‘Noah’ Has All The Buzz


‘Noah’ Has All The Buzz

By Pastor Alan Hawkins of New Life City in Albuquerque

Darren Aranofsky’s Noah is all the buzz. The atheist filmmaker had almost no
chance of garnering favor with a Christian audience but he has us all talking. I
found myself quite liking the film despite the liberties taken by the script.
Unless you can divorce yourself from anxiety about literary liberties being
taken with sacred text you should not bother watching. This is not a Biblical
movie. It is involves imagination, extra-biblical sources, contemporary
sensibilities and independent interpretation. What I had to do to get myself
prepared was to try and imagine a serious attempt to be rigorously true to the
text. An honest reading of Genesis 6-10 will assure you that it is no easy task.
A few questions will illustrate, who were the Nephilim and what was their
offense that cause the wrath of God to stir? How did Noah build, gather animals,
provide for them and oversee the project with three sons? What was the
post-diluvian offense that brought the curse on Canaan? You get the idea.

Russell Crowe is Noah and his grandfather Methuselah is Anthony Hopkins and yes,
they are enough to peak your interest. A major theme of the movie is the angelic
“Watchers” who are bound by their previous misdeeds to an earth-encrusted
existence. Their interaction with the script makes it both unbelievable and
intriguing. They serve to fill in many gaps left to the imagination in the
Biblical account. Noah is a conflicted soul beset by his need to please “the
Creator” and struggling to know whether any human should be allowed to survive
judgment given our universal sinfulness. That is perhaps the most troubling
story-line of the movie and yet I found it the most intriguing.

Calling God “the Creator” troubles some critics but left me confused at critics
who want to defend a biblical account of creation but grouse at calling God the
creator rather than his formal name. I would understand that as a Muslim
critique but not from those who know that “God” has multiple referents in the
sacred text. The working out of the story lines is complex and interesting. The
movie makes us imagine not just what but how these things unfolded. Like most
movies there are incredible leaps of logic that we are asked to endure but that
is just Hollywood and every moviegoer is accustomed to such things.

Overlooked in most of the critiques is the use of the meta-narratives of
scripture and the absence of imposing modern judgments on them. We see
patriarchy depicted as a blessing and a responsibility, interactions with God
that are both miraculous and mysterious, the inevitability and necessity of
judgment against sin, covenantal impartation across generations, angelic and
human interactions are explored and restoration and redemption is layered.
Aranofsky also seemed to import some echoes of other texts into his storyline
such as Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac and the alienation of a son with a wounded
spirit. Lovers of scripture will be unsatisfied and frustrated as was I at
points. Nevertheless I found the overall to be inspiring, hopeful, fascinating
and redemptive. Here is one pastor who gives thumbs up to a film that demands table
talk. See it with open eyes and marvel.

Plus another Post from Pastor Alan on ‘Noah’Alan Hawkins 3

I Have a Question about “NOAH”

Remember Noah,

Yes the one in the Bible, Moses wrote about him, “Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” That’s right, those are the words that introduce the guy who built an ark that contained every living creature and sustained them through a world-wide flood for over a year. His name means ‘rest’ or something close to that. Any questions?

A film has us refocused on the narrative. Everyone is grousing over the degree to which Aranofsky is true to the Biblical text. Noah is introduced to us as a guy who was 500 years old and then fathered three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth. Any questions? Then we learn that God has grown weary with the sin of mankind and says “his days shall be 120 years.” Friends of mine take that to mean that the expected lifespan of a human would become 120 years. None of us knows anyone who has yet pulled that off. Any questions?

The offense of man? Well there were giants on the earth called Nephilim and the ‘sons of God’ got together with the ‘daughters of men’ and well, we are not given details but presumably this was an offense before God that needed to be remedied by world destruction. Any questions?

Moses then writes that Noah is told that God plans to blot out man from the face of the earth but he, Noah, has found favor. His reward? Noah is to build an ark, not a boat, by the description it is more a box than a boat. The exact dimensions are given to Noah and this ‘restful’ fellow is suppose to build to the exact dimension a box and fill it with a pair of animals of every kind. Plus he was to have food stores for all of these animals for a long incarceration. This is where every 6 year old child on the planet asks me whether or not the dinosaurs were on the ark. Any questions?

Just before the Lord floods the earth he tells Noah to take seven pair of ‘clean’ animals, presumably we know what that means. Moses will tell us much later in his writings. Noah by now was 600 years old, presumably building the ark took a while. God took Noah and his 3 sons and their wives into the ark and shut the door. The flood came and killed everything “in who’s nostrils was the breath of life” while covering “every high mountain under the heaven.” That’s a lot of water. Any questions?

The whole thing lasted over a year and Moses gives a bunch of detailed descriptions of the days and months for clarity. They leave the boat and Noah begins offering the ‘clean’ animals as a sacrifice to the Lord. God renews his covenant with mankind and gives them new instructions. Apparently, animals were not eaten prior to flood but now God gives them for food to Noah and his family. Presumably this will tide them over till the first harvest along with whatever left over stores there were on the ark. Any questions?

God then gives the rainbow as a sign that he will never again flood the earth. Biblical scholars note that until the flood there had been no mention of rain and that perhaps the ‘climate change’ produced by the world-wide flood meant that this rain was the first occurrence of rain on the earth. In addition the post-diluvian world no longer sustains lifespans of almost 1000 years. Any questions?

Then Noah plants a vineyard, makes wine, gets drunk, gets himself embarrassingly unclad before his children, wakes up angry knowing what his ‘youngest son had done to him’ (we don’t) and pronounces a curse on one of his grandsons. That curse has variously been used by mankind to enforce God’s displeasure on whole races of people in various places at various times. Then the three sons of Noah go off and repopulate the earth becoming the source of every racial group on the planet. All of this happens a mere 4500 years ago. Any questions?

My job, and I chose to accept it, is to preach the Bible as the Word of God and I do AND I believe it is true. Thus, a part of my job is to preach about and attempt to explain the things I have just noted from the text of Genesis 6-10. Any questions? Yes I have one. You think I am stressed out about Aranofsky’s movie “NOAH?” Think again.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.