Pascal’s Wager

5 Nov

Pascal's WagerNancy Rue

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Publication Date: 2001

Paperback: 300 pages

Book Blurb:

Confirmed atheist Jill McGavock faces the mental deterioration of her brilliant mother. In a quest to cope with this devastating situation, Jill seeks out philosophy professor Sam Hunt. Savvy Sam challenges Jill to make “Pascal’s wager” — to “bet” that God exists by acting as if he does. The results not only change Jill’s mind but transform her life in ways she never could have imagined. An exciting, faith-building thriller!

Stand alone or series: Stands alone, tall and proud

Why I read this book: I bought a mix of books last summer for a project this happened to be one of them. I didn’t really want to read it. The back sounded sad and the cover wasn’t appealing. So I read it first, knowing that if I didn’t start with it I would likely push it back and push it back until it might never be read. I’m so very glad I did.


I’m not going to lie, this was not an emotionally easy read. It was also not a quick start. I dragged my feet at the beginning, in part because I didn’t really want to read this book and in part because the beginning was a bit slow. For the first couple days I read for a half hour or so and put it down, perfectly happy to do so. On the third day I took it downstairs with me to read for an hour before I did other things. I emerged five hours later after a lot of reading and quite a bit of prayer. It moved me that much.

Jill’s relationship with her mother is strained to say the least. But perhaps it’s that distance from her that allowed Jill to see what her colleagues refused to: Jill’s mother is losing her mind. Jill leads  a busy life of her own and does not want to stop it to care for a woman who she feels never cared for her. This same woman who taught her that the mind is everything. So once her mind is gone, is there anything left of her mother to care for? Sam argues there is. The philosopher and Christian Sam butts heads at every turn with Jill, ever the logical mathematician. In her quest to find if there is anything more to her mother than mind, Sam urges her to believe in a soul and, more than that, the God who has power over body and soul.

Without a doubt, this is an apologetic novel. The premises is based on wager of the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist, Blaise Pascal. Pascal posed that either God exists or He does not. You must bet your life on one of these choices. So it is better to bet that God does exist because if you win, you win everything; if you lose, you lose nothing. I had never heard Pascal’s wager of probability before. It was an entirely new concept for me. The arguments made for faith and the way conversion is brought about in this novel was entirely fresh for me. Even a year later, this novel still sticks with me and I pass it around to anyone interested. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel. It was a unique and worthwhile read for me, I hope it will be for you too. 



One Response to “Pascal’s Wager”


  1. Middle Pane - November 27, 2013

    […] Pascal’s Wager ( […]

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