By: Bill Crouse

You can­not over­es­ti­mate the seri­ous­ness of the Bib­li­cal Flood as described in Gen­e­sis 6 – 8. Some­thing occurred, some behav­ior of mankind, which caused the Cre­ator-God to destroy all life on the plan­et and start all over again. What exact­ly that sin was is a great mys­tery, but it had some­thing to do with the mix­ing of seeds, and it cer­tain­ly was not unequal­ly yoked mar­riages between the ?sons of god? (Sethites) and the Cainites! Some­thing hap­pened in the angel­ic realm, some­thing so seri­ous that it affect­ed human life as God cre­at­ed it (maybe even ani­mal life). It was so seri­ous it pro­voked the Cre­ator to utter­ly destroy His Cre­ation, one that He was very pleased with at the begin­ning. The fall­en angels who pre­cip­i­tat­ed this sin, accord­ing to Jude, the half-broth­er of Jesus, are being kept in chains until the final judg­ment (Jude 6). It was appar­ent­ly sig­nif­i­cant for Jesus, for after his death on the cross, He descend­ed to their place of con­fine­ment and made a procla­ma­tion of vic­to­ry to these same angel­ic beings (I Pet. 3:19 – 20). Noah and his fam­i­ly were appar­ent­ly not affect­ed by this mix­ing and found ?favor? in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8). Noah is described as a right­eous man, and in the New Tes­ta­ment he is list­ed as a great man of faith. The Apos­tle Peter informs us that Noah was a great preach­er of right­eous­ness (II Pet. 2:4 – 5). What we learn from the bib­li­cal account is that God, after announc­ing His intent to destroy the world, gives mankind a grace peri­od of 120 years. It was dur­ing this time peri­od that Noah was to con­struct an Ark while preach­ing on the side. Amaz­ing­ly, he had nary a con­vert as a result of his preach­ing!

The Flood that God brought about on the world at that time was so cat­a­stroph­ic that it altered the world?s geol­o­gy for­ev­er, and prob­a­bly caused the land mass to breakup into the con­ti­nents we now know. Today, for the most part, when we dig into the earth?s sed­i­ments we have a clear tes­ti­mo­ny of this cat­a­stroph­ic and trag­ic event. There is a bright side how­ev­er; God made a covenant with Noah nev­er to judge the world in this man­ner again sig­ni­fied by the rain­bow. It is also obvi­ous, though not explic­it­ly stat­ed in Scrip­ture, that the Ark of Noah is a beau­ti­ful type of Christ in that it illus­trates how today we are saved by being in Christ.

The Ark itself not only tes­ti­fies of God?s grace but is also a great tes­ti­mo­ny of the utter reli­a­bil­i­ty of the Scrip­tur­al account of the Flood. How? Ancient Mesopotami­an flood sto­ries have inter­est­ing par­al­lels to the bib­li­cal account indi­cat­ing there was a col­lec­tive mem­o­ry in the mind of ancient men of this trag­ic event. But there is one prob­lem: sev­er­al of these extra-bib­li­cal accounts (Atra­ha­sis, and Gil­gamesh) describe an ark that is either a cube or one that is cir­cu­lar (a cor­a­cle). Nei­ther would be sea­wor­thy in the kind of flood the bible describes. On the oth­er hand, the phys­i­cal dimen­sions of the Ark as described in the bible are the max­i­mum ratios (30 length, 3 height 5 width), you would need to ride out a storm involv­ing great tidal waves and earth upheaval. Tell me how can this be? If the bib­li­cal sto­ry of the Noah had a mytho­log­i­cal ori­gin, how would Moses have known this? It?s not an option to not answer the ques­tion! It can?t be an acci­dent that the writer of Gen­e­sis knew (or was told) how to build a boat that would have the max­i­mum sta­bil­i­ty in vio­lent seas! This was no riv­er flood. If it were just a riv­er flood, why would you need an ark 475 feet long with a capac­i­ty of over 500 rail­road cars? Or, why would you need an ark at all? Why not just have the ani­mals and man migrate to high­er ground? Yes, you need to answer the ques­tion. Now, some, call­ing them­selves Evan­gel­i­cals, are assign­ing the flood sto­ry to some lev­el of myth sta­tus. Oh real­ly! You mean you can pick and choose which is true his­to­ry? Well then, what about the Res­ur­rec­tion? Is that myth, too? That?s pret­ty hard to believe as well!

