Blaise Pascal   7 comments


Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662

Back in 2002 this guy picked me up while I was hitchhiking through Humboldt, Iowa.  A few months later he saw me walking through Estherville, Iowa and showed me Ezekiel 21: 27 (which is very significant to me).  He later sent me a letter and told me about Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and a book written about him by Karen Armstrong.  I have read maybe one page of Pascal’s Pensees.
Armstrong writes:  “On the night of November 23, 1654, Blaise himself had an experience which lasted ‘from about half-past ten in the evening till about half an hour after midnight’ (November 24) and which showed him that his faith had been too remote and academic.  After his death, his ‘Memorial’ of this revelation was found stitched into his doublet:
          ‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob’
          Not of philosophers and scholars.
          Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
          God of Jesus Christ.
          God of Jesus Christ.
          My God and your God.
          ‘Thy God shall be my God.’
          The world forgotten and everything except God.
          He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
“This was not the God of the philosophers, but the God of revelation.”
Armstrong later writes:  “Faith, he insisted was not a rational assent based on common sense.  It was a gamble.  It was impossible to prove God exists, but equally impossible for reason to disprove His existence . . . This gamble is not entirely irrational, however.  To opt for God is a win-win solution.  In choosing to believe in God, Pascal continued, the risk is finite, but the gain is infinite.  As the Christian progresses in the faith, he or she will become aware of a continuous enlightenment, an awareness of God’s presence that is a sure sign of salvation.  It is no good relying on external authority; each Christian is on his own . . . Faith is not intellectual certainty, but a leap into the dark and an experience that brings a moral enlightenment.”
Ezekiel 21: 27:  “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”
Genesis 49: 10:  “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Blaise Pascal
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A.W. Tozer on Blaise Pascal’s “Fire” from Tozer’s book Whatever Happened To Worship?:
Page 91:  “Were these the expressions of a fanatic, an extremist?”
No.  Pascal’s mind was one of the greatest.  But the living God had broken through and beyond all that was human and intellectual and philosophical.  The astonished Pascal could only describe in one word the visitation in his spirit:  ‘Fire!’

“Understand that this was not a statement in sentences for others to read.  It was the ecstatic utterance of a yielded man during two awesome hours in the presence of his God.”There was no human engineering or manipulation there.  There was only wonder and awe and adoration wrought by the presence of the Holy Spirit of God as Pascal worshiped.

“What we need among us is a genuine visitation of the Spirit.  We need a sudden bestowment of the spirit of worship among God’s people.”

Gregory of Nazianzus:  “God is called a ‘consuming fire'”

7 responses to “Blaise Pascal

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  1. “In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”

    — Blaise Pascal

  2. I love this. I came to faith through Christian apologetics, but my real faith began after my brain hit me with a myriad of questions that I just could not answer with the apologetics I knew. Indeed, apologetics demonstrates a strong possibility for the existence of God, but never certainty. Thus, from agnostic to Christian is a leap of faith beyond all the philosophy of it.

    My real faith happened when I took that glorious leap into the abyss of faith and eventually felt God catch me. I love my relationship with Christ because it transcends reason and is just full of love. I’ve never had a “real” supernatural experience, but with every day I sense God’s presence more and more; I can feel the Holy Spirit like a whisper in my mind, heart, and soul. It’s indescribable and beautiful.

    May God bless you and keep you. 🙂

  3. Ada: Thank you for your comment. So many different people from all walks of life have come to know Christ. Construction workers, farmers, doctors, lawyers and brilliant people like Pascal.

    I came to faith in Christ because I wanted to blow my brains out. I was desperate for something and, after a number of years of reading philosophy and literature and trying to figure things out in my head, I took a step of faith and asked Christ into my life. It is an act of faith—not an act of intellectual gymnastics.

    I like what Watchman Nee once said in his classic book “The Spiritual Man”: the intellect is the servant to the Spirit.

    “The Spiritual Man”

    • To be honest, I was at a place where I wanted to blow my brains out, too, before I asked Christ into my life. I have a form of OCD where my mind sometimes gives me disturbing mental images that I don’t want, and during my middle school and early years of high school, the depression I got from my illness was absolute torture. I felt like such a worthless, disgusting human being.

      My first act of faith was taking a small Biblical picture of Christ getting baptized during one particular distressing night and just holding it, then putting it under my pillow before I fell asleep. It was a habit I kept doing all up until I took my final leap of faith in Christ. Having that icon under my pillow gave me such peace, a peace I could not describe as an agnostic skeptic at the time, but now I understand fully.

      I’ll have to read that book at some point. The idea that the intellect is only the servant of the spirit resonates with me. Humans are not merely intelligent animals – we have that spiritual aspect, too. We have the capacity to love, to have fun, and to determine right from wrong. I firmly believe that before we are intelligent beings, we are first and foremost LOVING beings – not perfect loving beings, but loving beings nevertheless. We were created with love, we have the choice to reflect that love back up to our Creator, and we have the capacity to try to live in love and harmony with our fellow man.

  4. Pingback: A Red-Letter Day | The Road

  5. “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

    –Werner Heisenberg (Father of Quantum Physics)

  6. Pingback: Smith Wigglesworth – Holy Ghost Fire | The Road

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