I have to confess that I am not a huge movie expert, but on a recent flight I had the opportunity to check out the latest Noah movie starring Russell Crowe. I had heard mixed reports from different sources and ironically I have been preaching through Genesis in our evening services at church. The story of Noah is therefore fresh in my mind. So, what were my impressions of the movie?
As a Christian, I was not impressed by the opening line that "in the beginning there was nothing" and then the narrative of Genesis is unfolded in a way that I could not reconcile with the biblical record. Fallen creatures that look like deformed transformers with rock skin, apparently helped fallen man to build huge cities. There is Gandolf style mysticism and magic inter-twined,and Noah kills people in self-defense in the hostile world that he lives in pre-flood. It was a huge surprise to find that Hollywood had no problem in including an adopted daughter into Noah's family though the biblical record does not have any such details.
From a non-theological point of view, the movie was not impressive, I got bored and I admit that I did not finish the whole film. It was like watching a low-budget "Lord of the Rings" movie, but without any of the impressive scenery and thought of the "Lord of the Rings". Its deviation from biblical truth, its bizarre imagination that bore little resemblance to Noah's godliness, and the poor quality of style means that I do not endorse this movie whatsoever.
What are some learning points? Hebrews 11:7 reminds us of Noah's faith: "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith". The first lesson should be to draw us all to the faith of Noah from the biblical record. This is because he walked by faith in the midst of loneliness, with a lack of spiritual fruit from his warnings to his fellow men, and he spent just over a year in the ark before he stepped out into the new world after the flood. Faith always requires us to walk into a degree of the unknown, trusting the Lord. Therefore, Noah's example should encourage the church in our own day.
The second lesson for me is that the world cannot be trusted today to faithfully handle biblical narrative. In times past, credible movies of the life of Moses, and stories such as Ben Hur, moved millions of people to simply acknowledge historically based narratives. Today, Hollywood and the world have so departed from truth in their post-modern fantasies, that they cannot be trusted to handle Bible stories or truth itself.
Thirdly, the Lord Jesus taught explicitly that Noah did not know the exact time when the floods will come, so also we will not know the time when Jesus returns but we must be ready. In the time before the Lord Jesus returns to bring final judgment upon this world and all of its inhabitants, then the world's population will behave the same as in Noah's day. Matthew 24:38 "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man". Therefore, do not be surprised by the world's indifference to the gospel, Noah faced the same. However, let us look to the Lord for great fruitfulness, and pray that God by his grace would save some, those who will come into the Lord's ark of salvation, before it is too late.