Does Truth Reside In The Intellect Alone?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are continuing our dive into the ocean of truth from a Christian worldview. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God lately which is central to the Christian worldview. Last night, we finished discussing ideas and tonight, we’re going to start discussing the doctrine of truth which has eight sections to it. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. If you do not own a copy, you can go to and read one for free. For now, let’s get to the question. Does truth reside only in the intellect?

Truth should be a doctrine central to all worldviews. All of them need to have an accounting for truth. What is it, can it be known, and how can we know it? In the Christian worldview, truth is that which corresponds to reality. It is something that we can know and we can know either by reason alone or by reason with the help of divine revelation. We can know that God exists by reason, for instance. We can only know that he is a Trinity by revelation.

Aquinas says that truth resides in the intellect as well. When you desire something, the desirability lies in the object that you desire. When you know something however, the knowledge does not lie in the object. It lies in the knower. For instance, if I desire a refreshing beverage, the desirability of the drink lies in the drink itself. If I claim knowledge of what makes that up, the knowledge does not lie in the drink, though it is about the drink, but the knowledge lies in me.

The truth of things however does not lie in relation to our intellect. If it was, then truth would be changing as there is hardly a proposition that everyone on Earth will agree to. We have people who are flat-Earthers and people who deny that Jesus existed and people who deny moral absolutes. However, if there is a divine intellect, then there is eternal truth as truth is based on the knowledge of that divine intellect. The reason eternal and unchanging truths can exist is because there is an eternal and unchanging intellect that is the source of all truths.

If truth depended on our intellects, then we would have the conclusion that contradictory statements could be true, which is what Aristotle dealt with when he dealt with the philosophy of Protagoras. Something is not true because one happens to believe it or holds a position sincerely. It is true regardless of one’s own beliefs on the matter. However, truth resides in the divine intellect and we all seek to grasp the knowledge that is in that intellect. This is one reason also why Christians should be seekers out of knowledge. In gaining knowledge, are getting closer and closer to the mind of God.

In conclusion, Christians are to be people of truth. It behooves us that if we are to claim this for ourselves, then we must have a good doctrine of truth. As we go along in this study, we will learn more about truth and be able to answer more the three questions presented earlier.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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