Friday, March 28, 2014
Noah movie: courage, faith, hope
By Rusty Wright
Special to ASSIST News Service
MOUNT HERMON, CA (ANS) -- OK, how would you feel if you thought you heard God telling you he was going to destroy every living thing on earth with a great flood?
Would you jump at the challenge? Run and hide? Ask – as Bill Cosby did in his classic comedy routine portraying Noah – "Right! Who is this really?"
Perhaps you'll sense how the biblical Noah felt. Paramount Pictures and director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky bring Noah to the big screen in North America and worldwide throughout late March and April. The cast includes Russell Crowe in the title role, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins.
With breathtaking cinematography, this film imagines some intense struggles for Noah and his family. We see sorrow for lost masses, interpersonal conflicts, and practical realities of living on a creature-packed craft.
The biblical account is short – mostly Genesis 6-9 – with little detail about ark life. So, yes, the filmmakers took liberties – many. Aronofsky recently told The Atlantic he views the story "as poetry and myth and legend" that helps us understand the world and ourselves.
But the essential framework of the biblical flood story – human evil, divine judgment, hope and salvation – remains in Noah. Consider these facets of that story and their modern implications.
Human Evil; Divine Judgment
Human corruption prompted him to "destroy every living thing." But "Noah was a righteous man … [who] walked in close fellowship with God." God told him to build a large boat, specifying precise dimensions and design.
Filmmakers took pains to follow biblical specs for their ark. The production designer had many ideas for the ark’s appearance, but Aronofsky, who is Jewish, insisted, "No, the measurements are right there."
Salvation, Hope, Promise
Noah built his ark and took aboard his wife, their three sons with their wives, plus pairs of animals, birds and crawling creatures. Elaborate computer-generated imagery portrays the animals for film.
If you attend the film, I suggest reading the biblical account first, then again after the screening. Noah's story has much for a 21st–Century audience, including two nuggets about faith and the future.
The New Testament lauds Noah for his faith. He was not perfect. "Wickedness is…in all of us," he tells his wife in the film. His own drunkenness – depicted in the film – led to embarrassment and family conflict. But his faith in God mattered. I came to faith as a skeptical university student. It has made all the difference in my life.
Concerning the future, Jesus indicated his second coming would be "like it was in Noah's day" with people carrying on their routines and unaware of impending peril. "You also must be ready all the time," he continued, "for the Son of Man will come when least expected."
I want to be ready.
Rated PG-13 (USA) for “violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content"
Copyright © 2014 Rusty Wright
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