By Brian Mariani
Coming March 28th, acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky will share with the world his newest movie, entitled Noah, which is supposedly based on the biblical account of Noah. People are abuzz with anticipation, but WAIT! Be forewarned…there is a lot of controversy surrounding this new movie starring Russell Crowe as Noah, among numerous other all-star actors and actresses. Is this “biblically-based epic” really true to Scripture?
There have been and are some very divided opinions about Noah. Pre-showings of the film to a group of Jews, a group of Christians, and a group of the general public have not been met favorably. Screenwriter Brian Godawa and Answers in Genesis detail a large sum of concerns about whether the movie will stick with the truth of scripture,[ii] and their concerns appear to be quite valid.
Glenn Beck* recently previewed the film and had nothing positive to say about it:
“It’s just pro-animal and anti-human; and I mean, strongly anti-human, but it’s not the story of Noah that I was hoping for, and if you’re going for that, you’re going to be horribly, horribly disappointed.”
“There’s a lot of respected spiritual leaders, some of them are my friends, I don’t have any clue as to what they were thinking when they said, ‘This is a good movie to go see. It’s going to make you curious about the Bible.’”
“It treats a prophet of God, like a lunatic. There is no redeeming value in Noah. None. He hates people. I’m sorry, no prophet of God hates people…Noah is wrong about everything.”
“It’s a hundred million dollar disaster.”
Godawa obtained an early copy of the script and warned in a review that Noah is painted, as an “Environmentalist Wacko.” In fact, Aronofsky himself has said that Noah is, “about (an) environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist.” [i]
*Though we agree with and appreciate Beck's review of Noah, we do not endorse his beliefs on many other issues.
Is Noah Accurate?
In studying ancient man, it is difficult to determine what life was like before the flood, because the Bible says very little about this time. (In chapter 5 of The Genius of Ancient Man we discuss some of the details we do know from Scripture, but mostly we have only conjecture about this time period.) However, it is very clear that the corruption of our world during Noah’s day was not an environmental issue, but rather spiritual corruption.[iii] Mankind (other than Noah) blatantly ignored the will of God and thus they incurred God’s judgment upon themselves. Genesis 6:5 clearly describes the state of the world: “…the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
The biblical account of Noah’s ark and the worldwide flood is about God’s justice upon an evil world. But it is also about grace. God could justifiably have destroyed everything, including all mankind, yet God saved Noah and his family. The Ark foreshadows the New Testament teaching that God has prepared a way of salvation from eternal judgment. Instead of entering through the door of the ark, we are called to enter through Jesus who says of Himself, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I came that they might have life….” (John 10:9-10)
In contrast, according to reviewers, Noah portrays Noah as a maniac, not a righteous man, not a holy prophet of God. Furthermore, God is not shown to be just and full of grace, but rather the enemy who wants all humanity destroyed.
Choose Your Entertainment Choices Wisely
There are a vast amount of warring perspectives as to how to portray biblical accounts, and thus we need to be especially careful to take every thought or philosophy “captive” to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5, Col 2:8) Whether we realize it or not, stories that are retold can influence our perception of the original details. For example, Russell Crowe described his own view of the Noah character portrayed in the movie: “he’s not benevolent…he’s not even nice…At one point in the story, his son says ‘you know, I thought you were chosen because you were good.’ And he (Noah) goes ‘I was chosen cause I can get the job done, man.’”
But the Bible does says Noah was a “blameless,” “righteous man” that “walked with God” (Gen 6:9 and 7:1). He “found favor in the eyes of the LORD” and was a “preacher of righteousness” to a corrupted, wicked people (Gen 6:8, 2 Pet 2:5). God was very intentional, patient, gracious, and also just in punishing the wicked.
But which version will the public know after watching this movie? Which Noah will your kids know? The biblical righteous Noah or the Hollywood ‘Environmentalist Wacko’?
It is vital for us to carefully evaluate the entertainment that we choose, especially when it pertains to the retelling of biblical accounts. We need to go back and search out the real truth as it is documented in something truly credible and trustworthy, God’s Word – the Bible. We need to stand firm and let no movie, person, or influence sway us from the truth found in God’s Word. We can use these new, popular movies to challenge our friends, family, and coworkers to read the Bible and dig into Scripture. How can we be impacting our dark and deceived world with Truth?
