by Dr Steve Kumar
What is the greatest truth that the human mind can conceive? Philosophers, scientists and psychologists have written millions of words on the subject and yet our hearts long for something deeper. What about the ideas scientists proclaim? The concepts philosophers propose? The presuppositions psychologists promote? The notions sociologists provide? As humans we desperately struggle to find answers to our searching questions. As valuable as these ideas may be, they are not the greatest truth.
Is there a truth that transcends all human conceptions? Is there a reality beyond our finite perception? Where can we discover the truth that will set us free from the darkness of our uncertainties? Christianity affirms that there it such a truth, and if it is true, it is the greatest truth for our searching hearts. The great philosopher and chairman of The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Mortimer Adler, after testing and debating Christianity for nearly seventy years, became a Christian. His intellectual journey brought him to this remarkable conclusion, “I believe Christianity is the only logical, consistent faith in the world.” There Is nothing more tragic in existence than to devote one’s life to a belief system, which is ultimately false. Imagine spending a lifetime climbing a ladder and when you reach the top discover, that it is leaning against the wrong wall.
The greatest truth could only come from the greatest Mind. In Christianity we discover the essence of God’s greatest truth in a world where people struggle to find meaning, hope, purpose and reality. Unlike any other ideologies or religions, Christianity provides a unique message. It’s uniqueness is found in four essential truths.
I. THE GREATEST FACT
Christianity is centred on the fact of Jesus Christ. It is not an empty dream or wild speculation but a faith grounded in historical evidence. Unlike religions of the world, which major on the teaching of their’ founders, Christianity primarily focuses on the actions of the founder. Just as the brilliance of the sun the brightness of the moon, our Lord Jesus Christ outshines all other personalities of history. This is indeed an amazing fact of history. He lived a perfect life. His friends and his enemies all acknowledge that He never did a single wrong. His incredible life influenced education, the establishment of many universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and Princeton. He inspired great scientists, such as Isaac Newton, Johannes Keppler, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Louis Agassiz, Louis Pasteur and others. His existence provided the inspiration for the foundation of western democracy. His love and compassion moved many to establish hospitals and social services around the world. The famous sceptic Renan once proclaimed, “Among the sons of man there is none born who is greater than Jesus.” Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French mathematician observing the life of Jesus made this remarkable statement. “Apart from Jesus Christ we know not what our life is, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves.” The famous Lord Byron asserted, “If ever God was man or man was God, Jesus was both.”
2. THE GREATEST NEWS
The greatest news of the greatest faith is that God came to redeem us from our sin, evil, hatred, bitterness, darkness demons and death. The religions of mankind insist that our solution Is a matter of good works. They teach that our redemption is based on human efforts. But the good news of Christ is that God came in person not just to reform mankind but to redeem mankind. Christianity is not a religion of rituals and customs, but the power of God to redeem sinners going the way of destruction. In John 1:12 this apostle declares, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed In His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” The apostle Paul declares in 2 Cor. 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come.”
3. THE GREATEST GOOD
What is the greatest good? Is it health? Is it pleasure? Is it freedom? Is it beauty? Is it power? Is it success? Or is it culture? As precious as these are to us, they are incomparable with the greatest good we discover in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed the greatest good is to know the grace of God, to enjoy his fellowship, to experience his forgiveness and to receive his favour. There is nothing more tragic than to miss the real meaning and purpose of life, which God designed for his people.
Life poses many challenges. No one passes through life without facing basic needs. Our human hearts struggle to fill the empty void. The famous agnostic writer Clarence Darrow proclaims, “I’ll tell you what human life is: It is. an unpleasant interruption of nothingness.” Within the human heart there is a longing for something deeper, something beyond what material substance can provide. This quest for reality, is often described as a quest for significance, meaning, happiness or genuine fulfilment . The search for reality is an undeniable fact of human existence. We all struggle in our quest for the ultimate. The famous atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell states, “The centre of me is always an eternally terrible pain searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfixed and infinite. . . . I do not think it is to be found–but the love of it is my life.”
Augustine, the great Christian thinker understood the human need when He said, “Our hearts are made for Thee, O Lord, and they are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” The French mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal came to the right conclusion when he wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in our hearts which only God can fill.” The famous tennis player Boris Becker confirms this truth. Becker attempted suicide due to a sense of hopelessness and emptiness. Although he was famous and successful, something was missing in his life. He said, “I had won Wimbledon twice before, once as the youngest player. I had all the material possessions I needed: money, cars, women, everything. I know that this is a cliché. It’s the old song of the movie and pop stars, who commit suicide. They have everything, and yet they are so unhappy. I had no inner peace.” Inside the heart of every person in the world there is a large empty hole that only God can fill. Professor C.S. Lewis, a former atheist from Oxford University, was insightful on this matter when he declared, “If within my heart I find a desire for something which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
In stark contrast to the darkness and the despair of the world, in Christ we find a peace and a joy which passes all understanding. Jesus came to fill our emptiness. He came to give comfort in place of sorrow (John 14:27), pardon in place of guilt, love in place of hate, companionship in place of loneliness (Matthew 28:20), certainty in place of anxiety, peace in place of stress (Romans 5:1), hope in place of despair, life in place of death (John 10:10), heaven In place of hell (John 14:1-4).
4. THE GREATEST HOPE
The beauty of the Christian faith is the remarkable hope, which it provides for our troubled soul. The world hopes for the best but Jesus offers the best. The death of hope logically leads to hope for death. Looking at our world Woody Allen once said, “More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroad, one path leads to destruction, the other path leads to hopelessness. Let us pray that we might have the wisdom to choose correctly.” Some years ago they buried an atheist who was elegantly dressed. Later they put a tombstone on the top of his grave. Someone came and wrote on the tombstone the following words, “Here lies an atheist all dressed up but nowhere to go.”
A young man, who was suffering from AIDS, came in for his regular treatment, but this time he had to face a new doctor. The medical specialist casually said, “You know, don’t you, that you won’t live out the year.” The young man deeply shaken by the doctor’s comment, stopped at the desk of the nurse and wept saying, “That man took away my hope.” “I guess he did,” she answered. “Maybe it’s time to find another one.”
Christ came to give an eternal hope which no one can remove or match. He says, “I have come that they may have life end have it to the full” (John 10:10). The Christian hope is not based on vanity but reality. Our only hope is the hope that Christ came to give. He conquered death by coming back to life.
He is the only person who can bring hope to a world in despair. Christianity makes the amazing claim that of all the persons of history Jesus Christ alone conquered man’s greatest enemy–death. The followers of other religions do not believe that their founders were resurrected but this is not the case in Christianity. According to the primary documents the tomb of Jesus was empty on the third day. This was the major reason for the birth of Christianity. What brought faith and hope to the disillusioned disciples? This event turned the doubtful and disappointed disciples into brave and exuberant disciples who willingly died for their faith. The resurrection event gave the disciples the best reason to follow their master. The logic is that if Jesus Christ overcame death and demonstrated that He is “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) then humanity’s only hope is found in Him. C.S. Lewis understood the logic of this truth when he affirmed that Jesus Christ, “has forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man.” He has indeed fought and defeated death. In the light of this reality, as Lewis notes, “a new chapter in cosmic history has opened.” In Christ we exchange a hopeless end for an endless hope. It is for this reason that Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
1. See F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1968).
2. Quoted In Richard MacKenna, God for Nothing (London: Souvenir Press, 1984), p.56.
3. Augustine, Confessions, Book 1, Chapter 1.
4. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Clarendon: Fontana, 1970), p.118.
5. C. S. LEWIS, Miracles (London: Bles, 1947, 1973).