Friday, November 15, 2013

Noah - The Best Outreach Opportunity in 5,000 Years?

I've heard a few things about this movie. Most notably from Russell Crowe, who said something like "Noah wasn't a good guy ... he basically watched the world die." Ummm, yeah. The dirty scoundrel. And if that makes Noah a bad guy, then what's that say about God?

I also read that this movie has tested poorly with Christians, Jews and agnostics. Kind of sounds like they missed their target audience. Or, any audience, for that matter.

The director, alone, gives me a bit of pause. This guy did Black Swan, as the movie trailer points out. I haven't seen the movie. By design. I read about it and decided that it had some really strange sexual issues in it that were not good for my consumption. And I'm not really that into ballet dancers.

Answers In Genesis has been a vocal critic of this film, though they haven't seen it. The assumption being that the director will essentially bastardize the story into some God-is-evil tale in which Noah is the bad guy.

Well, Russell's comments sort of fueled that idea.

Now we have our first look. Here are my thoughts from the trailer. 

What I liked

Noah receives his message from God. His father (I presume) confirms that God is speaking to him. This is all Biblically accurate. Noah's father, Lamech, prophetically announced that Noah would bring them comfort, which is what the name Noah meant. It is believed that Lamech, whose father was Methusela, saw the greatness that God had in store for Noah. They were direct descendants of Seth, the son born of Adam that replaced Abel's line after Cain murdered him.

The story of Genesis shows how Satan sought to destroy God's image by seducing Eve and pulling Adam out of obedience to God. Then, he incited hate and envy in Cain against Abel, resulting in the first murder of the world. Cain's line was wicked and reviling toward God, while Adam's line through Seth, was kept separate and honored God, waiting for the promised redeemer who would remove the curse.

It is supposed that Adam and Eve might have thought Cain was the redeemer, since they might have assumed God would provide a remedy for their sinful state right away. Of course, that didn't turn out. But then, by the time of Noah, over a thousand years had passed, Adam had died a few hundred years ago, and Methusela would have known Adam, due to his long life. Great things were in store for Noah.

In the trailer, the destruction of the world seems to be linked to rebellion against God in the form of wickedness. We see glimpses of the forbidden fruit, Cain killing Abel, etc.

Noah tells the earthly "king" of the people that he's not building the ark for protection from him. Clearly, the ark is protection from the wrath of God.

Probably my favorite line is when the king tells Noah that he's got men at his back and challenges Noah that he's alone. Noah's reply, "I'm not alone."

I think anyone who has repented and stands as a redeemed son or daughter of God can really relate to that scene. How often will the worldly challenge the missionary or the Christian neighbor with the charge that they stand for foolishness alone. We're not alone.

We get a glimpse of what might be the angel with his sword of fire sealing off the Garden of Eden.

We see rapid growth of trees, presumably at the time of creation.

Noah tells his family that it isn't the end when the world is cast into upheaval and destroyed. It's the beginning of all things.

What I don't like

Noah stating that the ark is to protect the innocent. No, the ark was to save the lost who feared God and believed in His salvation (the ark). See, there had been no rain, no storms, no tsunamis at that time in the world. So, when Noah warned people of the need for the ark, he was viewed as a nut. When he started building a large wooden vessel in the middle of a field, he was certifiable. No one listened. No one repented before the promised wrath of God.

That said, I suppose it's a theological quibble. They would be innocent in God's grace through faith in Jesus' sacrifice.

The other couple complaints are joined: Noah throwing a spear at the hoard of godless men charging the ark and the image of Noah watching the water rush up to the door.

The Bible is clear that God shut the door to the ark 7 days before the water came. This would make Noah look all the more crazy, I suppose. The animals all go in to the ark, Noah and his family go in. the door shuts. Then nothing. What's he gonna do with all those animals?

Then the storm came!

So, the movie looks like it might have good points and bad points. But it does look like it captures the overall trajectory of the story. I think it might beat Ted Dansen's Noah movie that had been made for TV back in the 90s, or whenever that was. Will it be the greatest outreach opportunity in 5,000 years?

No. The godless people, perhaps including the star and director, never listen to the message God has for them to repent and believe in the only salvation there is from God's wrath.

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