Now Hol­ly­wood is ful­ly aware of the pop­u­lar­i­ty and inter­est in the sto­ry of Noah?s Ark. Through­out the year for the last sev­er­al decades a pletho­ra of sto­ries about the dis­cov­ery of Noah?s Ark have appeared in the tabloids. It seems it is dis­cov­ered every sum­mer! This is not to men­tion the many doc­u­men­taries on the sub­ject on the cable chan­nels (and some­times the major net­works) all of which must make mon­ey or they would not con­tin­ue to make them. They also know that the first bib­li­cal sto­ry the child of a Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly is exposed to in Sun­day School, is the sto­ry of Noah, the ark and the ani­mals. So, why not take this great dra­mat­ic tale and make it into a movie? I applaud the move. How­ev­er, know­ing the ani­mos­i­ty Hol­ly­wood has toward any­thing Chris­t­ian I would be amiss by not hav­ing my doubts about how they would treat such a film.

Months ago, before the release of the film, Noah, (3/28/2014), I start­ed col­lect­ing reviews by peo­ple (most­ly Chris­t­ian lead­ers) who were shown var­i­ous ver­sions of the movie. Hol­ly­wood want­ed to appear to be open mind­ed about sug­ges­tions for how to treat this bib­li­cal dra­ma. Most of the reviews were mixed in their appraisal. Hol­ly­wood, i.e., Para­mount Stud­ies, sens­ing it would be con­tro­ver­sial, made fre­quent use of focus groups, along with much polling and con­sult­ing with these same influ­en­tial Chris­t­ian lead­ers. After all, much is at stake when you have a $130 mil­lion bud­get movie. This does not include anoth­er $50 – 60 mil­lion spent to pro­mote it!

So, unchar­ac­ter­is­tic of me, I was there to view the movie on open­ing night. I was cer­tain­ly pre­pared after read­ing through a three-inch thick file of reviews. One thing is obvi­ous, this movie sets a record for the num­ber of reviews, and they are still com­ing. I hope you can endure one more.

The movie was about what I expect­ed. The sto­ry line only vague­ly resem­bled the bib­li­cal account: there was a flood, and a fam­i­ly was saved by enter­ing an ark. What Hol­ly­wood loves to do, espe­cial­ly with bib­li­cal sto­ries, is to emp­ty them of bib­li­cal val­ues and replace them with their own mate­ri­al­ist, pagan, and or, new age val­ues. This movie was a prime exam­ple. Aronof­sky long ago saw the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the Noah sto­ry as vehi­cle for his own envi­ron­men­tal and Gaia reli­gion. This movie is not about a cat­a­stroph­ic judg­ment brought about by God because of man?s sin (as described above) but because man is destroy­ing the envi­ron­ment. Noah was cho­sen to build an ark pri­mar­i­ly to save the ani­mals because the Cre­ator saw that he cared and would get the job done. Mankind, accord­ing to Noah in the movie, and accord­ing to the movie?s cre­ator, is a virus that is destroy­ing what was once a pris­tine plan­et. Aronof­sky says his movie por­tends anoth­er flood that is com­ing if we do not stop glob­al warm­ing (New York­er, May 17, 2014, p48).

In the movie, Noah is not a preach­er of right­eous­ness who is untaint­ed by the wicked­ness of the ante­dilu­vian world, but rather a veg­e­tar­i­an and the world?s first envi­ron­men­tal­ist who is desirous of all human life being destroyed includ­ing his own fam­i­ly. He con­sents to build­ing an ark when he receives some sort of a rev­e­la­tion via a dream from ?the Cre­ator.? The main pur­pose of the ark is to deliv­er the ani­mals and not save man (Earth First!). Well, this is what I would have expect­ed from Aronof­sky who was asked about his belief in God and his world­view. This is how he replied: ?The Big Bang hap­pened, and all this star mate­r­i­al turned into stars, and stars turned into plan­ets, and plan­ets turned into life. We?re all just bor­row­ing this mat­ter and ener­gy for a lit­tle bit, while we?re here, until it goes back into every­thing else, and that con­nects us all.? He went on to say: ?The messed up thing is how dis­tract­ed we are and dis­con­nect­ed from that con­nec­tion, and the result of it is what we?re doing to this plan­et and to ourselves…What are we doing to our­selves? It?s a com­plete dis­con­nect. To me, that where the spir­i­tu­al­i­ty is. What­ev­er you want to call that connection?some peo­ple would use that term God. That to me, is what I think is holy.? (From The Chris­t­ian Post).

