Eve: Retweeting the First Fake News
This past week, my attention was caught by a podcast on “fake news.” I frequently listen to the podcast “Intelligence Squared” which also has a debate podcast that brings up interesting topics that are debated by experts in the field being discussed. The title of the podcast was “Fake News: The Facts.” It was interesting to hear the panel’s discussion and their views on what “fake news” was and whether it was “bad” and who was to blame. Much of the discussion revolved around Donald Trump’s tweets, climate change, Russian meddling, Facebook censoring/flagging, free speech, and defining what “fake news” really was.
Two things struck me regarding the discussion: 1. We are becoming terrible at debate. Instead of debate, we insult the other side and do not try to think from another’s position. A good position should be able to withstand debate and attempts to discredit. 2. “Fake News” sounds a whole lot like “half-truth” which is not truth at all but a lie or deception. Many of the panel felt that the “fake news” had become a dangerous and pressing issue today. One of the commentators disagreed, however, stating that “fake news” was nothing new under the sun. My mind then went to pondering where “fake news” originated and the book of Genesis came to mind.
In Genesis 2:15, God tells Adam, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” Adam had only one command: Don’t eat of one tree. Was this fake news? Was God to be trusted? Was it TRUE that he would surely die? Now, Eve comes on the scene and everything is perfect in the garden until the serpent enters with his deception.
“Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” (Gen. 3:1-3)
Is it really TRUE that God said you will die…? Is this not a twist on the actual truth? The woman saw that the tree produced fruit good to eat and she took some and ate it and then gave some to the man. (Gen. 3:6) Does the “fake news” look good and juicy? And do we not consume it readily and share it with our brothers and sisters? Absolutely, we do. It seems to me we have an insatiable desire for the “fake news.” Have we gone so far with Immanuel Kant that we believe truth does not exist? Absurdity sells papers. A lie can position one for political gain. Ultimately, truth will stand the test of fire. A laying bare of the facts will show truth for what it is. Truth is reality. Truth is the way things really are.
In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word emeth (אמת) is our word for truth. It means “stability, certainty, truth, trustworthiness, assuredly, establishment, faithful, right, sure, true, and verity.” The Greek word for Truth, aletheia (ἀλήθεια), has similar meanings of portraying reality or being judicially upright. You see whatever reality is, God is truth. In the Psalms, David frequently refers to God as the God of Truth and he refers to God’s truth sustaining him. God is the originator of Truth. If there is anything stable and firm, God is it. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology puts it this way, “The word truth denotes something that conforms to actuality, is faithful to a standard, or involves sincerity or integrity. The ground for truth is reality itself.”
Jesus is that reality. We can think of it in a different way in John 14:6. Jesus says, “I am the way, the reality, and the life.” Was it not the “fake news” that lead us astray? All God wanted was our trust in His word. In the beginning, everywhere was life and God was speaking about death. After the fall, everywhere is death and God is speaking about life.
I would argue that the historical evidence for the resurrection is sure and withstands the test of further investigation. For more information, read “Who moved the Stone?” by Frank Morrison or “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. With regards to “fake news” as it pertains to “climate change”, Russian investigations, or whatever the topic may be, perhaps we would be better off to investigate and lay bare the facts rather than to just retweet the “news.” It seems silly to me that one side or the other will only insult the other for their “ridiculous” ideas rather than having an open debate. Even Einstein had 100 scientists tell him that his Theory of Relativity was wrong and line up against him. His reply, “Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.” Perhaps, we need less of the hundreds of thousands of tweets and retweets of “fake news” and we need more of the Good News. The One who is Truth. May we always turn to God for all Truth. For He IS Truth! Feel free to retweet and share this Good News!