Ken Ham, the president and founder of Answers in Genesis believes the upcoming Hollywood epic “Noah” is too unbiblical to be supported by Christians and therefore a dubious, even dangerous bridge by which to reach unbelievers. In an Answers in Genesis blog post, Mr. Ham thoroughly defended his argument by supplying a litany of grievances against the movie’s “bizarre” and “inaccurate” treatment of the well-known Bible story. But while we can be certain that the film contains biblical inconsistencies and administers what some may deem a “blasphemous” dose of artistic license, should Christians shun the movie altogether and discourage non-Christian friends from seeing it?
Among Mr. Ham’s concerns with “Noah” were the following facts pointed out to him by friends who viewed a rough cut of the film:
- In the film, Noah was robbed of his birthright by Tubal-Cain (a descendant of Cain who, according to Genesis 4:22 was a metalworker). The serpent’s body (i.e., Satan), which was shed in Eden, was their “birthright reminder.” It also doubled with magical power.
- Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, whereas in the Bible it consisted of three daughters-in-law also.
- “Rocks” (that seem to be fallen angels) build the Ark with Noah.
- Noah is nearly driven insane as he believes the only purpose to his family’s existence was to help build the Ark for the “innocent” animals (Mr .Ham points out that this is creation-worship).
I will add that The Guardian recently reported that the film “is said to feature a segment showing how Darwinian evolution transformed amoebas into apes, as well as what the director describes as “a huge [environmental] statement in the film … about the coming flood from global warming.”
The same article quotes the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky:
“‘Noah’ is the least biblical biblical film ever made.”
If you were wondering if the filmmakers had any intention of remaining true to the biblical account, I doubt further questions remain. “Noah” is by no means a successor to “The Passion of the Christ,” which, in stark contrast, was praised for its refreshing faithfulness to the gospels. However, Paramount Pictures, the studio that produced “Noah,” can be commended for one thing, and that is providing a disclaimer to the film which states that that the movie is “true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide,” and adds that the “biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”
Given Mr. Aronofsky’s unequivocal assertion concerning “Noah’s”merit as a movie fit for church libraries, I personally disregard the first segment of the aforementioned disclaimer. Nevertheless, I do perceive a glimmer of hope, an opportunity for redemption, in the last sentence; the truth is always waiting for us within God’s inerrant Word.
Christians who are firmly rooted in their faith and, as Paul encouraged us, “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God … rightly dividing the word of truth,” should not recoil from adaptations of even the “least biblical biblical” Hollywood films, nor should we disparage those who purchase tickets to see them (2 Tim. 2:15, KJV). What if, instead of boycotting the tasteless, disappointing fare offered in today’s “faith-driven” entertainment, we chose to view it as a modern-day Mars Hill?
Like Paul standing in the midst of Areogpagus (Mars Hill) before Athenian philosophers and a paganic stone altar serving as a conversation piece, if you will, we too can use one of our society’s “sacred places,” the cinema, to initiate meaningful dialogue with those scratching their heads, who say as the Greeks did: “What’s this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he’s picked up? … Come and tell us about this new teaching. You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it’s all about” (Acts 17:18-20, NLT).
What if our foreign “babbling” about the flaws and inaccuracies of “Noah” impels non-Christians to engage us on these matters? What if, through their curiosity, a once non-existent door of opportunity is thrust open for us to present the overarching theme of the original Noah story to them, that is, the saving Ark of God’s grace and forgiveness which would one day be personified in Jesus Christ?
Whether you decide to oppose, support, or respond apathetically to “Noah,” I encourage you to dedicate some time to revisit the true Genesis account so that you will “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV). You never know when someone might ask.
SOURCES: blogs.answersingenesis.org (November 13, 2013); theguardian.com (March 11, 2014); movieguide.org