Noah movie making waves
How does it stack up to the biblical account?
Published: 1 April 2014 (GMT+10)
Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, Noah, has created a big splash in the church community, even before it landed on the big screen this past weekend. For example, in the US, the Christian TV channel National Religious Broadcasters threatened to boycott the film until distributor Paramount Pictures agreed to include in its advertising the disclaimer that Noah was merely “inspired by” the biblical account.1 Also, Christian reviewers have offered a wide variety of opinions, with some claiming that the film provides an excellent platform for evangelism, and others insisting that the movie is so unbiblical that it contains nothing of value.
Noah certainly is a film to pay attention to, given its A-list cast and high production values. As art and entertainment, we believe there is much to appreciate about the movie. Also, we commend the filmmakers for taking an interest in a Bible story in the first place and for retaining some of the details and lessons of the original account (neither point is common in Hollywood today). At the same time, we are saddened but not surprised that this film strayed far from the biblical narrative both in the particulars and in some of its major themes. For those who decide to watch this film, we recommend using discernment to evaluate which elements of the story are biblical and which are sub-biblical. The following analysis can serve as a helpful though not exhaustive guide. Beware, we include a number of spoilers below.
The pre-Flood world
We were pleased to see that many aspects of the pre-Flood world were portrayed in a manner that honored the biblical record. For example, Noah’s ancestry was traced back through Lamech and Methuselah to Adam and Eve, a real historical couple who lost their innocence when they ate the forbidden fruit and disobeyed their Creator. The story of Cain and Abel was also repeatedly referenced as a symbol of mankind’s propensity toward violence. In keeping with Genesis 1:29, Noah and family were depicted as vegetarians, while Cain’s descendants were regarded as wicked for having already begun to kill and devour raw animal flesh, before God permitted meat-eating (Genesis 9:3). Other accurate details included the use of metal tools before the Flood, as Genesis 4:22 records, and a different arrangement of continental landmasses prior to the Flood, since the present continents resulted from the Flood.
Noah (left) confronts Tubal-Cain whom the film turns into the primary villain. Contrary to the historical account in Genesis, Tubal-Cain gets onto the Ark, where he tries to kill Noah.
Noah certainly was portrayed as a man of great faith whose righteousness stood out against the evil of his generation. In fact, the most important thing this movie depicted well was the deep moral depravity of the pre-Flood world. Men were brutal and ruthless, and concerned only for themselves. Even though they came face to face with miracles and acknowledged “the Creator”, as the film repeatedly put it, they twisted God’s words and demanded that He come to them on their terms. Tubal-Cain, whom the film turned into the primary villain, almost took himself to be a god, claiming he had the power to give life and take it away just like his Maker. Given the overwhelming wickedness of the whole world, it was evident why God would want to destroy the earth and start over.
On the other hand, the film also took a number of liberties with pre-Flood history. For one thing, there was an entire subplot about fallen angels called the ‘Watchers’, which is an extension of the sons of God theme in Genesis 6. The leader of these Watchers was Semjaze, the name of a demon who appears in the non-canonical Book of Enoch and also all kinds of occult literature today. Unlike the biblical account, the Watchers/fallen angels are pitiable characters who had the best of intentions and tried to help humans. But God punishes them for this action by encasing them in bodies of stone. In other words, the fallen angels are portrayed as more merciful and benevolent than God! Later, the Watchers team up with Noah to help build the Ark and defend it from human attackers, and as they die in battle they return to their glorious angelic forms and ascend to heaven, apparently now forgiven by God. Of course, such angelic redemption is not taught in Scripture, nor could it occur without a Redeemer dying on their behalf (Hebrews 2:16). This was a major diversion from any Gospel message that one hoped the film might portray.
One thing producer Aronofsky got right was the immense size of the Ark.
Also, while Noah received revelations from the Creator about the impending disaster and his responsibility to build the Ark, these visions were often vague and hard to interpret. Again, this plot device may be derived from sources outside of Scripture, like the flood story in the Gilgamesh epic, in which the hero Utnapishtim learns of the coming flood through a dream. However, in the biblical account God gives Noah specific instructions about the size of the Ark, the number of decks, where to put the door and windows, and more. But in the film, the fact that Noah misinterprets God’s will later almost leads him to kill his own newborn granddaughters. More on this below.
Next, the biblical teaching about marriage was notably and regrettably absent. While marriage is consistently portrayed as desirable for obvious reasons, early on in the film Shem and his love interest Ila were fairly physically intimate even though they were not yet attached to each other. But even after overcoming obstacles to their union, they immediately slept together without any declaration of marital commitment. Obviously we do not expect that the antediluvian people would have followed all the same marriage customs that we observe today, but there was no indication at any point in the film that Shem and Ila even got married. This is unfortunate, since the Bible tells us that God ordained marriage right from the start, beginning with Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6), and this would have remained an important custom for a righteous man like Noah.
Another issue we picked up on was that all the pre-Flood people, from Adam and Eve to Noah’s family to those who perished in the Flood, looked white. But Noah’s family would have carried all the genetic material which eventually gave rise to all the racial features we observe today. Therefore, it would have been more appropriate to include people with darker skin, perhaps a more middle-Eastern type of complexion.
Perhaps the worst offense, however, was the way the film merged the secular evolutionary narrative with the creation account. While aboard the Ark, Noah retold the Bible’s story of six-day creation. Although his words were basically a paraphrase of Genesis 1, those spoken words stayed fairly true to the biblical account. Yet, sadly, the accompanying visuals showed an evolutionary version of history rather than the biblical one. This stop-motion style footage had the order of events wrong, with stars and galaxies appearing long before the earth, while the Bible says the stars were created on Day 4, after the earth. The scene raced through eons of time and followed the transformation of a single-celled creature into a fish, then a tetrapod, then a reptile, then a mammal, and eventually an ape just before the camera cut to Adam and Eve (who were oddly glowing and bald). This was a not-so-subtle attempt to communicate that the Bible’s creation account can be harmonized with molecules-to-man evolution, and yet this compromise utterly fails for a host of reasons that our ministry has repeatedly pointed out.2
The Flood and the Ark
Spoiler alert: everyone not on board the Ark died. Well, as tragic as that part of the film was, it does conform to the biblical account. And this is important, because the reality is that God severely judged the world. This sober element of the film serves as an antidote to the improper way we sometimes present the story of Noah to children, with smiling animals on board cute little Arks that might be mistaken for a petting zoo on a pleasure cruise. No, this was a terrible event when God annihilated all land-dwelling, air-breathing flesh—both man and beasts—except those on the Ark. The Noah film helps us to see this more clearly, as well as the truly global nature of this cataclysm. A year-long flood on this scale is more than capable of laying down huge quantities of fossil-bearing sediments all around the world. Yet these are supposedly the star exhibit for the idea of millions of years of death and violence before sin, which so undermines the Gospel.
Snakes on their way to boarding the Ark. Every animal depicted in the film was computer generated.
Plus, there are many other points about the Ark and the Flood that the movie gets right. For instance, Methuselah died when the Flood arrived, as can be calculated using the Bible’s chronological information (although in the movie and not the Bible, he dies in the Flood). The Flood was global, as the Bible clearly indicates (the view zooms out to show the whole earth engulfed in storm clouds). It lasted about one year. The water came from above and below on the same day, when “all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and all the windows of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The Ark contained three decks. There were at least two of each ‘kind’ of animal on board, not necessarily two of each species. And, finally, God brought the animals to the Ark, so Noah and family did not have to round them all up.
However, there were many flaws in the film’s depiction of the Ark’s voyage as well. For example, Tubal-Cain made it onto the Ark and survived (hidden from most of the crew) for the entire year, partly by feeding on some of the animals and thereby dooming their kinds to extinction! We understand that this plot twist was likely added for the sake of drama, but the Bible is clear that only eight people survived the Flood. Also, the ages of the passengers were all wrong. In the film, Noah’s sons are all fairly young, with Japheth below marrying age, while the future wives of Ham and Japheth were in Ila’s womb for the whole journey. Yet the Bible indicates that Noah’s sons were already married and nearly 100 years old at the time of the Flood.
Contrary to the biblical account, in the film, twin girls are born aboard the Ark—Noah’s granddaughters whom he wants to kill.
