God’s Truth Versus “Your Truth”

Jonathan Landry Cruse
Monday, February 26th 2024
A bird flying through the dark night with a deep purple background.

“It's official: Truth is dead. Facts are passe.” So declared The Washington Post back in 2016 when they reported on Oxford Dictionary’s decision to select for their international word of the year: “post-truth.” The official definition reads: relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Well, that definitely sounds like today, but it also pre-dates 2016 and our modern era of post-truth and post-everything else. In fact, that definition is a fairly good summary of the beginning of Genesis 3 and the Fall. The objective fact (“you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”) becomes less influential in shaping the public opinion—namely of Adam and Eve—than an appeal by the serpent to Eve’s emotions and belief. And he makes this appeal with a question: “Did God really say….?”

The Ancient Question

It’s the first question mark in the Bible. Fitting that the curving and slithering serpent is the first to form that sly punctuation mark. It's an insidious question. Derek Kidner says the question is “disturbing and flattering: it smuggles in the assumption that God’s word is subject to our judgment.” This is patently false, of course, but it’s a new concept to Eve. The thought had never even occurred to her or her husband before to question God. Maybe “his truth” wasn't the only truth out there.

The serpent thereby introduced two disastrous lies to Eve in this one seemingly innocent question. The first is that maybe God isn’t that good after all. The implication is that what God has instructed Adam and Eve regarding trees in the garden is cruelly restrictive. He asks, “Did God really say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden? This God that made you, Eve, did he really prohibit your enjoyment of any tree in this beautiful and luscious garden?” God did not say that, of course. In fact, he said the opposite. He said to Adam and Eve, “You may surely eat of every tree in the garden” with only one exception (2:16). He was completely generous in his provision to them. But Satan introduces the idea of “divine stinginess.”

The serpent’s first lie is that God is not good. The second is that God is not God. That is to say, he gets Eve to buy into this idea that whether God’s prohibition is cruel or not, he doesn’t have the ultimate say in the situation. Eve is able to make her own law. She is the master of her fate, the captain of her soul. God’s position of authority is not exclusive to him, but something that she herself could be promoted to: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (4–5). Apparently, Eve didn’t need to wait to eat the fruit to think she had become like God. Verse 6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food…” Sound familiar? The author is intentionally drawing us back to chapter 1 where we heard the constant refrain: “And God saw that it was good.” Now the woman becomes the surveyor and the determiner of what is good or not. The creature is trying to overthrow and rebel against the Creator. She is living out her truth: “I can do whatever I want.”

The Ancient Question Alive and Well Today

These twin lies are the bedrock of the devil’s initial temptation: God is not good, and actually he is not God at all. This is what the devil has done from the beginning, and he has been doing it ever since (John 8:44). When we sin against God’s commands it is because we have accepted that lie that 1) God is not good, and 2) God is not God—or at least, not the only god. In other words, we tell ourselves that God’s commands are restrictive and cruel. Not only do we believe we have a better plan for our life, we convince ourselves that we have the authority to act on it. We elevate ourselves to the position of God. And that’s how you get a world in which phrases like “your truth” and “my truth” make total sense; a world in which “live your truth” is a slogan for self-empowerment.

While I was typing out that previous sentence an ad came up on my Spotify playlist that wanted me to pay for premium membership so that I could “stay true to you.” If I am hindered by ads, if I can’t listen on my phone or in my car, am I really living out an authentic life? I must remove the shackles, the barriers, the strictures, and be true to me.

The serpent is asking the same ancient question today, planting the same seeds of doubt and distrust in God through all sorts of voices: Spotify ads, the themes and motifs of Disney movies, and the influence of cultural figures like Oprah Winfrey. In her lifetime-achievement-award acceptance speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, she said, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” Ross Douthat, a columnist for The New York Times, said that the concept of “your truth” is “the religious message with the most currency in American popular culture.”

Resist the Devil

If the lie of living out your own concept of existence can capture Eve, and millions of people since, who is to say it won’t capture you and me? James 4:7 instructs us to “resist the devil.” One of the most important ways we do that is by silencing the insidious questions he poses us, and stamping out the lies that he tries to feed us. When you find yourself drawn by the allure of the “your truth” worldview, remember these two facts about God’s character.

First: God is true. By that we mean two things. First: God is true in that he doesn’t lie. The sheer number of texts we could turn to that prove this would take up an entire essay in their own right. Titus 1:2 says it the most plainly: “God … never lies.” Only the words of God are completely untainted from falsehood or deceit. The most truthful and honest person you know has lied enough times to condemn their soul to hell forever. God, in all his ways and works and words, is truth.

