Tag Archives: christianity

Pascal’s Wager

Simply stated, the wager is that if eternal life and death are contingent on believing or not believing in God, then it’s logical to believe, Even if “just to be safe” because the risk of eternal damnation is too great.
To me it seems the wager is not an apologetic, appealing to natural reason in a fear/risk model as most cite. This then suspends (denies) the basic reformed position that in sinful depravity you could just logically convince someone to believe in God. Pascal does not attempt this tact in his other writings, so contextually as a writer, why would he start and even contradict other things he had written?
Now within the context of his other writings he maintains great descriptions of man’s depravity and its impact and cause of illogical reasoning’s of man. A famous quote of his places the motions of the heart against logic when it comes to love. This fits the moral rational view he holds that as man makes decisions there are calculations being made. You go to cross the street, and you mentally calculate your ability to accelerate against the speed and distance of on coming traffic. In anger you may ignore the calculation and just gun it and take your “chances”. I think this the observation being made in Pascal’s wager. He is not looking to apologetically convince someone to believe, but instead makes an acute observation that men make such an irrational choice with so much in the balance, that sin and depravity could be the only reason to not believe in God. It’s a proof observation that belief in God is a moral rational belief. One that man actively suppresses. If man approached the God question as he does other choices, the rational/logical conclusion would be to believe, because of everything at stake. I think this matches well with his “thoughts”, especially those on distractions and diversions.
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Leviticus and the Church, Part 2 – Setting

The setting of Leviticus is an interesting one. Israel, as a nation, just spent about 400 years in bondage to Egypt. Their cries and prayers for deliverance are finally heard by God and so through the providential use of miracles and Moses the people are set free to go worship their God in the wilderness. God takes care of His people throughout their journey. He provides protection as in the Red Sea event and other military victories. God provides guidance and direction as He manifests His presence in the form of a cloud by day and a fire by night. He even provides provisions for them as in the manna and quail to eat and the occasional water from a rock. Aside from their need for food we are told that even their clothing is preserved by God so that it did not wear out during their travels. Yet in all these things God is still somewhat removed from the picture. He still seems distant somehow.

Exodus ends with the Tabernacle, mobile temple and/or house of God reaching completion. The book of Leviticus is the very next event. As the tent is completed God is said to rest upon it in forms of cloud and fire. Moses is then called to enter and be God’s first guest within it’s now occupied walls of fabric. The God who delivers just moved in. Think about how different it would be for you if a house for sale in your neighborhood, maybe right next door to you, was purchased and now occupied by Jesus. God almighty is now your neighbor. It is an awful and terrible situation. Should you clean up your yard to match His? Do you put up a fence? What If He does not approve of fences? What if he sees you pulling out of the driveway and stops to ask where you’re going? What if He hears you and how you interact with your family? There would be a lot of pressure to act or be right with Him, and that’s the point. This is God’s method from the beginning. He walked with Adam in the garden of Eden, He dwelt among His people in the Old Testament, in Jesus He is called Emanuel which is God with us, and now into the New Testament God resides within the hearts and minds of His people by the Holy Spirit. The only difference to us is that we have a fully fleshed out testimony where God is currently not visible, and they had a visible manifestation and home for God where the revelation was still covered to a point in types and shadows.

The average Israelite would have been somewhat concerned, to say the least, that the Holy God of all creation was moving in next door. This is where Leviticus comes in. The rules or laws are brought to bear as to how the covenant community will function. It sets out just how a holy God can and will reside among a People called His own and yet a sinful people. The same theme the church faces now.

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