Should you rush out to see the new Noah movie?

If you want to know how to best handle your money, go to a professional investment advisor.  If you are not feeling well at all and want to know what’s wrong, you’ll seek out a good doctor or nutritionist.  And if you want to learn more about the Bible… well, just watch a good movie!

Many people who do not consider themselves to be very religious (or not religious at all) are very uncomfortable going to church, but they are often curious about the Bible or Christianity in general.  It’s fairly typical for these people to “catch a good flick” where they can not only be entertained, but also learn what this religious stuff is really all about.

Interestingly, many Christians seem to know more about the Bible from videos and movies than from actually studying Scripture itself.  It’s a trap we can all fall into, myself included.  I’ve spent many younger years eagerly reading books about the Bible, listening to lectures and watching videos and movies, but not spending nearly enough time in God’s Word personally.  I had a lot of faith… in what others told me about the Bible.

So that no one gets the wrong impression and decides not to read the rest of this article… I am not going to tell you that you should never watch videos or movies related to the Bible.  I am, however, going to strongly caution you about this practice.

Anytime we are watching or listening to messages about the Bible, we are always potentially in danger of being negatively influenced by the presenter’s bias or agenda.  When it comes to listening to your pastor (not knowing where you attend) I will assume that he is truly, sincerely doing his best to convey the true meaning and intent of God’s Word, so the “risk factor” for you is generally very low or virtually non-existent.

On the other hand, when we allow Hollywood to present biblically related messages, it’s a whole different story.  Many of you, if not all, have seen “The Ten Commandments” featuring Charlton Heston (produced in 1956).  While not perfect, it really isn’t going to lead you far astray and didn’t seem intent on demeaning God or questioning His character.  That was then, this is now…

Hollywood has a much more blatant agenda today.  The vast majority of their productions promote anti-Christian values and some directly attack the Christian faith, God and the Bible.   Just like most people living in third world, oppressive countries “know” how “bad” Americans are and how they cause all of the problems in the world today (that’s the impression they are given), much of the secular population in the US “knows” about Christianity and how mean and judgmental we are!  They don’t actually know the truth… they only know what the media wants them to think about us (e.g., that we supposedly hate homosexuals, we want to suppress women by not letting them make “choices”, and that we believe God only loves us because we are better than everyone else, etc.).

Poised to be released March 2014, Noah is Hollywood’s latest attempt at a biblical narrative.  I am expecting this movie to work very well for them for a number of reasons, including:

  • It will attract many Christians, who are excited that Hollywood is interested in the Bible.
  • It will attract non-Christians, who wish to learn more about the Bible without having to go to church.
  • It will taint both Christian’s and non-Christian’s view of God and His word, both consciously and subconsciously and cause their existing doubts about the Bible to increase.
  • They will see significant financial profit while accomplishing their agenda.
So what wrong with this movie?  We can only guess at this point based on comments from those who have seen early cuts.  We do not know what will end up in the final production and what will be left out, but we get a glimpse from the following:
  • Those in the ark include Noah, his wife, their three sons and one daughter-in-law (as opposed to the actual account of three daughter-in-laws, Genesis 7:7).  Minor point you say?  Maybe, but why stray from the true account when it is clear for anyone to read?  This just shows their lack of interest in portraying an accurate account of the biblical event.
  • Noah appears to be bringing two of every “species” on the ark, which in reality would be quite impossible and makes the whole story seem extremely mythical.  The Bible only talks about taking two of each “kind” (Genesis 6:19-20) which is a much broader category (probably closer to the current “family” classification in science today) and is very feasible when you do the actual calculations (which have been done).
  • Noah somehow believes that his only purpose in building the ark is to preserve “innocent” animals.
  • Noah also believes that humans are not to procreate after the flood… only animals (contrary to Genesis 9:1).  Because of this, when he learns that his daughter-in-law is pregnant, he vows to kill his grandchild, before finally having a change of heart.
So, is this the worst movie that has ever been produced?  Not by a long shot.  But we must keep in mind that subtle deception (Genesis 3:1) is usually more powerful than blatant lies.  I would guess that most people attending, at least the non-Christians, will accept everything portrayed as being accurate to the biblical narrative.  If it drives them to actually check out Scripture for themselves, that’s great, but it is also highly unlikely, given how busy people are today and generally apathetic.

Even Christians may too often just respond by thinking to themselves, “Wow, I didn’t realize that’s how it happened,” or “I never knew that’s what the Bible said about such and such…”  They will certainly not come away with a renewed awe and respect for God and his sovereignty, and they won’t view Noah as righteous or faithful to God, even though that’s how the Bible describes him (Genesis 6:9).

The lead actor in this movie (Russell Crowe, who is undoubtedly a talented actor) certainly doesn’t have a very biblical view of God.  While being interviewed on Entertainment Tonight (June 4, 2013) he stated, “… they consider Noah to be a benevolent figure… are you kidding me?… This is a dude that stood by and watched the entire population of the planet perish. …He’s not benevolent. He’s not even nice.”  He holds this view despite the fact that the Bible says that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5) and that the people had 120 years (Genesis 6:3) to repent from the warning of the flood until it actually happened, yet no one did.

There was a similar situation years ago with the release of another Hollywood production, Inherit the Wind.  It was supposedly a recount of the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” in which John Scopes was accused of teaching the evolution of man from apes in the public school system (something banned back then, but enthusiastically heralded as “fact” today).  It has been said of this film that if you want to know what actually happened during the trial, just believe the opposite of almost every major significant point in the movie!  In reality, Hollywood wasn’t interested in educating the public about one of the most significant events in US history… it was solely interested in indoctrinating the public with propaganda and lies, disguised as actual history.

Summing things up… we should all be discerning about what we watch, checking everything against God’s written word.  We might also want to consider whether or not we wish to financially support a group (in this case, Hollywood) that is clearly antagonistic towards our faith and the character of God.

Ending on a positive note… we can use this opportunity to witness to those around us.  You could consider watching the movie with some unsaved friends (either in the theater or renting at home once it is released) and then discussing it with them, sharing what the Bible actually says about Noah and the flood.  It would be a great chance to share the Gospel message with them, because the ark is a “type” of salvation in the Old Testament pointing to Christ, who is our ultimate salvation today.  There are many great resources regarding the flood to help you be prepared ahead of time. One of my favorites is a new book by Paul Taylor, entitled Don’t Miss the Boat.

 

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Author: Jay Seegert (Co-Founder & Principal Lecturer, Creation Education Center)

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