Even if Noah or any of the other 'biblically based" movies are inaccurate or unbiblical, God can still use them to point people to His Word and it is through hearing God’s Word that the Holy Spirit convicts and draws people to Himself; to salvation through faith (Rom 10:17). However, this does not mean that we as Christians should support the movies or that we need to watch them in order to have an opinion.
We need to study to be prepared to share and give an answer for our faith and to show people that the Truth is the Bible. These deceptive movies are opening the door to many potential conversations to tell others about the Truth! They give us an opportunity to share our faith and stand firm on God’s Word, clinging to His truth instead of what Hollywood attempts to portray. We should not support them, as they are an outright lie about biblical accounts, however they can be used as a conversation starter or topic that can open a door to presenting the Gospel.
So just remember: Be thinking. Be aware. And consider this question: how will you prepare to share God’s Truth with the people in your life?
“but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15)
What can you do?
As Noah comes to a theater near you and you prepare for the bombardment of opinions and heated discussions, here are a few steps you can take to prepare your own heart (and those of your friends and family), decide if you will see the movie yourself (we would caution against seeing it as it is a blatant attack on the authority of Scripture and the character of God and supports the industry that is attacking Him), and be ready with a biblically-based defense of your faith and the true biblical account of the story of Noah. Read the Biblical account! Get the facts straight from God’s Word before watching the film or jumping into any debates. Know what God says. Read Genesis 5-9 to get the whole picture.
- Read about the real Noah and the flood of judgment from other biblical texts: Matthew 24:36-39, Hebrews 11:7, 2 Peter 2:4-9
- Learn more about the Ark that God designed for Noah to build: Is Noah's Ark a Myth?
- Make a plan to share God’s truth and the gospel with nonbelievers by taking them out to a movie and then follow-up with a discussion afterwards.
- Read more reviews on the movie before you see it:
- Godawa's Movie Blog: "Environmentalist Wacko"
- Answers in Genesis: "An Examination of Christian Movie Choices"
- Answers in Genesis: "Noah and the Last Days"
- Glenn Beck: "Babylonian Chainsaw Massacre"
- Finally, consider Scripture when making entertainment choices:
“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, to You, O Lord, I will sing praises. I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me I will know no evil.” (Psalm 101: 1-4)
“Now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” (Romans 16: 17-19)
[i] Brian Godawa, “Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko,” Posted on October 29, 2012, Godawa’s Movie Blog: Hollywood Worldviews, http://godawa.com/movieblog/darren-aronofskys-noah-environmentalist-wacko/, accessed January 11, 2014.
Adam Holz, “The Promise – and Peril – of Big-Screen Bible Epics,” October 17, 2013, Focus on the Family’s Plugged in, http://community.focusonthefamily.com/b/pluggedin/archive/2013/10/17/the-promise-and-peril-of-big-screen-bible-epics.aspx, accessed January 11, 2014.
[ii] Brian Godawa, “Darren Aronofsky’s Noah: Environmentalist Wacko,” Posted on October 29, 2012, Godawa’s Movie Blog: Hollywood Worldviews, http://godawa.com/movieblog/darren-aronofskys-noah-environmentalist-wacko/, accessed January 11, 2014.
Ken Ham, “Don’t Be Taken in by the Noah Movie’s Promotion,” published on November 19, 2013, Answers in Genesis, Around the World with Ken Ham, http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/11/19/dont-be-taken-in-by-the-noah-movies-promotion/, accessed January 11, 2014.
12 Reasons Not to Fall for the Noah Movie Hype, Stand Up For The Truth!, http://standupforthetruth.com/2013/11/12-reasons-not-to-fall-for-the-noah-movie-hype/, accessed January 11, 2014.
[iii] Ken Ham, “Was Noah an Environmentalist?,” published on July 17, 2012, Answers in Genesis, Around the World with Ken Ham, http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2012/07/17/was-noah-an-environmentalist/, accessed January 11, 2014.