With all due respect I'd venture you won't find anything to counter your assumption based on the onscreen depciction because you're approaching it from a completely literal perspective when the writers have alluded on many times that things may not be as they appear to be.
It's not an approach a Trek film has had before, which is why some of it seems confusing.
'If the Apocalypse starts, beep me!' - Buffy Summers
'The sky's the limit.....' Jean-Luc Picard, 'All Good Things'
courtesy of Saquist