The movie “Noah”

I just saw the movie “Noah”. I’m glad I went, it was good.Noah first picture

“Oh, Mark, how can you say that!?”

Well, there are a lot of reasons. When I want the pure truth of God’s Word, I of course read my Bible and believe the account of Genesis. But I part company with all the strident folk who think that a movie has to be 110% Bible-based before it can have some strong redeeming features. Tell me a movie that’s been 100% perfect in the eyes of the guardians of the faith and I’ll probably tell you of one that is cheesy, slick and possibly trying so hard to be true to the Scriptures that it ends up being shallow, poorly acted and possibly with some denomination’s baggage included in it.

Methuselah with his great grandson, Seth

Methuselah with his great grandson, Seth

Some Christians remind me of the princess and the pea. She was so refined she felt a pea under the 100 mattresses she slept on. But the Bible says, “To the hungry soul, ever bitter thing is sweet.”  (Proverbs 27:7b) Instead of being critical, maybe we should think of the multitudes worldwide who’ve basically never heard anything of the story of Noah. Most of us would have to admit that there’s quite a lot of truth portrayed in this movie which may turn out to be pretty “sweet” to all those “hungry souls”. That’s who we should be thinking about anyway, not some pea under the mattresses that offends us.

Tubalcain, leader of the forces of the earth against Noah

Tubalcain, leader of the forces of the earth against Noah

Yes, some parts of the Noah movie use a large amount of “artistic license”. Like others have mentioned, it includes things from the book of Enoch, an apocryphal book that delves into fallen angels and quite a lot of deeply spiritual stuff that in several places falls outside the way the Bible presents our world, God and the spiritual world.

But on the other hand, it was just a thrill to see a modern movie try to do justice to the time before the Flood. The very first time I ever read a Bible, a few days after I had nearly died and been carried to hell by the devil, I read the first pages of Genesis and it was the story of Noah that touch my heart.

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth. And that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on earth. And it grieved him at His heart.”  (Genesis 6: 5 & 6)

When I first read that, I remember how my reaction was that I just felt sorry for God. It certainly wasn’t a surprise to me to read what was written there. I knew in myself what a depraved person I’d become and I knew how our world is today, not too far different from the days of Noah.

Noah and familySo it was great to see professional movie makers try to do justice to this incredible subject. To see that time depicted as it must have been, to see Noah and his family trying to make their way in that world and to have God, in His special way, to communicate to Noah His intentions, was a very fascinating and fulfilling thing.

Noahs familyThere’s so much that could be written about. Yes, the plot has some major parts that are not found in the Bible. But the abiding message of the movie is summed up in a wonderful verse from the New Testament. “He will have judgment without mercy who has showed no mercy. And mercy rejoices against judgment.”  (James 2:13) That’s the message. Love and mercy when it seems there’s every reason for judgment.

Like I’ve read of the story of Napoleon, when one of his young soldiers had run away from the battle for the second time. He was to be shot but his mother pled with Napoleon for mercy. “He doesn’t deserve mercy”, Napoleon told her. “Sir,” she cried, “If he deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy.” So true. In the end, even Noah in the movie had to learn of mercy and love.

So this movie, for all the points that the literalists can quibble about, really has a lot of solid meat from the truths of God in it. Some complain, “Oh it doesn’t say God! It says ‘the Creator’!”

So what! I’ve been a disciple of Jesus for over 40 years but I still remember well what it’s like to be a stone cold atheist. This movie can do a real work on the unbelievers. Isn’t that a good thing? I don’t think it’s going to stumble any Christians. Or Jews or Muslims for that matter. But it might really make an impression on multitudes of those who are in the darkness of unbelief. Isn’t that what we should be thinking about?

Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in “Ghost”

Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in “Ghost”

Can’t we use it as a springboard for witnessing to people? Like I wrote about in the blog post about the movie “Ghost”, I was witnessing to a young man 20 years ago in Budapest and at one point, in agreement with something I had said to him, he said, “I know, I know. I saw “Ghost”. That movie had witnessed to him and opened his eyes to the spiritual world. I think this movie also can get a lot of people thinking or wondering or just considering the whole thing that they maybe never even heard of before.