Other errors include the fact that, in the film, Noah’s family—not Noah—sent out the birds to check for dry land, and Noah—not God—shut the door of the Ark. Not surprisingly, there were no dinosaurs shown on board the Ark, although a thoroughgoing biblical worldview implies they would have been there.
As already mentioned, though, Noah became alienated from his family during the Ark’s voyage because he came to believe that God’s intention was only to save the animals for the new world, and that all humans were to go extinct, including Noah’s own lineage. So when the previously barren Ila gives birth to twin girls, Noah nearly kills them, so they will not grow up to bear children. And when he relents, he believes the mercy that causes him to spare his granddaughters is a weakness that is causing him to disobey God. So now it is Noah who is more merciful than God! While it made for interesting drama, this is very different from the biblical account in which God clearly told Noah that he saw him as righteous and would keep him alive and establish a covenant with him (Genesis 6:18–19; 7:1). In the biblical account, preserving the human race was just as important as saving the animals. While we did not see the radical environmentalism that has been alleged by others, this in particular was an egregious error.
The post-Flood world
Many of the biblical details of the aftermath of the Flood are present in Noah. There is a rainbow (though an odd one pulsing across the sky), a blessing to be fruitful and multiply, and Noah is portrayed making wine and becoming drunk from it. It is evident that there is still sin in the world, but hope for a new beginning.
However, there are some errors. Noah does not make a sacrifice (this would be inconsistent with the film’s message that the animals are innocent and should never be killed), God does not bless Noah and his family audibly (though it is implied in the rainbow scene), and Noah is portrayed as distraught with uncertainty about whether he completed the task God gave him.
But the worst misrepresentation is Ila’s interpretation of Noah’s actions which are meant to almost be an ‘interpretation’ of the movie for the audience. When Noah tells her that he has isolated himself from his family because he failed them by failing to kill his granddaughters, she tells him that rather, God had shown him the wickedness of humankind, but that Noah had seen goodness, too, and God had given him the choice as to whether humanity should continue. This serves as a heartwarming end to the movie, but it is nearly completely opposite from the biblical story of God’s redemption.
The missed opportunity of Noah
Despite having ‘biblical advisors’ to guide them, the major decision that the producers apparently made, which caused nearly every plot flaw in the movie, was to exclude God as an active character. Thus it reduced God to some mythical or even mystical character. The Creator is mentioned, obeyed, sought, questioned, and cursed in the movie by various characters, but nowhere does He speak or act clearly Himself. And when He is excluded, someone else has to be merciful (the Watchers and Noah). Someone else has to shut the door of the Ark and give the post-Flood blessing (Noah again). Someone else has to be the sovereign one who decides who lives and who dies (you guessed it, Noah again!). No wonder the movie’s Noah is so distraught by the end of the movie—who could bear the impossible weight of God-sized actions and decisions?
But the Ark is a picture of God’s salvation, a story that had already been working itself out in previous generations. God clothed Adam and Eve—He covered their sins with the blood of animals, and covered their bodies with the skins. God marked Cain—as an act of mercy and preservation even after he murdered his brother, even though he would continue to rebel against Him. And 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a ‘preacher of righteousness’—some people think that means that Noah was preaching to the people during the time the Ark was being constructed. Even if this was the case, no one except his own family boarded the Ark—a demonstration of the darkened hearts of the pre-Flood world people.
In the movie, Noah wrestled with why he was chosen to survive since he recognized evil in his family and in his own heart. This is, of course, correct. Noah and his family were sinners who deserved God’s wrath as much as everyone else who was washed away in the deluge. God could only save Noah and his family because He would send His own Son to pay the penalty for our sin. Noah portrays God wrongly, and so portrays everything else wrongly. We shouldn’t really expect Hollywood to portray the picture of salvation, but when it is something that is so central to the story, we can’t act like it isn’t important that they failed to, either.
It is interesting how much Christians have looked forward to this movie—a movie produced by Hollywood! We should remember that Hollywood specializes in entertainment. Thus, they rarely let the facts get in the way of a good story, as often demonstrated when making all sorts of movies allegedly ‘based on real events’ or ‘based on a true story’. It would be very easy to make a huge noise and overtly criticize, but in short, what did we expect?
In conclusion, no one should be surprised that Aronofsky got Noah wrong. There is no indication that he is a believer or even has a grasp of the place of the Flood story within its wider scriptural context, and he has a history of making dark and violent movies. Hence the Watcher-golems and other embellishments to the story—which would have been as unnecessary as they are unbiblical, if he had been able to bring the larger biblical and salvation context into the movie.
As we said earlier, if you see this movie, exercise discernment. And it will be a lot less disappointing for you if you don’t expect it to bear too much resemblance to the Bible. In short, this movie is not an evangelistic one, but it may provide an opportunity for evangelism if people question you about it—especially over the next few weeks. Are you ready with answers? Creation.com has plenty if you type in key words such as Flood, Noah’s Ark and Noah etc. into our search engine. Or there are specific key articles in the following sections from our topics pages, such as Noah’s Ark and Flood.
Reviewer picks up on Gnostic and extra-biblical sources for Noah
Several readers have pointed us to a review by Dr Brian Mattson,3 which argues that Aronofsky was not drawing primarily on the Bible’s Flood account, but various Gnostic texts along with the Book of Enoch. His comments particularly make sense out of the snake skin that appears in various places throughout the movie.
[For one Australian pastor’s report after taking his young people to see the movie, click here.]
References and notes
- Morrison, P., Why a disclaimer for ‘Noah,’ a movie based on a religious story, not history?, L.A. Times Opinion online, www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-religious-riptide-for-noah-movie-20140306,0,349340.story#axzz2vyIMEFkJ, 7 March 2014. Return to text.
- Creation Compromises. Return to text.
- Mattson, B., Sympathy for the devil, 31 March 2014, drbrianmattson.com. Return to text.
Frankly I was not expecting a biblical based film from an atheist/gnostic. The director even laughed when asked if this was true to the scriptures. Ironically after early test screenings with about 5000 Christians, 98% said they won't see it as it was not biblical based. They rewrote the script to be closely matching the scriptures (to appease to the Christian demographic) However the director was given creative license and his perveted version won the day. Sadly due to the opening day 'sucess', Hollywood has greenlighted the upcoming Moses film and others. I won't be seeing any!
One thing is certain, 'Hollywood' may not want to believe the Bible or portray it accurately, but they are certainly not ignorant of what it says. There is no Excuse.
I have been looking forward to your review. My understanding is that The director is himself a secular Jew (Jewish in his upbringing and ancestry, atheist in his beliefs ) and that his Biblical advisors are Jewish and drawing from their sources of Scriptural interpretation. I suspect the question of the redeemability of angels is one of our divides, but the biggest is the lens of interpretation the New Testament gives to the old.
I suspect that it's not a film that will satisfy many, since for serious Christians it takes too many liberties in the wrong places, and yet takes the story to seriously to please the atheist. He does, after all, show a worldwide flood exterminating all life on earth, not a local Near Eastern flood.
The source material beyond the Torah is likely the Midrash, and the Books of Enoch and Jubilees.
This article points out some of the problems of the film, but I believe it falls short. I have enjoyed many articles from Creation.com over the years, however this article is too soft in its criticism of the film. The Noah Movie lies about God and His character. This film is very deceptive. The lead of this article is far too soft. This article does not stress enough how evil is portrayed in the movie as good. It covers the fallen angels problem, but it does not stress that as being as dangerous as it really is. The film portrays the fake Methuselah as an evil person performing evil acts. The film lies about God and His character. This film portrays the fake Noah as a clueless psychopath. What is so dangerous about this film? It is not the very few details that it got somewhat correct. It is the fact that scripture is twisted beyond recognition portraying God completely incorrectly. The lead of this article is very weak. That is my opinion.
Thomas, thanks for this comment. But if you'll notice, we were rather critical. We say that they got a lot of things wrong because they got God and the Gospel wrong. It's hard to imagine a more severe criticism than that.
We consciously didn't tell people "see this film" or "don't see this film" because we feel it's something for each person to decide for him- or herself. But we did tell people not to expect a film that is remotely Christian. And really, when Hollywood does a Bible movie, does anyone expect it to be really faithful?
Thanks for a well discussed article on the film. I am looking forward to seeing the film in South Africa, as I believe it can be used as a tool in the Lord's hands to share His love in saving Noah's family and still saving mankind when they turn to Him through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. Shalom!
