“What Profit?” ( Mark 8:36, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Darkness
Darkness (Photo credit: Roberto F.)

If a man wins the whole world yet impairs his own soul, Jesus rhetorically asks what profit — what gain — is that for the man?

“For what profiteth it to a man , if he win all the world, and do impairing to his [own] soul?”

Every day, people seek profits for the investments they make in time, in effort, in monies. Every day, some people win — what seems to them — “the whole world.” I’m not sure Jesus equates winning the whole world with loss of one’s soul. Rather, I think Jesus implies one’s focus ought not to be on getting “the whole world”, but on getting a relationship with Him so as to keep one’s soul.

William Shakespeare writes:

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Perhaps it works the other way around as well. If you are not false with others, then doesn’t it follow that you are true to your own self — your own soul? Gaining things means very little if you are false with others and with your own self.

How are you true to your self? By recognizing your nature is to be connected to your creator. Without God, you are literally lost. You wander about like a blind man, thinking you can see when you can’t. Winning the whole world, in this instance, is pointless. You are like a child sitting in a dark corner in a dark room. You may own the whole room, but you’re still blind.

“The Narrow Gate” ( Matthew 8: 12 ) by Carley Evans


Jesus is impressed with a centurion who understands authority. The centurion asks Jesus to heal one of his servants who is paralyzed at home. When Jesus says, “‘I will come and heal him'” (Matthew 8:7) the centurion recognizes that it is enough for Jesus to speak healing words; He does not need to come to the house. Jesus marvels, and “says to those who follow Him, ‘Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.'” (Matthew 8:10)

In the next moment, Jesus says that while many who are not of Israel will “recline at the table in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11) “the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In a single statement, Jesus tells us of the existence of heaven and of hell. In heaven is joy and restoration; in hell is sorrow and destruction. In heaven is the presence of God; in hell is the final separation from God in a place of “outer darkness.” Both states of existence are eternal. Heaven is for the wise; hell is for the foolish.

Jesus warns that the road to destruction is wide, and many find it. After all, we are born on the road to destruction and so follow it naturally. But, the road to God is narrow and difficult to locate much less follow; and few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) Jesus says, “Enter by the narrow gate.” (Matthew 7:13)

“And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who build his house on the Rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the Rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

“A Wisdom God Predestined” ( 1 Corinthians 2: 9, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“We do speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

Paul continues by paraphrasing Isaiah, stating that no one has seen or heard or even imagined what “God prepared [in advance] for those who love Him.”

What did God prepare?

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul writes: “For [God] chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)

God prepared for us adoption into His family. He prepared us “for Himself.” He anticipated our ultimate glory — and so continues to prepare us “to be holy and blameless in His sight.”

Paul writes, “We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” (Ephesians 1:7)

God prepared for us our “redemption.” He planned to save us in advance of our fall into damnation. He prepared us to be owned by Him as His “possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:14)

“For this reason,” writes Paul, “I pray that [God] may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14,16-19)

“The Spirit Produces Life” ( 2 Corinthians 3: 6, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“He makes us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit produces life.”

 

Jesus says, “Don’t assume that I come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I do not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches to do so is called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands is called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 17-19) Then He tells us to surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees — who make an extraordinary effort to obey the letter of the Law.

 

The letter kills, says Paul. The letter of the Law kills because we can not fully obey it. Even “the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter” is capable of killing us. Jesus says even if we do not actually murder another person, our simple anger at that person is enough to make us “subject to judgment.” Even calling that extremely rude and bad driver in front of us a “fool” makes us “subject to ‘hellfire.'” (Matthew 5: 21, 22) Jesus even says that “anything more than [‘yes’ and ‘no’] is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

 

No wonder Paul laments, wondering who is able to rescue him from this body of death. The new covenant says that Jesus is our rescuer. No amount of self-effort will result in our righteousness. Only “the Spirit produces life.”

 

Jesus says, with His last human breath, “It is accomplished.”

 

“The Spirit produces life.”

“In Anticipation” (Mark 8: 36, HCSB) by Carley Evans


What profit is there in denying the power of the risen Christ? What does it matter to gain the entire world — all its riches, its pleasures, its beauties, its powers — yet forfeit your soul, give up your life?

“By faith, after Moses is born, he is hidden by his parents for three months, because they see that the child is beautiful, and they do not fear the king’s edict. By faith, Moses, when he grows up, refuses to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chooses to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin. For he considers the reproach because of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention is on the reward. By faith, he leaves Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses perseveres as one who sees Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11: 23 – 27)

Jesus tells us to deny ourselves as Moses denies himself, as his parents deny themselves. Jesus says to us, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8: 35)

Jesus says that we must not be ashamed of Him or “of [His] Words.” (Mark 8: 38) If we are ashamed of Him, then He is ashamed of us.

Moses is not ashamed of his God; rather he accepts the reproach associated with being a follower of the Messiah as “greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.” In anticipation, Moses leaves his life behind in order to find a greater gift — eternal life.

‘When We Create “Dren” ‘ ( a commentary on the movie “SPLICE”) by Carley Evans


Dren is the conglomeration of human DNA spliced with the DNA of multiple species, likely lizard, frog, bird, fish, scorpion, mouse by my estimation. The movie is “SPLICE;” the premise is not “do we create a creature such as this?” but, “what is our responsibility once we do, since we inevitably will create a creature such as Dren?”

Dren is partially human, but only partially. Much of Dren is beast. But she expresses human emotion, human needs, human sins. After seeing “SPLICE,” I asked myself — “does Dren have a soul?”

Because I believe that the human soul is contained in our very DNA, I’d have to say that Dren has a soul — perhaps a partial soul as she has a partial human nature. Is there such a thing as being partly human, of having a partial soul?

This is the question we must face as science wrestles with its desire to create a being such as Dren. Dren is a direct result of man’s search for an end to illness, an end to death.

Dren is Satan’s counterfeit human being — Satan’s counterfeit solution to suffering and death. And like us, Dren is the victim of Satan’s rebellion against God.

When mankind creates Dren, mankind will have come to its very end. We will look at Dren, and see a soul, but one cut into a myriad of pieces — one which perhaps can never be made whole. We will look in the mirror, and cry for ourselves. Of this, I am certain.