It’s Federation Day!

SOLAR NEWS NETWORK HARD COPY EXTRACT 10.11.2161
IT’S FEDERATION DAY!
5 sign new UFP Constitution
SAN FRANCISCO, Earth (SNN) – Declaring it a landmark day in the history of each of their worlds, five envoys today breathed life into the fledgling United Federation of Planets with the signing of the new organization’s Constitution amid much pomp and circumstance.
“We are truly entering a brave new world of peace, exploration and security with the establishment of this Federation, declared Earth ambassador Thomas Vanderbilt, whose remarks were echoed by representatives from Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri.
“Following the end of your world’s war with the unseen Romulan enemy, such a union as we create here today is the most logical course of action any of our peoples can take,” added Ambassador T’Jan of Vulcan.
UESPA Maj. Gen. Georges E. Picard, an aide to Vanderbilt, noted afterward the irony of the conference – which met in exactly the same fashion as the founders of the Earth’s old United Nations, who came together only 215 years earlier in the same city in the aftermath of the horrors of another costly war.*
“What is occurring here today is one sign that some good can come of such a scourge,” Picard noted.
“We defy anyone, even the Romulans, to test our resolve now for collective security,” declared AmbassadorNatha Kell of Tellar, while Sarahd of Andor spoke of future greatness for the infant union and predicted rapid expansion. Ambassador Titus Oleet signed for the newly independent Centauri system.
Today’s events were but the ceremonial endgame for the often-tumultuous negotiations, which began in earnest after the defeat of hostile forces at Cheron effectively ended the Romulan War only a little more than ayear ago. Even today, some sources reported a later fracas involving the Tellarite Kell and Sarahd.
Although those taking part today waived off revealing many specific details, the five after signing immediately convened the first-ever meeting of the UFP Council long enough to elect Vanderbilt as president, with Sarahd as vice president.
Also, the Council sources unanimously voted to continue meeting in San Francisco, with an all-new building in the design stages near the historic old Presidio fort and Golden Gate Bridge. Council sources predicted at least three months would be needed before the fledgling UFP bureaucracy would be ready for business.
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Prometheus: More on the Faith of Elizabeth Shaw and Brief Musings on the Title

The Climax of the Movie


When I wrote about Elizabeth Shaw’s faith previously, I built a bit of tension around her conclusion on spiritual matters. The movie climaxes on her answer to David’s statement, “After everything, you still believe.” The climax isn’t on the spaceship, or the getaway, or the battle, or anything like that. The movie climaxes on Elizabeth’s statement of faith.


Which is nothing.

I mean, she actually says nothing.

Like, David comments on her faith and then there’s silence. And then the scene cuts.

So what does she believe in?

Let’s infer what her answer is. Her faith before the events of the movie was pretty flimsy. As far we know, she’s only a Christian because her dad casually mentioned that this is the faith they’ve chosen. So they don’t believe necessarily believe it because it’s true or satisfying or reasonable.They simply chose it. And a faith based purely on freedom of choice isn’t very compelling.

Now, Shaw has learned some very important bits about the beginning of our species. Very important bits which seem to directly deny the claims of Christianity.

These marble-like giants share our DNA pattern, so the Christian God apparently didn’t create us in the way described in the Bible. So how is her decision to continue to believe at all reasonable?

That’s what David was getting at. This is the question she didn’t answer. I’m going to give it a shot.

She still believes because she has to. The new facts about man’s beginnings may seem at first to indicate a source of human life other than the Christian God. This forces Elizabeth to question her view of this God she’s so casually followed all her life. The Christian God seemed to comfort her by reminding her of her father. Like, that seemed like maybe all He was doing for her; or all she would let Him do for her. And when an attribute of His threatened, she has to address it. She may have been fine being a casual Christian until the events of the movie forced her to confront the doubts about human origin.

If she could have just not known about the Engineers, she never would have had to take a position on human origin. But now that she knows, she has to say either, “Christianity does not make sense in light of the new knowledge of the Engineers,” or, “Christianity is true and just because the Engineers were apparently left out of my religion’s history doesn’t necessarily mean that the Christian God isn’t still the Creator of all things.”

In this story, David’s the one that loses his head to Goliath.

Elizabeth says something like the second thing. In fact, earlier in the movie, when her boyfriend cruelly chuckles at the effect the discovery of the Engineers would likely have on Elizabeth’s Christianity, she simply states that the Engineers didn’t spontaneouly create themselves. So something bigger had to make them. Perhaps that was God Himself.

