Or so that is how the anti-dualists or the opponents of otherworldiness (hint, the neo-Calvinists) would have us read Calvin on Christ’s own stupendous words from Mark 8:
If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35For whosoever would save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s shall save it. 36For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 37For what should a man give in exchange for his life?
Christ reminds them that the soul of man was not created merely to enjoy the world for a few days, but to obtain at length its immortality in heaven. What carelessness and what brutal stupidity is this, that men are so strongly attached to the world, and so much occupied with its affairs, as not to consider why they were born, and that God gave them an immortal soul, in order that, when the course of the earthly life was finished, they might live eternally in heaven! And, indeed, it is universally acknowledged, that the soul is of higher value than all the riches and enjoyments of the world; but yet men are so blinded by carnal views, that they knowingly and willfully abandon their souls to destruction. That the world may not fascinate us by its allurements, let us remember the surpassing worth of our soul; for if this be seriously considered, it will easily dispel the vain imaginations of earthly happiness.
Heck, I like world as much as the next sinning saint. But for some reason I always sensed that turning this world into the place where salvation is realized didn’t make sense — too much pain, misery, and death. Must have been my fundamentalist upbringing.