In our reading this week, I ran across a passage that seemed to have a familiar ring to it. It was at the end of Deuteronomy 5, the warnings and blessings the that people were reminded of after the ten commandments.
Duet. 5:33 “Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess.” (HCSB)
“Live, prosper and have a good life” sure sounds like the signature line of my of my favorite sci-fi character: Spock. This connection may be slightly hidden from most English Bible readers since the word “prosper” is rendered as “that it may go well with you” in nearly all English Bibles.
But Leonard Nimoy, the originator of the famous phrase, wasn’t influenced by the King James or other standard translations. He was paraphrasing the English translation from Hebrew that he had heard from the synagogue rabbi that he remembered from his boyhood.
It turns out this was not the only thing he remembered from his boyhood rabbi. The Vulcan split finger hand sign was drawn from a similar sign the rabbi made with two hands symbolizing a Hebrewletter (shin). That sign is sometimes made while reading the blessing of the priests found in Numbers 6:24-26.
So ironically, one of the most enduring memories from the very secular world of Star Trek is based directly on the hope of a good life that God offered to His people if they would faithful follow His instructions. Living long and prospering is not fiction, but a hope accomplished by faithfulness to God.