Eternal vs Temporal Salvation

Without hesitation that He is…There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. So our proposition is of infinite force when there is the finite to stake in a game where there is an equal risk of gain and loss, and the infinite to gain.

But some cannot believe. They should then at least recognize their inability to believe…and endeavor then to convince themselves.

Paschal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), Whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in heaven) and avoid infinite losses (an eternity in hell).

Given that reason alone cannot determine whether God exists, Paschal concludes that this question functions like a coin toss. However, even if we do not know the outcome of the coin toss, we must base our actions on some expectations about the outcome. We must decide whether to live as though God exists, or whether to live as though God does not exist, even though we may be mistaken in either case.

It is simply unconscionable by comparison to bet against an eternal life of happiness for the possibility of gaining nothing. The wise decision is to wager that God exists, since “if you gain, you gain that all; if you lose, you lose nothing” meaning one can gain eternal life if God exists, but if not, you will be no worse off in death than if you had not believed. On the other hand, if you bet against God, win or lose, you either gain nothing or lose everything. You are either unavoidably annihilated (in which case, nothing matters one way or the other) or you lose the opportunity of eternal happiness.

Winn Henderson

Rev. Dr. Winn Henderson, MD is a retired physician, author, talk show host. You can listen for free now at


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Eternal vs Temporal Salvation

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