Pascal's Vision Between Pride and Misery

The knowledge of God without that
of man's misery causes pride. The knowledge of man's misery without that of God causes despair. The knowledge of Jesus Christ constitutes the middle course, because in him
we find both God and our misery.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

The tension in Christian thought between pride and misery, between the knowledge of being created in the image and likeness of God and the intuitive understanding of The Fall, has long engaged theologians and philosophers. Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth-century French scientist and Christian philosopher, saw in Jesus' two natures the essential balance of these two qualities. Through his life as a man - and particularly his suffering on the cross - Jesus had participated in the misery of humanity. Through his union with the Father, Christ was the manifestation of divinity. The understanding of Jesus' two natures was, for Pascal, the path to a redemptive wisdom that was neither arrogant nor fatalistic. True wisdom was capable of understanding and integrating the paradox at the core of the Christian religion - that Jesus was both God and man.
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