This writer is well aware of all the controversy from many Christians over the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe; so from the very beginning of this review let me get out of the way the fact that I dearly loved the movie.
Most of the arguments given against the movie appear to be the result of either people being directed by religious leaders who pre-conditioned the minds of their followers prior to viewing the movie or a simple ignorance of all the facts regarding the story of the flood.
The movie is definitely not your traditional Sunday school story of Noah; then again as we grow in spiritual guidance, faith, knowledge and Godly wisdom most believers learn things they never heard in Sunday school along the road of life.
Admittedly and unashamedly, one of this writer’s many callings and abilities (being a Theological Seminary Graduate) is that of a theologian with knowledge and abilities in both Biblical and para-biblical linguistics and history.
In other words, take it or leave it, this writer knows what he is talking about.
My viewing of the movie Noah found obvious exaggeration, inclusion of para-biblical flood material (which most viewers probably never realized) and as admitted by the producers, artistic license.
Of course other biblical movies such as: “The Ten Commandments”, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, “The Robe” and even the Bible TV series from which the current “Son of God” movie is taken utilized artistic license.
Overall the Noah movie was both theologically and historically accurate.
The movie definitely emphasizes that humanity became corrupt in every way destroying each other and the world in which they lived.
One man, Noah chose the better way and the right way; he chose good over evil.
Noah is seen as listening to and following the creator (a.k.a. God) for which he was ultimately rewarded and his family saved from evil and death.
The movie was both entertaining and life applicable; those who view the movie without understanding the life application aspect are in far deeper spiritual trouble than any movie can help.
Six “nick-pic” complaints were brought to my attention from people who saw the movie which are discussed here:
First, the movie does not depict the traditional Biblical Noah, 2. There is no reference to the actual name of God 3. There are scenes of industrialization, 4. Noah’s grandfather Methuselah seems to have mystical or special powers, 5. The Nephilim are treated as “rock people” and 6. Noah struggles with madness.
Again, Noah is not your Sunday School Noah but a very biblical Noah.
The destruction of the world by a great flood is not just found in the Bible; it is recorded in almost every culture in the world.
One prime example are the popular Mesopotamian flood stories concerning the epics of Ziusudra, Gilgamesh, and Atrahasis. In the Sumerian King List, it relies on the flood motif to divide its history as does the bible with Noah separating the first two thousand years of history from Adam to Noah and the next two thousand years from Noah to the birth of Jesus.
The Gilgamesh Epic is very similar to Noah and it is possible that some of the additions to the movie such as the destruction of cities (and industrialization implied) in that epic were utilized in the Noah movie.
In short, it is not that the traditional story of Noah is not seen in the movie but rather some aspects not mentioned in the Bible are further developed by screen writers to make it all work for the viewer.
As to the actual name of God, oh come on fellow Christians which name would you have the writers use?
Don’t forget Noah takes place anywhere from thirteen hundred to one thousand years (depending on your time line) before Moses and even the extreme literalists must accept the fact that if Moses was the author of Genesis (and not the work of the JEDP authorship as some claim), it would have been his name of Yaweh and not the English word of GOD.
The bottom line is Noah was an ancient man and we have no idea what he actually called God.
Personally I like “Creator” because I believe in “Intelligent Design” and accept the fact that God created man.
As to the scenes of desolate cities, strip mining and industrialization, that’s at least implied in the Gilgamesh Epic as well as some flood stories mentioned by the ancient Sumerians; it’s also alluded to by the Old Testament character Enoch in the para-biblical book of Enoch (which actually was originally part of the Old Testament).
In reference to Noah’s Grandfather Methuselah having mystical powers, that shouldn’t really be a problem for anyone who has read the Bible.
The bible tells us God gives gifts to all and considering Methuselah lived to the ripe old age of 969 (Genesis 5:27) he should have learned quite allot about his gifts.
Then there are the Nephilim seen as “Giant Rock Creatures” in the movie. The truth is we don’t really know who or what they were but the Bible tells us they were on Earth both before and after the flood.
This is extremely interesting considering we are also told that all life was destroyed by the flood; this would at least imply that the Nephilim were definitely not human.
The script writer’s interpretation seems to be as plausible as any since the rocks and land survived once the flood waters had receded; obvious artistic license here but an excellent use of the Nephilim which in most movie versions is totally ignored.
Finally one of the biggest complaints is over the movie showing Noah as indecisive, depressed, anxious and having apparently gone insane; ready to kill his Granddaughters and even seeing it as the Creator’s will.
Again some artistic license is utilized here by the script writers but make no mistake, Noah was indecisive, depressed, anxious and he did go completely insane.
How could anyone feeling such conviction and calling by God, knowing the total destruction of the world is at hand not become anxious and depressed.
As a psychologist/counselor this writer has treated his fair share of pastors and religious leaders who were anxious, depressed or near complete breakdown.
Noah literally felt the weight of the world on his shoulders.
He then spends one hundred fifty days and nights closed up with animals, his family who were no doubt becoming contentious, in less than sanitary conditions and no air conditioning with no way to go outside for fresh air; it certainly had the makings of an insanity boiler.
Once the flood waters receded, the Bible states that Noah apparently separated himself from his family and became a drunk, found little use for hygiene or clothing (Genesis 9:20-24).
Although not in the movie, from the Bible we know the extent of Noah’s insanity when he goes on a drunken stupor and curses his son Ham and his offspring.
Yes Noah was a good man but he had obvious problems as we all do, he lost control but ultimately got it together.
Regardless Noah lived a total of 950 years because he obeyed God.
Say what you will but this movie seems pretty biblical to me.
Noah is an excellent movie; don’t let personal prejudice or other people's opinions prevent you from both good entertainment and a positive life application lesson.
©Copyright 2014 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III