I saw this film in a free screening in Los Angeles last year. I was incredibly excited. Not only were we some of the first people to see the film before it came out, there was going to be a film about NOAH of all things!
When it was over, my expectations were stamped on. It conformed to the Theory of Evolution, it went in the opposite direction of the Nephilim, and it was so un-Biblical it may as well have been about an entirely different story altogether.
To anyone reading this article, do NOT go to see this film. Ever.
I heard rumors that the director will be making a film on Moses next. I hope it is not true.
The problem I have with the film is that it is called Noah. Had he called it by some other name rather than make it look like it is based on the Bible when there is very little. It is deceptive of the director to do that, since it is associated with the Bible and used that to get publicity. The name change would have it less publicity and meant it would have been fantasy and he could have portrayed the story however he wanted to, but to ignore the source material so much is just bad film making.
I'm very saddened that you are only saddened. This move is almost devoid of anything Biblical and is extremely anti-Christian. It is also very pro-evolution, anti-humanity and hyper-environmentalist. I've read the reviews and will not see the film.
I think our review contains some pretty severe criticisms. But we are used to seeing Hollywood pump out films rooted in a non-Christian worldview, so we don't see any need to denounce it more harshly than we did.
Thank you. I have read this review and also Ken Ham's very scathing review of the film. I have as yet not heard any secular reviews. Putting all this together, I wont be wasting my money going to see this film at the cinema, and I don't intend to get it DVD either.
In at least one way, the movie was an aid to my understanding. Insofar as a correct vision of the ark itself, Aronofsky's box without bow or keel rings truer than the scaled up Erie canal barge design that people previously imagined.
No, I don't expect Hollywood to get a Bible story correct in a Movie format. That being said, the movie "The Ten Commandments" was a very great movie and did a super job filling in the blanks and not trying to change the biblical message.
If you are Christian, and want to see a Christian-Biblical film look elsewhere. The article is too polite - this is Hollywood my friends, where myths are real; fiction is fact; and popular culture to be venerated. Of course as the article states, there is some veracity to the tale. That is to keep those 'Christian fundamentalists' happy and contented. But be awaer the 2 take-aways from this film:
1) God is concerned about Gaia not about humans. Noah is first and foremost a Gaia-centric film. Humans are [like Avatar] in the main rather evil and deserving of eradication [hence the flood].
2) Evolution is real and God made it happen [perhaps], and the Biblical narrative of man being special is simply wrong. After all 'naturalism' and Gaia-ism is the central 'fact' of species development.
Pond scum to Noah seems highly unlikely to me. As does 100 Trillion cells, complexity, the brain, and billions of line of DNA code....but oh well. Apparently it is scientific to believe that algae became Russell Crowe. So spaketh Hollywood. Might as well watch Oprah again.
A recurring theme in the comments is that our review is too polite. But it's hard to muster up any real outrage when we didn't expect much to begin with. As far as Hollywood goes, it's following the same trend that's been going on for years or even decades!
We were critical of the movie. They got it wrong when it comes to God and the Gospel. You can't get a bigger criticism than that.
Sorry but I have to respectfully take issue with part of your review. You write: "In the movie, Noah wrestled with why he was chosen to survive since he recognized evil in his family and in his own heart. This is, of course, correct. Noah and his family were sinners who deserved God’s wrath as much as everyone else who was washed away in the deluge."
The Bible records Noah that righteous in God's eyes: Genesis 6:9 "Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God". From this, I can't see how Noah is 'deserving of God's wrath as much as everyone else who was washed away in the deluge'. If you agree, please can you edit your review as I would like to share it with my FB friends.
All the best
Shaun, Noah's righteous was only relative, not absolute. Otherwise he would not have gotten drunk after the Flood. Genesis 8:21 is a post-Flood appraisal of the state of man's heart, which is unchanged from the pre-Flood statement.
One thing funny I noticed about the comments...every time I see someone comment that the article is too kind in its evaluation, there seems to be a reply by Creation.com defending the article's tone. This seems bizarre. Perhaps Creation.com simply missed the bigger picture here.
When it seems that a new strategy of evil is to use the enormously powerful pulpit of Hollywood to act as 'false prophet' by twisting Biblical truth, many are rightly concerned in the apparent lack of concern.
Evil deserves the attention that evil deserves...regardless of how much we expect it from a particular source.
Kyle, Scripture commands us to give an answer "but with gentleness and respect." Our hope is that we might win some over with a respectful tone, while the content makes it crystal clear that we do not agree with the movie.
We said that the movie got it wrong when it comes to God and the Gospel. Can you think of a more stinging criticism from a Christian point of view? Would it be a little more effective if we expressed outrage that unbelievers produced an unbelieving movie?
[Link deleted as per our feedback rules] please consider revising your article with reference to the blatant faith altering and insidious representation of the Kabbala religion present in the movie. I consider this nothing less than anti-christian propaganda, and not a misguided effort.
Thanks for this comment, but this area is outside our mandate of origins. Our review specifically covered the creation aspects of the movie. Many people like to point out various areas that they have an interest in, but a creation site would not be the place to include it.
Lita: "Shaun, Noah's righteous was only relative, not absolute. Otherwise he would not have gotten drunk after the Flood. Genesis 8:21 is a post-Flood appraisal of the state of man's heart, which is unchanged from the pre-Flood statement."
Yes of course Noah was not sinless yet, without doubt, he was blameless before God because he walked faithfully with Him. The NKJV incidentally reads: "Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God"
If you claim that Noah deserved God's wrath as much as everyone else then surely it follows that God was unjust not to save everyone else. Though Noah was not without fault, he was not party to the depth of wickedness which was so depraved as to merit the severest punishment.
One sin is enough to merit the severest judgment--Noah was saved by faith, just like Abraham and anyone else who was ever saved.
You can't win as a reviewer, can you? If you're too objective then you get criticized for not giving it the condemnation it deserves. If you give it the condemnation it deserves then you're going to be accused of lacking Christian charity.
Actually, I think that exposing the incredible fictions that this film injects into the account is condemnatory enough. I've heard all I need to hear. I won't spend a dime of the Lord's money to support this film.
I can't help but think of Zerubbabel's reply to the adversaries of Benjamin and Judah when they offered to help rebuild the temple (Ezra 4). He basically told them to "get lost", that they had no part in it. And I think this is the attitude we should have with Aronofsky’s movie. We don't need an enemy of the Lord from Hollywood telling us his version of the Biblical account. And we shouldn't support him.
Thank you for the review.
Thank you very much for a fair, balanced and gentle critique of "Noah". It was a breath of fresh air to read a review that pointed out the positive attributes as well as appropriately condemning the negative. Thank you for not flaming those who might be curious enough to attend (not myself, by the way). You provide enough information that when the subject might arise in conversation, those who have not actually seen it are armed with some good talking points and can discuss it intelligently. If the movie can open a dialog about spiritual matters between the Christian and the unbeliever - well, Paul said that God's Word does not return void. (even when it has been twisted and needs to be straightened and brought back to the truth)
I wanted to respond to what Lita shared,
"Shaun, Noah's righteous was only relative, not absolute. Otherwise he would not have gotten drunk after the Flood. Genesis 8:21 is a post-Flood appraisal of the state of man's heart, which is unchanged from the pre-Flood statement."
The confusion I had about this response was that I went to a creation lecture a couple of years ago and heard a speaker (I cannot remember who it was) but he stated that Noah's drunken state following the flood had to do with the change in atmospheric pressure on earth that took place following the flood. His statement was that the same amount of wine did not lead to drunkenness before the flood and so this was a change that Noah was not aware of when he drank the wine following the flood, this causing his drunken state. So I just wanted to verify what the right information is in regards to Noah's drunkenness, since I seem to be hearing differing views from the creationist community. I put this out there not to challenge Lita's comment but for my own understanding and the knowledge to share with others.
I do agree, even though Noah was a righteous man, blameless for his time he was living in, he was still born a sinner, as we all are, as Lita cited in Genesis 8:21. Through his faith in God he was saved, just as we all are. Praise be to God for this gift! That is the overwhelming message given in the Noah story and this is where the Noah film missed the mark and left me extremely disappointed.
