One of my favorite books as a junior high-schooler was The Gospel According to Peanuts by Robert Short, and though I think he’s gone way off the deep end in his universalist beliefs, he did a great job of using Charles Schulz’s immortal characters to illuminate everlasting Scripture for my young mind.
Most of my other favorite junior high reads had Star Trek in the title.
So it’s no real surprise that from time to time I find a nugget of universal truth buried in the interstellar quagmire of rampant humanism that is Trek.
One instance popped into my mind today as I read Greg Taylor’s blog review of Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialog by Edward Fudge and Robert A. Peterson. Though I haven’t read the work, Greg’s review is so comprehensive that you feel you’ve got the major gist by the time you’ve read it! (And he cites Seinfeld, which is almost always a good thing.)
What came to mind as I read it was a scene from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, where Admiral Kirk is trying to wrangle permission from his commander, Admiral Morrow, to return to the newly-created Genesis planet to retrieve Spock’s body (and hopefully his katra, or soul) at his father’s request.
(Okay, if you don’t follow Trek, this is probably already too bizarre for you to pursue.)
Morrow shakes his head, “Honestly, I never understood Vulcan mysticism …”
But Kirk sees through his reluctance: “You don’t have to believe,” he interrupts. “I’m not even sure that I believe.”
The nugget of truth?
Not understanding something is often our excuse for not believing it.
The trouble is, if we wait until we understand everything eternal in this life … we’ll never believe.
Whether it’s the theodicy of tsunamis, fatal car accidents, everlasting punishment, or some mystic process by which life can be returned to a lifeless body, we’re not likely to grasp it as a prerequisite to believing.
It’s not that God doesn’t want us to reach, and wonder, and ask – just as Job did; as Fudge and Peterson and all the rest of us do. Quite the opposite!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) | “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (I Chronicles 16:11; Psalm 105:4)