This phrase is echoed throughout book two.
It is little changed of course from Shakespeare’s Feeble
“By my troth, I care not. A man can die but once. We owe God a death.” in Henry IV, part 2.
It suggests a certain stalwart fortitude which is seemly before the battle that Feeble expects in the morning, going on to say that a death on the morrow should get him good accommodations in the next world.
I mean something different.
We human beings have this being from outside this world, outside this cosmos. We are created things, not randomly spliced together. If we are merely random then our deaths and lives are meaningless and you would not be bothered to read these words, the inconstant jottings of an error-prone mind, itself a mistake of nature.
We are created things. Created for a purpose, just like the computer entities Edie and Cain. We have rented these lives, only to relinquish them in time to the Landlord and give an accounting of our tenancy.
It is in the leaving of the rental property of our lives that accountings are made. The Landlord is forgiving, fortunately. He loved us enough to create us. But death is still a leave-taking and our debt is still to the one who owns the digs we have put our feet up in for a lifetime.