I have translated many of the texts relevant to the flood narrative-especially the Hebrew Bible, Gilgamesh, and the Sumerian Flood myth, and, although I have not seen the movie, the fact that the authors say that they are taking in all of these aspects is very telling. For example, the god of the Sumerian myth who brings the flood upon the earth is Enlil, and according to the Atrahasis epic, the reason why Enlil decides to destroy mankind is because they are making too much noise and disturbing his sleep. The idea of a God who is a misanthrope and seeks the death of humanity would fit with Enlil and the Assyrian texts, although not with Yhwh and the Biblical text. It sounds to me like the movie is borrowing from several themes from many different versions of the flood story, including stories from other Ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the Book of Enoch, and even throwing in Darwinism for good measure, not recognizing that the contradictory worldviews each of these being thrown together can result in either altering the message of one of the texts or contradictions such as showing Darwinism on the screen, and reading the story of creation at the same time.
The one criticism I keep hearing is that there is no theme of covenant. As far as I can tell, the covenant is a uniquely Biblical element of this story. However, leaving that out is entirely unfortunate, as that theme is crucial to the Biblical narrative, and the gospel as well. However, given that it is a uniquely Biblical element, and given that they were drawing from other sources as well, it is not at all surprising-although Biblically tragic.
Other than for pure entertainment, seeing this film by a mature Christian is like throwing pearls before swine. I'm not wasting my time to help line the pockets of Satan's minions; this is just what he wants, to cause confusion in all things to prevent God's Elect from coming to Christ. But Satan forgets that God is Sovereign, and nothing will keep His Elect from Him (c.f., John 6:37/44).
Guys, there was a Hollywood hit job called Noah's Ark in '99. Its only goal was to malign. At least Aronofsky tried to tell a story. To go into this movie with thoroughly biblical expectations is equivalent to disbelief in human nature.
Either it sticks by the Bible as written or it is just another Hollywood debacle to make a comedy film for the anti-Christians. The non-believers will just say that these Christians can't even get their own Bible stories straight. I WILL NOT be seeing this one.
This is actually well written review. It gives some background for us to be aware of what are biblical and what are not. I do not agree with some previous comments about "not spending" any money on what is anti-biblical. If there is a chance of spreading God's Words (like the pastor at the end of the article), then it is money well spent. Please also remember that we do not need to spend outrageous amount of money. Just wait a few months and it will be available on the DVD that can be borrowed for $3-$5 a night. Bring a horde of friends and it will become .... small amount of money per person, but probably will give a good discussion after.
Sometime you need to know your enemy to win a battle. I think that is a part of what CMI is doing. In order to be informed, I believe CMI personnel spend a lot of money and time researching secular journal, scientific article, etc (in which not all of them pro-Christian). Great Job. Thumbs up.
Thank you for this relevant, informative article. Almost as interesting, are the comments and discussion following!
Was reminded of Reverend Ray Alistoun's comments as published in JOY! Magazine of April 2014 on p 52: "As Paul wrote with regard to a morals-related shocker in the Church in Corinth, "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside." 1 Cor 5:12-13. (This doesn't mean that we have nothing fundamental to say to secular society, but it does mean that the place where Christians have jurisdiction is within the Church.)"
Most relevant also the way the Australian pastor used the film to engage young adults. Personally I was privileged as youngster to be mentored by my late aunt; this by means of movie-outings followed by discussions. She firstly taught me to be continually aware of the fact that the producers were conveying a message; it was for me to decide what I thought of it - whether it was the truth or otherwise.
Today I'm still grateful for the valuable times spent with her, and for the way she guided me towards developing discernment and critical thinking skills. We may not always like what we see in a film, but as it is said: Before the truth can set you free you need to recognise which lie is holding you hostage.
Unlike us, God sees everything - even what we think. Maybe, since there is a time for everything, there are times for us also to be looking at what we do not find so very pleasing? Not at all suggesting to be continually immersed in occultic, paranormal and pornographic filth, but as Jesus would, to find ways to sensitively engage with the lost world... Could well be to at times sit around Hollywood's unbiblical table, and that without us judging?
Noah, the movie, was a Gnostic experiment. You see, in Gnosticism only those with secret knowledge are aware of what's happening. The movie is intended to demonstrate that most people, particularly Christians are "dupes" and ignorant "fools". The movie is NOT true to the Bible because it is based on Gnostic sources.
The sad part is only that there are so few Christian leaders that are knowledgeable enough to recognize it and explain that secret knowledge to fellow Christians. The Gnostics are probably having a good laugh at those they consider the "dupes" and "fools".
YECs should take satisfaction from this movie: it is a benchmark, representing the penetration of truths into the mass audience that ministries such as CMI have been promoting for decades. Of course, as you point out: being Hollywood, those truths are mixed with lies and “cleverly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16). Still, when I first saw the previews of this film, months ago, I was guardedly excited about what the filmmakers had gotten right: the authenticity of the Ark; the global catastrophe of The Flood. These ideas have obviously been absorbed from scientific hypotheses grounded in Biblical truth.
Many people will be exposed for the first time to a graphic portrayal of the sorts of forces that engulfed this planet during The Flood. It should be our hope and prayer that such exposure will be the catalyst for further investigation; and that investigation will lead to faith in Christ, and to being educated into the evidence that affirms God’s Word at the frontier of every scientific discipline, through the information ministry of CMI.
“Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18:37); and I am confident that some – perhaps many – will be awakened to the true history of the Earth through exposure to this film; and that awakening will lead to an embrace of “The Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.” May it be so!
Thanks for this comment, Wade. We wish we could share your optimism, but as we pointed out, this movie got critical theological points about God's purpose of salvation wrong. So I wonder whether people will see the real God in this movie when He isn't portrayed as such. Of course, it is our responsibility as Christians to point people to Him, and discussing this movie with others may give that opportunity. But by itself, this movie won't draw anyone to God.
I made the decision to see the movie, and did so with an open mind in that i expected inconsistencies with the biblical account. However, even with this mindset, what i saw was spiritually disturbing and has left me feeling like i have entertained evil itself to a degree. The problem is the fact that the movie entertwined a little bit of biblical truth with deceptive drama. As a Christian, I immediately recognized the undertones and absence of God, Himself. The theme seemed not to be the forgiveness, love and salvation of God, but rather that we are equals with God and have the ability to make the same choices. It portrayed that the "Creator" was just angry, rather than it was the disobedience of man and the fallen angels that caused His judgement in both storylines. My advice to other Christians is to not see the movie. It is not worth your time, nor your money to support this Hollywood endeavor. The movie wasn't just entertainment, but felt more sac-religious in nature to the true Christian who knows the true account of what happened. It seemed deceptive in nature and seemed to show that it was okay to mix ritual and sin with biblical truths. The fallen angels weren't here to protect mankind, but rather to deceive mankind into eternal damnation. Holding on the serpent's skin, seemed to be symbolic of holding on to our own sin rather than giving credit to a forgiving and merciful God who made a way for our salvation. The movie depicted that it is okay to mix new age like beliefs with Christian beliefs, and this is not okay. We as Christians can not compromise the Word of God. We can not say this is just "entertainment" when it devalues our Christian heritage. Further, Revelations tells us not to add nor take anything away from the Word of God as it was written.
I disagree with the assessment of CMI and Lita Cosner. CMI was way too kind on the movie Noah. You cannot get good fruit from a bad tree, nor do you get bad fruit from a good tree. It fails on many issues even thought CMI does not see it that way. I have almost quit reading CMI because of their stance on many issues. Sad, very sad.
Mike, we did not want our own emotional reaction to the movie to get in the way of presenting the facts in a helpful way that would enable our readers to make their own decision about the movie. However, we did say that the movie got God and the Gospel wrong--what expression of outrage could be more condemning than that evaluation?
I think this was an excellent review but as someone who sought God after being impacted by atheists who almost get it, I believe that this will be a seed of the gospel to some who see it with and without prior understanding. People understand at a young age that Hollywood edits the original story. Let us pray to that end.
We can certainly pray, and God can use the most unexpected of means to draw people to Himself. However, we cannot encourage the use of such a distorted retelling of Noah as an evangelistic tool.