She saw it coming

The robot’s fun function!

The discovery of the shared DNA with the Engineers didn’t shake Elizabeth’s faith. No, in fact, I think it confirmed it. Remember her character’s history. She has spent years, her entire professional life searching for this exact thing. When we first meet her she’s digging around caves, specifically looking for an unlikely connection between the primitive races of earth. So when she finds the connection and proves their shared source, she doesn’t really have to be surprised. And she’s not. Everyone else is surprised that she was right. And everyone else expects her to denounce her faith as if she hadn’t ever considered this before. She’s spent her whole life thinking about the beginnings of our race! Of course she’s considered what this discovery would mean for her Christianity. And she’s concluded that it does nothing. The Engineers may have been the source from which humans come from directly, but that doesn’t mean that God didn’t make us. Neither does it mean that we have to be the “Man” that God made. Maybe the giant white creatures are the original humans. Maybe we’re some kind of weaker, corrupted issue of the original humans.The point is, Elizabeth wasn’t shocked by her discovery. She devoted her life to proving it. And before the movie ever really began, she had found a way to continue to be a Christian without closing her eyes to evidence.

Testing her faith

The events of the movie didn’t stop her from being a Christian. They brought her into a deeper faith actually. This faith of her childhood wasn’t just needed to occasionally remind her of her dad anymore. It became a faith tested by doubt, tested by death, tested by isolation.

A faith tested is stronger than a faith assumed. Elizabeth Shaw’s faith survived the doubt. No problem, she was ready for it. Her faith was then tested by seeing multiple people die, including the man she loved. So she could have easily slumped into a “Why me God?” kind of position. And with the crew of the Prometheus all dead, she was all alone on the terrible planet. Again, here’s another chance for her to get pissed at God.

A faith that continues after being tested by doubt, death, and isolation isn’t a faith simply chosen, as her father described it. A faith like that is granted to the person.

And now this woman is left alone with the head of an android, man’s greatest technological achievement, to learn more about these other humans that her God mysteriously made.

Prometheus Unbound

So in this movie who was Prometheus and what was the fire?

In the story this movie gets its name from, Prometheus was a higher being – a god, on Mount Olympus with Zeus – who gave fire to the humans, earning hatred from Zeus, and providing man with the greatest and most dangerous power he ever possessed.

To identify the analogs in the movie, we have to isolate the exchange between a higher being and a lower being. We could guess that the Engineer at the beginning, who died to provide life for humans on earth, is a Prometheus-like figure. Or that the race of engineers generally are Prometheus and human life is the fire.

What about David? He’s a lower lifeform. He’s given life and speech and mobility by Weyland.

But he’s just a robot then. When Weyland died, David became free to do what he wanted. He entered a state much like man did in his early days, free to choose. His body just wasn’t connected to his head – which I’m sure will be repaired soon.

In David’s early stages of freedom, the first higher level creature he encounters is Elizabeth. And Elizabeth stoops down and subtly reveals her continued faith in God. Now, right there you have a higher being and a lower being and a gift that is capable of much power, both constructive and destructive.

Elizabeth is Prometheus! David is man. And faith in God is the fire.

For his gift of fire to the humans, Prometheus was bound to a rock, visited daily by an eagle who would feast on ever-regenerating liver. But he’s eventually freed. Zeus chained him up and Zeus’ recklessness freed him. Prometheus knows that Zeus’ son Hercules will cause his downfall and that will secure his own freedom.

Sadly the play which describes these events, Prometheus Unbound, is lost to us. Presumably Aeschylus had Hercules actually visit Prometheus in his prison, kill the eagle that had been tormenting him, and free him. Some scholars even guess at a reconciliation between Zeus and Promtheus. But we’ll likely never know for sure.

We can guess at how the events of the play may impact the plot of any future Prometheus movies from Ridley Scott. Perhaps the humans of earth, represented by Elizabeth Shaw, will reconcile with our long-lost brothers, the giant white aliens. Maybe David, the impossible child of both races, will serve as Hercules, freeing the humans from some future torment inflicted on humans by the engineers.

Or maybe Elizabeth will follow in Prometheus’ name and be bound by her genetic brothers, the Engineers. Perhaps only to be discovered years later…

***

Star Trek Voyager: Caretaker 1.01

Caretaker

Star Trek Voyager tells the story of a ship (and maybe a sci-fi franchise) getting lost and finding home in surprising places.

