LIVE LONG AND PROSPER
"Live Long and Prosper” is the famous mantra popularized by Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. Leonard Nimoy’s character has captivated the hearts and imaginations of many Sci-Fi fans over the years. His slogan is instantly recognizable and is often accompanied by an equally well-known gesture, a hand with palm forward and thumb extended, fingers parted between middle and ring finger. This is the unmistakable Vulcan salute.
In Nimoy’s autobiography, titled “I Am Not Spock”, he records that the Vulcan salute was modelled after the Jewish priestly blessing. Nimoy spent considerable time attending synagogue with his grandfather as a child, and the image of the blessing stuck with him. The hand positioning of the blessing represents Jewish letters used to construct the name of God, the word ‘peace’, and the rabbinic word for the presence of God. Perhaps unwittingly, many now imitate this religious gesture when performing the iconic salute made popular by a beloved TV figure.
Interestingly enough, the Vulcan salute is not Nimoy’s lone nod to his Jewish past. His mantra is perhaps even more explicitly Jewish, and it is Biblical to boot. “Live Long and Prosper” is an iteration of the divine promise which accompanied the fifth commandment given to the Jewish people: Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you (Deut. 5:16).” This promise is repeated in Ephesians 6:2-3, when Paul doubles down on the instruction to children that they honor their parents, as it is “the first commandment with promise.”
It is important to consider the ways in which culture adopts Biblical principles. It should be of even more importance to Christians that we consider how our lives intersect with the promises of God. His Word promises to secure for us an immortal body, a perfect eternal existence in His presence at the end of the age. However, promises such as this one, demonstrate His equal concern for our well-being while we steward this Earth. A life lived faithfully in service to the Word of God participates by default in His promises to care for, provide for, and protect His children. It is important to note that just as was the case for the people of Israel, these promises are often contingent on our sincere obedience and repentance from sin. If we are faithful and content in all things (Phil. 4:11) we can take the Vulcan message to heart: O Believer, Live Long and Prosper!