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Taking Biblical Liberties

Films depicting Biblical stories have quite the standard to uphold – the Holy Bible is not a book to be reckoned with – it is, in all intents and purposes, the gospel truth. It is the Word of God and it appears that tampering with what has been written can create controversies the likes of which can keep scores of people from viewing a well-made depiction of a scripturally-based account. The latest film to come under such scrutiny is the movie, Noah, written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. It is an epic tale about the life of God’s chosen man in the 6th chapter of Genesis, a man designated to salvage the remaining good in the world before God’s wrath for man’s wickedness wipes out every other living creature.
Genesis sketches a few details about the man Noah: he was righteous, he walked faithfully with God, he was asked by God to build an ark to hold his family and two of every creature to spare them from the flood, and he obeyed God. Most Christians grow up with a polished idea of a gentle old man with gray hair and beard who builds an ark and ushers in all the animals and when the waters from the flood subside God sends Noah a rainbow as a promise that he will not destroy the world by water again. And Noah builds an altar, offers a sacrifice and thanks God. What this beautiful scriptural sketch captures is Noah’s unchallenged faith in God, but the movie Noah attempts to paint this sketch with the colors of our humanity even while being faithful to God. The human struggle to do God’s will is clearly evident in this portrayal of one of God’s most faithful servants.
Some of the criticisms that have arisen about the movie include:
• At times it deviates from certain scriptural passages which may discourage conservative viewers. However, those who are unfamiliar with the story of Noah will be captivated by this man’s story. People who can quote scripture chapter and verse aren't the ones that need to see this. Noah is a deeply religious man PRIOR to Judaism. It's about the true meaning of religiosity that's at stake here. It is worth being drawn into the essence of having a relationship with God.
• God’s name is not mentioned; he seems to be absent from the film. Truthfully, God’s presence is an unseen character in this movie. There is no question about it. There was no doubt in my mind that when Noah is in communion with the Creator (that's what he calls him) that he is praying to God. Biblically speaking we didn't get a name for God until Moses climbed up Mt. Sinai and before the burning bush God reveals himself and his name. God is without a doubt an integral part of this movie.
Noah seems out-of-sync with the ancient way of life. The movie has a post-apocalyptic feel because of the chaos in the world at that time but it is inescapably modern in a sense, as well, because we're the ones that need to see, hear, and understand this. Our modern world has relegated religion to primitive naiveté. This movie brings the ancient and the modern together into a real-world vision of our past and our future.
Noah, the movie, is a must-see. Once viewers get over the shock that this is not Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments and can see deeply into the conflicts, wounds, inner-turmoil and dilemmas of our human nature they may see the benefits of faith, love, mercy, forgiveness and healing. “It’s not the end of everything. It’s the beginning.”

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