Newly installed as Captain, Kathryn Janeway (who must be named after Katherine Hepburn, right?) takes her ship Voyager to capture members of the Maquis, a rebel group unhappy with the Federation’s dealings with the Cardassian/Bajoran conflict. (Which is a confusing back story thing that’s explained in a crummy, Star Wars-style opening crawl and has little to do with events of the series.)

The rebels from the Maquis and the Starfleet officers on Voyager are both thrown suddenly into the Delta Quadrant, further than any Starfleet ship has gone before. These two crews will have to work together, as one crew, since the Maquis ship was severely damaged in the journey.

Together on one ship, the two enemies must unite first to discover how they arrived in the Delta Quadrant, and second to return home. The leaders of both crews, Janeway and Chakotay, form a truce and order their people to honor it.

They determine that they’ve traveled 70,000 light years by the work of a powerful alien satellite array called ‘Caretaker.’ They can use Caretaker to return home. There’s an ethical wrinkle: it’s discovered that it had been protecting a defenseless species called the Ocampa for all these years. The Ocampa had been forced underground by the thuggish Kazon. Without Caretaker, the Ocampa would not have access to any of the planet’s limited water supply and the Kazon could take it all. Ocampa extinction.

Voyager‘s crew finds that Caretaker is dying and so they must act fast. Janeway’s dilemma is pretty tough: use the Caretaker to get home or destroy it so the Kazon can’t use it to terrorize the Ocampa.

Janeway decides to destroy the Caretaker, trapping Voyager 75 years from home but protecting the Ocampa from being overpowered by the Kazon.

And thus begins the journey home…

*********

Voyager is a show that is openly maligned by many Trek fans. Fairly. There are some very weak years of this show. The ending is not only unsatisfactory, it’s offensive. Characters go for years saying little more than, “Aye, Captain.” The show had promise, as evidenced by Janeway’s fantastic speech above, but it quickly wasted it on weird stories, Seven of Nine overload, and no clear direction.

But the promise of this show was bright. I remember when it first aired, a year after Deep Space Nine. I loved it. It had a feel to it that Star Trek hadn’t had in years: it felt wild, rickety, and untamed. The old show had that feel too. Enterprise occasionally had this kind of old west mood. But TNG and DS9 definitely did not.

Voyager, on the fringe of Trek’s interior universe (the Delta Quadrant) and on the fringe of Trek’s exterior universe (UPN), there is the sense that anything could happen. The benefits of being the fourth-born (or fifth, if you count The Animated Series). This show could do good weird stuff like bring a Borg on board as a regular crewman, or go back in time to fight with Ed Begley Jr. The freedom given this show could also lead to bad weird stuff like turning Janeway and Paris into a lizard couple, or dully explaining the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, or pretty much  anything in the third season.

We’re here at the start though.

We start with a farewell to the Alpha Quadrant. All its comforts and all its dangers are summarily waved goodbye to as Star Trek the franchise leaves the political closeness of Deep Space Nine and the philosophical wanderings of Starfleet’s flagship Enterprise-D. With Voyager, the franchise returns to Kirk’s destination: “Out there.”

Voyager, ship and crew, are on their own. There are no starbases they can dock at, no subspace they can call home with, no shore leaves they can count on. And the world created by The Next Generation and explored for another seven years on Deep Space Nine is gone.

Spiritually though, Janeway leads her crew in maintaining the ethical standards of Starfleet. Her standards are tested right here as the mission to return home begins. She has a way home. But this way will endanger another group of people.

The right thing to do is obviously to inconvenience – even endanger – yourself so that those endangered will not be put in danger.

Picard or Kirk may have faced similar situations. Given the repercussions of this decision, it could almost be compared to a Kobayashi Maru scenario. Janeway and her crew won’t die…immediately. But they would be banished to the Delta Quadrant, likely never to return home. Unlike her predecessors, Janeway’s decision to do the right thing is not followed by a trick so that everybody gets what they want. There’s no last-minute fix so their warp engines kick in at just the right time.

They do the right thing and are stuck for it.

As the show goes on, they use plenty of quick fixes to get out of jams. That kind of Star Trek technobabble is very well represented on this show.

The repercussions of this first decision are not fixed by a quick ‘polarity reversal’ or a ‘rephasing of the tachyon emitter.’ The decision is made and they all have left is to deal with it.

The reaction of the crew is what I want to talk about. The crew is comprised of explorers (Starfleet) and freedom fighters (Maquis). Before being suddenly sent to the far side of the galaxy, both groups are ready for the rough life, away from home. They’ve signed on for it. None of them joined Starfleet or the Maquis to be comfortable or expecting to visit home frequently. Just like people today wouldn’t join the military or the mission field or Greenpeace to be comfortable or visit home a lot.

