|Posted on September 19, 2012 at 7:35 AM|
Today is my entry in the September blog chain. With a topic like “Change,” there are a number of directions I could go, because science fiction is full of different changes. The most obvious one is the belief in evolution, a religion of theories about gradual alterations from one creature to another. Never mind that no fossil has ever been found, showing progressive stages of development. We cannot confuse the “truth” with evidence, after all.
I could have talked about Odo of Deep Space Nine, and his ability to fluidly transform into any creature or object he chooses. I don’t think this can be realistic. Yeah, I love the morphing effect, but what happens to his organs when he turns into a kitchen cart—with spaces between the shelves? How does he manage to make his mass small enough to fit a tiny mouse?
Morphing of this nature occurs in several sci-fi shows. Garth of original Trek’s “Whom Gods Destroy.” Salia and Anya in Next Generation’s “The Dauphin.” The woman prisoner who turns into a little girl to escape in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Popular comic heroes such as the X-Men are said to “evolve” into a different type of human—and all who are afraid of them are just “prejudiced.” But one discharges sharp blades from his knuckles. Another discharges thunder and lightning as she pleases. Still another can drain the vitality out of someone.
However, according to evolutionary doctrine, things have to change gradually over billions of years; and the whole species goes through the same changes, at the same time. They don’t explain, however, why lower life forms still exist. Any way you look at this, it doesn’t track. Same with the Fantastic 4 and their powers: They “evolve” into a rubber-band man, an invisible girl, a young man who catches fire (and loves hot dates), and a walking boulder.
Oh, sure, all of these are fun to watch. It’s safe to put logic aside for an hour or two and get into the clever storylines that surround these people.
Putting all of this aside, I really want to focus on an original Trek episode whose very title reflects our month’s theme: “The Changeling.”
While the starship Enterprise investigates a dead solar system, she is struck by powerful energy bolts. Scotty finds an object about three feet long, and when Kirk speaks to it through Uhura’s console, it stops firing. They beam the whole thing on board, and discover it’s a probe calling itself Nomad.
They realize the original Nomad was launched from Earth in “the early 21st century.” Here it is, twelve years into the century, and no such launch is planned, much less executed. Gee, I wonder why …
Anyway, Nomad claims its mission is to seek out imperfections and destroy them. So when Spock introduces it to Uhura, it inquires about this “unit.”
“This unit is a woman,” says Spock.
Nomad replies: “A mass of conflicting impulses.”
Ladies, blame Roddenberry and the writers for that line. It tends to ignore the intrinsic worth of women, inside and out.
Because Uhura had been singing while she worked, Nomad zaps her with a ray, Scotty tries to save her, but is propelled back and dies. The probe manages to bring him back to life, but cannot bring back Uhura because only memory is gone. Nurse Chapel re-educates her from a primer book at first, but Uhura struggles: “The ball is … bluey?”
Considering all Uhura must have to know to run communications, it seems incredible that she could be back at her post in a few days’ time, at most. Even assuming some residual memory remained to make relearning easier, can she really recall everything, such as past events? But this is a convenience for the show’s sake, for they had to use her in the following episode.
Though it has degrading things to say about human nature, it praises Spock: “This unit is different. It is well-ordered.” This, too, is a bit of cynicism from higher echelons. However, just because Spock’s mind is more logical than the others, it does not make sense his body would reflect the same. Being created in God’s image, we could not be more perfect when we started life, but our own sins bring on the imperfections of age.
Eventually Spock learns this Nomad is actually the merging of two probes that collided in space. Its original mission had been to seek out new planets, while the alien probe’s mission was to sterilize rocks on other planets. The combined programming between Nomad and Tan Ru makes it a hard piece of hardware to get along with.
Furthermore, Nomad believes Kirk is its “creator,” Jackson Roykirk, so at first it obeys the captain at every turn. But in his desperate attempt to save Earth, Kirk bluntly tells it, “Jackson Roykirk, your creator, is dead! You have mistaken me for him; you are in error. You did not discover your mistake. You have made two errors. You are flawed and imperfect. And you have not corrected by sterilization. You have made three errors!”
This causes the machine to search through the ship’s files to confirm it, and it will no longer listen. Just as Kirk out-argued Landru in “Return of the Archons,” and Apollo in “Who Mourns for Adonis?”, so he prevails over Nomad. I don’t believe any man can cross swords with a machine or a self-appointed god and live, much less change the other’s mind. Finally they transport it into space while trying to process its own illogic, and it erupts.
When Nomad was launched, it was innocent, but when it crashed into Tan Ru, it became deadly. The first humans were innocent, but they became guilty of eating the forbidden fruit. Beyond that, however, the Scriptures are clear that the opposite occurs: We start out dead in our sins, and become a danger when we act them out or even think about them.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28-29).
Apostle Paul wrote this to Ephesus: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2). Following “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Satan) is a disastrous undertaking.
But there is hope. “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin” (Romans 7:25). And “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
The greatest change of all occurs when Jesus returns. “What we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:54).
It takes no collision to make this happen. This change is not traumatic. There is no merging of missions; rather, our missions are altered to fit God’s sovereign will. Nobody and nothing can save us as He can.
In the dressing down Samuel gave King Saul for not obeying, he said, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man, that He should change his mind” (1 Samuel 16:29).
Count on it!