Pascal’s Pensées and Butler’s Analogy
This chapter considers two great thinkers whose work prefigures ramified natural theology. Blaise Pascal, interestingly, rejected natural theology, but argued for the deity of Christ from miracles and fulfilled prophecy. Both Pascal's and Butler's arguments will be picked up later when the author discusses the modern ramified natural theology. He argues that, in drawing inferences from Scripture in an academically informed way, we cannot simply assume that it was directly delivered by God to the prophets and apostles. The witness of the two Testaments, the Passion of Christ, and Pascal's personal obligations as a Christian are three elements of a definitive realization of the truth, which brought him at last to certainty and joy. A further difficulty with the Pascal is squaring any kind of argument with his doctrine of predestination, which despite Pascal's protests is not unlike that of Calvin.