Once their situation becomes known and they set about the actual work of returning home, the crew’s main desire shifts from taking sides in the Cardassian/Bajoran conflict to daydreaming about the homestead.

********

The philosophies of our species roughly correspond to the missions of each Star Trek series. Believe it or not. Real quick:

Explore this world – Star Trek

Examine it – Next Generation

Manage it – Deep Space Nine

Go back to where we started, see what went wrong – Voyager

In the days of our ancestors, whose thoughts have all dried up, spreading out was the goal. Leaving this place because the next might have more food. As God put it, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it… I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Exploration of the whole earth was expected.

The world that the great philosophers of Ancient Greece inherited wasn’t offering the same kind of politically free exploration as their forefathers in the Garden of Eden enjoyed. This world was limited by the complicated dealings with other people and nations. This world needed taming, as the phase of The Next Generation also served to tame and refine the galaxy they were exploring.

I imagine every nation reaches a point where looking at itself and examining itself no longer keeps its people existentially fed. And so the nation decays; its strings can be seen and its people and neighbors are tired. And so the job of managing comes to the front. Keep the bad guys out, sort out the differences between those two groups, keep the peace, hope you don’t get fired. That’s what Deep Space Nine broadly represents. Management replaces examination which replaces exploration.

We come now to the phase of thought that Voyager reflects. This is the Renaissance. Things are working, but they’re also not working. The people are being fed; the politics are being managed; the wars aren’t happening as frequently. And nobody seems to care about the beauty of this world. Who does care? The people of the past cared. Just as the people of the Renaissance looked back to the ancients for guidance in seeing the beauty of the world, so did Voyager find its place by looking back.

Just with less style.

The crew wanted management. They were pursuing the political dissidents of the day. They got exploration instead. And they found their feet again. By spending years away from their known world, they reclaimed the wonder of exploration.

To go out, you must come back in. The passion to return home is what opened the eyes of the crew of Voyager. The desire to see the familiar in a world unrelentingly alien awakened the true heart of the explorer: Not only to boldly go where no one has gone before, but to bring something back to share.

“And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant we’ll continue to follow our directive: to seek out new worlds and to explore space…But the primary goal is clear…Somewhere along this journey, we’ll find a way back.

What Else I’m Reading – Adam Strange

Showcase 17, 1958

Earth archaeologist Adam Strange is busily raiding an ancient South American site when he’s put on the run by some locals who don’t like the idea of a white man taking the treasures of their ancestors. He encounters a chasm, too far to jump across. With the natives on his tail, he has no other choice but to try the leap…

Instead of the jungle, he lands on an amazing alien world called Rann where he meets a lovely young woman.

Here’s a quick summary of what brought Adam to the planet Rann, 25 trillion light years from earth:

Adam Strange finds himself on a world well beyond anything he ever imagined. This man spent his life seeking other worlds, just out of reach of own. Digging in the dirt for evidence of other worlds that sat right where our dull old world sits now, this archaeologist’s most thrilling discovery was that we were the ones being examined by scientists far above our field of vision. As the life of the Incas or the Etruscans or the ancient Egyptians was just out of Adam’s grasp, so was our life just out of the grasp of the people of Rann.

Enter the Zeta-Beam.

Like the Jews in the wilderness, Adam was guided to his new home by a pillar of fire in the sky.

This other, scientifically superior world summoned Adam, inviting him to join in their strange adventures.

And so Mr Strange finds himself on another world, his own Oz, Wonderland, Narnia, whatever you want to call it. But unlike Dorothy in Oz (at least the first book and the movies), and not unlike the Pevensie children in Narnia – in the midst of the magic, Adam has also found his home on Rann.

His old life doesn’t interest him; “There’s no place like Rann,” you can almost hear him say. His thematic predecessor, John Carter, was not satisfied with the world of magic and saw the old life as his home. Adam has discovered and cherishes the tension between the world beyond and homestead. It would be as if Ulysses had rejected Ithaca and contented himself on some island filled with monsters.

How can Adam and the Pevensies of Narnia be content? Why don’t they want to go home?

