NOAH; The Metaphors, The Message and Why I Loved the Movie

noahSince I was quite young, I have loved history, especially biblical history. Beginning with The Robe, over the years I have read and watched numerous biblical novels and films.

When I first heard about Darren Aronofsky’s film NOAH, I was curious about how he would handle the story, as I would have been about anyone taking a story that takes up about 4 chapters in the Bible and has almost no dialogue or action and turning it into a novel or film. I also learned that Aronofsky had asked several Christians to act as consultants for the film; one of those Christians is a man my husband and I know and whose heart we trust.

My husband and I went to see NOAH yesterday. We both loved it. While posting my thoughts on Facebook, I had a number of people—some of whom had not seen the film—asking me what I thought about this or that part of the film. Rather than copy/paste my response to each person, I decided to write an op-ed about my thoughts on the film.

**NOTE: In order to respond to the people’s questions, I will have to share spoilers from the film.

My overall impression of the movie: I loved it! Having seen Aronofsky’s film THE FOUNTAIN, I realized he uses often uses metaphor to tell a story. I was stunned by the beautiful metaphors of God’s justice, love, mercy and forgiveness in the film.

The following are my responses to some of the questions I have received about NOAH.

Q: Was it a Christian film?

Me: If you mean was Noah a Christian, then no; Noah predated Jesus Christ. As he also predated Abraham, you could also say that he was not a Jew.

It is my opinion that films, books, painting, etc. are not Christian. Christians are people who believe in and follow Jesus Christ as their Savior. Films, books, music, paintings, about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and The Bible are faith-based or inspirational.

Q: Was it biblically accurate?

Me: No. But no biblical novels and films is completely biblically accurate, for the simple reason that they are not direct translations of Scripture. The Bible was not written as a storybook or a screenplay; it is a book of faith. People who write novels or make films based upon Scripture are trying to take the stories from the Bible and bring them to life either on page or on a screen. While there might be a great deal of research behind a biblical novel or film, there is also creative license where the storyteller adds to flesh out the story; NOAH included.

Q: Was it respectful of the Bible story?

Me: Yes, I think it was. When I read the story of Noah found in Genesis 6-9, I find:

1)      God talked to Noah and told him to build an Ark.

2)      The other people are actually wicked.

3)      The animals came to Noah.

4)      That the world was destroyed by water

5)      The birds Noah sends out returns first with nothing and then with a branch.

6)      Noah and his family see a rainbow and understand the promise God makes.

 

In NOAH,

1)      God did speak to Noah, but in dreams and visions, not in an audible voice; much like He does for most of us. [Check out Acts 2:17 for the validation of God using dreams and visions.]

2)      The people were actually wicked. Oh my goodness, were they wicked, beginning with Tubal-Cain who is the leader of the descendants of Cain. When confronted by Lemech and later Noah with the concept of obeying God and living a righteous life, Tubal-Cain spat and announced that he’ll be damned if he followed anyone but himself. The men who followed Tubal-Cain—which was everyone but Methuselah and Noah and his family—had corrupted everything on the Earth. There’s murder, rape, cannibalism, people selling their children to get money for food. War. Butchery. No, this film wasn’t just about mistreating the Earth. Man was seriously wicked. So wicked that God wanted to wipe mankind out.

3)      The animals came to Noah. Yes, Aronosfsky portrayed just two animals of each kind, rather than the seven of the clean animals and two of the others that is commanded in Genesis 7:2, but I have yet to see a biblical film about Noah that showed more than the animals coming in pairs.

4)      The flood was global. It was visually epic. Seeing all the people and oxygen-breathing animals dying was heart-wrenching for me.

5)      The bird came back first with nothing and later with an olive branch.

6)      The rainbow was there; and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

Q: Were Noah and his family portrayed as vegetarians?

Me: Yes, they were. Considering that God didn’t allow eating animals until after the flood,

“Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.” Genesis 9:3

I believe it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that they were vegetarians before the Flood.

Q: Was the film disrespectful of God, portraying Him as angry and hateful?

A: What I saw was Noah respecting The Creator and determined to obey Him and teaching his family to do the same. It was Tubal-Cain who denounced the Creator as uncaring. Noah told his family repeatedly to trust The Creator to provide what they needed; which He did.

Now, there were times when Noah cried out to God, asking for confirmation that he was doing what God wanted. In that exact moment, God was silent—but later He revealed Himself—and confirmed that He was pleased with Noah.

Q: What about The Watchers? Were they fallen angels?

Me: No, if you are referring to the angels that rebelled against God and followed Satan. Several of our reviewer friends, who were invited to the NOAH movie junket, asked Aronofsky about The Watchers. He explained that these were the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6:2-4 and not demons. In the film they began as angelic beings who loved the Earth and mankind and wanted to help them after they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. However, their attempts to help man went horribly wrong and caused man to create things that destroyed the beauty that was the Earth. The Creator punished The Watchers by imprisoning them in the very thing they loved; bodies of earth and rock. In the end, when these creatures cried out to The Creator for forgiveness, they were released from their rocky prisons, restored to their celestial bodies and returned to Heaven.

For me, trapping these angelic beings in rock was a metaphor of how I am often trapped in my own sins, yet can experience the beauty of restoration when I turn to God in repentance.

Q: What about Noah wanting to kill everyone, including his family and his newborn twin granddaughters?

Me: As far Noah wanting to kill everyone—that was not in the film. In one scene God gave Noah a vision revealing the wickedness in his own heart—a revelation that should have let Noah know that his and his family’s salvation was an act of grace and mercy rather than due to their own righteousness. Instead, Noah wrongly interpreted the vision as meaning all men, including himself and his family, are corrupted by sin and should not be part of the new creation after the flood. Noah explained to his family that after the flood, they would each die of old age.

What Noah wasn’t expecting was that his daughter-in-law would give birth to twin girls. Because he was convinced that The Creator meant to destroy all of mankind, Noah believed he was called to kill the girls. He confronted his daughter-in-law and demanded she give him the girls. She told him she realized he must obey The Creator, but begged to be allowed to comfort the crying newborns, which Noah did. She sang a song over the infants, a lullaby she had learned from Noah about the love and protection of The Creator. Instead of killing the babies, Noah kissed the infants and let them live.

Q: Didn’t the film have a nod to evolution in it?

Me: That was in the part where Noah was telling his family the story of Creation. He talked about the darkness, then The Creator creating light on the first day, then the waters on the second day, the land on their third and so on. As Noah told the story, the film shows first blackness, then the Earth being formed, then the sun, moon and stars, the water and land being formed. By the time Noah got to living creatures, including small living things [single-cell organisms], then fish, then animals and birds. The imagery of this part moves quickly from creature to creature. So, yes, I could see where some might see evolution in the film. However, on the sixth day of Noah’s story, when Adam and Eve were created, the film does not show them as being evolved from monkeys, but as beautiful beings created in the glorious image of God.

Thinking back over NOAH and the things that are being said about it, I agree with what my husband Mike said.

“As far as NOAH is concerned, I think people who are predisposed to dislike it, will find plenty to dislike about when they go to see it, while those who are predisposed to like it will find plenty they they will like about it.

But that’s just my opinion. I freely admit I could be wrong.”