The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Pascal's Wager is a Bad Bet

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On my travels throughout the U.S., I have encountered many ways of defending the faith. One such way is to hit the person with the law. “Have you ever told a lie?” “Have you ever stolen anything?” “Have you ever looked at another person in lust?” The intellectually honest will be forced to answer “yes” to those questions, exposing their sinfulness and need of a Savior.

Why are lying, stealing, and lusting wrong? Are these actions wrong because God arbitrarily commands them to be wrong, or does God have a reason for calling these things wrong apart from Himself? Well, those who understand the solution to Euthyphro’s Dilemma know that neither is the case. Things are “wrong” because they are contrary to God’s unchanging character. Stealing is not wrong because God makes an arbitrary command that stealing is wrong, nor is it wrong because God has a standard outside of Himself to call it wrong. Quite simply, stealing is wrong because God is not a thief, lying is wrong, God is totally honest, and lusting is wrong because God is perfectly faithful. We were created in the image of God to be His imitators (Eph. 5:1), so when we do these things, we are lying about who God is. That’s what sin is – lying about who God is.

Rather than get deeper into the nature of what sin is, let’s explore the fact that sin is “lying about God” and examine whether or not we do this when we defend our faith.


Is God a probable God or a certain God? In church we know the answer: “The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1) It’s not “The Heavens might declare the glory of God – if He exists, and the skies might proclaim the work of his hands – if he exists.” Could we really say that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39) if we worshiped a probable God? Of course not! In Church, we worship a certain God, yet what do we do? We go out into the world and tell unbelievers that we could be wrong! We give them “Pascal’s Wager.”

Pascal’s Wager reduces the existence of God to a probability – a gamble – the odds on favorite. Basically it states that if you win the wager that God exists, you win, but if you lose the wager, you lose nothing. On the other hand, if you wager that God does not exist and win, you win nothing, but if you lose, you lose everything. I’ve used this myself, and can still hear my pathetic admonition ringing in my ears: “If I’m wrong, I die, rot in the ground, and worms eat my body, but if I’m right! Oh boy, then I get to be with God in Heaven for eternity! If you are right, then you die, rot in the ground and worms eat your body, but if you are wrong, you spend an eternity in Hell!”

Brothers and sisters, God is not a good bet. God is not even the best bet. God is the certain God that has revealed Himself to us, such that we are certain of His existence (Rom. 1: 18-21). Blaise Pascal said some wonderful things, but his wager is a terrible bet. I looked up Pascal’s Wager on a search engine, and could not find one thing written negatively about it by Christians. What are we doing?!? We worship a certain God, yet defend our faith in a probable 'god'! Folks, a probable 'god' is not God – a probable ‘god’ does not exist.

Pascal’s Wager is only the tip of the iceberg of arguments for a probable God. This problem runs deep, and it’s time we start defending our faith in terms of the certain God of Scripture. When we defend our faith in a probable 'god', we are lying about who God is. That is why I am so very thankful to God for revealing to us the way to defend the faith that proclaims the certainty of His existence, and I thank God for the resources Greg Bahnsen has left us with. God does not give us odds, He gives us assurance.

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