Can Christians Embrace the ‘Noah’ Movie?
Stormy weather continues to surround the upcoming release of the film Noah. This week, Paramount Pictures added a disclaimer to the official website for Darren Aronofsky’s on-screen epic:
“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.”
According to The Blaze, this disclaimer was added after a panel discussion concerning the movie at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. However, John Snowden, the film’s biblical consultant, who worked with the filmmakers through the entire process, has a message for “people of faith”:
“I read an early draft of the script and was particularly impressed with their exploration of judgment and mercy. I accepted the offer and quickly found myself fully engaged with the creative team, talking about Noah, God and Jesus a lot. And they listened. And asked more questions. I've read probably more than 10 drafts of the script, given longwinded feedback on each, seen every piece of footage that was shot and been flown around the world... twice.”
Snowden wants Christians to know that while the movie isn’t perfect, there are “10 good reasons” to see it:
- Noah has a relationship with God.
- Noah acts faithfully, yet isn’t perfect.
- Noah sees and acknowledges his own sin.
- It keeps closer to more of the text than you might have imagined.
- Noah speaks, and the women have names.
- Noah focuses on his family.
- The story depicts (and personifies) evil humanity in Genesis 6.
- The film embraces some really good, important theology.
- The film shows that Bible stories are back—in a big way.
- Twenty-somethings are disengaged from faith, and this can engage them.
However, “close to the text” does not sit well with some Christian leaders. Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis (the ministry that will soon begin work on a full-size version of Noah’s Ark) has some strong cautions for those considering the movie:
“We have heard from various sources—including two close friends of AiG who watched a rough cut of the film—that it is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis. The final movie will probably be very unbiblical in some bizarre and shocking ways.”
“For example, the main characters of the movie are Noah, his wife, and three sons—and one little girl they rescued after all in her family were murdered by an evil tribe. She was badly injured when they found her, but Noah’s wife placed healing nectar on her stomach and she later grew up to become the eldest son’s wife. For the longest time she was barren in the womb until Noah’s wife convinced Methuselah to bless her womb—against Noah’s wishes.”
Crosswalk’s own Shawn McEvoy agrees that there seem to be issues with the biblical approach the movie takes, but he also encourages Christians to see it:
“We write children's books about it and teach it in 3-year-old Sunday School, but the tale of Noah and the ark was never really juvenile. Quite the opposite. I crave the adults-only version of Noah, just as I craved the adults-only telling of The Passion of the Christ (my kids are 8 and 10 and will watch it one day, but not yet). Where some detractors are down on reports of Noah's post-flood drunkenness and 'survivor's guilt,' I feel like the drunkenness is in the text and the guilt is well within artistic license. What I'm more concerned about, and wanting to see depicted, is Mercy. God had a plan. This wasn't only about wrath. He sent a promise. He operated out of love.”
What about you? Will you see the movie when it comes out on March 28?
John UpChurch is the senior editor of BibleStudyTools.com and Jesus.org. You’ll usually find him downing coffee at his standing desk (like a boss).