Spock died. That is, Leonard Nimoy passed away. Devoted fans of Star Trek sometimes have trouble separating the man from the myth, or the pop-culture icon.
In fact, Nimoy’s autobiography was titled I Am Not Spock. But fans were so unhappy that he subsequently published another book titled I Am Spock.
It’s no surprise that Spock leaves such a big footprint on our generation. He portrayed the character of an intelligent, thoughtful, courageous and sacrificial man. Even his one apparent fault, a lack of emotion, was mitigated by the fact that he chose to live with those who thrive on emotions (After all, he was half-human. . . .).
Spock leaves behind some well-known sayings. “Live long and prosper” (Can you make the Vulcan “V” with your fingers?) “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” or of the one.
That last statement is speaking about sacrifice. A few, or one, should be willing to make great personal sacrifice when necessary in order to benefit the many. And in one of the Star Trek movies, Spock does just that, selflessly giving up his life in order to save his friends.
Then with a great Hollywood twist, Spock is resurrected from the dead. Alive again and reunited with his friends (and able to continue making more movies!).
These themes should be familiar to many of us, not merely because we grew up watching Star Trek, but because we have read our Bibles. That’s right, our Bibles.
The Bible includes the record of the greatest one-for-many sacrifice ever made. In an upper room in Jerusalem during the Passover Feast almost 2,000 years ago Jesus spoke these words: This is my blood of the covenant, poured out for many” (Mark 14:24).
Later that night he surrendered himself to his enemies. They executed him on a Roman Cross. After giving sight to the blind, casting out demons and feeding the hungry, it turns out that his death was his mission. He came to give his life as a ransom for many.
Then they laid Jesus’ broken body in a tomb, thinking that his story was finished. But on the third day that tomb was empty. Death lost its grip on Jesus.
Is Hollywood borrowing material from God?
Now I know that Star Trek presents a utopian view of humanity’s future. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, envisioned a future when human effort has wiped out war, poverty, racism and all the other evils entangling our race now.
More than that, Star Trek finds its setting in a universe where life evolved on many different planets. All of this seems so secular that any comparison with the Bible and Christianity would be absurd.
But then there is Spock. Yes, he is the ultimate scientist. But surprisingly, he has a spiritual side. Maybe Spock is a reminder that science is not enough. Spirit cannot be denied.
The Bible assures us that God is Lord of the heavens and the earth, Maker of the visible and the invisible. He penned the laws that regulate matter and time and energy. He also revealed the truth that governs morals and ethics and worship. He gives the words that bring eternal life.
Why does a fictional character like Spock resonate with such power in our culture? Maybe because he points to more than secular scientific data. He reminds us that we are spiritual beings after all, searching for ultimate truth.
We live in the great age of science, but secular science has not erased our deep yearning for something more, something metaphysical. That something more has been revealed and awaits our discovery. God promises that if we seek him with
all our hearts, we will find him.
Richard Foster, Grace Baptist, March 2015