Bringing the Text to Life

The Upside of Death Mark 8:31-38

The Upside of Death

From the suicides of white blood cells to the crucifixion of Jesus, death has a surprising way of supporting new life.

Death is a part of life. In fact, we wouldn’t be alive without it.

Cells are dying all the time in our bodies. And these are not random deaths — they are programmed deaths for our own good.

Look at your hand. It has five fingers because the cells that used to live between them died way back when you were an embryo. Embryos as small as eight to 16 cells in size depend on cell death — if it did not occur, our human development would go off course. You might say that if it were not for death, we would not even be born.

Cell death is what keeps us from being overrun with cancer. Natural surveillance systems — such as the one involving the p53 protein, nicknamed “the guardian of the genome” — detect almost all cancerous mutations and direct the affected cells to commit suicide.

These cancer cells die so that we might live.

In addition, programmed cell death causes a constant turnover of cells in the gut lining, and it generates our skin’s...

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