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Unpacking Noah

 —  March 31, 2014 — 9 Comments

noah

****Warning: Spoiler Alert****  If you haven’t seen it,  or don’t want to know details, avoid reading on.

There has been a lot of controversy in the Christian community as whether or not to see the “Noah” movie. I thought we were prepped and prepared for what we would see and feel. The articles suggested that this movie account of Noah, deviated from the Biblical account a little. So many “details” are missing in the Scriptural account that we expected there to be some “poetic” license, but we felt like after seeing the trailer, the movie would do the story justice.

The movie is extremely well-made and acted. The cinematography is stunning. My fourteen-year-old put it this way,  “It’s like when they make a movie of your favorite book, and they get all the details wrong. It’s a shame that it got so off course, because by itself the actors were amazing and it was fun to watch.”

On the one hand we see the depth of human wickedness. Genesis 6:5 tells us, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”  It is obvious in the portrayal of violence, hurt, and the strange post-apocalyptic wasteland everyone lives in. I can only imagine how horrific it must have been to hear the cries of the dying as the flood waters over took the earth, and then to be cooped up inside while it rained and rained and rained.noah 2

On the other hand, I spent 2 1/2 hours in confusion. It began when the rock-like “Watchmen” appeared with a story that totally deviates from who they are in Genesis 6, and ran through most of what I saw. (Tubal- Cain is in Genesis 4, but did not kill Lamech, Noah’s father.) I could pick apart the details, however, there is a great article I found answering questions around the Noah “controversies”  HERE.

It wasn’t the misrepresented facts that troubled me though. Does anyone remember the Noah television mini-series that also held Sodom and Gomorrah from years ago?  What hurt my heart was the representation of “The Creator” (as God is called).

The God of Noah and the people of the earth is silent, confusing, and distant. It misses that in Genesis 4, Seth and his son Enosh began to worship the Lord by name. Yes, it depicts Noah as a “righteous man” but it misses a key part to Genesis 6:9, “This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”

Noah had a deep relationship with the Lord. God spoke with him clearly in the details of what he was doing, why he was doing it, and how to carry it out.  On at least two occasions in the account the phrase, “Noah did everything as God COMMANDED him,” is used. God closed the door to the ark, and GOD TOLD Noah when it was time to leave. He was close to Noah and clear about His desires.

Instead, in this account God is described over and again as being almost cruel. The Watchmen want to know why God stopped talking to them. Tubal-Cain screams at Him to say anything. Noah is left to his own devices to interpret God’s words and actions. It troubled me deeply though that Noah thinks he and his wife can override God’s will, and when they get it “wrong” it will nearly torment them to death.

My 13-year-old son summed it up this way, “If I was a teen who was struggling with my faith with God and I saw this movie,  I might give up on Him.  I would walk away thinking God is heartless, distant and down right cold. It missed the faith of Noah that held him because he knew God.”

So should you see it?  Some say a resounding, “YES!” so you can talk about it. Although, I had already re-read Genesis 5-9 by myself, with my children, and in my youth group to get ready,  I went back to my Bible again after seeing it. This is good. It forces you to really know what God’s Word does and does not say.  (Read it for yourself HERE.)

I would say this, be very careful about bringing the “unchurched” to see the film. The reality is when we see a movie “based on real events,” we take what we see to heart. There is a lot off in the film, and honestly the “themes” I expected to stand out did not.  Noah is supposed to be righteous, but allows a young woman to be trampled to death, almost kills his granddaughters, and lives in shame for a period of time? In addition, the graphic nature of the film can be difficult to watch. My 6th grader struggled with a lot of it, she spent more time with her eyes covered than watching it.

So what to say?  Weigh the facts before you go.  If you have a friend who desperately can’t wait to see it, then go and discuss it with them. If you are thinking this is the perfect evangelical opportunity, it’s not. The director is a self-proclaimed atheist, and it shines through in the back drop of the telling. In the end, I was struck with the realization that the best tool in telling people about Jesus is in relationship with them. For that matter then it’s time spent,  and really almost any movie can be a catalyst to a deeper conversation about God.

If I had to choose again I might skip Noah and see something else.

Have you seen it?  What are your thoughts?

