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Blaise Pascal Accomplishments

Blaise Pascal Accomplishments
Blaise Pascal was a brilliant scientist, mathematician, and philosopher born in 1623. Although he only lived to be 39, he created mathematical theorems that are still used today. He was known for his mastery of logic, reason, and probability, writing volumes of theory, rhetoric, and prose that remain foundational in contemporary education. Whether it was designing a mechanical calculator, discovering the properties of a vacuum, or debating the existence of God with the finest minds in Europe, Pascal was known as a truly special intellect.

According to Pascal, human kind is both noble and wretched. Noble, because we are created in God's image; wretched, because we are fallen and alienated from Him.

    “What kind of freak is man? What a novelty he is, how absurd he is, how chaotic and what a mass of contradictions, and yet what a prodigy! He is judge of all things, yet a feeble worm. He is repository of truth, and yet sinks into such doubt and error. He is the glory and the scum of the universe!”

Blaise Pascal Accomplishments – His Questions
Although Pascal had a genius mind, he struggled with questions of the soul. Beginning with the unbearable loss of his mother to a mysterious illness when he was three, he later developed his own illness that sapped his life. Ultimately, Pascal’s intellect couldn’t provide all the answers. On November 23, 1654, Blaise Pascal was reading the 17th Chapter of John when he had a life-changing encounter with God. He wrote the following:

From about half past ten at night to about half an hour after midnight,
"God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob," not of philosophers and scholars
Certitude, heartfelt joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
The world forgotten, everything except God.
"O righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You" (John 17:25).
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.

Blaise Pascal Accomplishments – His Revelation
It was at this moment that Pascal knew it wasn’t enough to know about God or debate his existence with the finest thinkers in the world. Rather, it was essential to meet God personally.

Pascal was an intellectual giant who wrote about God for years. However, it was this emotional event that shook Pascal into the truth that you can’t know God through intellect alone. He later wrote, "The heart has its reasons; that reason knows not of."

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Compliments of THE GREAT PURSUIT: The Message for Those In Search of God, by Eugene H. Peterson and Randall Niles (NavPress 2007).

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