That God is true means not only that he doesn’t lie, but also that he doesn’t make mistakes. Or, to put it positively, God is always right.We all know people who are sincere, but at times are sincerely wrong. Is this God? We return to Eve and the serpent. She might not have liked it, but abstaining from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the right thing for Eve. God’s truth is combined with his sovereignty, which sees the end from the beginning, and draws all life and existence to a perfect conclusion.

The fact that God is true—that he doesn’t lie and doesn’t make mistakes—may engender fear, but it won’t necessarily engender faith. Because we may think, What if what God says is true and right, but it’s hard and hurts and isn’t the way we would do things? Where do I get the faith to fall before his truth and believe it and accept it and live it out? How can I do that? The Bible is filled with hard sayings, seemingly heavy burdens, difficult commands that run counter to our desire to look out for number one and please our sinful lusts. What must we do? We need to add a second dimension here to our understanding of God: He is true, but he is also trustworthy.

Embrace Christ

Want proof? Then look to Jesus, the logos, the Truth made flesh. Look to him who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), the One called “faithful and true” (Rev. 19:11). In Christ we see Truth come to us clothed in mercy and love. We see Truth sitting and eating with outcasts and sinners. We see Truth healing the lame and restoring sight to the blind. We see the Truth condemned as a liar and bound to a cross and killed, for sinners like you and me who would just as soon deny his truth to live out our own. But then he who is true God, who is Truth itself, stepped out of the grave three days later, securing our own resurrection.

When you put your faith in Jesus, you begin to see that the point of God’s truth is to serve your good and eternal glory. You can trust God’s truth. God is trustworthy, and the life, death, and resurrection of Christ proves it. Will God’s truth mean hardship at times? Yes. Will it mean not getting what we want at times? Most certainly. Will it mean doing things that we would prefer not to do? Yes. But will it be worth it? How could we even ask that question when we see that it’s only God’s truth that can lead to a resurrection! We trust God’s word, because while it might forbid us eat from a tree of death, it does so only that we may instead eat from the tree of life.

We must cling to that truth when we find ourselves in the dark valleys of life. When we find that following God’s word has led to trial and self-denial and loss of friends and colleagues and we are pleading with God, “Where is the life you promised?” we remember, with Thomas Watson, “The Lord may sometimes delay a promise, but he will not deny.” He is true. He does not lie. He does not make mistakes. He therefore is trustworthy. Follow his truth, the truth. Everything else ends in chains of gloomy darkness, but the truth will set you free (John 8:31), and that truth is Jesus Christ. United to him by faith, he is our righteousness, wisdom, life, and our truth. Not only personally the Truth, but he is our personal truth. Because everything holds together in him, he’s the only place where we uphold both our personal truth with God’s truth. He’s the only place where personal truth doesn’t require post-truth.

In this way, we see how embracing the truth of God found in Jesus Christ sets us free from ourselves. We are the worst wardens of our soul. We choose paths that are bad for us and hurt us. When we buy the lie of the serpent, and think that God is not good, and that maybe he is not even God at all, we confine ourselves to live out a pathetically lonely and futile existence—always trying to assert our way over everyone else’s and yet somehow never arriving at the happiness we thought a “my truth” kind of life would offer. The truth of Christ sets us free from the rat race, from works righteousness, from depression, from loneliness. Therefore, real life is found in God’s truth, not yours. Real power is found in speaking God’s truth, not yours. Puritan Richard Baxter says, “The truth of God is the ground of faith, and the stay of our souls, and the rock of our confidence and comfort. It is the foundation of all our hopes, and the life of our religion; and all that we are as Christians proceeds from this.”

So resist the devil. Don’t entertain his question for a moment. Put to death your sinful deeds and desires, which include the impulse to live out your own truth. Rather, embrace Christ as the one who is completely true and always trustworthy.



  • Kidner, Genesis, 72.

  • R. Kent Hughes, Genesis, 67.

  • Douthat, Bad Religion, 215.

  • Watson, Body of Divinity, 100.

  • Quoted in Terry Johnson, The Excellencies of God, 64.

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Jonathan Landry Cruse
Jonathan Landry Cruse is the poetry editor of Modern Reformation, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and author of The Character of Christ and What Happens When We Worship. He is also a hymn writer whose works can be found at
Monday, February 26th 2024

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