Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Noah: The Untold Story, Part 2

I liked the depiction of Tubal-Cain and his rebellious attitude against God. Many point out that he quoted Scripture, but they miss that he quoted it like Satan would: 90% accurate, 10% twisting. And the evil is in the twisting part. An example is how he points out that mankind is made in God's image, and given dominion. But his idea of dominion is being an equal with God, which is exactly Cain's error and why he killed Abel and departed from God, heading to the land of Nod (wandering).

The one, big, missing aspect that the story had was animal sacrifice. This demonstrates the filmmakers, and many Christian's lack of understanding, Scripturally. Cain's sacrifice of the first fruits of his garden was rejected. Not because it wasn't good enough, but because it wasn't brought in faith. Abel's burnt offering of the best of his flock was accepted. Not simply because God desired a burnt animal sacrifice. God has no pleasure in the destruction of any part of His Creation. Abel's sacrifice was accepted on account of his faith in God's planned provision of a sacrifice: Jesus Christ. It was Abel's heart of faith that mattered. And it was Cain's lack of faith that was the difference.

Genesis 5 is the chapter of death. It details the line of Adam and how each one died. The epitaph, “and he died,” is repeated over and over. Moses, the author of Genesis, is indicating how Adam's rebellion against God resulted in physical death. In Chapter 4 we see the descendants of Cain and how their line is marked with spiritual death. The point is driven home in Genesis 6 when God sees nothing but evil in the hearts of all mankind, save for Noah. What happened? Faith died in their hearts. Mankind wandered away from looking for a sacrifice, symbolized in the burning of an innocent animal in their place for their rebellion against God. Instead, they turned to their own intellect, industry, music and pleasure for satisfaction. I suspect the pre-Flood peoples had religion all over the place, just like today. I suspect they built temples and had gatherings where they worshiped … something. They likely worshiped The Creator! But they did so without faith in God's provision of a sacrifice. They did so without taking an amimal in faith and offering it to God as a burnt offering, representing their need for one who would crush the serpent's head (Jesus, dying on the cross, removing Satan's power over those with faith in Christ).

The movie lacks any animal sacrifice. So, the movie languishes in an attempt to figure out why God chose Noah. Was it because he could “get the job done?” Was it because he was better than others? Because he didn't pick plants he didn't need? Because he was a vegetarian? The filmmakers don't seem to really know. And the lack of animal sacrificing is key to this ambivalence. Aronofsky is like Cain: He doesn't recognize the significance of faith in Christ. He doesn't view himself as a sinner in irreparable violation of God's character. He doesn't recognize his need for an innocent sacrifice to take his place under God's just wrath for sin.

For those who have seen the movie, look up a study Bible and read the notes about Noah. Or write comment below with a question. I'd be happy to discuss the implications of Noah's account. It's a fascinating story that didn't really need the embellishments that were added to the movie.

The story has Noah, with brothers and sisters who reject God, standing alone in a world of beauty, walking with God in faith, then being instructed about the world's coming judgment. Noah would have had siblings, neices and nephews that were heading for God's rightful wrath. He would have been encouraging others to turn in faith and bring their sacrifice to God. While building the ark, looking like a madman to those around him, he would have been pleading with them to join him in the ark. Imagine the spectacle of those who disbelieved, when animals started marching into the ark. 120 years went by as Noah build this structure and sealed it with pitch. Then animals start heading to the ark, much like animals will flee from an area before an earthquake. They should have known something was happening. Maybe they did.

Then Noah entered the ark and the door was mysteriously shut. One door. Now closed. Then 7 days passed. Nothing happened. Imagine the ridicule. Imagine the doubt Noah might have had. Imagine what his family thought.

Then the rains came and the storm swells rose, the fountains of the deep burst forth and hurricane-force winds blew. The millions of people were swept away, drowned. Children, women, men, everything. The cities that Cain's descendants built were buried in sediment, the animals were killed while grazing, mammoths frozen in place on mountaintops that rose up as the continents broke free and crashed together, forming mountain ranges.

Noah then spent a year in the ark. The storm raged for a month and a half. The waters prevailed on the surface for six months. And dry land did not appear for another six months. Noah and his family spent time in a dark, wooden tomb with animals for all that time. Noah did not hear from God during that time. Imagine the desolation and strangeness of being cooped up in a structure for so long, tending to the animals and eating preserved grain, fruits and vegetables.

The world that awaited Noah was ravaged by God's fearsome judgment. Death floated on the waters and was buried in the mudslides of the land that appeared. The worst post-catastrophic images we can summon are nothing compared to an entire world absent anyone other than the few members of one's own family.

God's moral character is nothing to offend. That's the message of the Flood. We all have offended God's moral character. We know this because we can't stop fighting with each other. We can't stop gossiping. We can't stop coveting. We lust, we steal, we want what's not ours. We're brimming with pride, leading to envy and strife.

The story of Noah is a warning: absent faith in God's sacrifice, Jesus Christ, and His Lordship, we will all face God's just wrath. Not by water, but by fire. The people of Noah's day didn't listen, and suffered God's judgment.

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