Jesus and the CIA

Not many are aware of the official motto of the CIA: “The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence.” Founded in 1947 after World War II, the CIA employs approximately 21,000 people. Its estimated annual budget is $14.7b. That’s a ton of money and a lot of employees.

The CIA does three things: It gathers information about foreign governments, corporations and individuals. It analyzes that information, along with intelligence gathered by other U.S. intelligence agencies. Upon the request of the President of the United States, carries out or oversees covert activities. These are pretty obvious stuff. What is NOT generally known about the CIA is its unofficial motto. It’s from the Bible: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:32. Quite an ingenious adaptation of scripture and what a perspective. It’s inscribed at CIA headquarters in Langley. The CIA is saying in essence it pursues critical information (truth) in the service of liberty.

This is in consonance with the opening of the American Declaration of Independence. It mentions truth as well: “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.” It was penned by Thomas Jefferson who might indeed have borrowed it from his Italian friend and neighbour, Philip Mazzei. It is nonetheless referred to as “the immortal declaration”. It is so powerful.

The CIA definition of truth is information – intelligence. Is the definition suffice? What is truth? About 2,000 years ago a Roman military commander, Pontus Pilate asked that same question. Pilate is better known for the trial of Jesus. It was indeed at the trial that he posed the question. “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” John 18:37-38 KJV.

Some opine there’s nothing like absolute truth. The moral relativist says truth is relative. That what is true today may not be true tomorrow, and what is truth to one people or religion might not be truth to another. To which one can counter that PERCEPTION of truth is not the same as truth. That perceptions and viewpoints create the illusion of multiplicity and divergence of truth. Perceptions can be wrong. If truth is relative there can be no definitiveness to truth, and truth becomes an oxymoron. Jesus was most emphatic about the definitiveness of truth: “Ye shall know THE truth and THE truth will make you free.” He implies there’s only one truth! He also implies there are contesting claims for the title of Truth. And so we are back to the Pilatean question, What is truth?

Let’s look at the narrative and context of the quote from Jesus: ‘Jesus said to the people who believed in him… And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32  But down in verse 36 Jesus said: ‘If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ If the truth will set you free, and the Son shall make you free it means both are interchangeable. Therefore truth is not a fact. Truth is not information. Truth is a personage. His name is Jesus. His virtue permeates creation and all of existence; it suffuses space, time and timelessness. Truth is eternal. That virtue catalyzes factual ideals we ordinarily call truth in human circumstances and languages.

Jesus corroborates this definition of truth when he stated, rather emphatically again: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. When Jesus said the truth will make you free therefore he was in effect saying, “I, Jesus will set you free.”

The statement, “The Truth will make you free” implies an imprisoned self. The prison is sin. It enslaves. “Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin.” John 8:34 Jesus came to set us free from bondage to sin. It’s why he died on the cross. ‘Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life.  (We’re) no longer at sin’s every beck and call! When Jesus died, he took sin down with him.

From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did!” Romans 6: 6-10. You have been set free from bondage to sin. You have been endowed by your Creator with liberty. Sin has no dominion over you.

If you’ll like to know more about the Truth – the personage called Jesus, please pray this prayer: “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I know I am a sinner. That Jesus died for me. Please forgive me. I accept Jesus as my Lord and my Saviour. I am no longer a slave to sin. I’m free! Free indeed! Amen.”

© Leke Alder |