Does Dealing in Souls Require Exact Change?
August 24, 2006 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Bible Quotation Filter: There's something in the Bible about saving the world not being worth the cost of one soul, isn't there? How's it go?

I stink at Bible quotations. I was never formally educated in religion. Stuff about the weight/worth of the soul would help me out in a little writing project. I realize I should just be doing my own research, but I'm a little crammed for time.

There's another one about Satan twisting Scripture to his own ends... can anyone tell me what that one is?
posted by scaryblackdeath to Religion & Philosophy (7 answers total)
I think you mean Matthew 16:26. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
posted by bac at 10:35 PM on August 24, 2006

This was the first thing that came to mind.

And the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before Jehovah. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou consume the righteous with the wicked?...And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.

(I am DEFINITELY not a biblical scholar, btw.)
posted by timetoevolve at 10:39 PM on August 24, 2006

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." William Shakespeare, "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1 scene 3.

The common example is the second temptation of Jesus in the desert during the 40 days in the desert.

Matthew 4: 5-7:

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

A commentary by the Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards on the topic:

He links it to 2 Peter 3:16:

He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
posted by Jahaza at 10:53 PM on August 24, 2006

about saving the world not being worth the cost of one soul

The answer might be what you're remembering is not about 'saving' the world at the expense of one soul but possibly about:

Matthew as quoted above (gaining the world at the expense of one's own soul)

Or about the value of one lost soul relative to many already saved souls as in Luke 15:

3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
posted by scheptech at 11:30 PM on August 24, 2006

The strongest statement of this idea comes from Cardinal Newman, who wrote that the Church "holds it better for sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony .. than that one soul, I will not say should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one wilful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse".
posted by verstegan at 6:55 AM on August 25, 2006

Isn't there one that goes something along the lines of a person asking the Lord not to destroy a city, and then the Lord says something like "if there were one righteous person in the city, I would not destroy it?" I think the request is made 3 times, the first time asking about 100 righteous people, then ten, then one.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:20 PM on August 25, 2006

IndigoRain is talking about Lot requesting YHWH not to destroy Sodom, thinking that there surely would be at least one person besides himself (himself & fam being told to leave the city because it was about to be destroyed).

Just FYI, though, Satan is not the master of hell, nor has any authority over it. One cannot sell one's soul to Satan, because Satan doesn't have control over them. If anyone thinks they sold their soul to him, they've only been fooled into believing they're under contract, when there is no such contract. Even if Satan wanted to collect, he couldn't, because he has no control over them. Hell is a prison for Satan, he's not the warden. He's not even a prison gang leader.

I'm fairly well versed (pun intended) in Bible goings-on, and I honestly can't recall having heard of any other suggestion of saving the world not worth one soul (largely because the soul is not oft referenced), except in the variations already mentioned that are similar.
posted by vanoakenfold at 4:49 AM on August 26, 2006

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