Sometimes when we hear intellectual truth we recognize it at on a non-intellectual level. The truth "impacts" us with a certain force. This is particularly true with spiritual truths. For example, when someone tells us about certain aspects of the Creator God (his power and knowledge, his sovereignty or his love, and the Savior who came to die) we have the capacity to "feel" these truths. So, we may intellectually understand them and put our rational stamp of approval on them, but underneath the surface there is a sort-of spiritual frenzy going on. Not only are we understanding these truths, intellectually, but we are also absorbing them into our lives.
A simple example of this comes from the sermon I heard last Sunday. If a man is in love with a woman, he believes certain truths about his lover. Her eyes are blue, she has certain interesting characteristics, and she has a certain sense of humor. These are all "true" on a propositional level. However, for a man in love these truths have become absorbed into the deepest fabric of his being such that he does not have the ability to speak of such truths in a purely intellectual way. In fact, it is very likely that he may never have been able to intellectually and objectively analyize these truths about his lover. In the (very strange) case of love, truths are recognized on a non-intellectual level. So it is with spiritual truths.
On the other hand, of course, it is possible to merely give an intellectual nod to truth without absorbing truth in the way described above. The man who is not in love with the woman can intellectually describe certain truths about her in a detached, objective manner. Similarly, those who have never truly encountered God or never opened themselves up to the sense of divinity in the world may intellectually describe God and rationally believe in him. The degree to which we absorb truth may not be the same.
I point all this out to simply say that truth can be recognized on a non-intellectual level. We can experience truth. I believe that this implies that truth is greater than simply a correspondence between proposition and reality. In short, truth is more than intellectual/rational/objective. It is certainly all of these things, but I think it is more.
In speaking to Pilate Jesus said that "everyone of the truth hears me." (John 18:37) What does it mean to be "of" the truth?
I take this passage back to John chapter eight where Jesus accuses the religious leaders of being children of the devil, and it is the devil who "has no truth in him." (vs. 44) Now, it seems absurd to say that the devil has no knowledge of intellectual truth. It is the mark of the best liars that they know propositional truths so well that they can bend them and twist them any number of ways to suite them. Rather, it seems as though the devil has "no truth in him" because he stands in direct opposition to "the way, the truth, and the life," (John 14:6) which is Jesus, himself.
Hence, I think we recognize truth on a non-intellectual level because "truth" has much to do with our spiritual situation in relation to Christ and the Creator. It is as much a matter of our spiritual situation to Christ as it is our possession of propositional truth. I think the fact that we can recognize truth on a non-intellectual level is one clue that points this out.
[See my Aletheia Project for more essays and thoughts on truth.]
Illustration: Jesus before Pilate by Tintoretto