Saturday, June 22, 2013

Q & Agency

So it happens that I am exploring the Star Trek conglomerate since it seems to be the primary source material for modern science fiction stories. I was quite surprised to discover a great delight in the Original series that I have not so far found in The Next Generation. Of course, it would naturally leave me with a bad first impression, despite the delightful Patrick Stewart. This is due to the baddie in the very first episode who later played a future Stargate SG-1 baddie (a rather despicable, slimy sort which, unfortunately for the actor, seems to be showing a pattern of type-casting).

The character of personal disgust seems to be named 'Q' and has just shown up again. And what to my wondering mind should appeal, but an insight on agency and this whole mortal deal. [Yeah... just as I don't care for writing, I also have an ironic dislike for poetry...] Anyway. Whoever this 'Q' is, he's clearly a being of power far greater than even the higher advancement of humans some 300 years hence. And he seems to think that all things should follow according to his will, his intentions. He also is free with kangaroo court judgment and generally allows his superior power to convince himself of his own general superiority. Rather 'might makes right' of him.

As a number of stories in our current era have explored, we fairly well recognize how bogus that claim is. Unfortunately, these stories exist precisely because there is a portion of people among us in this mortal realm who live as though it were true in hopes of forcing it to be true - that if they can become the powers that be, then by simply declaring it so: so it will be. It smells rather of megalomania and god-complex.

Which brings us round to the real God. So many wonder why, how He can allow bad things to happen, especially to good people, if He is a good god. If God were really just a Q, then the reactions of so many people to their 'unanswered' (simply because they have not yet heard it, not because there is no answer) question in turning away from such a being would make perfect sense. But God is not Q, and Q is a perfect example of why there is so much bad 'allowed' (allowed but not received with any level of pleasure).

In Romans 8, we read:
 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
In Mormon understanding, we are literally a combination of body and spirit and while our bodies have mortal parents, our spirits are also literally children of God. He is not only God, but Heavenly Father. Before mortality, we lived in heaven with an immense family of spiritual siblings. But like Wendy, it was time for us to leave the nursery. Wendy, of course went on an adventure to Neverland where she came to realize that to truly live, she had to face the hard unexpecteds of life; that as happy as Peter seems, such an eternity was really an eternal sentence of stagnation.

God, of course, wants more for His children. He gathered everyone together for a ginormous family council and laid out the plan: we go to earth, learn to balance both spirit and body, learn, grow, and do so with a sort of amnesia allowing us to discover what we ultimately, in the deepest, truest way possible, want for ourselves. Unfortunately, as most of you will admit, the learning curve includes making mistakes. Also, media has made it quite clear the propensity teenagers have for partying and getting into trouble when the parents are out of town, or rebelling simply to prove they can.

Now God is a perfect and pure being and His very nature means that anything impure entering His presence would ultimately be burned to a crisp, so to speak. But then how could He send us away knowing full well we could never return for the impurities mortal life would inevitably collect? Enter the Savior. One who lived perfectly could show the way that would help us overcome the impurities because He went through the crucible Himself. If we would turn to Him and follow His way, we can return both to our bodies at the resurrection, and to our Eternal Family and even our mortal families. This, like all things in our mortal life, is our choice - it is the agency which is central to God's plan. For He would not force anyone to heaven, however much it pained Him to be separated from His child. If they wished it, the Peters could ultimately choose Neverland over life.

Lucifer, however, had a different idea. He liked the idea that he could claim power and actually could 'force' everyone to heaven. How he imagined he could pull that off is up for debate. Also, since that would mean that he had managed to do what God would not, then clearly he would be the true power, even greater than God Himself.

Let's see. Claiming superior power. Claiming subsequent authority to force everyone else to act according to his will? Sound familiar at all? To anyone? Oh, yeah - Q! Megalomaniac extraordinaire. Good for us, Lucifer's posturing did not actually place him higher than God. But he did betray his motives and being unwilling to submit to God's decision that Christ should come and we all should be allowed to choose our own ways for ourselves, Lucifer defiance literally drove him from God's presence (remember the whole 'no impure thing can survive' part?).

So Lucifer was cast down with his other die-hard followers and they are rather hateful to mortals cause we moved on and got bodies when they declined. Rather like the spiteful, self-centered, immature temper-tantrum of one who thinks that no one else ought to be able to move on when they've clearly just orchestrated the 'biggest show-stopper ever!' So they like to distract and tempt and generally complicate and muddy and make it as impossible for anyone else to move on as they can.

That, combined with the natural troubles of life - health, adolescence, old age, employment, natural disasters, and learning to deal with others who are also trying to figure things out means that life's kind of a mess. Add the creepy mortal versions of Q who still try to imagine the failed plan can succeed and life can actually be downright scary.

Until you take into account the God knew that it'd be a mess from the beginning. You don't introduce toddlers to a toy room and expect them to leave everything in perfect order. Remember that He provided a Savior who could, and would, teach and lead the way to any and all who would listen, who would help us with our bumps and bruises, who would cheer us on and surprise us with His attentive gifts, and who will happily present us to the Father once we've made our way to that point on the path. And then we'll remember why we chose to come. For as Star Trek repeatedly proclaims - we are a curious people. We seek to learn, to grow, to explore. Ultimately, we seek to become.

3 Nephi 28
 10 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

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