Noah and the Violence that Haunts Us All

There has been a lot of negative backlash aimed at the recent Noah movie, with many Christian leaders calling for boycotts.  I went and saw the movie last night and after having a chance to process both the movie and the reactions decided to offer my thoughts for whatever they’re worth.

1) Yes, the movie does not strictly follow the Biblical account.  However, the movie poignantly portrays many key Biblical themes like: the depravity of humans, image of God, and the inherent goodness of creation.  Yes there are weird rock monsters that are fallen angels and some humans have unexplainable magic powers, but if we simply focus on this we truly do miss the beauty and tragedy displayed on screen.

2) In Genesis 6, scripture states that the world was filled with violence.  If I am to imagine a world filled with violence, I need look no further then my own backyard, I live in Houston after all.  But Noah vividly shines a light on humans propensity for violence and wickedness.  In one of Noah’s visions he is confronted with the fact that the violence he sees in the people around him is reflected in his own soul.  The movie does not break down into an us versus them mentality.  Noah has been given the gift/burden of knowledge, and it tears him to shreds.  This is reason enough to go and see the movie.  It is not often that we are given a blockbuster movie that denies us the myth of human progress.

3) A theme that is weaved throughout the movie is the idea that man is made in God’s image, with the underlying question: what does it means to be a man?  This movie serves as a very good critique of the idea that to be made in God’s image means we get to dominate creation.  It is here that Noah gets it very right.  Humanity has been charged to be a caretaker, not a slave master.  Yes, the details are grossly inaccurate, but it has hit the themes head on!  It is through Noah’s torment and obedience that we start to see what it means to be human.

We are all sons of Adam.  This movie serves as an excellent reminder of that fact, and it is precisely during the season of lent that we need this kind of reminder.   In this season we are haunted by the violence within our own hearts, we remember that we are dust, and we wait patiently for a work of new creation.

5 thoughts on “Noah and the Violence that Haunts Us All

  1. I really liked the movie as well… and I enjoyed the rock monsters. 🙂

    Noah is such a flat character (he doesn’t say or do a whole lot!) in the Genesis account I had never really considered what it might have been like for a man in that position. The best part, I think, was Noah’s retelling of the creation story and the fall. Really beautifully done. I also thought the ending was rather good… insightful as far as the whole narrative of the film goes. Also, the emphasis on our sacred responsibility as image bearers to care for the created world was well done I think.

    Great thoughts, Michelle!

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    1. I completely agree! I loved the telling of creation and we’re even given some redemption at the end. In the Huffington Post interview, they called their movie a Midrash on Noah and I think they have done a fantastic job. As a Christian, I want to skip over that story or just stare at it confused. This movie has helped me start to dialogue with the text again.

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