In I Corinthians 7:31, Paul said, “And they that use this world as not abusing it…We need to learn how to use the world but not let it use us. We can use this movie, and the large measure of good and positive truth that is in it, as a springboard to our witness.

LIke someone has said, “Some Christians are so afraid of everything, they don’t have nothing!” Some Christians were famous 100 years ago for saying, “We can’t use the radio because the Devil uses the radio!” “We can’t use the piano because the Devil uses the piano!”  And they often ended up spiritual barren and forgotten as fearful, narrow-minded religious extremists.

God forbid that that should happen to any of us. Go to the movie, enjoy it. “Chose the good and eschew the evil.” (I Peter 3:11) And then use it to enhance your witness and tell people about the awesome, just, but also loving and merciful, God of Noah.

7 thoughts on “The movie “Noah”

  1. Love your message here Mark, my sentiments also. I especially liked how he told of the creation to the others, wow, how often do you hear that nowadays? with all the evolutionists tooting their horn. duh.

  2. God bless you Mark. Thanks for this and some interesting points you bring up! Hope you don’t mind, here’s some of my (in-exhaustive) observations / analyses / opinions of the movie ‘Noah’ which I watched the other day.

    GOOD BITS:
    It was somewhat true to the Biblical story, although you have to wonder if they’re getting their story from the Bible (where else would they get it from) then how come they got so much of it so terribly wrong?! They were clearly either ignorantly or intentionally not rightly dividing the word of truth, and I tend to think it was more of the latter than the former. (I’ll try to explain some of what I think went wrong below.)
    It does point to a Creator, ergo Creation, although it tries to muddy or marry it with evolutionary theory.
    It will hopefully arouse some interest in truth seekers, and God’s sheep will hear His voice, through the din of the Hollywood ‘dramatisation’, which will give Christians, and the Bible a chance to ‘explain more perfectly the way to salvation’.
    It does point to an all-powerful God of justice directly supreme over affairs on earth, although their idea and ‘take’ on justice is severely tainted almost as if subtly to turn people against the Justness of God!
    It shows that forgiveness comes as a result of humble penitence (like when the fallen ‘watcher’ humbly said, ‘forgive me, my Creator’, and was immediately pardoned and received back up to heaven.) Unfortunately even this was undermined by how the it depicted the other ‘watchers ’ (mis)interpreted the Creator’s actions and reasons for redeeming him….(expounded further below).

    INACCURATE BITS:
    The Bible (which is where they’re supposed to be getting the story from) says clearly that the reason why God was moved to destroy mankind was because of their wickedness and the evil imaginations of the thoughts of his heart (being put into action), not necessarily due to ‘ravaging’ of the earth’s resources; and not because mankind wanted to eat meat either (because man-kind weren’t meat-eaters until after the flood when God GAVE us meat to eat).
    The Bible also clearly says that God chose Noah and His family, INCLUDING wives, to be saved, and revealed His plan openly to Noah, and the reason behind it; there was no guess-work required on Noah’s part! God even gave Noah instructions to build the ark along with dimensions, parameters and features (gopher wood, pitched inside and out, rooms inside, etc.)
    There were no stowaways inside the ark, just eight souls who entered into the ark, and full grown and married at the time!
    It took Noah 120 years to build the ark, not 8!
    The ‘giants’ were the offspring of the ‘sons of God’ who had had relations with the daughters of men, they were not fallen angels.

