Absolute Truths…There are only 7!

Don - October 6, 2004

In the church we often talk about light and truth and how to obtain it. During this time we occasionally attempt to differentiate the truths of God from the philosophies of men. The intent here is to distinguish truth from truth. Specifically, which truths are “absolute” and which ones are “relevant?”

A whole discussion could be made on how those two terms should be defined. However, for our purposes here we will define “relevant truth” as found in Doctrine and Covenants 93:30 where it states, “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” So, relevant truths are in specific places and/or specific times. I am bound by the truth that I will be breaking the honor code if I grow a beard while attending BYU-Idaho, but after I leave it no longer applies. I’m subject to all the laws of physics and thermodynamics while dwelling on this earth but they may not apply where God dwells. “Absolute truth” can defined as everything outside of that. Anything that has been and always will be at all times and in all places.

So, how many “absolute” truths are there? We recently discussed this in my Western Religions class in relation to Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. The only thing we could come up with is that “God lives.” I honestly don’t know if there are more or less then 7. (That was just meant to grab your attention:) Are there any more then that? Maybe there are a whole lot more. I’m not sure.

Maybe I need to redefine my terms!

1 Comment »

  1. Our life is eternal.

    The universe in infinitely large.
    don | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:28 am | #

    Adam did not have a belly button.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 10:57 am | #

    Never go down alone in an elevator with a guy named “Gummy”.
    Ken | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 11:13 am | #

    I’m in agreement with Don that the eternal nature of the soul would have to be one of those absolute eternal truths.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 11:36 am | #

    I’m interested in your use of the word “relevant”. I usually hear and use “relative” in opposition to “absolute”. Tell me more about what you mean.

    We’ve talked about this tons at Sons of Mosiah (there are too many times to link, but just put “truth” in the search window and you’ll find plenty if you’re interested).

    My question is — and I realize this may be a little far out — do we know that “God lives” is an absolute truth? It certainly seems true for any sphere we’ll ever be in, but I wonder if there might, hypothetically, be one in which it wasn’t so significant.

    No idea. Maybe not. Either way, though, I think you’re on to something by pointing out that there certainly aren’t very many absolute truths. I think the term “absolute truth” is sometimes a symptom of what we Sons like to call “superlative disorder” in the Church.
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 11:44 am | #

    whoops, sorry about the double post — something weird happened.
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 11:47 am | #

    I think truth is knowledge, and, as such, exists only when there are knowers — subject beings. And therefore, truth always has a subjective aspect (though it is not purely subjective). I don’t think there are any “absolute” truths, even though I agree with some of the truths listed above (not Daniel’s, though; Adam did have a bellybutton :-p ).

    I do believe there is a reality, but it is ever-changing, and so what it true of it at this instant may not be in the next. I don’t think we can know whether something that is true now will always and forever be true. How would we be able to know such a thing?
    Grasshopper | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 1:02 pm | #

    In regards to the nature of the soul, I have a question. My religion teacher made mention of two theories on this. One is the one I’ve heard about we being intelligences before being spirit children and always having a unique identity or “soul.” He also told me of one some of the GAs have talking about God forming our spirits from some “gelatinous intelligence mass” (for lack of a better description) Has anyone heard or read anything about this? I’d like to verify this theory. If that is possible, then maybe our souls are not as eternal as we think.

    I tend to think they ARE eternal, personally, however.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:29 pm | #

    Logan,
    I use the word “relevant” because the context we discussed it in class, but now that you say it, I DO remember usually hearing the term “relative.” I think they both work. Relevant worked out better here through the examples I gave. These truths are only relevant to me now and in this place, but will not necassarily be in the future or some other place.
    I actually thought of the turht that God lives as not being absolute and you may be right. (like you said, who knows!)If you say that “we live” is an absolute truth then it should be the same for God since “As man is, God once was,” right? But if not, then maybe not.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:35 pm | #

    Danithew,
    Since Adam didn’t have one, did Eve? Or, did Adam’s rib serve as an umbilical cord.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:37 pm | #

    I think Brigham Young made the comment that Adam was brought here from another world. Maybe someone with more time/expertise can verify that quote.

    If we started as something (intellegence…or gelatinous mass) and we continue forever does that make us eternal?

    And what does eternal mean anyway…it’s one of God’s names. Time doesn’t apply to God as it does to us, first because He’s in a different location, traveling at a different speed and has a different mass and second because He is outside the time domain.

    For me I don’t really much care about what happened or what I was in the past, it’s my future I’m worried about.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 4:00 pm | #

    I think the term ‘absolute truth’ is useless without a context. For example, gravity would seem to be an absolute law in our universe, but many scientists believe that there was a (very brief) period of time during which the universe existed, but gravity had not yet come into effect. Some speculate that if initial conditions were different, the fundamental laws of our universe would be different as well.

    Since it is impossible to know, with empirical certainty, everything about our environment, we are left to make assumptions from which we can deduce truths. They are, however, contingent upon our assumed context and therefore not “absolute” truths in the most powerful sense.
    Levi | Email | Homepage | 10.08.04 – 6:18 pm | #

    If there are a set of truly fundamental laws, then there are most definitely a great number of universal truths. The trouble is proving that they are so from our current humble position. The only way to discover them is through revelation from an omniscient source, but even knowing them, it is impossible to absolutely prove them to the satisfaction of others.

    Thus, we’re doomed to endless argument over what’s true and what’s not, as the people who claim to get revelations from omniscient sources don’t seem to agree.
    Levi | Email | Homepage | 10.08.04 – 6:22 pm | #

    Thanks, Levi. And that’s why I won’t comment on this blog! (Sorry, Bret!)
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.08.04 – 10:21 pm | #

    Levi,
    Good point. I only make the question withIN the context you spoke of. It’s question of curiosity
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.09.04 – 5:26 am | #

    Bret, excellent question.

    Did Eve have a belly button? I see nothing in the scripture to show that Eve had an umbilical cord, so I would guess that she did not, in fact, have a belly button.

    Having pondered this further, I’m wondering if the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib be described as the first Caesarian section procedure? Does the fact that God put Adam to sleep prior to this procedure constitute divine endorsement of anesthesiology?

    So many questions … so little time.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.11.04 – 11:51 am | #

    Danithew,
    Wow. With all questions we can conjure up on such a subject it is no wonder medieval scholars had such heated debates over how many angels you can fit on the head of a pin.

    BUT…I want to know, dang it!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.11.04 – 2:17 pm | #

    Comment by Comment Restore — November 28, 2005 @ 12:47 am

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