Leneita / @leneitafix

Leneita Fix

Leneita Fix

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Leneita Fix is the Director of Ministry Development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years. In addition she has launched the coaching and resource organization, Front Line Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace serving those who work with families living in survival mode. The early years were spent in camp ministry, suburban and rural youth groups. With the Lord’s moving the last 17 of those years have been spent ministering in three different urban areas to primarily unchurched families (New Jersey, Virginia, Florida back to New Jersey). Her responsibilities have included Bible based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is to raise up workers in practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families she loves. Her goal is to help others understand every student living in a survival mindset can and will be transformed in Christ. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband three wonderful children, and her niece. Simply she resides among her friends in the city just living life as a family that loves being there. You can contact her at leneitafix@aslanyouth.org.

9 responses to Unpacking Noah

  1. Hey thanks for the insight! I have been wanting to see the movie, mostly for the special effects, believing it would leave us far from the Bible. As with any movie, story or representation of the Bible we all must look with eyes wide open and ears tuned to the TRUTH.

    Blessings
    Smitty

  2. Leneita, Thanks for taking the time to talk about the movie and controversy. I just wanted to say that i took a youth group to see the movie along with the movie “God’s Not Dead”. I also prepared the students the week before with a lesson on the story of Noah from scripture but I didn’t really have much to compare to being the movie hadn’t come out yet. All i knew was that the movie wasn’t going to be Biblical based movie, so i wanted to be sure the students knew the biblical account. The thing is while the movie was way off base at times and really another story all together, it still has some great teaching points and conversation starters. I have already had some great discussions with confused Christians and non Christians. Really it doesn’t matter if the movie was biblical because no producer is going to get the story completely accurate on the screen and in this case the producer never claimed it to be a scriptural movie. I told the students that we were going to see a fictional movie about the flood and there may be some pieces of it that come from the bible but overall the movie is just a story and fantasy of the producer and his vision. The students went and saw it and were pleased with the excitement of the movie and were even able to tell me a few scenes that they knew were from the bible and that was it. Now they have the opportunity to talk to there friends about it and be able to show them where the producer brought the bible accounts into his story and where it was just made up fiction. No one needs to get upset and start putting Facebook posts about Christians shouldn’t be supporting this movie because most of those Christians are supporting something in someway. A better plan and use of energy would be immersing ourselves in the culture that is growing around us and showing others Christ’s love by meeting them where they are at instead of attacking them.

    My two Cents

  3. First, I haven’t seen the movie yet but will go this week. I guess from my stance I NEVER think that Hollywood is going to get it right when it comes to the bible, and I really don’t expect them to. Hollywood produces entertainment and not creative pieces for sound doctrine sunday school illustrations and discussions. Hollywood IS a great representation of what the world knows and believes. So for me its a great opportunity to see these creative works, whether films, TV, video or theater and in a Christ like way unwrap them and shine light on the flaws. In doing this I can not only use this as a teaching moment for my students but also a way to speak to others in their school halls, lunchrooms or where ever I may find a lost or confused Christian student. I do believe that the gospel should be preached, shared and or taught without compromise, that for me is not a item for debate but in todays society, we must be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove, if we want to be heard.

    • Leneita Fix

      Joe,

      I usually am wanting to just see it so I can talk about it, this was different. It wasn’t just that the facts were off, it just leaves you feeling confused. I definitely used it as a teaching moment with students. And we had some great discussions, whether they had seen it or not.

      • I see what you are saying, and I don’t want to come off as argumentative, but as you said it was confusing…isn’t that what this world is, confused. How can we expect a person who is not following the Father but satan, who is the author of confusion, create anything but a confusing piece of art. I guess for me and maybe we are saying the same thing but a different way. I don’t expect anything solid nor Christ center to come out of Hollywood. If they do, then glory be to God but either way, evangelistically speaking, I will use it as a starting point to lead the culture out of the fog, but not as a clip for my teaching sermons.

        • Leneita Fix

          Joe,

          I do think we are basically saying the same thing. It’s very true to say someone who is not a follower of Christ could not create anything that is not confusion.

  4. Have you heard about this post that has gone quite viral, showing how Aronofsky used Gnostic and unbiblical ideas about God and Noah to make his movie? Pastors and youth workers should think twice before recommending this movie or using it as a “discussion starter” with anyone!

    http://drbrianmattson.com/journal/2014/3/31/sympathy-for-the-devil

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