I recently decided to re-watch the old TV series “Sliders.” If you haven’t caught this show, turn in your geek card now and go get a Hulu account so you can get caught up on this series.
For those who don’t know about it, this series follows the adventures of 4 unexpected dimensional travelers; Quinn Mallory, Wade Wells, Rembrant “Remmy” Brown, and Professor Maximillian Arturo. They have no control of what dimension they are travelling to, where they end up on Earth in the new dimension, and no control of how long they will be on this new world.
Normally I try to watch sci fi with just an eye for enjoyment and entertainment, but something about the 3rd episode of Season 1 just struck me as having a message hidden in it. I doubt it was intentional, but trying to watch stuff now with more of a critical Christian eye made this particular episode stand out.
The scenario for the episode had our travelers dropping out into a dimension where Earth was in peril (when is it not?) An asteroid was on a collision course with Earth, aiming for impact on America’s eastern seaboard. Science in this dimension was good, because they had even calculated the impact date down to the minute (6:22pm, if I remember correctly). The world has 2 days before impact. Their timing device show s that the next slide window opens in 3 days.
Upon finding out that they are doomed to die, Rembrant decides to go out and join a random “end of the world” party. He, being a worldly man who is obsessed with his career as the singer “The Crying Man”, does what he does, and goes into the world to enjoy what time is left of it. Quinn and Wade (more Quinn than Wade, actually, but I’m throwing her in since she was with Quinn), track down this Earth’s Quinn’s home to discover that he had some of the same scientific equipment that Quinn used. Quinn attempts to see if he can use it to “jump start” his timer so that they can slide out before the impact. The professor opts for a different route.
History in each Earth is different, and on this one, nuclear energy and nuclear weapons were never developed. Fat Man and Little Boy were never competed, as Einstein didn’t want the moral dilemma of what fully developing the nuclear technologies would mean. Apparently, no one else was smart enough to figure it out after Einstein. The Professor joins forces with a young physicist to rapidly develop the atom bomb. We’ll skip the pop science of firing a nuke at an asteroid within Earth’s space, and the potential radioactive fall out, etc.
What struck me about this episode was the way each of the groups reacted to knowing about the end of the world. In our world, the bible teaches us that we do not know the time of the coming of Christ (essentially the end of the world as we know it). And as far as we can tell, there are no doomsday asteroids headed this way. But what would we do if we DID know the time of the coming of Christ? If we knew the exact date and time He was returning, how would we react?
Would we be like Remmy, and go out and party with the world who doesn’t follow Christ? Would we take the chance to enjoy the opportunities and pleasures of the world, with no real concern for the consequences? Remy ends up making a friend, who gets involved in a Russian Roulette game. Remmy talks her out of it, an they end up spending the rest of the episode before the impact time serving at an End of the World soup kitchen. After discovering that the pleasures of the world are dangerous and deadly, Remmy finds redemption (salvation, according to the pastoral figure in the show) by serving others.
Or would we be like Wade and Quinn, who locate Quinn’s equipment and try to recharge the time. But the equipment burns out their attempt to save themselves fails. They resign themselves to the destruction of the world, giving up hope of being saved? We know that we can’t save ourselves; our only chance of being saved is Christ Jesus. In trying to save ourselves, we will ultimately always fail. Our efforts are just not enough.
Or would we be like the Professor, choosing to fight as long as we could to save others. Okay, I know you can say the Professor was trying to save himself by creating the atom bomb, and you’d probably be right. But his efforts were to try and save the whole world. Would we fight to save the world, or as many as we could before the return? Because the truth is that we KNOW Christ is returning at some point in time. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know what that time is. He could be here in 5 minutes, he could be here in 5 decades, or 5 millennia (let’s hope not that long). As Christians, shouldn’t we be like the Professor, working tirelessly to bring others to Christ? We can’t save anyone, but we can introduce them to the Savior. We can make the compelling case for Christ, push people in front of Christ, and let them decide.
I’d hope that we would all choose to be Professors each and every day. Always living like the world is about to end.