Ricardo Montalban was one of the most memorable actors of the late 20th century. Many might remember him as the titular villain from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn when he played a genetically-engineered superman who faced off against Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise. But Montalban is perhaps more famous for his work on the television series Fantasy Island which aired from 1977-1984.
In the popular show, Montalban plays a mysterious figure named Mr. Roarke. Viewers never learn his age. Hints from various episodes indicate that he might even be immortal. Visitors to his island paradise have their fantasies granted by Mr. Rourke, who often does this to teach them a valuable life lesson or show them the error of their ways. On occasion, he admits a terminally-ill visitor to live out one last wish. Admittance requires a fee, although it varies from one person to another.
In one episode, Mr. Rourke comes face-to-face with the devil himself, played by Roddy McDowall. The devil has staked a claim on several souls of those on the island but is outwitted by Mr. Rourke, who has apparently played this game—and won—many times before. During their final exchange, Mr. Rourke offers an insightful comment as the two discuss the nature of love.
THE DEVIL: I find love very useful. Without love, there would be no temptation. In my business, I couldn’t get along without it.
MR. ROURKE: On the contrary, love is the creative energy of a universe. Without it, life would be hell, and you would have won long ago. Someday—someday when all mankind really learns to love—you will finally be destroyed.
There is a great deal of truth in this. Imagine a world where all humanity is united in their love for one another. They take seriously the biblical command to love God and love their neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:30-31). They practice the fruit of the spirit in daily life and try to live up to the high standard prescribed in the Beatitudes. They do their best to imitate the character of Christ.
In this world, pride would be extinguished. Selfishness and self-centeredness would become a distant memory. No one would ever lack encouragement or support. Joys would be brighter, and troubles more bearable.
What sin, what crime, what work of the flesh couldn’t be undone by love? How little room there would be in that world for a devil.