Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pascal on the Search for Truth

"Before entering into the proofs of the Christian religion, I find it necessary to point out the sinfulness of those men who live in indifference to the search for truth in a matter which is so important to them, and which touches them so nearly.

Of all their errors, this doubtless is the one which most convicts them of foolishness and blindness, and in which it is easiest to confound them by the first glimmerings of common sense, and by natural feelings.

For it is not to be doubted that the duration of this life is but a moment; that the state of death is eternal, whatever may be its nature; and that thus all our actions and thoughts must take such different directions according to the state of that eternity, that it is impossible to take one step with sense and judgment, unless we regulate our course by the truth of that point which ought to be our ultimate end.

There is nothing clearer than this; and thus, according to the principles of reason, the conduct of men is wholly unreasonable, if they do not take another course."

- Blaise Pascal, Pensées (195)


william francis brown said...

I came to this conclusion, but not until age 45, when significant tragedies occured in my life. I've since read a lot of Pascal, Peter Kreeft, and just about whatever I can that concerns the "First and Last Things" (Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell). Anyway, it is rather mysterious t me now to consider the degree that we can waste time and energy on trivia and insignificnt things.

Ex N1hilo said...

Pascal states "that the state of death is eternal," by which I suppose that he means everlasting. If he is correct, then the following passages of Scripture are falsified:

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If these passages are to be believed, death is not eternal. Death is an intruder that has been defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ and will finally be vanquished. His redeemed people rejoice in this and look forward to the consummation of these things at His return.

The unsaved, on the contrary, ought to live in dread precisely because death is not their final destination.

Ex N1hilo said...

My references to book/chapter/verse disappeared! Not sure what I did wrong. Well, at lteast they are not gone eternally. Here they are:

Corinthians ,

all from the English Standard Version.

Anonymous said...

Pascal's simply pointing out to have eternity in mind.

"Death is eternal, whatever its state" is making the point that when you die, then you enter into eternity; therefore, what you do in this short life MUST be guided with eternity in mind. All this "this falsifies scriptures" stuff is missing the point.

Ex N1hilo said...


I can interact with what Pascal has said. It is more difficult to interact with what he meant to say. If he meant that, when one dies, their final destination is determined, and it is too late to change it, then I have no disagreement with that.

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