Man’s divided nature

Pascal seemed to think that mankind had 1. a divine nature of which we are inherently aware and 2. a bestial nature of which we were also inherently aware.

Per the divine, we immediately recognize that we are of infinite worth, dignity, and value.

Per the bestial, we are also immediately aware that there is something fundamentally broken in us.

Pascal seemed to think that an acute and proper awareness of both natures is vitally important. An awareness of our bestial nature ought to spur us on to discover the origin of our divine nature. For the Christian, this is our being made in the Image of God which has been irrevocably marred by us.

But let them conclude what they will against deism, they will conclude nothing against the Christian religion, which properly consists in the mystery of the Redeemer, who, uniting in Himself the two natures, human and divine, has redeemed men from the corruption of sin in order to reconcile them in His divine person to God.

The Christian religion, then, teaches men these two truths; that there is a God whom men can know, and that there is a corruption in their nature which renders them unworthy of Him. It is equally important to men to know both these points; and it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness, and to know his own wretchedness without knowing the Redeemer who can free him from it. The knowledge of only one of these points gives rise either to the pride of philosophers, who have known God, and not their own wretchedness, or to the despair of atheists, who know their own wretchedness, but not the Redeemer.

And, as it is alike necessary to man to know these two points, so is it alike merciful of God to have made us know them. The Christian religion does this; it is in this that it consists. Let us herein examine the order of the world and see if all things do not tend to establish these two chief points of this religion: Jesus Christ is end of all, and the centre to which all tends. Whoever knows Him knows the reason of everything.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées, Section VIII: The Fundamentals of the Christian Religion, #556

Instinct and reason, marks of two natures. -Blaise Pascal

Share/Bookmark

Leave a Reply