On Friday, March 28, starting about noon, my facebook feed was filled with pastors, and others, posting their reviews of the Noah movie. They slammed it for its complete lack of following the Biblical text regarding the Flood found in Genesis 6-9. There was a split between those who said do not waste your time or money seeing the movie; and those who argued that it was important to be informed.
Now prior to the release of the movie, it is important to remember what the director of the film, Darren Aronofsky said: when asked about the Biblical accuracy of the film, he claimed that it was the least Biblical film ever made.
So, we must ask ourselves: is it?
If you are take your Bible along to the movie, and follow along with Genesis 6-9, than you are going to discover several inaccuracies, several places where the director took some creative license, some to the benefit and most to the detriment of the Biblical text.
I will recommend Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham for their breakdown of the inaccuracies of the movie, based on the Biblical text. Although I would like to point out the absence of God; He is referenced by everyone, but no one ever speaks with Him. Noah in particular builds the ark, not because God tells him to, but because he hallucinates while visiting Methuselah, and it is the hallucination that tells him to build the ark. There are also several other points, where Noah comes up with things, not because God told him, but because it is what he thinks God wants him to do this or that. Perhaps Morgan Freeman was busy the weekend they filmed, but there was a serious void in terms of the absence of God speaking directly to Noah.
But let’s go back to what Aronofsky said: is this the least Biblical film ever made? In terms of the actual Biblical text, it has to be in the top ten. But, while Aronofsky is correct in terms of the text, this film is not lacking in two other areas.
The first is Baptism; while visiting with Methuselah, Noah is discussing why it would be a flood of water and not fire. Noah makes a very good presentation that one could very quickly tie to Baptism, stating that the waters of the flood would wash away the impure, make clean what is dirty and restore the creation to how God wanted it to be. While Noah is speaking of what Baptism does to the earth, it is exactly what happens in our own Baptism, the water symbolizes our being made clean, the stain of our sin being washed away.
The second is forgiveness; one of the non-Biblical characters are a group of rock giants called The Watchers. They are supposed to be fallen angels, cursed by God for their failure to stop Adam and Eve from eating the fruit. These Watchers help Noah build the ark, and then protect Noah and his family as they board the ark from the army coming to destroy them. The scene is not Biblical at all; but when the Watchers are killed by the army, they are taken up by God into heaven; having paid the price for their sins. The Watchers are redeemed by sacrificing their own lives, so that Noah and his family might safely board the ark. Their deaths foreshadow for us the death of Christ on the cross, so that we might safely board the ark of the Church and be saved from our sins.
One other aspect of the movie deserves mention: the character Ham. There is great conflict in all of the characters, particularly Noah; but none is as complex as Ham. Because of the inaccuracies of the movie, it is hard to decipher what we can reasonably attribute to Ham, and what is the embellishment of the movie; but Ham, who will be the cursed descendent of Noah, is a fascinating character, who probably deserves his own blog post.
Was this the least Biblical movie ever? I actually did not think it was as bad as what people said; I found it to be more boring than anything. And in terms of conveying Christian ideas and principles, it actually did a fairly decent job; far better than movies that are designed to do so.
Would I buy the DVD and watch it every Easter? No; and I will cringe when someone who is weak in the faith tells me that they watched it. But honestly, I think this movie will find itself in the dust bin of history; not Biblical enough to get Christians to make it a rallying cry, and not gory enough for non-Christians to watch it repeatedly.
The movie, like Noah himself, will soon be eclipsed by what comes next.