    BAD BITS:
    Unfortunately there were quite a few……
    I wasn’t sure whether to include this observation in this section or in the previous one, but I decided on this one for the reason that I believe it was not ignorance but deliberation that caused them to portray the ‘Creation’ the way they did: When Noah told the story of creation there was an attempt there to sort of ‘marry’ or join creation to evolution, like some luke-warm so-called Christians try to do. Not once (that I remember) did he say – like it says in the Bible – ‘And God said…!’ He simply was really almost telling a story of the big bang, and the only concession he did to creationism, is that he said, rather slyly, ‘And there was an evening, and there was a morning, and there was a third (fourth, fifth, etc.) day!’ (Not even that it was THE third day) But all the while it was showing and depicting an ‘evolving’ earth in fast motion, along with ‘evolving’ life, ‘evolving’ species, etc. It was almost entirely the theory of evolution dressed up just enough to fool some unsuspecting soul into believing it was the story of creation! But oh, so very subtle! There’s a saying that goes, ‘Beware of half truths, you may have the wrong half!’ And like Jesus said of the books of Genesis, Exodus..etc., ‘If ye had believed Moses ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me, but if ye believe not his writings, how can ye believe my sayings!’ So obviously since they don’t believe (Greek word translated as believe in NT: Pisteio — I believe, I accept completely, I drink in, I swallow) the story of Genesis, there’s no way they are going to believe the story of Christ, and if they don’t believe the love of the truth, there’s nothing left to believe but a lie! He that is not for me is against me! That’s not to say that God can’t cause the wrath of man to praise him, because He can and WILL….but that’s no credit to man, and all credit to God’s power!
    I’ve included this next observation also in ‘bad bits’ not simply in ‘inaccurate bits’ for a good reason: The angels who fell, did not fall because of some mistaken identification or sympathy with fallen man, and in an effort to help him. The angels who fell, fell because of their rebellion against God and their choice to follow Lucifer in his rebellion and attempted coup and usurpation of God’s power, due to pride! They were not fallen in ‘ignorant compassion’ for their friend Adam, and cast out of heaven to the earth, and encrusted in stone by a mean and vindictive God for trying to help fallen man, as the movie implies.
    IMHO this was a not-too-subtle, but altogether heretical, attempt by self-righteous man (no-doubt inspired by self-righteous satan, to try to excuse himself for his rebellion) to paint God as the ‘monster’, and the rebellious angels as poor victims of a ‘Tyrannical God’ who damned them for their ‘compassion’ and attempts to help fallen man!
    That the snake’s skin (shed from off of the serpent, or satan) would be used as a ‘charm’ to bless babies and children with is really strange, and suggests witchcraft and idolatry. That anyone would need much less want to use a part of satan to bless anyone with, simply boggles the mind and beggars belief!!
    That God (the Creator) is portrayed as a cruel vindictive Deity who wouldn’t clearly communicate his will to mankind, but left it to bunglers (like Noah is depicted) to (wrongly) try to figure it out, and come up with such crazy conclusions of His Will, is again really nothing short of blasphemous. The Bible actually says that Noah was righteous in all his generations, and found favour in the eyes of the God (of love), who it says was grieved in his heart (of love) by man’s wickedness and inhumanity towards his fellow man. So the idea that the righteous man Noah, would even begin to think that it was the Will of a Righteous and Loving God to annihilate the innocent, and murder babies for fear that they would grow into fruitful mothers to perpetuate the human race is beyond absurd!
    Again, the only conclusion I can draw is that once again a self-righteous satan is inspiring self-righteous man to try to paint God as the tyrannical monster, and man-kind as the poor helpless victims, at the mercy of the whims of a mentally-unstable but powerful, wrathful and vindictive God!
    But ‘fortunately’ for mankind Noah could only find ‘love’ in his heart for the babies (suggesting that he previously had not been acting in love — the most basic Nature of God…..but yet at the same time supposedly acting on ‘God’s behalf’…a blatant contradiction, if nothing else!) and couldn’t carry out ‘God’s Will’ to murder them; and so thereby ‘failed God’! But was later ‘comfortingly told’ that God had chosen him for the task and left the choice of whether or not to spare the human race in his hands, and he had acted in mercy! Suggesting at best that Noah had more mercy than ‘monster God’, and if nothing else it depicts an indifference and nonchalance on the part of God towards the fate of the human race, that he would leave it up to the whims of an ‘unstable’ Noah as to whether the human race was fit to be given another chance. God had specifically commanded him to build the ark in order to give mankind and the animals the second chance that his heart of love wanted to give them, and the opportunity to start again and not be wiped out by mankind’s own wickedness, which was what was destroying man in the first place!
    God’s heart has always been for Salvation and the preservation of life and His creation as much as is possible, in-spite of, and often FROM ourselves and our own foolishness; And He takes a very close and keen interest in the well-being and the affairs of this planet and especially of mankind, His crowning creation. God doesn’t just leave it up to chance, dice, or whims of man. The Bible says, ‘He putteth no trust in His saints!’ So no, God DOESN’T leave the fate of mankind alone in man’s unstable hands, and turn his back in disinterest or indifference!
