George Bowers Sr.: Wagering with Pascal

All serious math and science students will recognize the name of Blaise Pascal, for he pioneered many developments that are still utilized today. In addition, he was a physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. Pascal lived a relatively short life of only 39 years in the mid seventeenth century in France, but what his life lacked in length, he made up for in substance. He was homeschooled by his father and while he was still in his teens, he became one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator. It would be foolish for anyone to argue with Pascal’s genius and we would certainly profit by considering not just his scientific achievements, but his thought and reason as well.

One of his most famous musings involves the question of God. Does he exist or doesn’t He? Setting aside the obvious proofs of creation, life, the Holy Spirit, and the intangible realities such as love, joy, etc, Pascal focused on the possible outcomes of our beliefs concerning this important question. There are only two possible answers: either yes or no. Furthermore, if we believe God does exist and he doesn’t, we really haven’t lost much of value. Instead, we sought to live an honest and loving life that benefited all those around us. Such a life could hardly be considered wasted.

On the other hand, if God does exist and we don’t believe in him, we have made an eternal mistake of incalculable proportions. In his revealed word, there are harsh penalties meted out to all those who reject him in disbelief, including eternal suffering in Hell. That’s a pretty big chance to take with fearful consequences if we get this wrong. Are you willing to take that chance? Are you willing to wager waking up on judgment day and telling God he doesn’t exist?

One of the brightest men who ever lived tells us that if we believe in God and he isn’t there, we’ve lost nothing, but if we don’t believe in him and he is, we’ve lost everything. Seems to me like a pretty obvious choice, especially when God has made belief abundantly easy. Not only does an infinitely complex creation demand a creator, but this creator himself came to Earth in the form of a human being to live, love, teach, forgive, heal, and ultimately die that we might not just believe in him, but that we might spend eternity in his presence. Then, for good measure, he indisputably rose again to conquer death. What more proof does anyone need?

Indeed, God forces no one to accept him or even believe in his existence. But if we don’t, and we’re wrong, we’ll have a very long, long time to wish we did. Don’t delay. This is one wager we don’t need to risk. Place your trust, your belief, and your eternity in Jesus’ hands and receive the forgiveness and new life that he freely offers each of us. For God so loved the world that he gave us his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Belief is very important and carries with it great benefit. Unbelief is infinitely risky and carries certain ruin. Take the advice of the genius Pascal and come to God in faith believing. This wager is not worth risking. In Jesus, George

George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, “Wit and Wisdom of the Woods.” He can be reached at

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