Blaise Pascal argued that if a person believes in God and in the end it turns out that God didn’t exist, than that person hasn’t really lost anything – thus he suggests it is better to believe (even if God doesn’t exist) than not to believe (just in case God does exist). Pascal’s Wager (as his argument is called) is a popular evangelistic tool, but there is just one problem. It is directly contradictory to Scripture, and this passage in particular:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead…(1 Corinthians 15:13-20a)
Belief in Jesus Christ is no mere wager, and the resurrection, as Paul tells us, is a central concept. If there is no resurrection then the metaphysics of Biblical Christianity are impossible. Not only would God be a liar, but He would be an impotent one, and our condition would be even worse than initially suspected.
We ought not negotiate the Gospel down to anything less than is presented in Scripture, and the Gospel, according to Paul, centers on the resurrection of Christ.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
For those of us who have not yet believed in Him, perhaps we should consider His gift again.
For those of us who have, it’s time not just to talk about it, but also to walk about it.
…let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe…(Hebrews 12:28b)