Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Today's Christians Hate the Movie Noah

I was finally able to get out and see the movie Noah.    I thoroughly enjoyed the cinematic features, story line and moral questions raised.   Overall I would say I loved the film.  Prior to seeing Noah, I had  read the reviews and criticism.  I had an idea of the controversy surrounding the film as "deviating from the Biblical narrative", but on a personal level that did not bother me.  I knew that I could enjoy the film even if it was a far stretch of the Bible.

I understood in reading the many commentaries on Noah, that the uproar over the film was due to a deviation from the Biblical narrative.  Something that Fundamentalist leaning Christians would certainly see as a problem.  Naturally a full length feature film could not be made over the very short text in the Bible and some character development and filler material would have to be added.  Everyone would be ok with that, but the movie did much more than that.  It created a primordial world that we really know virtually nothing about.  It pulled from sources outside the Bible to fill in gaps.  One of which was the book of Enoch which is an ancient Jewish text outside the Bible.  Interestingly enough the Book of Enoch is actually referenced in the book of Jude, so it seems early Christians were at least familiar with it, and while not scripture, it seems appropriate to me for the creators of the film to go to other Jewish and ancient traditions to fill in the gaps.  They seemed to do this well.  The Watchers seemed to make Genesis 6 come alive and make sense with the book of Enoch.

In the end they painted a very good picture of what could have taken place.  After all we don't know for certain much other than the world was destroyed by a flood and one family built a boat and saved themselves and two of each kind.

But after going through all that, and reading all the blogs and reviews, and complaints and explanations of Jewish midrash, I think it is none of that as to why today's Christians hate the movie Noah.   Instead it is something much deeper and central to our spirituality.

Noah confronts the issue of evil, the issue of a a fallen world, the issue of judgement, the issue of miracles, and the issues of just how separate we are from where we were meant to be.

These are questions and issues that make many today uncomfortable.  We view ourselves as Holy when we are fallen, Righteous when we are filled with sin,  Free of judgement while we live in our sins, and logical with no room for the miraculous.  These issues are all forefront in the Noah movie, and I believe the real reasons that people are uncomfortable with it.

(Possible Spoiler Alerts after this point...but we all know how it ends right?)

There is a beautiful seen in which the Creation story is read and we see the earth and all creation created up to and including man.  It is a beautiful display of theistic evolution but that is for another post perhaps.  The point that really drew me was how strange Adam and Eve looked compared to how we normally see them.  We normally see them as being like us, but the movie has them looking much more like the Risen Christ.  Glorified Holy Bodies.  This shows just how severe the fall from grace was.   How much separation occurred when man sinned and how that sin and separation is passed on to all of us.   God is holy, he wants us to be holy again, and God is just, his justice must be satisfied.  It wasn't in the time of Noah, man was so dark and evil, that God wished he had not created man.  This darkness and evil is shown very well in the movie.  Truly it must have been in the face of such evil that God felt he must wipe out humanity.   Our sins do have consequences.  They have consequences to this life and the next life.   We often in our culture, operate under an idea that we have a "license to sin".  Yes it is unofficially taught in so many churches.   That God has forgiven it all and how we live is inconsequential to our salvation.

That is a lie, the story of Noah is the greatest act of evil and genocide by God if it is true.

The truth is that our choices affect who we are and how we live and those around us.  Our choices are essential in the story of our salvation.   Before you accuse me of "works salvation" let me say that is not what I am advocating.  Our salvation is in Christ and his work.   Our sanctification and holiness and acceptance of his gift is through our Faith.  Faith is a life change, a choice to pursue holiness, a choice to choose God first in all things, not the typical intellectual ascension we often give faith...."just believe that Jesus died for you and your good to go".   The Bible tells us the demons believe and I don't think we would call them Christ followers.   The call to personal holiness in pursuit of Christ is a challenging one, and one that the Noah movie presents as part of God's creation, and one that makes us uncomfortable today.  The good news about personal holiness is that we don't have to be perfect, Noah was not perfect.  Instead we need to orient ourselves to God as Noah did and as is so wonderfully displayed in the film.

Another issue that personally struck me by the film was just how magnificent the miracles were.   I have often found ways to try and logically and naturally justify the flood, maybe it was just a regional flood from the melting ice caps that seemed global to man at the time for example.   So this film challenged such thinking.  It was miraculous throughout, and surely God is a miraculous God.  The God that speaks the universe into existence surely can do whatever he likes.  He can make the fallen angels into rock creatures, he can burst forth a stream, grow a forest or a flower in an instant, and flood the whole world.   God does act through nature and natural processes, but it is time that I stop putting him into a box of naturalism.   God is much more, much grander, and much more powerful than I could ever imagine.  I am very appreciative of the film for bringing this out of me.

So, I highly encourage you to go and see the Noah Film.   Give it a chance.  Step out of the few lines of scripture and open your hearts and minds to see the Grandness of God, the Beauty, the Justice, and the Merciful and Miraculous.

And lets all board the Ark of the Church which has been sent for our modern Salvation from the horrors of sin. We do not need to be perfect to get on.....we just need to be pursuing Christ and placing true faith in him for our salvation.

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