    This has been satan’s whole lie from the beginning that tempted man to sin, ‘God is unjust, he’s withholding something from you; you’re better than that; YOU should be gods instead!’ Crafty and subtle satan exposed again!
    The Bible also says that Noah was a ‘preacher of righteousness’ who’d preached to the wicked old world for 120 years begging them to repent and as many as would turn from their wickedness to be saved and join him on the ark, a type and foreshadowing of Christ; but that he was mocked and persecuted and vilified and disbelieved until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the wicked people knew not till the flood came and took them all away!
    Noah was NOT trying to beat them off with a stick to prevent them from taking ‘his (selfish) boat’, but instead he was begging them to repent and come aboard, ‘but [they] would not’! He was NOT forsaking the innocent and condemning and abandoning them to their fate, because that would not have been consistent with the righteous Noah who found favour in the eyes of God. His son, Shem, was right when He said, ‘I thought God chose you because you were good (righteous)’, and Noah (in the film) was wrong when he said, ‘No, He chose me because He knew I would get the job done’. It was for BOTH reasons, and the Bible says He was ‘moved with (Godly) fear, and prepared an ark to the saving of his HOUSE(hold)’! It was his OBEDIENCE, not his judgmental mouth and words, that condemned the world and made him the heir of righteousness which is by faith!
    As briefly explained above the film depicts the other ‘watchers’ wrongly interpreting the Creator’s motives and actions in pardoning and redeeming the dying fallen ‘watcher’. It was because of his humble repentance that God forgave and accepted him back, not because he was bashing away the multitudes with a big stick to keep them from getting on the ark. Upon seeing that their comrade was pardoned and received back into heaven the other ‘watchers’ got all fired up thinking that now they’d figured out that this was their way to ‘earn’ their salvation and redemption by their ‘good works’, and started lunging at the crowd with a renewed gusto and fervour sincerely thinking they were ‘doing God service’ and earning their way back into God’s favour and into heaven; and the movie tried to show that that was what pleased the heart of the ‘monster’ God when his dutiful ‘watchers’ were indiscriminately bashing away at the people who were trying get on the ark.
    When you think and remember that the ark was a type and foreshadowing of Jesus, the image becomes even more stark and contrasting! The people who Jesus condemned the most vehemently were the self-righteous Pharisees who shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, not entering in themselves and hindering others from entering in as well! That shows what God really thinks of that sort of behaviour!
    I read an excerpt in a Christian magazine that touched on some of these principles really well:
    “THE MOST RAGING RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN HAS ALWAYS BEEN BETWEEN THE DO-IT-YOURSELF RELIGIONS AND THE GOD-ALONE-CAN-SAVE-YOU KIND. Man has always been trying to save himself with just a little help from God thrown in, so he doesn’t have to thank God too much but can give himself most of the credit, and do his own thing and go his own way.
    THE FIRST MURDER WAS COMMITTED BY A RELIGIONIST OF THE DO-IT-YOURSELF KIND WHEN CAIN KILLED ABEL–a man who was trusting God–the beginning of the persecution of the True Church by the False Church. Cain was religious, very religious, and he was trying very hard to save himself in his own way, even sacrificing to God and claiming to worship God, and doing his best to ask God to help him earn his own Salvation–but his best wasn’t good enough! His way was not God’s way! It was the way of all false religions. They are all dependent upon self-righteousness and their own way! Most of them claim to be worshiping God and seeking a little help from Him to make it, but working so hard to earn it they figure they deserve it, with or without His help, and are quite offended if He doesn’t seem to appreciate their goodness! “Why, look at all I’ve done for You, God.–You really oughta give me a medal! I really deserve to be saved! If You’re ever gonna save anybody, You should save me! If anybody’s gonna make it, I should certainly make it!”
    ON THE OTHER HAND, ABEL JUST DID WHAT GOD TOLD HIM TO DO, “and offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” the sacrifice of pure faith in the Word of God–the blood sacrifice of a lamb typifying Salvation only through the blood of Christ, showing that he was trusting God alone to do it and that only the righteousness of God could save him. He knew he had only God’s righteousness and none of his own and it was purely a gift from God.
    THUS BEGAN THE BATTLE ROYAL BETWEEN PRIDE AND HUMILITY, between the damned religionists and the saved sinners, the perpetual warfare that has been waged ever since between the False Church and the True Church, the Whore and the Bride, Carnal Babylon and Spiritual Jerusalem, the Flesh and the Spirit, Works and Faith, Law and Grace, Self and God.
    THIS HAS RESULTED IN SOME OF THE GREATEST MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND MISINTERPRETATIONS OF THE SCRIPTURES THAT HAVE EVER EXISTED! People have been trying to save themselves ever since, with as little thanks to God as possible and wresting the Scriptures to prove they could do it! Since God can’t help you to save yourself, since He does not help those who think they can help themselves but only those who know they can’t, and you can’t save yourself, no matter how much you try to get His help, and you cannot serve two masters, yourself and God–you cannot serve God and Mammon–the religionists wound up serving Mammon alone without God, and were destroyed in the flood of His Judgments!–Noah and his family alone being saved by the Grace of God in the Ark, a type of Christ, and the very waters which destroyed the wicked world delivered the trusting believers!”

