Revisiting the Noah Film after Being Mocked in Newspaper Editorial

I decided to watch the film again to see if my initial reactions were accurate.

I decided to watch the film again to see if my initial reactions were accurate.

Recently the Courier Journal newspaper (Louisville, KY) ran an editorial piece that mocked the Ark Encounter project and my detailed review of the Noah movie that was posted on the Answers in Genesis website the day after the film opened in theaters.

As content manager of the Ark Encounter, I was part of a team of researchers who viewed this film and then participated in a live webcast review of the movie the next night. I was also responsible to write our detailed review with the assistance of friend and colleague, Roger Patterson.

Now that the film is available to rent, I decided to use a free Redbox code to watch it again. I wanted to see if I had overlooked certain points, misunderstood what had been shown/said, or just been caught up in some sort of group overreaction to the film. Having the ability to pause the movie and talk about it with my family helped minimize these issues that could have led me to be unfair in my previous criticisms.

There were plenty of inaccuracies throughout the film, and the preview was intentionally deceptive. For example, there is a scene in the film where an army of men charges toward Methuselah while trying to slaughter the fallen angels/rock monsters. Methuselah sends out a blast of fire that consumes the people but saves the rock monsters. But in the preview, the rock monsters are deleted from the scene. The same is true with one of the Ark-building scenes shown in the preview—there are no rock monsters in the preview, but they do appear in the same scene in the film.

But rather than dwelling on these matters, I want to comment on three main points before addressing a statement from the hit piece in the Courier Journal. If you want my full review, complete with a listing of numerous errors in the film, please read it here.

Paramount’s Noah Movie: Noah Is a Madman

One of the major problems with the film is that it portrays Noah as a man who bears very little resemblance to the biblical Noah. Both are men. Both had a large boat to survive a global Flood. And both had a wife and three sons. That’s about where the similarities end. Notice, I didn’t say that Paramount’s Noah “built a large boat,” since he never really is shown building the Ark (the fallen angel/rock monsters do that for him while he kind of works around it).

The editorialist mocked one of my statements about artistic license in my detailed review. I explained that we don’t have a problem with artistic license and that we used it at the Creation Museum and will use it at the Ark Encounter. After all, we don’t know what Noah looked like, what he wore, how he spoke, etc. The editorialist wrote, “Apparently it just depends on who’s the artist and how the license is being used.”

For the record, I had no problem with Russell Crowe being the actor to portray Noah. It was refreshing to see someone who didn’t look like a frail old man with a long white beard on the Ark. But here’s the problem with the artistic license being used in the film. The character of Noah was made into a raving lunatic who wanted every single person on earth to die—his family included. He even wanted to murder his own grandchildren. These are not even close to the actions of a righteous man who built the Ark for the saving of his household (Hebrews 11:7).

I explained my position on artistic license in an earlier blog post, so I won’t repeat everything here. The issue isn’t who is taking artistic license, but what liberties they are taking. In this film, Noah is practically the opposite of how the Bible describes him. Would it qualify as artistic license to make a film about Hitler or Arafat and show these men as devout Zionists? Could I make a film about Darwin where I portray him as the world’s foremost young-earth creationist and call it artistic license? Of course not. These would be examples of an abuse of artistic license, and that’s exactly what Darren Aronofsky did with Noah.

Paramount’s Noah Movie: God Is Evil

This is by far the worst of the errors in the Noah film, and it is absolutely blasphemous. The deity portrayed in this film is evil, cruel, uncaring, cold, harsh, and distant. The only “prayer” we see in the movie from Noah results in Noah’s determination to slaughter his grandkids. The visions the film’s deity sent to Noah were cryptic rather than the straightforward instructions revealed in Genesis 6. Furthermore, the film’s god used the brutal process of evolution by which trillions of creatures would live, suffer, and die long before sin ever even entered the world. Thus, according to this view, man is not to blame for the fallen condition of the world—God is, because that’s the way He made it.

Paramount’s Noah Movie: The Fallen Angels Are the Good Guys

Not only is God shown as evil in the film, but to complete the reverse (or better perverse) morality in this movie, the fallen angels are the good guys. Yep, that’s how they are depicted. They allegedly pitied man when he was expelled from Eden so these rogue angels decided to come and help man, and for that, they were sentenced to roam the earth as rock monsters. But in Scripture (Genesis 6:1–4), the angels who sinned at this time did it because they lusted after women. They weren’t here to help man, but to pervert man.

