Probe-ing for meaning and purpose
by Frank King
Even me, who figures anything with the words “Star Trek” in the title MUST be good, has to admit that not all the Star Trek movies were cinematic gems.
But when I watched 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion PIcture for the first time in decades, I was struck by how the plot speaks to the human condition right now.
Captain Kirk and the Enterprise fight off “V’Ger”, a 20th-century Earth space probe believed lost. But it wasn’t lost; an alien race figured out its mission—to gather information, then return to its creator—and massively upgraded it to complete the mission.
Over 300 years, the probe gathered so much information that it achieved consciousness. But returning to its creator? That was a problem. And without its creator, the probe finds its existence empty and without purpose.
Perhaps this sounds alien to you. But it hit home for me during a scene where Spock (the Enterprise’s science officer) tells Kirk, “V’Ger has knowledge that spans this universe and yet, V’Ger is barren. It has no meaning, no hope, no answers. But it’s asking questions. Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”
This monologue strikes me as describing the condition of humanity. And the questions V’Ger asks probably occur to any thinking person.
Is this you or someone you know? It certainly was me. I had the middle-class success our culture sets up as nirvana and yet it seemed meaningless. I was a miniature V’Ger.
If you’ve found yourself occupying this space, then be bold and investigate the questions.
That’s what I did. After much thinking, talking, reading and praying, I came to know there’s a Creator. Bigger than all humanity. Bigger than V’Ger. I came to know this Creator loves you, me and every other human being on this planet, but we had turned away from Him. So He offers us the gift of Jesus, a way back to Him.
Christianity teaches that Jesus sacrificed Himself to make up for the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do, because we can’t do that on our own.
Furthermore, the Bible tells us Jesus rose from the dead after three days, thereby destroying the permanence of death.
When people accept the gift of Jesus, all this is open to them. The need is satisfied. The questions are answered.
All the views expressed by Frank King in this column are his own and do not reflect on his role as manager of media relations for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada and Samaritan’s Purse Canada.