Trektember 2016 – #22: A Taste of Armageddon

Star Trek celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this month. So, here on Redeeming Culture, we’re going to release a short review of every episode of Season One, one episode per day, all month long; for each episode, we’re writing a 3-sentence recap, a 3-word review, and (as much as we can) answering the questions “What fears or hopes are conquered or realized?” and “How does this point to Jesus or to the way God made us?”

For more about Trektember, read our preview post.  Please note that there are minor plot spoilers for this episode below.

Today’s episode is number 22: A Taste of Armageddon.

Three-sentence Recap

The Enterprise is warned away from Eminiar VII and told that it is at war; however, what they find there is a beautiful, manicured world devoid of bombs and troops.  They soon discover that the war is fought entirely using a computer; however, though the battles and attacks are simulated, the casualties are terribly real, with Eminiar’s citizens lining up to be disintegrated in booths when they are recorded as “dead.”  Kirk is vocally disapproving, but the Enterprise’s arrival has made it a valid target – and now a simulated bomb has “destroyed” the ship.

Three-word Review

A real thinker.

Big Sci-Fi Concepts

  • The idea of computers being used for war was mostly fictional in the 1960s, but commonplacre today.
  • Extreme measures to attain peace is not uncommon, especially in Trek.

Fears Conquered/Hopes Realized

  • The Fear of War is realized in this episode, oddly enough.
  • This episode addresses the Cold War obliquely, but obviously; a fear of most people on Earth at the time.

What does this episode tell us about God or about man?

To the Eminiars, the concept of war is abhorrent; death, disease, and destruction raining down upon their culture, laying it low.  That is unacceptable.  But instead of stopping the fighting, they have devised an alternative: keep the war, but lose the horrors of it.

As Kirk notes, this is a terrible idea.

The Eminiars made war palatable; it’s no longer horrifying to them; and, as a result, they have decided to continue waging it.  Against a distant foe, and for a reason they don’t remember.

But even though you don’t know it, you’re guilty of the same thing: whitewashing the horrible spectre of sin through some effort.  This can come in many forms, but often it shows itself as, which means substituting real heart change with false works that approximate peace without actually attaining it; hiding our sins to make them more palatable.

We need for our whitewashed views of error to be destroyed, so that we may see our sin once more as what it is: horrifying.  Suicidal.  Filthy before God.  Insurmountable on our own.

And when He has shown us this horror show, with our fingers trembling and voices warbling, we must beg for God’s favor, and for peace between us and Him.  A peace which has been secured by the love and holiness of Jesus Christ Himself.

• • •

Thank you for reading Redeeming Culture! Come back tomorrow for more Trektember as we look at episode 23 of Star Trek and The Wrath of Khan prequel, “Space Seed”.

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