Star Trek: The Voyage Home

The Gospel According to Star Trek: The Voyage Home

In ‘the Search for Spock’ we posed the question ‘is there life after death?’ We saw the scriptwriters endorse the biblical teaching of an eternal spirit and a physical rebirth. But what will that life be like? If we are suffering now, can we be sure our new life will be any better? Will there be animals and birds, mountains and rivers? Will there be an end to suffering? This is the concern of the final part of our Star Trek trilogy, ‘The Voyage Home,’ and not surprisingly it has an environmental theme, though the real message is that of Restoration.

The film opens with a mysterious probe approaching the earth, emitting a powerful signal that cuts all power and creates climactic storms that cause widespread destruction. Unless an appropriate response is given the world will be destroyed. The crew of the Enterprise, returning to Earth to face trial, encounter the probe. Spock realises the probe’s signal matches that of the humpback whale, which in the 23rd century has become extinct due to whaling. To save the earth from destruction, Kirk and his crew go back in time to locate some humpback whales.

After many adventures and comedy moments they rescue two humpbacks ‘George and Gracie’ (Gracie happens to be pregnant) and return with their handler, Dr. Gillian Taylor, to their own time. The whales are released into the ocean where they respond to the probe’s enquiry and humanity’s destruction is averted. Kirk and his crew are tried and all charges dropped with the exception of Kirk’s demotion from Admiral to Captain, which is great! The film closes with Kirk and his crew being escorted to their new starship, ‘The Enterprise.’ The earth is restored to its previous state and creation is set free to be cared for by a wiser and more loving humanity, represented by Dr. Taylor.

The Voyage Home has been called the ‘save the whale campaign,’ and this environmental message is very strong. On a deeper level it reminds us of humanity’s biblical call to stewardship, for our core purpose in creation was to rule over the earth and enable creation to flourish. However, through our disregard of God’s will, the bible says creation was bound over to subjugation and decay. In the film we find humanity being judged by the probe and it is left to the testimony of creation (notably George and Gracie) to secure our acquittal. The film’s message is that ultimately humanity will be held accountable for its poor stewardship of creation. But there is hope, for the renewed man (interestingly in the form of Spock) will understand and will bring about the restoration of all things.

The gospel says that there will indeed be a day of judgement and that afterwards a renewed humanity will reign over a renewed heaven and earth, with mountains and rivers, animals and birds – and whales. All will be restored and suffering will be at an end! This is the Christian hope, shared by our trilogy, from sacrifice to resurrection to restoration. Jesus died and has risen and he will come again in glory to bring about the creation of this new world, where we will live in harmony with all creation and in peace with God forever. The apostle Paul expresses it in these words, ‘I consider

our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.’ Speaking of our new home, Jesus said, ‘I am going to prepare a place for you.’ We are to see this new home as a beautiful new earth, restored to its former glory, cleansed of all hatred and greed, sin and pain. Is this something we are eagerly looking forward to? Are we excited about our coming home?

John Harries (Chaplain)

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB