It is official. We live in a world where “tolerance” for just about anything is heralded like it is the national motto. Almost everyone goes out of their way to be careful not to offend anyone about anything. That is, unless the group of people you are offending is Christians. Christians, it seems, are fair game for any sort of denigration, disrespect, ridicule – whatever suits you. Darren Aronofsky (director and co-writer) and company are shamelessly making a fortune at the expense of the sensibilities of Christians of today, and of Christians of days gone by. If he had made a comedy about all of the Christians that were murdered and even made into human torches in the time of the great persecution of the first century, I suppose that would have been worse. But not by much.
Never before can I remember being conscious of frowning so much during a movie. Never before can I remember becoming so angry at the makers of a film while watching it. I wanted to leave before it ended many times. But I forced myself to stay until the closing credits.
I wanted to like this film – truly I did. From the day when I first saw the previews, I had high hopes that at last a film was being made that might do justice to the story of the second biggest event since creation. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that it probably wouldn’t be true to God’s word. But I was willing to overlook a lot of that in hopes of seeing something besides a small fishing boat with a giraffe’s head poking out of the top. What I got instead was about two hours of disregard for the truth, disrespect for God, and ridicule for believers of His word. It is unimaginable to me that Aronofsky’s intention was not to offend me, my brothers, and my sisters.
In fairness, there are some things that they did get right, whether by accident or just for the sake of good film segments. I would give them a “B-” on the animals making their way to the ark. There were far too many that appeared to be the same “kind,” in my opinion. But their appearance and entrance to the ark was spectacular. I would give a “C+” also on the size of the ark. Estimates are from the measurements in the bible that it was equal in volume to about 520 railroad cars. This one seemed much smaller, but it was quite massive nonetheless.
I would have to give them an “A” on many aspects of the flood, including an attempt at portraying the opening of the “fountains of the great deep” (Genesis 7:11). In fact, that was one of the things that had attracted me to the movie in the previews. And they get extra points for recognizing the flood as a global event (something that some of our own brethren cannot get right, believe it or not).
I perhaps could have gotten past the Nephilim. There is so much misunderstanding of this term (largely because of the bad translation of the King James version) that I suppose getting that part right would have been too much to ask in any case. But these guys appeared to be the product of J.R.R. Tolkien. At several points, I really thought the Hobbits might make an appearance.
Unfortunately, those creatures are not the worst of the errors and distortions of this movie. “The Creator” uses the big bang to create everything, and man’s presence is explained with the unscriptural viewpoint that we know as “theistic evolution.” But is the movie “Noah” as bad on the level of distortion and blasphemy as “The DaVinci Code?” Absolutely. God (who is only referred to as “the Creator” throughout the film) is depicted as being cruel and viscous.
And He doesn’t even give Noah the instructions he needs about what he is supposed to do or how he is supposed to do it. Instead, Noah has to rely on his grandfather (Methuselah), who is represented as some sort of sorcerer (as if God would allow a practice He condemns to be used in such a purpose). And incredibly, the serpent’s shed skin is kept by Adam and Eve, and handed down through the generations as some sort of magic juju that they use to “bless” their families.
Noah is depicted as a murderous psychopath even at the beginning of the film, and it got worse (Genesis 6:9 says that “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God“). And he purposely allows a girl who may have otherwise become his daughter-in-law to be brutally murdered. Noah himself comes very close to murdering his own infant grandchildren in their mother’s arms while on the ark. When he stops himself at the last minute, he declares that he has failed “the Creator” by not completing the task.
You see, Noah had figured out that “the Creator” was destroying man because of what they had done to the earth (not because of sin), and that he intended for the innocents (the animals) to be the only ones to ultimately survive. He and his family were to die off without reproducing. In the end, Noah decides to further “defy” the Creator, and it is his idea to tell his family to “be fruitful and replenish the earth.” The only time Noah prays is when he decides that he must murder his unborn grandchild if it is a girl. But who can blame him? Every time he looks up into the heavens asking “the Creator” what he is supposed to do, he gets no help at all.
There is much more that I could say about the distortion of scripture and the blasphemous nature of this film. In the end, one might say “what is the harm? It’s only a movie.” There is much harm. Anyone who does not know the truth, as well as those who have always thought of the Bible as a book of fairy tales, will from this Tolkien-esque abomination, see nothing but reinforcement of that opinion. Those Christians who themselves have never been taught the reality of the great flood will have every reason to have doubt cast on the scripture’s account, in light of this depiction.
I am not advocating a boycott of the film. For one thing, as is the case with most boycotts, it would be ineffective. But should a Christian go ahead and see this movie simply for its entertainment value? I do not believe so, and must recommend against doing so. We are expected to be “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) – not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). I cannot see any justification for throwing financial support for something that openly contradicts God’s word and even His righteousness itself. There are better ways to entertain one’s self. And as far as Noah is concerned, I recommend the book. It’s much better.
I also recommend a secular book for anyone interested in some good analysis of the ark itself and the time Noah and his family spent with it – “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study” by John Woodmorappe.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.
Absolutely. People take this so lightly but misconceptions are the hallmarks of false teaching, over-the-top or not. It angers me that Christians are ok with treating the Holy Scriptures with any form of disrespect.
Amen to that. Thanks for weighing in! May God bless you!