There I am, Clive from Constellation, aboard a pirate starship. I’ve managed to convince the ship’s leader to show me his special collection, as I am about to carefully steal an important item. I get ready for a potential fight, but instead he counters with a conversation. I then walk out past his security with what I need. I came in ready for a gunfight, yet departed freely. As happens often when playing Starfield, my expectations are upended. What I expected was not what I got.
Starfield is Bethesda Game Studios’ newest and biggest release to date. The game as a whole nails the aesthetic it was going for: essentially Skyrim, Bethesda’s much-beloved game from 2011, in space. For me, the best thing about Starfield is the world-building. You play as a new member of Constellation, a largely forgotten institute whose job it is to explore the unknown parts of the galaxy. Constellation is a relative fossil at this point, as most of the galaxy has been explored and humanity is content with the knowledge gained. Yet Constellation continues to search for the next big find in the universe.
Understandably, a group formed around exploration brings together some of the most unique minds in the known galaxy. Every member of Constellation brings something different to the group, from scientific knowledge to piloting to gunslinging. They don’t just vary in skills either, but in their beliefs as well. Within the universe of Starfield exist three main religions: The Enlightened (who believe there is no God pushing us to eternal reward); The Sanctum (who believe God is in the universe, able to be found); and House Va’ruun (who believe there is a Great Serpent who will one day return to destroy all nonbelievers). Different members of Constellation belong to each of these groups.
These beliefs are challenged as Constellation members make new discoveries, which shatter common understandings of the galaxy and who controls it. (Spoilers ahead.) As you journey through the main story you find ancient artifacts of a previous civilization and meet the creators. These “aliens” cause everyone, even the most devout, to question everything. Consequently, certain members must now write a new chapter in their religious views. As we journey into the unknown, we must balance our faith with new developments. This is where the heart of Starfield lies. How do you explain the unexplainable when it counters what you’ve previously believed?
Beliefs are challenged as Constellation members make new discoveries
I can relate to this, as I find myself in similar positions with my faith. Knowledge continues to shape my belief, in ways good and bad. So much information is shared online and there is a temptation to impose what is happening around me into my understanding of God. A section of the Bible can bring about new meaning as I grow and mature. My perception of the world around me and my expectations of God change. Though I desire to be correct, I find there are times where I am wrong and times where I have misunderstood his voice.
At this moment in life, there are plenty of things I do not understand in my faith. There are plenty of stories in the Bible I wonder if I fully comprehend. There are struggles happening in the world that I do not have reference for within my faith, especially when children are sick or harmed.
Though I can grow in my understanding, much like in Starfield, there are many mysteries I will never have the answers to while here on earth. Rather than looking at this in disappointment, I’m determined, much like my Constellation crew, to charge forward full of hope and faith. I am an explorer of truth, seeking new revelations about my Savior and expecting that some answers may force me to come to terms with a new perspective. I welcome the challenge.
As the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” The world I see is muddy, unclear. But one day I will see clearly. And this is what encourages me to be open to things I do not understand. Not running from my challenging questions, but continually running to God. Because I have the faith that in time, Jesus will continue to reveal to me more of his glory and the nature of his way.
I do not know God’s plan and I’m sure I sometimes unintentionally go against it. Thankfully, time has told me that patience, faith, and trust—qualities which served me well playing Starfield—yield results that fill the earth with his glory. In the gray, the unclear, the unknowing, I choose to take heart, because he has already overcome the world.