Gather • Devotion 2

Self-Evident Truths
Dr. Randy Johnson

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) was the United States Secretary of State for nine years before becoming the sixth president of the United States. I found it interesting that he named his first son George Washington Adams before giving his own name to his second son (John Adams II). That is pretty American. I appreciate a statement he made, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this - it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” He fit the government within Christianity. The government should fit within Christianity, not vice versa.

We live in a world today that does not believe in absolutes. They do not feel the truth can be known. They will say, “It is all relative.” They feel that truth changes based on time and perspective. Many hold that truth may be different from one person to another.

However, that is not American. Our nation was founded on the legal concept of fixed standards and absolute truth.

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence referred to “self-evident” truths. In the second paragraph, we read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In epistemology (the theory of knowledge), self-evident truths are propositions that are true by understanding its meaning without proof, and/or by human reason.  It is when we “know” something is true even if we cannot explain it.

It was understood that there were items that did not need explaining. Man (and woman) was made in the image of God; therefore, they are created equal. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” I believe that is why John Quincy Adams was known for fighting the expansion of slavery.  Those early fathers also held to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5) as unchanging truth. Right was right then and right is right now.

A final reminder from John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” God’s Word was truthful when it was spoken, written, and still is today.

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