This isn’t a blog post about how wrong they got the story of Noah and how angry I am about it. Sadly, a plethora of righteous indignation is par for the course following the release of any pseudo-biblical story, no matter how calmly and repeatedly words like ‘homage’ and ‘influenced by’ are spoken. But you’ll get no indignation from me, righteous or otherwise. Of the multitude of thoughts I have post-viewing, annoyance and anger don’t register.
This means I’m not going to pick apart the majority of the movie. And that means that if you want a thorough re-telling\analysis\review, then you need to look elsewhere. There are much more important fish to fry.
Because my two primary emotions after watching it at last are awe and thankfulness. And it has nothing to do with rainbows or twin babies.
First, awe. No matter how many times you show your Sunday School class felt giraffes to recount the spectacle of animals sweeping onto the ark, nothing prepares you for the visual. This happened, I kept reminding myself as I watched. Something akin to this happened. I may have expected it to be dulled amongst the invention of rock-angels and instant forests, but instead the kernel of truth was heightened, edge of the seat style. In (almost) 29 years of picturing it, I had never imagined the terror and majesty of that boarding moment. The beginning of awe.
Diving right in happens with the flood itself. Oft-read but never pondered phrases sprang to mind; and it felt like maybe for the first time I apprehended the corner of the phrase “wellspring of the deep”. However, the unrelenting watery visuals were one thing, but the weight of what was going on outside was quite another. I read a interview where Russell Crowe expressed disbelief at the Sunday School concept of Noah, stating:
“The funny thing with people is that they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure, because he looked after the animals. ‘Aww, Noah…Noah and the animals’. It’s like, are you kidding me? This is the dude that stood by and watched the entire population of the planet perish.”
Leaving aside Crowe’s conclusions regarding Noah’s character, the fact of his experience remains. I was overwhelmed and alarmed as the screams of people outside the ark echoed through the theatre. This is a devastating story of sin and judgment, of loss and death and desolation such as we have never seen before or since. But not such as we will never see again.
That was the drum that kept beating in my head as I watched. This story of judgment does not end with the rainbow and a renewed blessing about fruitfulness. It may be the very last thing anyone wants to hear, but the Bible speaks of a judgment day that is yet to come. The message of human sin that the movie spoke around is not a morality tale set to scare us. The result of sin in the Bible does not terminate at the cursing of a once-luscious world, or the physical death of man. The result of sin in the Bible is that we are cut adrift from the source of life, given over to the desires we have for self-rule. Without God’s intervention, we cannot know him. This is the “terrible forfeit of sin”, the inability to know our maker. And never has that been clearer than the portrayal of God in this movie. My heart swells with thankfulness now to think of it.
Yes, thankfulness. Because, mercifully, the God of the Bible is not the removed, silent, capricious God who Crowe struggles to understand. Our God is a God who speaks. He is justly angry at sin, absolutely holy, and gracious beyond measure. Into the silent, dark, lost world, he speaks. And his word gives life.
His word names and forms a people and sets in motion the plan of salvation that culminates in Jesus. The speaking God of the Bible is not silent about sin or devoid of love or difficult to understand. More than this – he does not leave man to his own devices, as though any good can come from within. It cannot. We need something that this world has never seen. We need a word to carve through the confusion and speak life and hope to a people mired in tar-black sin. We need the Son of God himself to take on flesh and die so that rebellious (but ever so precious-to-God) man might live. For all who trust in Jesus – life! That is the future. But for those who do not – only the judgment of a choice apart from God.
The movie ‘Noah’ makes me fall to my knees, because of the God who really spoke to a real man with that name. Because of the God who really spoke through his Son, and offers an alternative to the desolation of decay and death. The movie ‘Noah’ makes me weep for those who don’t know the true God of the Bible, who does not wish that any should perish. The movie ‘Noah’ makes me ever so thankful to know a speaking God and to have his word, in Scripture. To not now or ever be shouting into the wind.
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”