Post Author: Bill Pratt
Tom Howe, in his book Objectivity in Biblical Interpretation, makes the case that there is unity, objectivity, and absoluteness in truth. To start his explanation, he quotes Mortimer Adler from his book Truth and Religion:
1. The human race is a single biological species, renewed generation after generation by the reproductive determinations of a single gene pool. Hence, man is one in nature— that is, in specific nature. All individual members of the species have the same species-specific properties or characteristics.
2. The human race being one, the human mind is also one. The human mind is a species-specific property found in every individual member of the species, the same in all, being subject to variations in degree. This precludes the notion that there is, within the human species, a primitive mind that is characteristically different from a civilized one, or an Oriental mind that differs in kind from an Occidental one, or even a child mind that differs in kind, not just degree, from an adult mind.
Howe observes that
These two theses, along with a third, are propounded by Adler for the purpose of attempting to identify the necessary basis for a world community in the face of cultural diversity. That basis, as Adler articulates it, is the unity of truth.
Adler explains that
To affirm the unity of truth is to deny that there can be two separate and irreconcilable truths which, while contradicting of one another and thought to be irreconcilably so, avoid the principle of noncontradiction by claiming to belong to logic-tight compartments.
From here, Howe continues by claiming
the principles of the unity of man and the unity of truth demonstrate that there was not a “Hebrew” mind or a “Greek” mind or an “ancient” mind such that truth among those cultures at those periods of time were somehow different than truth today. On the contrary, truth is the same for all ages and among all peoples. The issues relating to men and God were the same issues with which we struggle today, because man is one race and one mind. The differences, then, between these ancient cultures and our modern culture is not the nature of man, or of truth, but are the social and cultural expressions of the same truths.
Given the principles of the unity of man and the unity of truth, is it possible to deny that truth is absolute or that truth is objective? Howe thinks not:
For someone to claim that there is no such thing as absolute truth is to assert that it is absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. All such relativistic assertions are self-defeating and false. Likewise, for someone to claim that there is no such thing as objectivity is to count on the objective meaning of this very claim, which is likewise self-defeating and false. Truth is unavoidable. Likewise, objectivity is unavoidable.
To deny absolute truth or objective truth is self-defeating, for the very person who denies the absoluteness and objectivity of truth believes that their statement about truth is absolutely and objectively true.