization. Those are simply symptoms of a much more deadly disease. Elephant seals do not smother their young because they’re racists. Mothers do not pay money to have their children dismembered because the earth is increasing in temperature. Rape is not the result of a lack of organization. Genocide is not the result of economic inequity. The problem with the world is sin. We are in rebellion against our Creator.
In the same breath that God cursed rebels He also promised a savior. He would send someone to undo and reverse the curse of sin and death (Gen. 3:15). This one would bring rest to the labors of men (Gen. 5: 29). This one would be a prophet that spoke for God (Deut. 18:15). This one would be a king from the line of Israel’s king (2 Sam. 7). This would be a teacher of righteousness and a minister of perfect justice (Ps. 72). This one would be more than a man, but Yhwh Himself (Hosea 3:5). This one is none other than Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matt. 1:1).
Jesus Christ came to earth as both God and sinless man (Col. 2:9). He demonstrated God’s love by dying on the cross to pay for man’s sin and rebellion (Rom. 5:8). He took God’s wrath so that we might have His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). He died to satisfy God’s wrath, but defeated death by rising from the grave according to the Scriptures and is alive (1 Cor. 15:4) and is even now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Ps. 110). He is the first fruit and proof of a world without the curse, a world that will once again be very good.
In light of all this, we as sinners must repent of our rebellion against a Holy God (Is. 55:7) and devote ourselves to Jesus Christ in complete submission to Him (Lk. 9:23). We must place our trust in what He has done and not in anything that we might accomplish, for all of our best deeds are filthy rags to God (Is. 64:6). We must submit and pledge allegiance to no one else other than Jesus (Rom. 10:9-11).
We can never hope to arrive at a suitable solution if we cannot identify the problem. The problem is not a schism between man and man, nor even between man and nature. The problem is a schism between man and God. We can do nothing to repair that schism. Christ has done it all. Repent and trust Jesus today. He is the solution.