I would like to address Ms. Cosner's response to my comments: "...by itself, this movie won't draw anyone to God." We are in complete agreement, of course. That is exclusively the office of the Holy Spirit. I think it is encouraging, however, to think there are people who will see this movie, and may come away thinking "I never thought that a catastrophic global flood was a possibility, let alone a reality." I have not seen the movie (and probably won't), so I don't know if it portrays the mechanisms proposed by (e.g.) Dr. Baumgarnder in the flood scenario; but if someone who is "of the truth" (but not yet a believer) is intrigued by the images on film, and once home does an internet search on "global flood noah", they will immediately be directed to information from CMI, ICR, and AIG that will provide them with the truth they are seeking in that regard.
In short -- this movie will not lead anyone to God; but God may use this movie (thanks to the aspects of which ARE accurate, which they could only have gotten either directly, or "by osmosis", from YECs) to lead people to Him. I myself, when I was an unbeliever, was sometimes pointed in the direction of Truth by those who were likewise unbelievers; and I have read of a similar experience from C. S. Lewis. God is not limited in His methods, other than to be true to His own character; and Genesis 50:20 describes how He can use sinful man -- even the wicked -- to accomplish His ends.
Why would they make a movie true to the biblical account? It is simply a myth.
Even if you believe that the biblical account is only a myth, it is disingenuous to say that something is 'inspired by the biblical account' and depart radically from the major themes and important details of the story.
Of course, you're probably well aware that there are many people, CMI included, who believe that the story of Noah's Flood is not a myth at all, but a historical account of a global catastrophe that God sent as a judgment for man's sin. And if you search creation.com, we have thousands of articles backing up that interpretation with scientific evidence.
I can't fathom any true Christian saying anything good about this film, and I certainly don't think any Christian should spend any money supporting it. The whole movie is a ridicule of the faith.
How could you say anything good about this movie? This is the first time I've seen CMI make such a compromise. I hate to say this but I see a female influence here. Yes, Christian women will watch the craziest movies and TV shows.
Obviously a number of commenters agree with you that our review was too soft, and everybody is welcome to their opinions, but we've already explained why we disagree. Just to reinforce this, did you notice our criticisms like "saddened but not surprised", "strayed far", "major diversion from the Gospel message", "unfortunate", "this compromise utterly fails", "many flaws", "very different from the biblical account", "egregious error", "completely opposite from the biblical story of God's redemption", "missed opportunity", "portrays God wrongly", "failed to", and "got Noah wrong"? But why is it inappropriate to also tell people what elements of the film did correspond to the true history in the Bible?
Also, frankly, your comments about females are presumptuous and unfair, bordering on chauvinistic. Watching crazy TV/movies isn't a flaw found in all or only women. I am a male, by the way, and I contributed to this review as much as Lita did.
Perhaps, in some cases, people would do well to learn from the kind of charity we attempted to achieve in our writing.
On the basis of your analysis my advise to Christians is: not to see this film.
So Hollywood will not make money out of it. and will stop making this kind of unbiblical productions in the future.
BUT, if we all go out to see how "bad" this movie is, they succeed in making a lot of money.
SO, we encourage them to do this again and again. (I call this the Dan Brown effect)
Stay home and read the original, that is more fascinating than watching this movie.
This would have to be the WORST movie based on a biblical theme that I have ever seen!!!
In fact SO bad I walked out half way through!
An absolute load of claptrap,rubbish and nonsense.
CMI's revue is FAR too forgiving I'm afraid.
If you're thinking of spending your hard earned dollar to see this - DON'T!
Roger, you seem to be misunderstanding the purpose of the review. We were very critical, but we made the conscious decision to report on the facts rather than our emotional reactions to the distortions of the movie. We think that having the details clearly explained will allow individuals to make their own decisions.
Gnosticism and Kabbalah accurately explain the seemingly bizarre film variances from the Bible, such as the light-shrouded first couple, Noah's homicial rage and "repentance," depiction of "the Creator" as less trustworthy than the snakeskin-bearing Noah (and Lamech before him), calling God mostly "the Creator," and the helpful Nephalim. I've seen the director's previous Kabbalistic work "Pi" and recognize those fingerprints in this work.
It takes so little to pollute the purity of biblical scripture.There is a clear warning to those who add to the Word of God.
Every word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Don't be hurt or discouraged by the uncharitable & crass comments regarding your person & gender. Just be the patient woman of faith He wants you to be and as you have so amply demonstrated in your various gentle responses,
God Bless You,
Your brother in Christ,
Thank you, Creation.com, for publishing a much more balanced, credible and respectful review than was published by "the other" creation organisation. If fact, so emotional, loveless and tactless was the recent blog post by "the other" organisation's CEO, I would be happy to never read anything he says again. Keep up the good work guys, and remember the battle is against principalities and powers, not against the film-makers who might be enslaved by them.
Noah is Hellywood at it's best. The movie will serve it's purpose and add to the confusion already out there. Mix the truth with a few small lies. It's got the devil's MO written all over it.
Thank you CMI for the article and insight into the movie. I won't be wasting my dollars seeing Noah.
Thank you for your warning about the 'truthfulness' of the Ark. Thats Hollywood, so to speak. If people want to play around with God's Word and make fun about it, they need to realise that the Great Day will come when they will stand before God and regret their disbelief.
Sorry to be a bit parochial, but I couldn't ignore a Melbourne (agnostic) journalist's take on 'Noah'. Has he seen something that the rest of us have missed? His opening line (Herald Sun March 31 p 13)'Amazing. Hollywood just killed God, and almost no critic noticed how it quietly slipped a green human-hater in his place', sets the tone, as he further alleges that the theme of the movie is that animals are above humans in the scheme of things. Not many would disagree that the green/conservation movement 'worships' evolved living matter. As a creationist (admittedly one who has not seen the movie), it is not hard for me to see the not-so-hidden Hollywood agenda for making movies like 'Noah'. Thanks for your balanced article-I don't believe that anti-Hollywood ranting serves any useful purpose, but it is so good to know the truth. It's also good to have support from unexpected quarters sometimes! Please pray for that journalist!
I've copied an article from an Australian Journalist, Andrew Bolt that I found interesting regarding this movie: -
AMAZING. Hollywood just killed God, and almost no critic noticed how it quietly slipped a green human-hater in his place.
I never thought you could make a two-hour film about Noah and his ark without mentioning “God” even once, but director Darren Aronofsky has managed it in his $142 million epic, which opened last week.
His Noah, played by a muttering Russell Crowe, prays to a different deity, a much nastier one called “the creator” who seems to brood on global warming.
Hey, what a coincidence! So does Aronofsky, who last year declared, “climate change as an enemy of the people”. So does Crowe, tweeting in most unbiblical language: “F--- denial of climate change.”
And in their film, Noah, they give us their creator, a vegetarian who really does want to “f--- denial of climate change” and put filthy humans in their place so, as Crowe’s Noah rasps, “creation will be left alone — safe. Beautiful”.
As an agnostic, I should barely care which invisible being Crowe talks to, but this switcheroo is freaky.
I’m not pretending the God first described in the Old Testament 3500 years ago and worshipped since by Jews and then Christians was a softie.
He once got so fed up with man — those “corrupt” sinners “filled with violence” and not following “his way upon the Earth” — that he vowed to “bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh”.
>>BLOG WITH ANDREW BOLT
But at least he still liked people enough to want some more after drowning the first lot.
So God didn’t just tell Noah to build an ark big enough to carry breeding pairs of every animal, but let him bring three wives for his three sons so they could “be fruitful, and multiply, and reple
I agree that there are inaccuracies in the movie and about Noah, not Jesus being the centre in the movie, but being a born again Christian for many years and brought up an Anglican, I can see that this movie tells the simple story of creation, reason for the flood and displays our forgiving God! If you don't like the inaccuracies of the movie, why doesn't your organization make an accurate movie of Noah and the Flood, instead of criticizing Hollywood, who had made Ben Hur, Moses and other bible stories in movies in the past and may have converted many unbelievers! I'm blessed along with other mature Christians to be able to discern and dissect this movie and absorb and share,debate and highlight the significant lessons of the movie with others and not be offended by the inaccuracies as we know very well Hollywood,a secular organization has to make the movie more interesting and may be over dramatized it for the enjoyment of the wider non-believers,ypung and old,who do not need to know the details and correct order of the creation process! Are we critics being too legalistic like the pharisees in Jesus' time?
Thanks for these comments Linda--we were careful to point out the positives and negatives, we hope in an objective way, to allow people to make up their minds for themselves.
