Much of science fiction says humans are swell, but could really use a metaphysical upgrade.
Oh, that zeal for scientific exploration and art is great; that capacity to love, just smashing, but you really should lose the body, boys and girls. Yes. All the body.
This notion could be proved solely from episodes of Star Trek and its sequel series (which I enjoy). Yet I first began seeing this religious notion thanks to a made-for-TV movie whose ending I accidentally saw years ago. I’ve confirmed it is charmingly titled Alien Hunter.
Plot: Bad viruses. Good aliens. An Antarctic research station. Gruesome deaths, and then submarines launch missiles to destroy the whole station. But searching an escape, the two lead characters manage to make telepathic contact with the aliens. Just before the missiles hit, they run outside in the snow, holding hands. They stand beneath the alien ship. It’s a wondrous, hovering mass of spheroid glowing angelic lights. The two vanish into the ship with a rush of beamed-up light, somehow converted into the luminescent beings.
Similarly angelic choirs sing as we later see the ship ascend beyond the planet Earth, and in a blur of vapors it transfers to some extraterrestrial dimension, never to be seen again.
Ha. And they’d think only some Christians believe in a “Rapture.”
Theme: Human beings are good, but far better is to be turned into an Incorporeal Entity.
Or: Earthlings go to heaven, but heaven isn’t for beings who still resemble Earthlings.
In the first Star Trek series, Captain Kirk and crew met wise, above-it-all aliens who had left corporeality for an enlightened bodiless state, such as the Organians. This continued into Star Trek: The Next Generation, perhaps most notably in the episode “Transfigurations.” (Interesting spiritual-sounding title, that.) Spoiler: the crew’s mysterious visitor turns out to be not dangerous, only evolving — once again, from a limited body to an “energy being.”
This notion originates not in sci-fi, but false religions: that someday, you will upgrade from cramped embodied seats in coach to flying first-class in an incorporeal plane.
Similar stray “memes” even float ghostlike about Christianity. God created the material world, but now He isn’t exactly thrilled about it. That’s why Christians’ future existence will be bodiless. You are destined to cast off the “shell” of your body and free the most valuable part, the soul, into a heavenly incorporeal existence.
Meanwhile, the actual Jesus Christ, God Himself, did the exact opposite.
- False religions and some sci-fi exalts the notion of being “spiritual,” inside and outside. At best that’s a half-truth. But worshiping multiple “spiritual” entities, whether “gods” or forces or highly-evolved aliens, gives it the lie. Only God is eternal, unseen, and Spirit.
- False religions and some sci-fi assumes belief in particles-to-people evolution. (This is not the same as genetic variation within a species, as created by God.) Because all people crave something to worship, many assume a “spiritual” future for men. In C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, Dr. Weston holds this view, and his confrontation with the angelic archon of Mars reveals his true goal: he idolizes a fake notion of “mankind,” but loves no man. By contrast, God makes clear that all people instinctively hate Him.
- False religions and some sci-fi insist man is neutral or good, and it is our world — with its hardships and outdated cultural beliefs — that tempt him to evil (whatever “evil” is). Their solution: transform the world first, and then the soul. That is a reversal of God’s promise. He came first to resurrect people’s souls, then their bodies and all the world.
The Son of God added a new title, “Son of Man” (Daniel 7:13), in no way detracting from His eternal title: “Son of God” (Luke 1:45). God had forbidden people from making an image of Him to worship (Exodus 20: 4-6). Evidently that was His job. He gave an image to His Son.
Yes, this “firstborn of all creation,” “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), deigned to be the firstborn of a human woman, the image of a visible God. “Though he was in the form of God, [He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2: 6-7).
That I can’t fathom. It’s wondrous. Magical. How could we explore it? Let’s try, in this series.
I can say more certainly that I find this harder to fathom: the insistence of false religions and some science-fiction stories that it’s best to lose the human body and go energy-being.
Actually, the explanation may be as simple as this:
God said: salvation works this way. Naturally man says: Nuh-uh; another way.
Yet which heroic story is more divine and human?