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Document Details :

Title: Gods goedheid houdt ons staande
Subtitle: Gods goedheid als centrale these van Pascals theologie, belicht vanuit zijn correspondentie
Author(s): BOM, Klaas
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 62    Issue: 1   Date: 2001   
Pages: 68-87
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.62.1.762

Abstract :
Based on his earlier research the author submits the thesis that Pascal’s theological thinking is focussed on the goodness of God. After a short introduction about the historical background of the debate on grace in the seventeenth century in the western church, merely based on the interpretation of H. de Lubac, three arguments are presented to support this thesis. These can be found in Pascal’s Écrits sur la grâce (1654?) and the Lettres Provinciales (1656-57), Pascal's most explicit contributions on the theological debate. The first indication is Pascal’s vigorous rejection of the Calvinist theology, by labelling it blasphemous. According to Pascal, the Calvinist point of view is violating the goodness and justice of God. A second indication is derived from Pascal’s adapted use of scolastic instruments. The way he is using first and second cause, for example, makes clear that only God can be the origin of good deeds. Finally, Pascal’s conception of grace, where anthropology and doctrine of God meet, explains in what sense human (longing and) being is focused on the goodness of God.
In this article, the central thesis about Pascal’s theological thinking is tested by investigating some of Pascal's personal letters on their theological content. In these letters the theological polemic is absent and the selected correspondence concentrates on the daily Christian life. Is Pascal confirming the thesis about his theology in this very different genre of writings? And if so, what do these letters explain about the further development of Pascal’s