Keaton and Lita thanks for the review. I was waiting for this to decide whether it was worth seeing on the big screen on wait for the DVD. The DVD is going to win. I think some of us were all hoping it would be better, but it's not really surprising that it's not. That said, it's a way for us to connect with people in ways that might have been absent before. I think God has plans to use this movie for His purposes regardless of what the director wanted to achieve.
Great review CMI. You articulated thoughts I couldn't fully form. I found the film to be thought provoking with respect to a time prior to the Holy Spirit being here on Earth. It was' Conan meets Noah' with a dash of Lord of the Rings. So it was ridiculous at the same time. It was fluffy ( violent) entertainment until they got on the Ark and then it really fell of the rails and became Days of Our Lives. The magnificent scenery of Iceland saved it as well. I thought Russell and the' bad guy' put in great performances too.
This review exemplifies the biblical teaching that we are in the world and not of it, that we are to wise, yet bold and sober in our dealings, that we are to expose all evil, and that we are to focus on the things that are of God. The author(s) have done an outstanding job of exposing the evils, focusing on the parts (albeit few) that are true to Gospel, being clear headed, responding without undue emotion, being wise and fair in their review and bold in standing against the twisting and maligning of scripture by Hollywood. An inspired article, factual, fair, balanced, readable, informative and complete. A great disappointment that the movie itself was not.
I saw this movie in the weekend, which is a distorted version of the real biblical story. The distorted parts have been added into the movie
(e.g. nice rock demons who built and defended the Ark, and who were on Noah's side. Noah wanting to kill his family later on, a bad guy got on the Ark and wanted to kill Noah), and some original parts have been taken out (e.g. one wife with two girls, lack of direct communication between God and Noah - suggesting God was a distant God). This movie seems to be what to get when you combine the movie Lord of the Rings, Environmental concern of animals, Hollywood, magic tricks, and ideas from liberal theologians. Some of the set materials seem out of place with concrete pillars, with steel plate kettles, furnaces, fireplaces, chimneys; and chrome plated swords. The boat doesn't look as it could float as it had stringed up logs on the outside, with seemingly gaps with tar between.
Since your review states that you only were commenting on the creation aspect of the movie, it's nevertheless a pity you called the creator in the movie God. This important point the director never did, as he declares himself to be an atheist anyway. I am a Christian first and then a Creationist.
Thank you for the what seems like balanced review. I have not seen "Noah" yet but I will to be able to discuss it with others having watched it.
I think some commenters are being a bit unfair in telling others not to come to their own conclusions by "wasting their time going to this movie" - when they have done the same themselves to come to that conclusion.
I think a lot of people here are being too nice about their views on the film. If I had to use one word to describe it, I would say abominable. . Monsters building the ark instead of men and no wives for two of Noah’s sons, they can’t be serious. It wasn’t even clear if the third son’s wife(Emma Watson)was even his wife or just a dalliance.
I was looking forward to seeing this movie but just sat through most of the movie in shock and disgust.
Sorry, but that's just my opinion.
Thanks for these thoughts. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions. The purpose of our review was to help inform people.
'Braveheart' was all fiction but some people thought it was Gospel .... This film is half fiction, but the name 'Noah' and 'Ark' will ensure lots of "bums on seats" and will make money just like 'Braveheart' did....
Biblical creationists contend that many other flood stories from all around the world may be distorted memories of the original Noah's flood. Ironically, the way this Russell Crowe film is made (which I'm not planning to watch) demonstrates how Noah's account could indeed get distorted.
And to Jeffrey D. (United States, 3 April 2014) , Hollywood didn't stay true to known events from the Greek-Persian wars and Japan for the recent films "300: Rise of an Empire" and "47 Ronin". Does that mean Greece, Persia and Japan were all myths?
Thank you for the article.
I found it helpful in highlighting the biblical facts.
Many people will probably go to see the movie and having the ammunition to reason around the biblical accuracies and highlighting the inaccuracies might bring people closer to scripture.
I appreciate the fact that the article is not overly judgemental but fact based.
Dear CMI Team
Thank you for your factual review. I'm pleased to see the article was written with gentleness and respect, the way I believe Jesus would.
And from looking at the way that the authors deal with the comments on the article I would like to commend CMI for choosing people who reflect Christ in their ways for writing this article.
I've sent this letter with a "To watch or not to watch" question to my family and friends hoping that they will make the right decision as this movie is very dangerous as it presents God incorrectly.
I will not be watching this movie thanks to your review!
Your review of Noah is fair and balanced. I have seen the movie and think that anyone who does is in a better position to discuss it with believer and non-believer alike.
It is certainly spectacular and entertaining although seriously flawed biblically. My main problem with it was that it promoted the notion of God as some distant being who only communicated through the odd dream and miracle and expected humanity to make the appropriate decisions. They didn't even use the word God in the whole thing, He was referred to as the Creator, something that even the secular reviewers in the ABC's "At The Movies" picked up on. Of course, this is so far different from the biblical account with God giving specific instructions even for the Ark's dimensions as to be laughable.
I did wonder how they were going to fill out a feature length movie with this story which is pretty straightforward. This may help explain the addition of the melodramatic family conflicts, the rock pile Watchers and Noah's repeated confrontations with the Big Bad. As it turned out the movie was over long so it looks like they went way overboard with these elements anyway.
It was intriguing the way they tried to compromise with evolution in their depiction of the creation account. After admitting the universality of the flood and the existence of Adam and Eve they showed the mythical progression from fish to mammal but only after showing the skies filled with birds as the Bible says. Their Noah even mentioned "sea creatures who are no more". They were trying to have a bet both ways.
It is up to the individual whether they want to go and see it or not. It was good for a laugh anyway. After all what do you expect from Hollywood? At least they are covering bible stories for a change and giving us an opening.
Thank-you for sharing the bible truth about Noah, much appreciated.
I noticed some people wrote you were 'too soft' in your review...I read your review
For those who WON'T be seeing the movie...sadly here is an example of a possible missed opportunity from God.
Example: The movie ends everyone gets up and walks out and someone says to you WOW that was amazing hey? ( if you were not there knowing the truth you would miss this opportunity to answer)...so you reply: Yes WOW that was almost as amazing as the true story about Noah...and you walk away, and you did preach the gospel truth in just a few seconds by provoking that person to desire to know the truth and go search it out for themselves. So by not criticising the movie and actually giving it a WOW you are showing love by acknowledging the skills and talents of creating the movie and then by telling them that it's almost as amazing has the bible shows the movie up by your opinion and being a christian your opinion is now authorities based on the truth of the matter and so has the ultimate word of mouth ability to guide people to desire to know the truth for themselves. Once again it's LOVE that goes to work here successfully everytime...
Let each one be satisfied in their own minds .......
Revelation 22 v18-19 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. God has spoken !!!
I don't get why everybody is so upset by this film.
I have been deeply interested in the pursuit of the truth regarding the flood and of the ark of Noah and have been following the topic for years and I really don't have a problem with the amount of "poetic licence" used by the film-makers. Sure, there's loads of stuff that deviates wildly from the biblical account, but it still reminds the world that although our God is a God of love, He is also a God of justice.
I think that it's the deviations from the biblical account that are gonna have people wondering what the biblical account actually is. I think that after watching this movie, countless people have gone home, blown the dust off an old Bible and started to seek out the truth for themselves. How cool is that?
This movie was never supposed to be an accurate historical account. It was supposed to be a Hollywood blockbuster. When I bear that in mind, I am pleasantly surprised at how many of the relevant concepts of the global flood and of God's judgement upon mankind have actually been presented.
Look folks. It's possible, even likely, that we are living in the "End times". Jesus himself referred to the End times and to the time of His return as like the Days of Noah. Could it be that a reminder to the world of the Days of Noah is a herald that we are in fact in the End times, and that the second judgement may be approaching? Perhaps.
Anyway, I loved the film. I recommend that you go and check it out, but don't nit-pick it too much. Don't expect it to be a perfect account of what we find in the Bible, but instead ask the Creator for His guidance, and I'm sure you'll love it as much as I did.
