Is Big Foot real? Because the documentary on Netflix says it is. How about that trick shot on TikTok with the 5-foot mom dunking a basketball? Did she really do that?
Okay, maybe I’m being silly—but when it comes to understanding reality, how can we know what is true when we don’t even know if our friend from high school really looks like the recent Instagram post, or if she used a Barbie filter.
No wonder our generation is confused. It appears some might think truth turns as quickly as trending hashtags.
In fact, our generation might view truth more like Pilate in John 18:38 when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Or maybe the famous Shakespeare quote, “To thine own self be true.” Or the slogan, “Live your truth.” But what if our truth is a lie? How can we know?
This is what I’m thinking about these days as I pray to know truth and make it known—and help my three kids navigate all the philosophical questions one asks in youth. Who am I? What is real? Is there truth at all?
In order to live with a well soul, I believe we need to live truth.Seana Scott
As Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31–32
So, how can we know truth?
1. Knowing Truth Includes Reason.
Some truth can be measured and verified by facts we experience with our senses. 1+1=2. DNA strands are made up of long chains of nucleotides, detected with scientific tools. The sun lights the day.
Even spiritual truth includes reason. We simply close our eyes and listen to our breath. We didn’t cause ourselves to become. Therefore, there must be Another that brought about our existence. Or we look at the trees. In all the wild capabilities of humanity, we cannot make seeds become trees.
Reason tells us that the world was created by something other than creation itself.
This is only one example, but to know truth, we engage our reasoning.
2. Knowing Truth Includes Faith.
Some truth cannot be understood with reason alone. Spiritual truth is experienced with both reason and faith.
Religious conviction it is an act of trust, reaching beyond complete verifiable calculations into the realm of mystery.
The first time I prayed to God, I prayed, “God, if you are real. . . “ I hoped He was real. I hoped I could know Him, but I wasn’t sure.
Through years of verifiable experience, my faith grew. I prayed and saw my life changed. I read the Bible and my soul experienced conviction and transformation. I sensed the still small voice of the Spirit and followed His direction. All of these experiences, both of reason and of faith—grew my trust in what I know to be true: Jesus is who He says He is and I can trust the Bible.
Knowing truth requires entering into cosmic reality through faith.Seana Scott
3. Knowing Truth Requires Scripture.
From the Christian perspective (of which I am), knowing truth requires a person to know Scripture.
Biblical writers were inspired by God to record what God wanted expressed so we can know who He is, who we are, and the truth about creation and the spiritual realm. Not only that, Scripture explains to us how to have a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ (and why that is necessary), how to live as the Church, and what we need to know about future reality.
1 Timothy 2:16–17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
4. Knowing Truth is a Journey.
On one of my first mission trips in high school, my youth pastor asked me to give my testimony to a church full of people in Caracas, Venezuela. I felt so intimidated. I just started following Jesus. The Bible was still confusing. But what did I know? “Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” like the Apostle Paul said (1 Corinthians 2:2).
I knew so little, but I knew enough. And I proclaimed the gospel that I barely knew, through a translator, to a room full of strangers. People came to faith that day—by the power of God.
Since then, my pursuit of truth continues.
5. What We Need to Know, Can Be Known.
Only God is omniscient (all-knowing). But what we need to know about God is made plain in creation (Romans 1) and His Word (2 Timothy 2:16–17).