As Christian Writers, we all have a desire to infuse something of God into our writing. Whether it is a clear gospel message or something more subtle. Even if we are writing for a general audience we would desire that God would work through us, and that there would be something of him in our work, that he might speak through it.
The interesting thing is that God can speak through anything. We can find nuggets of his truth in all sorts of writing, even when the author didn’t intend it. Creators such as Geek Devotions specialise in finding parallels and contrasts of a Biblical nature in popular entertainment such as movies, video games and comic books.
A few weeks back, I was watching an episode of Star Trek Discovery, and something jumped out at me. Allow me to set to the scene for those who are less nerdy than me.
It’s an important diplomatic meeting between the representatives of two superpowers. Admiral Vance represents the United Federation of Planets. While something of a shadow of their former glory, the Federation represents peaceful cooperation, compassion, and scientific advancement.
One the other side of the table, we have Osyraa, leader of the Emerald Chain. Officially, a mercantile exchange. In reality, it’s a vast gang of thugs who use bullying, intimidation and slavery to rule over lesser races.
Both nations are suffering from the shortage of dilithium, a catalyst that makes warp speed travel through space possible. With their supply rapidly running out, the Emerald Chain are going to face a disastrous collapse. If they want to continue to exist, they need to make a significant change.
Osyraa has approached Admiral Vance with a surprising offer. The Emerald Chain will ban slavery. They will turn away from their intimidating ways and will slowly release worlds from their grasp. In return, they will ally with the Federation and be recognised as a legitimate nation. It seems too good to be true. But it is. OIsyraa is making a genuine effort to change her ways here.
Admiral Vance is excited by the prospect. Together they could be the architects of peace. But there’s a problem. Osyraa’s past crimes. She can’t be the figurehead of this new alliance. She needs to be put on trial, by her successor.
Osyraa is taken aback. “You’re staring at the past. I just drew you a real map to the future,” she says. She has a point. If they can forget the past, they could move into a real peace.
“The past is the only light with which we can see the future,” Vance says. The Federation has been through hard times of its own in recent years. Hard times that have threatened to cloud their moral judgement. A moral code that Vance fights for every day, and asks his people to lay down their lives for. He can’t ignore Osyaa’s sins, as much as he desperately wants to. Because the Federation is a just society.
This struck me as an interesting parallel to our relationship with Jesus. We too have a past. We have a legacy of sin we can’t escape from. God loves us desperately, and wants to have a right relationship with us. But he can’t just ignore our past sin. He is a just God. And that justice demands those sins be made right.
But the real story goes further than this episode of Star Trek. Imagine if Admiral Vance stepped forward, looked into Osyraa’s burning eyes and said, “We’ll put me on trial for your crimes. I will go to prison in your place, so that justice can be served.” That, of course, is what God did for us.
I’m in no way trying to suggest that the episode’s writer, Kenneth Lin, intended this parallel. (Although it’s possible. I don’t know him.) But I enjoy looking for deeper spiritual themes in my entertainment.
What about you? Do you look for these kinds of insights? What other examples of spiritual truths have you seen shadowed in stories?
Star Trek Discovery: “There is a Tide” was written by Kenneth Lin and is available in Australia exclusively on Netflix.
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