Because of the cultural rumblings accenting Hollywood’s revival of faith-based movies, Alisa and I went to see “Noah” last April. It’s now available on satellite and in stores, so I want to repeat some comments.
Critics were right, screenplay writer and director Darren Aronofsky himself said the move was the least biblical movie ever made, and I agree on biblical accuracy. However, the movie does account for the Genesis 1 narrative of creation, Adam and Eve’s fall, the murder of Able, and the wicked generation destroyed by the flood. You think the movie evolution scenes will end up in the garden. But as you ready to see an ape morph into a man, Noah, while recounting the story of Genesis 1 to his family while afloat says, “then God created man,” and two light beings appear in the garden before eating the forbidden fruit with the serpent co-starring. Not bad.
Aronofsky ends the movie with a quick flash of Noah’s Genesis 9:14-17 covenant rainbow. He brings the animals to the Ark as Scripture reveals (Genesis 7:9). And he does a more than ample job of showing the wickedness of fallen man worthy of the flood by presenting humanity at that time as marauding murdering, canalizing bands with Tubal-cain, one of Cain’s sons, as their murderous despotic head. I thought this insertion into the movie was boring, especially when he ends up a stowaway on the ark. In fact, as a biblical apologist, most of the movie to me was boring, not maddening. Noah never encounters God, but receives in dreams barely discernible direction at best. Noah’s father Methuselah, who seems more of a mystic magic stone and seed hocus-pocusing sorcerer than prophet, gives guidance to Noah’s puzzling dream, and even heals the womb of Shem’s wife.
Scripture is silent on the amount of time or any narrative on the ark’s construction. It simply reveals its materials, basic floor plan, and dimensions (Genesis14-16). And we are told that Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives (numbering eight) along with male and females of each species of animal were to be spared drowning with him (Genesis 7:1-3). We also know from Scripture that Noah was 500 when he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Genesis 5:32). We know from Genesis 6:7 that Noah was 600 when the flood waters struck, that the waters prevailed upon the earth for 150 days (Genesis 7:24), receded in the 601st year (logically of Noah’s life, not the date) on the first day of the first year (Hebrew Calendar, Abib, April 1), and that on the 27th of the next month, the earth was dry (Genesis 8:13,14).
The Bible says much more of Noah after the flood, recording God’s direction on the sanctity of life, to repopulate the earth, and his rainbow covenant (Genesis 8:17-9:13). It records Noah’s drunkenness (which Aronofsky shows) and patriarchal judgment that burdened Ham’s son Canaan as a servant to his brothers for Ham’s pointing out the shame of Noah’s drunken nakedness (which Aronofsky doesn’t understand or show [Genesis 9:21-27]). This has always been a heavy revy to me.
The real problem with Aronofsky’s screenplay for me was not its divergence from Scripture, but the plot. Aronofsky has rock monsters (fallen angels turned to rock for their disobedience in assisting fallen man) help Noah build the ark. He paints Noah as a confused unbeliever who doesn’t have a clue of who God is and has no overarching understanding of why he and the rock monsters built the thing. In his ignorance Noah destroys all family ties by threatening to kill Shem’s twin girls when given birth on board because of his understanding that no more humans were to populate the earth. Why build the ark if that was the case? I think Aronofsky’s atheist unbelief strikes throughout the film. But the movie ends well, when while readying to kill Shem’s babies so they can’t repopulate the earth, Noah has a change of heart, and later stands with his household to bless the children as new hope wins the story’s end. Oh yeah, evil Tubal-cain gets his on the ark, so he doesn’t make the cut, and Ham runs away mad, but what are you going to do? At least Hollywood got the message out there for church witness with hopefully curious unbelieving friends who we can set straight, as I do in this article. I pray Mr. Aronofsky has been touched through the experience of dealing with biblical revelation.
In sum, All’s Well that Ends Well. Also, during the movie’s release, Mr. Aronofsky’s film stirred Bible study internationally. See: Noah Movie Sparks Massive Spoke in Global Reading of the Bible’s Book of Genesis is very positive outcome of Mr. Aronofsky work. And this is GOOD.