What is Truth?
Everyone likes to think of themselves as intellectually independent — it appeals to our ego. But our intellectual life is channeled by what we consume: our ideas are formed by the stories we consume.
Mankind, like Eve, is seduced by the idea of intellectual independence.
The Serpent seduced Eve with the idea that she could judge for herself what is really true. That was the first temptation and it will be the last temptation. This is why salvation is by faith; faith is a willingness to surrender what Eve sought to gain: independence from the narrative.
Eve was bound by what she was told. Adam said “don’t eat it.” The Serpent said “go ahead — you will be more powerful and wise.” Either way, Eve never had an infinite perspective from which to determine whether Adam was right or the Serpent was right. Or neither. She fell for the first folly of man — the hubris that we possess the capacity to know without relying on external truth.
And so it continues today.
On a grand level, what a society does depends upon who is teaching it and what they are telling it. Aborigines didn’t believe any less in forest nymphs than today’s cosmopolitan sophisticates believe in Evolution. Why? Because of the stories they are told be the Great Story Tellers. In the forest of Papua New Guinea they are the Shamans. In New York and Los Angeles they are the distinguished Professors of Harvard and UCLA. In the jungle, perhaps the wrote with sticks. In the concrete jungles they read books written by whomever is in fashion at the moment — usually guided by priests and prophets (the university professors).
Which is true?
Indeed, that is the question.
More deeply, how can we know?
And the answer, as with Eve, is that we cannot know because we are finite, limited and largely very ignorant.
Is there a way out?
I can offer you a way out only within the context of what I’ve already said — knowledge is by faith — we believe the stories we are told.
So here is a set of stories I would offer you to read. Read them is if you would read a novel, or a poem, or a physics text book. Read it as if it was truth — you, after all, accord that which you already read and watch as truth even when we know it is not.
Don’t believe me? Let’s talk about Star Trek. Who among us does not dream that someday we will reach the stars, travel faster that light, discovery strange new worlds, and move through a transporter beam? See how easy it is to suspend disbelief?
So read Genesis: In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.