I tried to trim this down to an acceptable blog length but this is as far as I go. Can anyone tell me how you implement that blog feature which hides the bulk of the text but allows readers to "read more" if they choose? I can hardly explain it yet alone work it out.
The city refers to the new Jerusalem, the holy city, a metaphor for heaven. It represents the tabernacle of God where men will dwell with God. Bruce Metzger writes, "The city measures fifteen hundred miles in length, in breadth, and in height".
Yet if the city of heaven were in space, like the Borg, then indeed, a cube would serve quite well as a description. After all, isn't heaven usually thought of as 'the heavens above'?
Metzger continues: "In ancient times the cube was held to be the most perfect of all geometric forms. By this symbolism, therefore, John wants us to understand that the heavenly Jerusalem is absolutely splendid, with a harmony and symmetry of perfect proportions. Furthermore, he says that "the street of the city is pure gold (21:21)."
Metzger writes about the inner city of god: "There is no temple or sanctuary in the holy city, for in one respect, the city itself is all sanctuary. Its dimensions, being in the form of a cube, are like the Holy of Holies in the Mosaic tabernacle of old. The immediate presence of God is no longer in a reserved place, entered only by the high priest. . . God is now accessible to all."
About the Borg
The Borg consists of a collective consciousness of assimilated species where the concept of individuality has no meaning and freedom and self-determination are irrelevant. The Borg live in mechanical planets some of which are large cubes that roam the universe (see photo at the top). The Borg are extremely war-like and can destroy worlds (just like the God and angels of the Bible).
The social structure is like a bee hive. There is a Queen whose purpose is not breeding but rather acts as a central reference point around which the collective will and purpose of the hive revolves (like the God of heaven).
The Enterprise first meets the Borg in space where they are asked to "Lower your shields." This is similar to religion demanding to submit to faith and lower the shields of skepticism. The Borg commands that "Your culture shall adapt to service ours. Resistance is futile...... Your defensive capabilities are unable to withstand us. Your life, as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us. You must comply." (In the Bible, God demands obedience and if you do not comply, your life will end).
As long as you submit to the Borg, you will be taken care of. Once you submit, you become assimilated you will dwell in the Borg cube forever. The Borg appears similar in concept to the tabernacle of God:
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. - Rev. 21:3
The 'assimilated' (the saved) beings in the Borg do not die, nor do they feel pain or sorrow. They are, in effect, zombies who fully accept their condition. The inhabitants of heaven, also do not feel pain or sorrow (Rev. 21:4).
Whether the Star Trek writers intended to make an allegorical comparison with heaven is unclear, but the similarities are uncanny. There is even a Borg unit named "Third of Five" (like the third angel in Rev. 8:10), the Queen God (like the woman in Rev. 12:1).
In explaining the purpose within the collective, the Borg Queen replies to Lt. Commander Data:
"I am the beginning. The end. The one who is many. I am the Borg... I am the Collective. I bring order to chaos." Note how similar this is to Jesus in Revelation 21:6:
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
About the Heavenly inhabitants
The most information about Heaven comes from the alleged visions of a man named John in the book of Revelation. No one here intends to take these visions literally. This is a story folks, just like Star Trek!
Metzger says that, "in reporting his visionary experiences John frequently uses
symbolic language. Sometimes he explains the meaning of the symbols. Other symbols really need no explanation."
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHICH WAS, AND IS , AND IS TO COME." - Revelation 4: 6-8
What a frightening vision! Beasts like animals full of eyes hardly imparts a comforting image of heaven. And imagine having to put up with the constant day-and-night howling of HOLY, HOLY... My what a vain god.
"And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." - Revelation 5:6
Here we have the representation of Christ (Lamb), with seven horns and seven eyes. And again, the beasts. Metzger says, "The Lamb is described as having seven horns and seven eyes. This should not be taken as a literal description. Rather, the seven horns means that Christ has complete power, and the seven eyes mean that he sees and knows all things." The Queen Borg also represents the power and the knowledge for the Borg.
Anyone who works for a corporation knows the uncomfortable feeling when the boss looks over your shoulder. Now imagine that when you die, you'll be watched by the biggest Boss in the universe, EVERY NANOSECOND OF ETERNITY! Kiss your cherished secrets goodbye. There's no such thing as privacy in heaven.
Thankfully only 144,000 will reach heaven - The Bible explicitly tells how many will be "saved":
...the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. - Rev. 14:3-4
Metzger writes, "The first part of chapter 14 is a scene of tranquillity and rejoicing. John sees the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, with the 144,000 of the redeemed. . . 144,000 is a symbolic number, representing all those who remain faithful. . . On the surface this means that only men who have never had sexual intercourse can 'follow the Lamb wherever he goes'. . . but rather he means those who have not defiled themselves by participating in pagan worship."
Both the Star Trek version and the Biblical account of heaven presents a frightening but interesting story about submitting to a powerful entity in a utopian world devoid of personal freedom.
If I were to believe the Bible, I could not in all good conscious accept the horrors of the heavenly God as truthful, but rather, as a tale invented by the most evil being imaginable. Only an evil power could construct such a figure of God as a ruler who only dispenses forgiveness as long as they submit to His will. The God of the Bible resembles a slave owner who punishes his servants with an iron rod or kills them if they do not obey. A benevolent God would not construct a book with so many horrors, contradictions and falsehoods. An all powerful God who wished to reveal himself could easily prove himself to all people directly; he would not need a book, a priest, or a religion.
As a non-believer, I can enjoy fiction and can postulate meaning from allegorical myths. The story of the Borg presents us with a juicy tale of utopian heaven where its citizens cannot think for themselves. The Borg inhabitants live in accordance with a communal system, each unit living "happily" within the system, uncannily like the subjects of religion who submit themselves to a superstitious god who demands love and submission.
Both Star Trek and the Bible represent mythical stories and they both contain messages that we can learn from. I find the ethics of Star Trek superior to that of the Bible and provides a much better example for healthy living than the cruel submission methods used in the Bible. Star Trek promotes cooperation and tolerance while the Bible promotes intolerance and submission to faith. I do not believe in Star Trek or the Bible, but if I had to choose, I would prefer to live and die on an Enterprise rather than conform to the Borg and I would rather die a non-believer than submit myself to the horrors of the bee-hive of heaven.