Blaise Pascal in Pensees has some wise words for us on the futility in finding truth and goodness apart from God. This quote mirrors the theme of several of my other posts on the topic so I will not elaborate too much here. To understand the quote below you’ll need to know that “concupiscence” is a “strong desire,” particularly bodily in nature.
“Men, it is vain that you seek within yourselves the cure for your miseries. All your intelligence can only bring you to realize that it is not within yourselves that you will find either truth or good.
“The philosophers made such promises and they failed to keep them.
“They do not know what your true good is, nor what your true state is.
“How could they provide cures for ills which they did not even know? Your chief maladies are the pride that withdraws you from God, and the concupiscence that binds you to earth; all they have done is keep one of these maladies going. If they you God for object it was only to exercise your pride; they made you think that you were like him and of a similar nature. And those who saw the vanity of such pretension cast you into the other abyss, by giving you to understand that your nature was like that of the beasts, and they induced you to seek your own good in concupiscence, which is the lot of the animals.”
If the cure from our miseries does not lie within ourselves, where does it lie? Spoken from the perspective of the Wisdom of God:
“Only I can make you understand what you are.
“I do not demand of you blind faith.
“Adam, Jesus Christ.
“If you are united to God, it is by grace, and not by nature.
“If you are humbled, it is by penitence, not by nature.”
Truth and goodness is not found in the first man, Adam, but in the second man, Jesus Christ, the man of grace, goodness, and truth. In his life, death, and resurrection we are humbled, united with God, and brought to new life. Since only God knows us, only God can accurately diagnose and fix our problems.