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What does the Bible say about absolutes


Alone in his small plane, the pilot looked uneasily at the heavy, black clouds he was rapidly approaching. Should he turn back? His fuel was getting low and the airfield ahead was much closer than the one he would have to return to. He decided he had better continue.

In a few minutes he was engulfed in the unbroken grayness which seemed to have no dimensions - no up, no down, no right, no left - only unchanging opaqueness. After a time he began to feel that his plane was climbing. A glance at his instruments assured him he was flying straight and level, but the impression that he was climbing persisted and got stronger. Had his instruments gone awry? Could he trust them? Suppose they were faulty? He shuddered.

Finally his impressions won. He decided something must have gone wrong with his instruments and that he had better not rely on them. So, he began to fly "by the seat of his pants", as the saying among pilots goes.

Thus, it was that a farmer making his way under sullen overcast skies to his barn heard a plane flying dangerously low and, in a few moments, heard the dull explosion that told him it had crashed. What had caused the tragedy? The pilot had an "absolute" - his instruments. However, he decided to trust his impressions and conclusions, rather than the instruments.

The message is implicit everywhere today - "There are no absolutes." "Think what you want, say what you want, do what you want." The only absolute, the philosophy of the multitudes goes, is our own personal values which means, boldly, what we want. Often only the laws of society, which offers a degree of protection and stability, hinder some people from doing what seems right, or desirable, in their own eyes, as it was on occasion in Bible times (Judges 17:6; 21-25).

As a result we have - and it's in the Bible - "those who call evil good, and good evil" (Isaiah 5:20). Upon them God pronounces a woe, for good and evil are ultimately and immutably defined by God who placed this recognition in the human heart. When a person goes so far in his or her insubordination and is no longer able to recognize this distinction, then the woe is applicable and destruction hovers.

The idea that many have, then, is that one is capable of choosing his own values, that it is proper to create one's values strictly with reference to oneself.

The message of the Bible is anything but that. The Bible, in which God communicates to the human race, speaks of absolutes.

What is the source of the Bible? It's in the Bible: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." (2 Timothy 3:16) "Thus says the Lord" (Jeremiah 4:27); "The word…began to be spoken by the Lord" (Hebrews 2:2,3).

More than 370 times in the Old Testament alone, Scripture is said to be the words of the Lord. God's laws, recorded in the Bible, spring from His character and consistency.

It's in the Bible: "I am the Lord, I do not change" (Malachi 3:6).

It's in the Bible: "Your laws are eternal" (Psalm 93:5 TEV).

It's in the Bible: "Your word is truth" (John 17:17).

It's in the Bible: God's word "lives and abides forever" (1 Peter 1:23); they "will by no means pass away" (Matthew 24:35). "All His precepts are sure [certain, firm]. They stand fast forever and ever" (Psalm 111:7,8).

It's in the Bible: "the Scriptures cannot be broken" — set aside, canceled (John 10:35).

It's in the Bible: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).

It's in the Bible: "All will be judged by God on the basis of that absolute, eternal, unchangeable law. "So speak and so do as those who shall be judged by the law of liberty" (James 2:12; also see verses 10 and 11).

It's in the Bible: God "will render to everyone according to his deeds…for there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:6,11).

It's in the Bible: "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment" (Ecclesiastes 11:9).

These are the words of the wisest of all men, King Solomon. "Enjoy life", he says. God wants us to enjoy it. It is given for enjoyment. But in that pleasure we must ever keep in mind that God will judge us as to whether it has been lived within the limits of His wise, but absolute, laws for us.

There is only one unchanging source of moral and spiritual truth and authority - God and His Word. His Word is as sacred as God Himself. This is our one real absolute. There is no other. In other words, whether we believe it or not, whether we choose it or not, whether we desire it or not, it is an inescapable, cosmic reality. This fact is as much a part of the essence of the universe as is gravity and light.

It is not always an easy matter to arrive from the Bible at a solution to a particular problem. Answers and understandings do not always come quickly or without difficulty. If patiently, humbly and with prayer, we search with all the heart for God and His answers, we will eventually find what it is we seek (Jeremiah 29:13). The important thing is that we firmly take the Bible as our compass point of authority, as against the many and contradictory voices sounding all around us.

It's in the Bible: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).