Friday, May 8, 2009

Trekkery and Over-Realized Eschatology

So, tonight the new Star Trek movie comes out. I'm excited to see it, I've been a S.T. fan for many years. I know this is amazing to many of you, that I was actually a geek for a long time. I was into Star Trek, Star Wars, . . .pretty much anything sci-fi. Ok, maybe I still am. . . . .

Why has Star Trek lasted so long? What started as a 3 year run on T.V. in the 60's (and fans had to phone in and beg for the 3rd season to happen) has become a 40 year phenomenon.

There are great characters, to be sure, and a few good stories (some, not so good :) ). But, the reason Star Trek has lasted is because Gene Roddenberry, the creator, had a vision for a kind of futurist utopia. He envisioned a post-racial, post-national, post-religious, post-combustion engine :) world. He has always tried to appeal to the universal human desire for peace and a better future by the breaking down of all of these walls.

We're escaping into that dream with him, basically.

Gene Roddenberry has basically taken "Imagine" by John Lennon and put that whole song on the screen for 40 years. From Kirk's interracial kiss of Uhura (totally scandalous in the 60's), to our world becoming a part of the collective "United Federation of Planets", to warp-drive, to actually flying the Enterprise all the way to "god" (star trek 5), he's almost gone line by line from that song. ("Imagine there's no heaven. . . .no religion too,. . . Imagine there's no countries. . . the world will live as one").

This kind of philosophy actually has a theological term. . . It's an "over-realized eschatology". Eschatology is the study of "last things". Roddenberry (and he's not the only one) has basically tried to make "heaven come to earth" and realize, through story, what that would be like.

There's a problem here. . . . . God never promised that we would get to a point where all of the world's problems would go away, and all divisions would vanish, . . and we'd all hop in the Enterprise and go kill the Klingons. (ironic that even Star Trek has become more and more violent over the years as it realizes a "post-war" future)

To be sure, we should fight for equality, seek justice, and work to break down barriers here on earth. That's our life's work as Christians. But, the fullnes of God's Kingdom isn't coming until That Day when Jesus reigns over all peoples and sets everything right (Rev. 22).

There's a balance between the "already" and "not yet" of God's Kingdom on earth. We're working in the power of the "already" after Jesus' victory on the Cross, and hoping for the "not yet" to come quickly,. . . Maranatha.

So, go enjoy Star Trek, I hear it's a great flick. And, enjoy the great characters drawn with large strokes from our different, human, personality types. Just know that we're not getting to a place of Intergalactic peace by dreaming about space and hoping for the best inside of us. We're human, we will ALWAYS mess it up.

But, one day, all will be made right, and the Children of God will sing together, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb who was slain. "


back to the Nerd-Cave. . . . .


BMer916 said...

when are you going to see it? i think i'm ready to go.

Trevor said...

rThe movie is a great popcorn action movie. Don't know if there is a ton of deap meaning.

I think you are right about Rodenberry and the Utopia. I think Star Trek was also either created or at least treated like Twilight Zone. That is, a fantastical world that can speak to the issues of the day. So, that is one reason why I think you saw the war stories. It is/was what was going on.