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Perpetually contemporary

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13.8

Out of the fog of early modern society shines the light of Blaise Pascal. He died in the bloom of life at just 39 years of age. On account of his fecundity as a polymath he left much that was unfinished. Indeed such was the disarray of his legacy that it might have been altogether lost were it not for the determination of his adoring family to preserve his legacy, through what became known as his Pensées (Thoughts). These constitute the keys to the mind which not only pioneered computing but which found expression across a range of disciples and endeavours including poetry, mathematics, philosophy, theology and public service. The list continues...

Like the Wesleys, Pascal was raised in a devout home and yet experienced a double conversion which both galvanised and then liberated his faith. A contemporary of René Descartes, he can also hold his own with much later thinkers such as Nietzsche and Freud, whose insights he both anticipated and, some might argue, superseded. Fundamentally, while appreciating, embracing and practicing scientific endeavour, Pascal recognised its limits. Likewise, though accused of pessimism, Pascal recognised humanity's veiled glory in bearing the image of God. Perceiving a mass of contradictions in his fellow humans, Pascal perhaps recognised in own struggle between piety and pride.

In his invention of various pseudonyms, was he imposing modesty upon his reputation? Or does the fact that these were anagrams of one another reflect playfulness for his won amusement, or a desire to leave a trail of clues for later generations to uncover and celebrate his genius? His greater legacy is that he saw beyond the dead-end of rationalism to the greater truth that is uncreated and incarnate; in other words is found only and yet completely in Jesus Christ.



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