Friday, November 28, 2008

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Renowned “Father of the Science of Hydrostatics” Pascal helped establish the principles of hydrodynamics and made invaluable contributions in mathematical treatment of conic sections, the theory of probability, and differential calculus, with his invention of Pascal’s triangle for calculating the coefficients of a binomial expansion. Pascal helped develop the barometer through his discoveries in fluid mechanics which is known as “Pascal’s Principle.” Pascal wrote in Lettres provincials in 1656-57. In 1670 he published his highly influential religious work, entitled Pensee su la religion. In Pensee Pascal wrote:

“Men blaspheme what they don’t know.”

He was well known for his famous “Wager of Pascal.”

“How can anyone lose who chooses to become a Christian? If, when he dies, there turns out to be no God and his faith was in vain, he has lost nothing – in fact, he has been happier in life than his nonbelieving friends. If, however, there is a God and a heaven and hell, than he has gained heaven and skeptical friends which have lost everything in hell.”

Pascal declares in his work Thoughts, Letters, and Opuscules:

“We know God only through Jesus Christ. Without this Mediator, is taken away all communication with God; through Jesus Christ we know God. All those who have pretended to know God; and prove Him without Jesus Christ, have only had impotent proofs.”

“But, to prove Jesus Christ we have the prophesies which are good and valid proofs. And those prophesies, being fulfilled, and truly proved by the event, indicate the certainty of these truths, and therefore the truth of the divinity of Jesus Christ. In Him, and by Him, then, we know God. Otherwise, and without Scripture, without original sin, without a necessary Mediator, we can not absolutely prove God, nor teach a good doctrine and sound morals.”

“We know life, death, only through Jesus Christ. Except by Jesus Christ we know not what life is, what our death is, what God is, what we ourselves are. Thus, without Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ for its object, we know nothing, and we see not only obscurity and confusion in the nature of God, but in nature herself. Without Jesus Christ, man must be in sin and misery; with Jesus Christ, man is exempt from sin and misery. In Him is all our virtue, and all felicity. Out of Him, there is nothing but sin, misery, error, darkness, death, and despair.”

After Pascal died the writing that follows was found among his effects:

“’The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.”

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