The All Too Human Noah

Feeling a bit like someone peeking into a television show he shouldn’t be watching, I went to see the film “Noah” today. I gathered from brief glances at Facebook posts and other media that evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians especially would be none to happy with Hollywood’s portrayal of the patriarch.

My main complaint prior to heading to the cinema was that every time Tinseltown does a “thing” on a biblical character, the actors always speak with something other than an American accent. (Wasn’t Jesus American?)

Sure enough, once I paid my five bucks for the matinee, I began to feel uneasy about the liberties the film was taking with the Bible. Minimally, the screenplay added events that were not included in Genesis or elsewhere in the Scriptures.

I had heard that “Noah” did not include God in the picture. This is not true. He is referred to repeatedly as the Creator. I just didn’t care for how the movie characterized Him,  at least in the beginning.

Giants, who looked like they could have come out of a Transformers flick, except these beings were made of stone, were shown to have stepped in to help mankind after the nasty Creator ditched man.  These rock heads were fallen angels.

Fallen angels in the Scriptures are demons. As I understand it, they aren’t exactly benevolent toward mankind. These massive creatures protect Noah and his family and do the bulk of building  the Ark.

Where the film began to really make me want to head for the exits was when Noah began to seemingly come apart at the seams. He leaves the new heart throb of his son Ham for dead in front of a raging mob and gets it in his head that God really meant the Flood as punishment for not only all of mankind, but for him and his family as well.

SEMI- SPOILER ALERT

Afloat, the wife of Shem discovers she is pregnant, and Noah states he will kill the child if it is female because obviously the Creator meant to wipe out the whole human race for good. Not only does Mrs. Shem have a girl, she has another one, too, i.e. twins.

Noah stands on the deck of the Ark, knife in hand, ready to plunge it into the girls as their mother holds them.  At this point I say to myself, “If he sticks those babies, I’m out of here.”

While the mother screams, Noah leans toward her and the children.  His action is the key scene  of the film. After that I warmed to “Noah” considerably.

The Bible says Noah was a righteous man. It doesn’t say he was perfect. Christians have gotten God wrong throughout history and done some stupid things along the way. Why couldn’t Noah have been a bit off in his theology as well?

The author of Hebrews does say that Noah built the Ark to save his family. God also speaks to Noah verbally in Genesis, but the Creator is shown as distant in the flick.  But who says Noah didn’t have some misconceptions of his role until things developed on the Ark?

“Noah” definitely does a great job of revealing the pressures, stresses and huge responsibility  put on the  family as they worked to  save themselves and other living beings. It’s no wonder Noah went on a bender after the Ark hit landfall. He had had a bad 40 days and 40 nights, and more.

If the viewer can look past the extra-biblical aspects–such as  a descendant of Cain stowing away on the Ark–and instead marvel at the cinematography of the film and the humanness of Noah, they will come away as impressed as I did.

 

 

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