Star Trek: The Search for Spok

The Gospel according to Star Trek: The Search for Spok

The third film of the Star Trek franchise, ‘The Search for Spock,’ is the second part of a trilogy, which seeks to postulate an answer to the eternal question, ‘is there life after death?’

At the close of ‘The Wrath of Kahn,’ Spock saved the crew of the Enterprise by sacrificing his own life. Those who saw the film on its first release no doubt remember the universal shock of this much loved character being written out of the script. It was unthinkable that Spock should die! Such feelings are not reserved purely for the big screen either.

I still remember vividly hearing of the death of my dear uncle, who I looked up to and as a child could never imagine him ever leaving me. He was always the one constant in my life and I couldn’t understand how it was possible. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking such things. It was at that time I seriously began asking the question what happens after death? Is there any hope of an afterlife?

The Search for Spock was not therefore an idle story line but one that sought to address a primal desire for meaning. In the film it is revealed that prior to his death, Spock had caused his Spirit to pass into Doctor McCoy, causing him to have flashbacks into Spock’s life experiences. Meanwhile, his body had been jettisoned into space to land on the planet being created by the Genesis probe. There his body was reborn and began to grow into adulthood, but without any knowledge of his previous existence. The filmmakers are saying humans have both a spirit and a body, with the spirit being our essential personality and life experience and the body the vehicle that enables us to engage with the world around us. Furthermore they propose that when we die there is a separation of that body and spirit, with the spirit living on. In the case of Spock, he chose to pass his spirit onto McCoy for safekeeping. At the conclusion of the film, Spock’s rejuvenated body is reunited with his spirit and he is said to be alive once more – resurrected. The bible endorses the view that we are both body and spirit and that when we die, we can entrust our spirits to God. I’m reminded of Jesus’ words on the cross, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ If we do likewise, putting our trust in God’s power to save us, then he promises to keep our spirits safe in heaven until our new bodies are ready.

The bible says that our new resurrected bodies will never grow old or wear out but will live forever. This is explained in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 35-54, where it states ‘the body that is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.’ We also get a glimpse in the resurrected body of Jesus! When the day of the Lord comes, our new bodies will be raised up and we will be united with our spirits. We will be able to recognise one another and enjoy life with God in all its fullness even more than before – and our joy will never be taken away again.

To me it is a great comfort to believe that there is more to life than what we see now and that God doesn’t buy into a ‘throw away culture.’ We are precious and loved by him and he will restore us and make the world right again. We celebrate this glorious hope at Easter and so we keep our faith alive by looking to Jesus and believing in God’s promise that whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB