Perhaps you have been following the hub-bub surrounding the newly released movie—“Noah”. It has been certified a success by the Hollywood hype machine. It has mega-star actors on the screen credits. But the question we will tackle in this blog is: “Was this a movie about the Biblical character Noah?” The answer is—it was in name only. It is well known that there are “flood stories” in all major civilizations. Such a fact should not be surprising since there actually was a worldwide catastrophic flood as described in the Bible. The movie “Noah” is closer to one of the pagan flood stories than what Genesis tells us. Here are some observations.
The movie “Noah” has been attacked for never using the word “God” in it. While this is true, “Noah” uses the word, Creator, repeatedly. This seems to be the name for God that the movie makers wanted to use. I like the word “Creator”. The God of the Bible is the Creator of this world. Having said that, the movie is not overly enamored with the God of the Bible. While Noah worships the Creator, the movie does not do justice to the God of the Bible. In the movie, Noah was a man who constantly was in doubt about what God called him to do. In the Genesis record, God is very specific about what he wanted Noah to do. The Genesis record even gives a blue-print for how the Ark was to be built.
In the movie, Noah is a conflicted man regarding his relationship with God. Noah is so confused that he reasons that God wants to wipe mankind entirely from the map (the only survivors of the flood will be the animal kingdom). The book of Genesis speaks clearly that while God was displeased with the actions of mankind, God did not give up on mankind. The Bible is very clear that God loves his creation—mankind included. God has always had a plan for redeeming and saving people. God knows that all men and women are sinful. Despite this, God says—“I love you.” God says—“I have a plan to remake you into what you were originally created for.”
The movie “Noah” misses the boat (pardon the pun) regarding a sound understanding of God and God’s plans. This should not be surprising. The writer, director and producer of the movie “Noah” is—Darren Aronofsky. In an interview and discussion of the movie “Noah”, with the New Yorker Magazine, Aronofsky says—“Noah is the least Biblical film ever made.” If this is the case, then no one should be surprised that the movie has very little Bible facts in it. What is ironic, the movie seems to take painstaking effort in recounting a Bible account where Noah gets drunk after the flood. One wonders why the movie will ignore the righteousness of Noah and emphasize a mistake Noah made. Well, I actually think we do not have to wonder why.
Having said all of this, I do not write this blog to condemn the movie or to tell people not to watch it. If someone is a Russell Crowe fan, this movie will please them. Crowe seemed to work very hard to immerse himself in the character of Noah. It is too bad he had a script that had very little of what the Bible tells us about Noah. My concern is that the masses will take the movie for actual facts. For example, the movie begins with the words—“In the Beginning there was nothing.” Wow, what a misquote of the first words of Genesis. Genesis begins with—“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.” In a world that does not know much Bible and believes most of what it sees on the big screen, this is disconcerting. It is my hope that the discussion that “Noah” invites will move people to read more of the Bible. My warning to people is—“Don’t believe everything you see on TV or in the movies.” Go ahead, get out your Bible and read Genesis 5 through 10. There is a great and inspiring story that God wants us to understand. Keep looking up!