So, in the movie, many ele­ments of the orig­i­nal bib­li­cal sto­ry are turned on its head. The Nephilim, i.e., the rock mon­sters, turn out to be good in that they help Noah build the Ark and defend it from the Cainites (the meat eaters). In anoth­er major diver­gence, Noah did not want any child-bear­ing women to be on the ark. The wife of Shem was a young girl (Ilya) adopt­ed by Noah?s fam­i­ly as a child, and as a result of pre­vi­ous abuse, she is bar­ren. Methuse­lah, the grand­fa­ther of Noah, heals her, how­ev­er. The lat­ter is depict­ed as a Shaman­is­tic her­mit liv­ing in a cave who seems a quart low on the dip­stick! When Shem?s wife gets preg­nant Noah vows to kill the baby if it hap­pens to be a girl. Lat­er on the ark she gives birth to twin girls. Noah imme­di­ate­ly moves to kill them, but upon look­ing at their faces he finds he can­not do it. He then apol­o­gizes to the cre­ator and tells him he just couldn?t do it. You are left with the impres­sion that he did not car­ry out the Creator?s wish.

Now all art is some­what sub­ver­sive. Your orig­i­nal atten­tion is sup­posed to be attract­ed to the beau­ty and the cre­ativ­i­ty of the work. How­ev­er, the artist, who has a world­view, makes all art bio­graph­i­cal. He wants to, and works hard to get his mes­sage across in a latent rather than a bla­tant man­ner. Aronofsky?s movie is cer­tain­ly no excep­tion; his envi­ron­men­tal reli­gion is not so latent, how­ev­er, but there are oth­er ele­ments that you may only pick up after mul­ti­ple view­ing. The Shaman­ism, as men­tioned above, mag­ic, occultism, and the Jew­ish mys­ti­cism (The Kab­bal­ah) are ever so sub­tle. The snake­skin even seems, dare I say, Lucifer­ian!

Do I believe a movie mak­er artist should have cre­ative license? Of course! We know very lit­tle about Noah?s char­ac­ter and the oth­er char­ac­ters in the bib­li­cal account. What Aronof­sky does how­ev­er, is far more than license. He him­self said: This is the least bib­li­cal film ever made. I?m sor­ry, but I?m not over­ly impressed with Aronofsky?s end prod­uct. For me, the film is not a bib­li­cal epic at all; it fits more into the cat­e­go­ry of a dis­as­ter film with ele­ments of a car­toon (the rock beings) and a hor­ror flick. Hol­ly­wood has come a long way in devel­op­ing its art form. I refer to the qual­i­ty of the act­ing and tech­ni­cal aspects. In this film, you nev­er real­ly latch on to any of the char­ac­ters. Rus­sell Crowe, as Noah, has a good rep­u­ta­tion (Acad­e­my Award) for his art. Here, how­ev­er, he seems uncom­fort­able in his role. I found his dia­log at times hard to dis­cern; his voice seemed raspy and indis­tinct. The reviews I read (sev­er­al dozen), for the most part, raved about the spe­cial effects. I?m not one of them. These com­put­er gen­er­at­ed sce­nar­ios are fake and they looked that way (the ball of snakes, etc.). It would be inter­est­ing to know exact­ly what per­cent­age of the movie was com­put­er gen­er­at­ed.

All in all, I can?t give this movie a very high grade. See­ing it once is enough. This isn?t true if a movie is a great work of art, and it is not one you would want your chil­dren to see. Iron­i­cal­ly, it is a preachy movie. No one cat­er­wauls more than Hol­ly­wood when some Chris­t­ian orga­ni­za­tion (Sher­wood Bap­tist Church, Water­mark, etc.) makes a film with a mes­sage. For me this is a mes­sage movie: ?If we take care of plan­et earth, per­haps we will be spared future destruc­tion.? Noah says as much in the movie: ?If we work to save it, maybe He will save us.? (Not exact word­ing).

From the sev­er­al dozen reviews I’ve read, here are sev­er­al that I thought were quite provoca­tive. Also, note that some of those list­ed below have writ­ten mul­ti­ple reviews. And for more insight into the mind of Dar­ren Aronof­sky, I rec­om­mend the arti­cle ?Heavy Weath­er,? from the March 17, 2014 issue of The New York­er.

Click the links below to read their reviews.

Matt Walsh
Erick Erick­son
Mark Zoller Seitz
Bri­an Godawa
Bri­an Matt­son
Albert Mohler

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