Truth and Falsehood

Alfred Stevens’ wonderful sculpture Truth and Falsehood was designed for the Duke of Wellington’s memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral, a copy of which is displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum. In this scene, a woman grapples with a man. She is Truth, and seeks to pull out the man’s double tongue. He is Falsehood, and in so doing, his pleasant mask slips, revealing his grotesque features.

In our days, Falsehood still grapples with Truth. Indeed, he seems to be winning, his pleasant mask lulling foolish people into rejecting the way, the truth and the life. Jude wrote, explaining ‘I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.’ Paul concurs, saying ‘God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth' (1 Timothy 2).

Wrestling with falsehood seldom makes one popular. It bruises and tires, whereas falsehood seems to effortlessly multiply and prosper at all times and in all places. Nevertheless, Christ’s truth will one day prevail, as Habakkuk foresaw:

‘For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.’