Early version of Aronofsky's Watchers/Rock Giants from the Noah movie. These fallen angels are actually the heroes of the film.

Early version of Aronofsky’s Watchers/Rock Giants from the Noah movie. These fallen angels are actually the heroes of the film.

Speaking of artistic license, I didn’t really have too much of a problem with the rock monster concept (granted, I don’t find it realistic, but I’m willing to give points for originality), but I did have a problem with who they were and what they did. These fallen angel/rock monsters are the ones who actually build the Ark. They are the ones that Noah depends on when the bad guy threatens to overrun Noah with his army. In the climactic battle sequence, the rock monsters slaughter people attempting to take the Ark from Noah. But that’s not all. As they are killed off, the fallen angels/rock monsters actually get released from their prison and are allowed to return to heaven.

Courier Journal Misses Again

The editorialist went on to rant against the Ark Encounter project and the fact that it has received preliminary approval for a Kentucky tourism tax rebate. This tourism rebate has been the subject of false charges from countless skeptics and many media outlets. The Ark is not being built in any way by Kentucky tax dollars, but once the park is open, and if it meets certain attendance figures, then it will be eligible to receive a rebate on a fraction of the sales tax it has already paid in to the state.

The article concluded with these statements.

The story of Noah is terrifying. If you believe it as told in the Bible, none of us would have been on the boat. We would have been off the boat. As it was written (New International Version), “Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth.” [Genesis 8:22–23]

Are they going to show that, too? Hard to see how that might attract out-of-state guests and have a positive impact on the state budget.

Again, as the person responsible for writing the content for the Ark Encounter, I can assure you that we most certainly do plan on showing this. We talk about it in the Creation Museum. In fact, that’s one of the major points of building the Ark. Yes, we want to show people the feasibility of such a project—that the animals would fit, that the boat could be built, that Noah could have cared for the animals, etc.—so that people will see that Scripture can be trusted. But the point of doing all of these things is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. To do this, we will naturally talk about the global judgment of the Flood as well as the upcoming global judgment of this world.

We have no desire to hide that teaching. In fact, we wish more people, including professing Christians who deny the global Flood, would come to understand what the Bible teaches in this area, that they would repent of their sins, and that they would trust in the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to save them from the coming judgment.

Conclusion

It’s one thing when journalists make a mistake, but it’s an entirely different thing when journalists deliberately distort the facts, yank statements out of context, and then belittle those they dislike on the basis of their distortions. I realize this is from an editorial page, but the article represented some of the worst tendencies in modern “journalism.” Rather than report the facts, this writer decided to push a propaganda piece designed to mock the Bible and those who believe its teachings.

I pray that journalists like this, and all other scoffers, will humble themselves, repent of their sins, and call out for God’s forgiveness made possible by the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Revisiting the Noah Film after Being Mocked in Newspaper Editorial — 3 Comments

  1. Noah was the 1st movie that I’ve seen the theatre since 2009. I got uneasy after Lamech was killed. I basically had enough in its age portrayal of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. I walked out with my son then had to explain why, to an autistic teen. I wish I would have known you then. I would have come to your defense. It really rankles me when people “twist” Scripture even in the movie “Bible” and “Son of God”. Keep in mind Roma Downey and Mark Burnett are close friends with the Osteen’s and have endorsed Lakewood Church. I felt their friendship and studio influence was the reason there was little discussion in Son of God of the conflict between God and money.

    Passion of the Christ was the best and most accurate biblical movie that I’ve seen.

  2. Great article, Tim. I watched the movie on my recent trip because I was not planning on spending money on it. (Or you could say I spent $1300 on the movie and got round trip air fare thrown in.)

    I did not read the editorial in question, but I also encounter similar arguments at work. Usually it is someone who wishes to mock my faith, make ridiculous accusations and assumptions and try to belittle everything I say.

    I have always admired your courteous and professional responses, even to people who misrepresent your writing or worse. One thing I think I find disturbing is that there will likely be some people who will base their understanding of Noah on what they may have seen or heard about from the movie.

    Another great article!

    • Joe,
      Thanks for the kind words. As you can imagine, there are certainly times when it would be fun to be snarky and treat them as they treat us, but we must strive to do better. We serve the risen Savior, who, when He was mocked, spat upon, beaten, punched, scourged, and crucified, He did not revile them but died in their place.
      Although these mockers refuse to admit it, they are made in His image, and He died for their sins too. If Christ’s followers do not show God’s love to them, then they may never get a proper view of who God is before it’s too late. I try to remind myself of these things before writing any type of review.
      God bless!

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