Regards to you all,
Christians wake up! "By their fruit he shall know them," Jesus said. So why delude yourselves in thinking Hollywood is about preaching the gospel Aronofski makes this clear. Nor is it about entertainment BUT it is about educating the masses NOT unto righteousness. What Hollywood wants is not only your money
Your defense of your mild criticism of the Noah movie is "what would you expect from Hollywood" and they got God and the Gospel wrong. If this is your rationale for your mild criticism what about all the churches who accept evolution but preach the Gospel? Since they preach the Gospel should they be exempt from criticism? And what about atheists/evolutionists who preach Godless naturalism, should they be exempt from criticism because "after all, what would you expect from them"? I am disappointed in your live and let live attitude and I think such an attitude calls into question the entire purpose of creation evangelism.
Morris, our response was unemotional, but it certainly was not mild. When we say they got God wrong, it means the God they portray is not the God of the Bible. When we say they get the Gospel wrong, it means they got the only way to be saved wrong. I fail to see a stronger criticism from a Christian viewpoint. And that we did so from a standpoint of fairly objective criticism rather than emotional ranting should strengthen, not weaken, the impact of that evaluation.
I wonder how a non-Christian would discern what is biblical and what is not ...... why would they come away believing the parts that would have them asking questions? A (RLDS) friend saw it and said it was awful, no interest in finding out where it was wrong (God and Noah hateful? World-wide flood? How many on the ark?) and where it was right. I am disappointed in CMI too.
As you can see from the other comments, many people have had different reactions to the approach we took in the article. Our aim is to present the facts objectively and allow Christians to make up their own minds.
We should not expect the film industry to produce accurate, documentary style material when it comes to Christian themes. The fiscal bottom line is the only measure of success they recognize despite all the self aggrandisement, accolades and awards. That involves getting people past the turnstiles. They will do anything and everything necessary to get us into theatres. My concern has to do with gullible and undiscerning Christians. We are so accepting of whatever the film industry pours out. We spend our money to make rich those who freely insult God, fill our eyes and ears with filth, violence profanity, sex, and who eagerly and readily insult Christ and Christianity. I recommend that we stay away from anything these cultural misfits produce for our "entertainment." Maybe if we were more discerning, Hollywood trash sold as entertainment would not be so common and financially rewarding for studios. Maybe they might be more scrupulous in producing material that would be suitable for entertaining children, families, young adults and those of us who would like to shown just a bit of respect for their perspectives and world views.
What disturbs me is the fact that there are so many people today (including those who have grown up in the so-called "Christian West") who do not have any knowledge of the Bible at all. Many have not read the Biblical account of Noah and the ark, and they will go away, having seen the movie, thinking that the film is Biblical. In general, I think this movie was not a good idea.
This was an outstanding review done without needless emotional rhetoric which accomplishes nothing positive in trying to win others for Christ. I had intended on seeing the movie in order to be able to give an answer as to what was Biblical and what was inaccurate. Now I know, so I don’t have to attend. The excellence and God honouring tone of both the review and response to readers' comments encourages me to support CMI prayerfully and financially. Thank you to the staff of CMI. Well done!
Would we be wasting our time discussing the fruit produced by this clearly bad tree, even if some of it looked perfect, were we to take Jesus' words to heart, "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad."?
This assumes that everyone knows how to discern good fruit and trees from bad, which is not always the case. And such discernment is not always easy in an area where many people are uninformed. That's why we consider reviews like this to be a service to help people reason through the issues to come to their own conclusions.
There are many different ways to evaluate this film, it may give a few laughs to the evolutionists and unbelievers, on the other hand as has been suggested earlier in the comments it may cause the inquisitive 'fence riders' to explore the true Biblical account, to simply dismiss this film as the manure heap it obviously is, simply makes the unbelievers hackles go up in the same manner as telling a member from a different church than our own that they are wrong in their belief, honey will catch more flies than vinegar as the saying goes, God will be the ultimate judge in any case, I really am sorry for the producers of this film, personally I will not go to see it, I see no point in enriching the Hollywood coffers and if it is a 'bomb' so be it, I am 81 years old and have been a believer for the past 50 years, I am mature enough to make my own evaluations--I know without a doubt that The Lord is coming very soon and films such as this only strengthen that belief--Bill R --Canada
Thanks for these comments Bill. The various aspects you bring up is why we neither encouraged the use of this film as an evangelistic tool (though conversations resulting from someone having seen the film are certainly opportunities we should take advantage of), nor condemned it with the emotional and rhetorical intensity of others. Rather, we plainly told what was good and bad and made our evaluation for our readers to consider.
Thanks for the warning, I will take my brick of salt with me and reread the Noah story post cinema to verify which is or is not there. I like to keep in mind that the Film Industry is out to make a buck and yet try to get across the gist of the story as best they can.
Your article confused me as condoning the movies view that vegetarianism was righteousness and meat eating was sin. God in Genesis 3 gave them skins of animals to wear, and we know that Able raised flocks of sheep, and offered one as a sacrifice. Why domesticate sheep if they were not allowed as a food source?
A Christian omnivore.
Hi Shaun. God first gave Noah permission to eat meat after the Flood, recorded in 9:3ff, and the language used indicates that this is the first time it is acceptable. So Noah and his family, being righteous, would not have eaten meat before God allowed it after the Flood, and might have been rightly horrified if the pre-Flood rebellious people had been eating it (though the Bible never specifically says that pre-Flood people ate meat).
There would have been several reasons to raise flocks aside from eating their meat. Sheep and goats would have been valuable for their wool, and they made suitable sacrifices.
The Noah movie was unbiblical when it suggested that people could not use animals for their benefit--righteous Abel was the first shepherd, and God Himself killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve, likely a prototype for the sacrificial system. Noah sacrificed after the Flood, and God approved of it and blessed Noah's family. But strictly speaking, the movie was correct about Noah not eating meat, at least pre-Flood.
The ironic thing is that nothing extra-biblical was needed for making the pre-flood era more dramatic. He didn't include any dinosaurs, which is fine, but nor were there Nephilim; who I suppose got replaced by the Watchers. That said this article doesn't mention the Nephilim either, apart from citing Gilgamesh, which is surprising.
Many thanks for this. It is very helpful. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
I have read your comments with interest and those of other individuals and organisations. My concerns are two-fold. Non-christians will go away thinking that they have seen what the Bible says (we live in days of great ignorance of the Scriptures). Secondly, this film reflects the approach of Genesis 3: the devil deliberately changes what God said. As your comments correctly indicate, the Word of God is perverted by these film-makers and the spiritual consequences are very serious.
I want to say 'well done' on a good review. I see you are getting a lot of criticism for the tone of the review and I completely disagree with it. The tone is one that is respectful, thoughtful and honest, yet true to creationist views and biblical thought. This has offered me some good thought and insight into the movie before I go and see it. I think there are positives we can take from the INTEREST that surrounds the movie, and we can use this interest to share the truth.
In response to Kyle H, United States, 1st April, you mentioned that you hoped you might win some over with a respectful tone - you certainly won me over this way. Thank you for your honest review.
This is not an accurate account of the Flood as described in the Bible. All it will do is mislead people who are already struggling with their salvation. Just one case in point: the angels did not come to earth to help mankind. They were the fallen angels that followed Lucifer and the only thing they came to earth for was to have sex with females and the result of those unions were the giant race of the Nephilim. It was produced by an atheist and Hollywood put their spin in several places. If it does not follow the written word of God then it is useless. He told EVERYONE do not add to or take away from the word. That makes this movie null and void and I would not waste my money.
As a Christian in the UK being party to only 6% I,m so pleased that a Christian story is getting so much publicity. What a fantastic opportunity for us to talk about this great event and knowing that the story came from OUR BOOK and not some Director inventing yet another block buster with absolutely no in depth meaning to life. We need to get on our knees and thank God for every person who walks through the cinema doors expecting maybe to find out the truth and we can ask the Holy Spirit to touch every persons heart to go on to seek the truth.
We need to judge such things as this movie, but even more we need to act and give the truth. What a good time, as a Christian answer to this movie, to put out a Biblically accurate account about whatTthe Bible says about the flood. Of course the movie would have to be fleshed out more than the quick account given in The Bible. We can do it inspired by God, with plenty of prayer. We would have to be prayerful not to contradict God's Word in any way, nor add on to it. Even we would have to qualify that the movie is based upon The Word of God since we have to add on to it. It is time for us not to just criticize, but to act, giving the world the actual truth. Surely God's people have the talent and resources to out due this movie in every way while showing God's truth.