    That really sums it up quite nicely, I think!

    So, in all, in my opinion it WASN’T a great movie, (it also was quite slow-moving and boring in parts….they seemed more interested in pushing their agenda than just telling a story) but maybe not entirely a loss if it causes some people to think about God. And like I said, His sheep will hear His voice even if necessary from Balaam’s (Hollywood’s) ass, and will seek and find the truth! And of course, like you said Mark, it can be used as a spring-board for a witness, now that curiosity has been aroused! ‘Give the devil enough rope and he’ll hang himself!’

    I was thinking of a few great Biblical movies that have gotten their story pretty right on, for example, ‘The Bible’, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, ‘The Ten commandments’ (although there was quite a bit of artistic licence taken in that one, but nothing too un-towards), and quite a few others, but this one unfortunately get’s the basic principles of the story wrong, and doesn’t glorify God – in fact quite the opposite – and for that reason gets a thumbs down in my book!

    GBY! Love, Jonathan

  3. I have heard a lot of Nay’s about this movie ‘Noah’… One thing for sure … This movie, has brought back a lot of people to the Bible….Praise God!!

    • If your approach to the movie was that of a theologian, there’s certainly plenty to disagree with. For me, my approach was that of a witnessing Christian. I found quite a lot that I can use in my witness to those who know nothing of the Bible’s portrayal of the history of mankind and God’s hand in the destiny of our world.

  4. I haven’t seen the movie yet but my kids have and they enjoyed it immensely…
    I am looking forward to seeing it soon..

  5. Tx Mark for your interesting and thought provoking analysis and comments of the movie and I tend to agree with you as far as using it as a springboard to witnessing to those who don’t know anything of the Bible. You expressed your approach very well and God bless you for it. I also like Jonathan’s lengthly observations which brought the other side, another angle and I think between the 2 of you, we get a good perspective about the movie.
    I saw the movie with my teenager girls and I have to admit that the second half left us a bit surprised and confused; but of course I have studied the Bible for 40 years and my girls have known the Lord and the Word all their lives, so it was easy to critic the movie and that was our first reaction. But reading your post, Mark, was very helpful in seeing that movie through the eyes of the unsaved world and those who know nothing about the Bible, which we should always do in our job as witnesses. It a good point to remember.

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