Important Takeaways From Noah You Do Not Have To Watch the Movie to Realize

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Yesterday was a very rainy day in Georgia, so my wife and I naturally found ourselves on our day together at our cultural Ark riding out the storm otherwise known as a theater. In keeping with the rainy day theme, we watched Noah, a film that has been described by its director as “the least biblical biblical movie ever made.” As it turns out, as far as the plot is concerned, he mostly accomplished his goal. However, it seems he and the script writers did not so easily escape some important Biblical themes.
After a question from a friend in regards to my thoughts on the movie, I thought I would share a few takeaways piqued by my having viewed the film that you will not actually have to watch the movie to realize.

Here they are:

1) This Story is Not a Nursery Story.
2) God’s Judgment is Real.
3) Life Really Is Precious.
4) God’s Ways are Not Our Ways and Are, well, Miraculous
(For the Biblical Story of Noah, see Genesis 6 – 9)

1) This Story is Not a Nursery Story.
This story puts front and center the sin of man, God’s judgment and His justice. The story of Noah is not, nor has it ever been a children’s bedtime story. We may paint their walls with animals and rainbows, but the reality is the very real work of God’s redemptive plan and His unmitigated wrath are at work for and against a wicked world. This leads us to the very serious nature of the Cross and God’s wrath being poured out on His Son in order that sinful man may come to Him. Though a very beautiful story, this story is not one for the faint of heart, it is intended to cut to the heart. (Acts 2:37)

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2) God’s Judgment is Real.
At one creative moment in the film, Noah realizes that his heart is also tainted with sin, as are those of his entire family. This conviction experienced by Noah is right on the mark and is certainly one that would be necessary for Noah to ever be deemed “righteous” as he was (Hebrews 11:7). Man’s heart is indeed wicked without the redemptive work of God, and that is key to understanding the good news of the Gospel. That is not amiss in the story of Noah.

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5 ESV)

The fact that God is just and His wrath is real is the driving point of the story. A flood that eliminates everything with the breath of life in it is very serious.

The fact that God saves sinners for his glory is the point of the story. We all are sinners and in need of God’s grace and forgiveness that is only available through what Christ has done.

One day, Christ is returning to (as the Creed says) “judge the quick and the dead and the sons of men.” And it will be just like this story from Genesis:

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
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,
39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Mat 24:37-39 ESV)

The only way to avert this kind of judgment is trusting in Christ.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.(Romans 3:23 – 26)

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3) Life Really Is Precious.
An interesting, unexpected twist of the plot is the way in which God provides “wives” for Ham and Japeth through a Providential blessing given by Methuselah to Shem’s wife. The interaction between Noah and Methuselah may be strange at times, but is one the more believable blank-fillers the film writers introduce. We have no reason from the Text itself to assume Noah and Methuselah did not interact on some level. However, we also have no reason to assume they did. I actually enjoyed the idea and thoughts this line produced. Shem’s wife becomes pregnant with twin girls just before the Ark embarks without the knowledge of Noah who ultimately, after his own conviction of sin and depravity, assumes God intends to wipe out all of mankind. (Though we are to understand from the Biblical text that Noah and his family understood what was going on).

• I like the idea of Methuselah and Noah interacting. (Plus, Sir Anthony Hopkins is a fine actor).

• I like that there is a theme of “she who was barren” included in this movie because that is absolutely key to the overall narrative of grace and redemption of God’s particular people all the way to the New Testament. (i.e. Sarah, Samson’s Mother, Ruth, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary)

This major subplot however is based off an entirely made-up scenario because Scripture says plainly: On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, (Gen 7:13 ESV)
With all this in view, Ham and Japeth’s “wives” are twin daughters born to Shem and his wife. The subplot is Noah’s wrestling with killing these babies or not so that man may indeed ultimately be blotted out. Watching the scenes unfold, there seems to be some echo of Abraham and Isaac (I might be the only one who thought that). One may be put off by the whole thing or one may be profoundly moved by the story. One at least may come away with the impression that Noah “Chose Life.” Though completely unfounded in the Noah context, I think this conversation about the preciousness of life in the womb is a very real talking point for the mixed audiences this movie will draw.

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4) God’s Ways are Not Our Ways and Are, Well, Miraculous.
The oddest creative addition to the film by far were the “Watchers” who seemed to be fallen angels This was certainly a very creative nod to the Nephilim of Genesis 6 – that word literally means “fallen ones”. They also reminded me of the Ents of Middle Earth. As interesting as they were, I thought them to be an unfortunate addition (and major distraction) simply because of their role in building the ark. I do not think it would have taken away from the story a bit to delete them and allow Noah and his family to take a long time building their own life vessel.
The Story is Miraculous and certainly requires the faith that God gives (Ephesians 2:8 – 10) to embrace and understand not only that it is trustworthy but the working out of God’s redemptive purpose for mankind realized in the finished work of Jesus Christ (His death, burial and resurrection 1 Cor. 15:1 – 4 ). We do not need talking rocks who used to be angels to build an Ark, it’s unnecessary. (However, God could produce talking rocks if he wanted to (Luke 3:8Luke 19:40 ).

However, we do know, For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:8-9 ESV)

All of God’s miracles are making way to and bearing testimony to the “Grand Miracle” as C.S. Lewis would term it. That God became man, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death and rose from the grave to save sinners.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (Rom 5:8-9 ESV)

So, we are all invited to embark on the Ark. Jesus took on God’s wrath so that we may enter in. That is a miracle of miracles.

 

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