Whatever we think of this movie, may the all merciful God somehow in his providence use it to inspire many to look at the original text, and there find the Truth! I think that almost everyone knows that Hollywood films are rarely faithful to the original story.
It made me angry, it made me sad, that Noah and the Flood is more of a ridicule of God's love and Noah and family. We are descended from one of Noah's sons. The movie will delude many (we are in the days of Noah) but God is not willing that any should perish. Let's pray that God will use this movie to BACKFIRE on the devil's intentions. Love and victory was trumpeted on Calvary let's remember that on Friday 18th. Vengeance is mine, I will repay. Be ready to help the confused with love and patience.
I have not seen this film but others in my family have. Being someone who enjoys films I was miffed I had not seen it when they had however their muted and decidedly reserved opinion gave me hope that I had not missed much. Naturally as a Christian I relish any opportunity to talk about God and knowing that He has a propensity to use evil for good I'm not at all concerned at the existence of this film. Thanks for being clear about the faults of this version of one of the more amazing stories of our collective past
Thank you for a balanced review, factual and thorough enough to help everyone judge for themselves whether to see the movie!
I would love to see the flood sequences, which I can imagine might be a real help to grasp what it must have been like. However I think sitting through all the shocking distortions and anti-God propaganda would be much too high a price to pay.
Thank you CMI for always being a wise, reliable and trustworthy guide through the morasses and minefields of modern culture!
Just saw the movie, against my better judgement, and I agree totally with you on all points in the movie.
It is incredibly theologically flawed and deviates quite seriously form the source material on all counts. It also contains several narrative flaws which, despite its ability to pull every heart string twice per 30min section, leave the viewer(even after serious thought time) with a sense of mental hunger.
I didn't expect much really, considering its origins.
Did CMI or anyone else notice the inclusion of a mythological animal twice in the movie, despite the lack of dinosaurs. (Hint: it was the scaly deer creature).
I find this movie a very interresting one for the times we live in. It is beyond me that in a pro-evolution Hollywood, this movie would see the light of day, but in true Hollywood fashion I believe, as your article shows, they have yet again used what is good and poisoned it with lies. "It's spiritual rat poison."
Interesting letter from Sebastian Wheen in yesterday's London 'Evening Standard' (April 7th)...
"David Sexton claims that the Noah story has 'never before been made into a full-scale epic movie'. In 1929 Fox released 'Noah's Ark' directed by Michael ("Casablanca") Curtiz starring George O'Brien. Spectacular scenes were then used as stock shots in later productions."
Wrong! Nowhere is the "Creator" of the Noah movie identified as GOD. The truth is that this movie is based upon the Gnostic texts that identify the "Creator" as the Demiurge, an evil lower god. The Gnostic's Demiurge was always cited as being wrathful and of a different nature than the loving ONE TRUE LIVING GOD of the New Testament. Of course this is heretical, but it is the basis of this movie. This fantasy "Noah" character was actually following the will of the evil Creator Demiurge when he attempted to destroy all mankind, because all physical manifestations of mankind was evil and completely nonredeemable, which is a central tenant of all Gnostic texts. There is also a good dose of the Kabbalah's spiritual mysticism, ie, Adam and Eve being spiritual light beings and the Watchers, etc. Don't be fooled by this fictional film which Darren Aronofsky purposely misrepresented in order to mock the Judeo/CHRISTIAN establishment.
I think we should learn from Keaton & Lita on how to express our intense disagreements with dignity, professionalism, clarity and objectivity. They don't really need to use harsher words as they have written sufficiently to discredit the film. They have said enough for me to only watch the movie when it comes on TV where I don't have to pay for it except the electricity. Why bother with the DVD as that would also add to the profits of Hollywood. Isn't it true that they make more money from DVDs than from screenings? We just need to tell other people (Christians or not) about the failings of this movie. Many Christians probably don't even know the truth as they themselves don't believe in the global flood. As someone said, maybe the fact that this movie shows a global flood may be enough to spark a conversation and then it can lead to other aspects of the Bible.
Well…I did sit through it all! At the Brixton Ritzy, in South London, there were only about 30 people in the audience!!
It’s very much a ‘curate’s egg’ of a film…
A third I thought was rather beautiful, and at times moving. A third was plain tedious. A third almost totally incomprehensible. (I often couldn’t hear what the characters were saying, so did I miss some vital ‘plot points’?)
However, it’s not only contemporary filmmakers who have problems in remembering the true and correct story in Genesis 1-11.
The Ancient Greeks seem to have had much the same difficulty.!!!
See the Article "Athena and Eve" by Robert Johnson, Jr.
It can be freely downloaded on this website. Just go to the Journal of Creation website, and look for the December 2003 issue. This was the Volume 17(3) of the Former Technical Journal.
Mr Johnson advances some interesting arguments.
These need to be 'fleshed out' with on-going debate and interdisciplinary discussion. But it makes an excellent beginning.
Thanks for the thoughtful review. There is one point that I think bears reconsideration. There are plenty of departures (as you noted) from the text in Aronofsky's movie, but his version of who was on the ark is not incompatible with the Bible. Gen 5:32 says that Noah's sons were born after Noah was 500 years old and Gen 7:6 says that he was 600 when the Flood came, so we can only conclude that his sons were under 100 years old. Shem was 98 (Gen 11:10), but we lack data to compute the ages of the other two. They look like kids in the movie, but if antediluvians typically lived upwards of 600 years, perhaps the first six or seven decades corresponded to contemporary childhood and adolescence. If the twins borne by Ila later became the wives of Ham and Japheth, then it would be true that Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives, were on the ark (although their relationships at that time were not as they appear in Genesis 6-8), and they were the only ones saved. Since (in the movie) Tubal-Cain died on the ark, his presence does not alter the final statistics - eight were "brought safely through" (1 Pe 3;20). Aronofsky did not necessarily get these particular details wrong, he just didn't do it the way most people assume. If the Bible can say that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham because Levi was in the loins of his ancestor (Heb 7:9-10), then it should be possible to say that two of Noah's daughters-in-law entered the ark in utero.
We do need to be careful not to make assumptions that are not explicitly in the text. However, I do think Aronofsky's take on these points you raise stretches the biblical text beyond the breaking point. One thing we didn't mention is that Ham is actually the youngest of the three (Gen. 9:24). Also, since the three women are referred to as Noah's "sons' wives" throughout the account, it doesn't seem natural to read the text to mean they later became wives. And the number of people aboard the ark isn't just about "final statistics", because Genesis 7:23 says that early on in the Flood God had blotted out all flesh except Noah "and those who were with him in the ark", which is clearly not leaving room for others besides the eight who were explicitly mentioned.
Thank you Keaton and Lita for a genuinely brilliant review, I thought it was perfect!
You offered an objective and balanced evaluation of the pros and cons - nothing more, nothing less.
You covered the facts, the plots, the characters, and the errors in clear and concise terms and provided all the necessary information to allow people to decide whether to watch it or not.
I have read several other reviews on other sites and I have to admit I was disheartened by the exessive emotional venting and overly harsh criticisms that have been expressed.
Yours, however, was refreshingly different; it was decidedly factual and a breeze to read. And that's what a review should be!
Personally, I watched the Noah movie as soon as it came out, not to support Hollywood, but to be informed and equiped to engage in constructive discussions afterwards with all those that would watch it.
I actually enjoyed a fair amount of the movie but also disliked a fair amount too. Overall though I just found the whole film a little... strange.
Many people may criticize those who choose to watch it, but I sometimes wonder how many of those people will be okay watching other movies with violence, language, nudity, profanity etc. and won't complain or boycott it because it doesn't claim to be "inspired by the Bible".
Anyway, thank you again for a fantastic review. It addressed all the necessary points, contained the right balance of praise and criticism, and was presented in a respectful and professional manner. I was happy to share this review with all my friends, including unbelievers, without looking like a fundamentalist movie-phobe!
Great work by CMI and the team once again!!
Thank you for an Excellent article.
I went to see the movie without reading any reviews etc. Just the short advertisement on TV.
WOW Noah!! Fantastic!! I have Never left a Movie feeling so Saddened and Flat in my whole life. My comment to my husband was 'God Will Not Be Mocked'
If you want to see a Hollywood Blockbuster, this is just what it is. They took the name 'Noah' and the word 'Ark' and made a movie.
If you think you are going to see a Biblical Masterpiece, Sorry you will be really, really disappointed.