Living with a Spirit — Beyond: Two Souls (Part 2)

Following PART 1 of this study on Beyond: Two Souls, the contrast between Aiden and the Holy Spirit continues…

The Issue of MOTIVE

From watching footage of the game before its release, I have always felt particularly intrigued by “The Party”, a chapter where Jodie takes a break from her confined lifestyle and joins a group of teenagers in a birthday celebration. It is amusing to see how hard she tries to fit in — either by drinking beer, smoking marijuana, or dancing intimately with a boy — but at the end of the day, the condition of interdimensional attachment creates a chasm that impairs their acquaintance.

One thing leads to another, and eventually Jodie is utterly ostracised and thrown into a cupboard under the stairs. Once she escapes with the help of Aiden, however, an option of revenge is available. So I take it on with glee, ready to show those bullies the consequences of messing with the supernatural. I cannot wait to use Aiden and methodically destroy the party.

Sitting in a tree? Soon, branches shall break.

Sitting in a tree? Soon, branches shall break.

The cake is the first thing to be blasted, upsetting the birthday girl, though she assumes that her friend is at fault. Rattling the furniture gets them to realise that something is definitely wrong. Before long, chairs and tables are flipped over; people are hit and crushed. They attempt to escape, only to discover that the doors and windows won’t budge. The hostile makeover continues as lights shatter and decorations crumble. At this point, Jodie yells for Aiden to stop, stating that the kids have had enough.

But have they? This decision falls to Aiden (or the player who enables him in wreaking havoc). It dawns on me that no matter what Jodie thinks, the entity that lives with her is not a slave, but an individual with his own will.

Despite being invisible, Aiden’s intentions are rarely transparent. Sometimes he assists Jodie, other times he disrupts her; sometimes he is there to guide, other times to trick. This ambiguity is evident throughout the entire story. The one sure thing is that Aiden does what Aiden wants. He has no other purpose than to be motivated by his own desires. And in this scene, it culminates with a burning house.

Like Jodie, Christians don’t act as masters in the spiritual relationship; we aren’t here to give orders. However, there is a clear and consistent purpose of the Holy Spirit’s presence. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,” said Jesus. “He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”1 Strictly speaking, what the Holy Spirit wants is always in tune with what Christ wants.

This serves as an anchor to the Spirit’s behaviour; his sole motivation to aid us in living within God’s will, just as Jesus received from him the counsel and power required to fulfill the plans of the Heavenly Father. Thus, the Spirit is an indispensable partner in the effort to become Christlike, and we can always trust that he is on our side: “The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”2

The Issue of RELATIONS

Some problems in our lives can be compartmentalised when we have the luxury of forcing a cap on them. The affliction may be one of relational difficulty, bad failure, or physical limitation — as long as there is room to adjust and adapt, the impact that it has on other areas of life can be minimised. Little outbursts may erupt once in a while at the seams, but for the most part, we cope and life goes on.

Aiden is not so easily contained. Worse yet, he doesn’t exactly operate like a respectable roommate who honours Jodie’s personal space. This is especially true regarding her relationships.

A prime example is seen during “The Dinner”, as Jodie is invited to an evening date by a colleague named Ryan…except that she never got the invitation because Aiden thwarted the plan by breaking her computer. Jodie apologises on the phone and asks Ryan to meet at her new apartment instead, to which he agrees. Upon hanging up, she reprimands Aiden for his manipulation.

Jodie proceeds to prepare for the occasion, but Aiden counters her every step by throwing chairs onto the dining table, opening drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, ringing the doorbell at random, and writing on the bathroom mirror: You don’t need him, you have me. The jealous Aiden encroaches on Jodie and tries to prevent the date from happening.

Should Aiden continue to ruin the dinner after Ryan’s arrival, the evening will come to an abrupt end. Prior to leaving, Ryan will express to Jodie, “Aiden is very possessive. I think you’ve gotta work it out with him.”

The Holy Spirit also cares a lot about the relationships in a person’s life. Yet with verses such as “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord,”3 it is clear that God delights in providing a suitable spouse for people who may be seeking. His Spirit wants to bring people together, not to cause separation. In fact, there is an inherent rapport among Christians that is beyond any earthly romance or association.

People with the Holy Spirit have a special bond within this commonality. An encouragement goes: “Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”4 The Spirit brings reconciliation and builds relationship between those belonging to the family of Christ. Therefore, it is usual to hear Christians refer to one another as brothers and sisters, since we are all God’s children.

And this leads to a most important influence, that the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is tantamount to accepting the privilege of becoming God’s beloved sons and daughters. “You have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.”5 Amazingly, the indwelling of the Spirit acts as living proof for not only the harmony that is established with others, but also for the peace that is reconciled with God — peace enough for him to settle an everlasting residence within us.

* * * * * * * * * *     * * * * * * * * * *

Living with a spirit is a truly impacting experience that rests on clear, relational understanding. To really know someone, there has got to be a personal aspect in the relationship. While the world may choose the paths of scientific analysis or mystical exploration, God has made plain his method for us in the revelation of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is unique in the potential effect he has on us — different to Aiden and even other entities documented throughout history. He is also keen to be an active part of our lives. So the invitation is out, and all that is left is for us to prepare room in our hearts. If we let him stay, he will surely have a wonderful place for us when our bodies cannot house our own selves anymore. God is, after all, as good as his Word.

————————————————–

  1. John 16:13-14 (NIV).
  2. Romans 8:26-27 (NLT).
  3. Proverbs 19:14 (NIV).
  4. Ephesians 4:3-4 (NLT).
  5. Romans 8:15 (NLT).

About Ayk Iano

Ayk takes things very seriously, especially fun. Videogames allow him to channel his fervency into a medium that delivers on a wide spectrum of joy — from artistic integrity, narrative engagement, and philosophical scrutiny…to button mashing, number popping, and trophy hunting. He has a lighthearted wife who accompanies him on this journey.
  • Pingback: Living with a Spirit — Beyond: Two Souls (Part 1) | Theology Gaming()

  • Now I’m really wondering: do you think it’s possible for somebody to effectively write and direct a game like Beyond where it’s actually expressing the fascinating nuances of relationship between a disciple and the Holy Spirit? I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t something I’ve thought about for a long time…

    • Ayk Iano

      Of course it’s possible, but will it happen? That’s up to Christians creators. We hear of Christian musicians, Christian filmmakers, but hardly any Christian game developers. I want to be part of this, but I don’t really know how.