the fact and the truth

Madeleine L'Engle writes in her book Walking on Water that children are taught early in life to equate truth with fact. She warns of this dangerous frame of mind.

Facts are not always loyal to the truth. Their deceptively frank nature leads one to trust in the fact without questioning its position on truth. Facts can be proven or disproven. They can be manipulated to argue which ever position the holder fancies.

Truth, on the other hand, cannot be proven and cannot be manipulated. It simply is.

I'm struck by the words of Jesus in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." I'm not a biblical language expert, but I'm willing to assume that the translation is faithful to Jesus' original word choice and that truth is distinguished from fact in this place.

Jesus is truth. Occasionally, he is also fact (He was a man. He ate. He walked.). But more significantly, he is truth.

An unmanipulatable, unquantifiable, unprovable truth.


brnh said...

Yay!!! You're reading Walking on Water. Glad to see it's already providing food for thought.

alaina said...

actually... I've been "reading" it for a few months. I've just recently committed to finishing it. :)

Rebecca Matheson said...

thanks alaina, I love L'Engle and will now have to track down Walking on Water