Christians sometimes talk about ‘mountaintop moments.’  These are times when we’re feeling the presence of God especially strongly. Usually during times of worship or prayer or reading scriptures. The problem with mountaintop moments is that we must descend. We have to go back to the ‘real world’ with all of its non-God elements. Adam found love on Rann, so he wanted to stay. But his love for Alanna reflects the mountaintop moment. The cares of earth life fade away not because he’s found adventure – that’s never enough. He’s happy to stay because he’s found a person he wants to stay with.

That’s the same reason the Narnia kids want to stay. They love the adventure, but they love Aslan more. That’s why Christians don’t want to leave the mountain. Sure, the ‘magic’ is exciting. But spending time with Jesus is better; he’s the reason we want to leave.

Adam’s first adventure on Rann is a summary of all to come. He discovers a Brigadoon type city. It’s here just for a moment, then fades away, back to the mist. The city, with the fearfully wrought name Samakand, returns every 20 or 100 years or something. Just like Adam, doomed to leave Rann regularly.

The Zeta beam fills Adam with radiation, which sends him to Rann. When this radiation dissipates, he fades away back to earth. With the help of Alanna’s father, who invented the Zeta beam, Adam can anticipate the next place it will strike on earth. He has to wait though. That’s why every Adam Strange story ends with a scene like this:

Star Trek : The Next Generation – Encounter at Farpoint 1.01

Encounter at Farpoint

Picard begins his captaincy of the new Enterprise. First task: solve the mystery of Farpoint Station. The crew is fully assembled for the first time, as Riker, Dr Crusher, and Wesley join the ship. And Q makes his first appearance, holding court against mankind with Picard as its representative.




Q’s First Charge

Simply appearing on the bridge, Q disrupts the Enterprise’s mission and eventually makes his charges against them clear:

Q:But you can’t deny, Captain, that you are still a dangerous, savage child race.
Picard:Most certainly, I deny it. I agree we still were, when Humans wore costumes like that 400 years ago.
Q:At which time you slaughtered millions in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world. And 400 years before that, you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal god images. Since then, there has been no indication that Humans will ever change.

Picard truly believes humans have evolved past human brokenness. Sin is no longer a problem in his eyes. Not only do I disagree with Picard based on my Christian beliefs, I also would argue that he’s wrong based on the actions of other humans in his own time period. The crew of the Enterprise gets along with each other for the most part, and they pursue knowledge and peace. But what are humans up to outside the Enterprise? And are things always so perfect, even on the Enterprise?

Supporting Q’s First Charge

If you peak at the next episode, ‘The Naked Now,’ you’ll see the basic desires of the new crew exposed. Infected by an inhibition-killing virus, the crew reveals what’s underneath their prim 24th century perfection. Wanton sex, despair, and jealousies are quickly unveiled. None of those may be enough to condemn the crew in their own courts. But in Q’s court, which looks deeper and acknowledges motivations, they would be found guilty on the spot.

Why do people kill other people? Why are wars started? Do wanton sex, despair, and jealousy have anything to do with it? Oh yeah! Find a war – even any of the supposed religiously motivated wars – and look at the source of the conflict. You’ll find someone sleeping with the wrong person or wanting the land that belongs to the other guy or some other jealousy that exploded into full-blown war.

Throughout the series, little jealousies are revealed. Little problems that don’t generally cause major conflicts, but are made of the same stuff that major conflicts are.

Geordi unintentionally mocked the integrity of a woman he’s never even met by basing a holodeck character on her. His inappropriate behavior stirs reasonable anger in the woman.

Barclay is a bundle of nerves, humiliating his coworkers and captain by creating a holodeck simulation in which they all appear fools. He does this because he misinterprets their orders in a work situation as judgments on his person. Does that seem like a reaction from someone within a race that is supposedly perfect? If Barclay is moved to have sexual fantasies of his coworker, and mocks his boss in private, what might the non-Starfleet population of the time be up to? Without the ordered lifestyle, wouldn’t tools like holodecks be used for even more devious puposes?

That's not very nice either. Understandable, just not very nice.

In Deep Space Nine, Commander Sisko harbors resentment for Picard, for the deaths he committed while he was unwittingly working for the Borg. Where does resentment fit in with 24th century evolutionary perfection?

The most glaring example of the failure of Picard’s theory is the classic Voyager episode ‘Equinox.’ It is discovered that another federation starship was carried into the Delta Quadrant by the same alien force that transplanted Voyager. This other ship, filled with Starfleet officers, has been killing aliens to gain speed on their journey home.

