Freewill, Interference, and God’s “Prime Directive”

kirk spock

by James Patrick Holding

         If you are not a member of the Star Trek generation, consider the following declaration:

As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Star Fleet personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Star Fleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.

Fans of ST will want to tune out for a paragraph, as we need to contextualize this for others.

To put it simply: ST was a space exploration show set in the 23rd-24th century. The Prime Directive above (hereafter PD) was an instruction to all exploring Earth ships to not interfere with or contact other planets that had not yet achieved a certain specific level of technology. (In this case, the ability to travel at faster than light speed, what is called a “prewarp” society — “warp” referring to light speed travel.) In the ST lore the initiative for the PD was (according to my readings) a time when Star Fleet initiated contact with a culture that was “not ready” (it was the Tellarites, for fans) and caused a widespread panic. Devastating results were averted when a Star Fleet leader appeared in broadcast media on the planet making friends with the planetary leader, but Star Fleet anticipated that worse was possible, hence the PD.

Back to all of you now. The reader will by now wonder what point this has for Christian apologetics. The answer is that there is a certain irony involved here, when it comes to Skeptical objections like these…


          God’s Prime Directive