There are prominent criminal cases in the news that drag on, frustrating the patience of both law officers and the public. But there is something working on behalf of human investigation that is often overlooked or downplayed in the resolution of crime - the self-revealing nature of all truth, through the operation of divine law.
The operation of physical law in agriculture and biology drives stones to the surface of a field by the repeated freezing and thawing of the soil. The resulting process of soil contraction and upheaval (called frost heaves and soil displacement) acts like giant hands forcing stones upward.
What may seem to the casual observer as an occasional stone discovered on the ground's surface is to the farmer or geologist a natural result of ongoing physical law and action. Does not truth act in a similarly steady but inevitable fashion? The common saying that "truth will out" is timeless testimony of the tendency of both evil and good to come ultimately to light.
Criminals may be caught taking apparently self-defeating actions before, during, or after committing an illegal act. When these actions are related in the news, the criminal appears stupid. But isn't it the self-defeating nature of criminality and of all evil, and not intellectual stupidity, that produces the law-abiding result?
A criminal may believe that he is smarter than his victims, and the victims may passively accept that possibility. But the Bible offers a different perspective. It says, "God is not mocked" (Gal. 6:7). Jesus preached of the inevitability of justice unveiling crime: "There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known" (Luke 12:2).
The insuppressible nature of truth
Jesus' life and bodily resurrection from the dead illustrated the insuppressible nature of truth. In his ministry the Master continuously bore witness to God, eternal, omnipotent Truth, which drives evil to self-confession and self-destruction and uplifts good to redemption.
According to the Gospel of Luke, the unscrupulous tax collector named Zac- chaeus was so touched by Jesus' caring spirit of Truth, God, that he renounced his criminal conduct and charted a reformed course (Luke 19:8).
Look around you, and you will see this process of perpetual "search and discovery" in operation.
One morning nine years ago, a friend came to my office in desperation over a traumatic event that had happened the night before. My friend's young teenage daughter had innocently been the eyewitness to a double homicide. Police had arrested the wrong man, and the real killer, who had seen my friend's daughter at the scene of the murders, had fled the city.
Though the teenage girl was innocent, her life and her mother's were threatened or could at best be turned upside down by having to testify. So during that day, while her daughter remained in hiding, my friend and I prayed, turning to the Bible's promises of protection. How "hid with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3) were this innocent girl and her mother!
A great gulf is fixed between crime and innocence so that evil, a lie, literally cannot see a divine idea, an innocent of God's making. My friend and I prayed along these lines and rested in the power of the Word. Later that afternoon, much to our relief and that of the local authorities, the real killer drove back into town from the city where he had fled, turned himself in to the police, and pleaded guilty to the murder he had committed.
Ultimately, evil can't escape its own doom. Truth can never be permanently suppressed. The Pharisees found that out when they tried to silence Jesus' followers. The Bible reports, "The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen" (Luke 19:37). The Pharisees urged Jesus to quiet his followers, but Jesus knew Truth couldn't be silenced, and he replied with this important lesson: "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (v. 40). When fear or oppression would try to silence or bury truth, even after a long lapse of years, don't the very stones still cry out loud?
Good and evil come out in the wash of life, and not only where there is a free press, a fair judicial system, and a democratic, open government. The allness of divine Truth reveals truth just as the movement of earth drives stones to the surface.
"We can rejoice that every germ of goodness will at last struggle into freedom and greatness, and every sin will so punish itself that it will bow down to the commandment of Christ, - Truth and Love." So wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, in her book "No and Yes" (pg. 8).
Conventional wisdom suggests that the detection of sin and its punishment must come exclusively by the effort of humanity. But behind every wise man and woman working in the justice system or in any place on behalf of the cause of truth, there is an all-wise God whose care and law rule the universe.