Disregarding any violation of God’s law the crew of the Equinox is at least in violation of their own law. According to the Bible, every person will have to answer for their violations against God’s law, even the people who didn’t believe in him. But just imagine every person is subject only to their own standards. Picard and the Equinox and everyone else is guilty in that sense. They can’t even manage to follow their own basic laws, let alone God’s!

Q’s Second Charge

Q’s initial claim that humans are a savage race seems proven. Even if we accept Picard’s defense, that humans have progressed beyond war, Q’s next charge cannot be denied:

Q: “And later, on finally reaching deep space, Humans found enemies to fight out there, too. And to broaden those struggles, you again found allies for still more murdering! The same old story all over again!

Supporting Q’s Second Charge

It’s true isn’t it? Hasn’t the search-and-discover mission of Star Trek usually been sidetracked by the fight-and-destroy aspect? Don’t get me wrong – I love a good Star Trek space battle. But it’s a little sideways isn’t it? Fighting Klingons and Romulans and Ferengi and Andorians until they eventually join the Federation looks a lot more Roman than United Federation of Planets.

I’ve always scratched my head at the philosophy behind Star Trek. It’s the future and everyone gets along. Okay. So what are the stories about? Every episode they encounter some mean alien. So everyone doesn’t get along then?

Just the humans get along with each other, the aliens are the ones that are jerks.

Convenient.

Picard’s Defense

And what is Picard’s answer to the two charges against his race? It’s so backwards, it’s laughable.

Picard: “No, the same old story is the one we’re meeting now. Self-rightous life-forms who are eager, not to learn-but to prosecute to judge anything they don’t understand or can’t tolerate.

When I rewatched this recently, I was actually confused.

I wondered, “Why is Picard condemning himself like this? He’s just emphasizing Q’s charges by admitting that he’s self-righteous, and eager to prosecute.” It took me a second to realize that he was making those claims not against himself, but against Q.

Think about those words applied to Picard though. It fits. It is the same old story. It’s just the next generation of the same old story. Self-righteous humans eager to dominate the galaxy with their version of goodness, their version of respect, their version of honor and dignity and peace.

Picard smugly asserts that his race was barbaric (in those centuries past, including the one in which this story was filmed), but has since reformed.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Picard. He’s one of my favorite ever characters. His attitude in this first episode is intolerable though.

Isn’t avoiding judgment for past wrongs exactly self-righteous? Picard’s species is guilty of committing horrible crimes – and continues to commit more of the same kind of crimes. Instead of accepting judgment, he demands that the judge is out of order.

Judgment

If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.” – Picard

Couldn’t have said it better, Captain.

We, the human race, are found guilty.

Sentence

It seems unfair perhaps for Picard to take the burden for the sins of his species? If it meant the survival of the human race, I could see him taking the punishment. People are supposed to be good in the 24th century, so I could see Picard dying for good people. Very rarely would one die for a righteous person, but it’s possible.

But if Q is right, and people are bad, then Picard would never die for bad people, would he? His love for the human race seems based on its ability to improve itself. If we didn’t have that ability, Picard might not be interested.

How great would his love be if he did die for the human race when they were still barbarians though? It wouldn’t make sense, but it would demonstrate that Picard really did love humans, not just their accomplishments.

Former Christian-killer Paul wrote to the Romans, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even though we are unable to improve ourselves in any deep way, God loves us. Even though we can’t change our standing before the, God intervened and removed the punishment for us, by taking it himself.

In this Star Trek we have a picture of a pernicious, bored, and limited judge. He is judging an arrogant representative of a continually failing race. If Picard is found guilty, he probably deserves it. If he’s found innocent, that’s just as well because the judge doesn’t really have authority to judge him anyway.

Compare this show to the real situation, with God the creator as judge. Here is the creator of the universe and everything in it judging the part of creation that he gave the most to. He gave us sentience and wit and his own image. And we willfully ignore and even mock him. Even the people that claim to know him ignore him. Imagine saying to him, “This is the same old story. Self-righteous judges, eager to condemn.”

We have no place to say that. Because, unlike Q, God is righteous. And we are not. And we’re living in his universe.

Just as the judge is about to pass sentence, his very own son jumps in and shouts, “His sentence was already carried out! On the cross! I loved him while he was still trying to start wars and while he was still fantasizing about Deanna Troi, like Lieutenant Barclay did before him.”

Instead of having to prove our goodness by doing good works, like Picard had to relieve the Farpoint alien to impress Q, we have only to acknowledge Jesus to step between us and our deserved judgment.

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Next week on

Geeks of Christ

Trek Tuesday

Deep Space Nine : Emissary