The Evangelical Universalist Forum

New film : Noah

Jesus here is comparing the flood to the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the heedlessness of the people (the ones who he lamented over like mother hen who would cluck it’s chick’s to come to it if she was able). In comparing this situation with the Flood he is not suggesting that this time round people have incurred the wrath of God for begetting children rather than something really serious – which was your reading (and I think is not supported by the text). He is rather saying that the situations are comparable on two grounds –

One is heedlessness
And the other is that people are about to be overtaken by a ‘flood’ of violence’ in both situations – and if you look at Genesis the waters cover the earth because first violence has covered the earth

I’m not going to get all het about this one Lotharson and for the sake of community here and I’d advise all to keep this a bit low key because we had a very serious time before Christmas when the Forum almost burnt itself out and became scorched over because of this very discussion. I made position clear at the time as someone with Girardian sympathies – namely I do think that Jesus is the revelation of the God who is not violent (and I think that since it turns out that Gmac was obviously so influenced by William Law he would probably agree here, and it probably is a misreading of his writings to think that he ever saw God’s judgement as active retribution as opposed to handing over to consequences from which God is always trying to save and heal us). Also I don’t believe in a universal flood because this is refuted by the evidence of geology. I think the evidence is that there was one terrible flood in the Near East which seemed like a global flood about 25,000 years ago. This entered into the Epic traditions of the peoples of the Near East and elsewhere through cultural and trade contacts. The story of the world almost being destroyed by human violence which meant God unleashed the chaos waters came from there. I’ll not say any more because i don’t want stuff thrown at me from young earth creationist websites again or a fog of war to come upon EU over this – and nor do I want people carelessly slagging off the bible in tabloid fury again. I found it all terrible and it really took the heart out of me last time and I almost left the site over it (and several other key contributors stopped posting too).

I basically agree with Dave about hermeneutical principles and think it unnecessary and unwise on this forum to stir up emotion concerning biblical literalism.

I am (happily) backing out of this discussion, Dick - thanks for the timely reminder of the ‘troubles’ !! I certainly don’t want to ever see that again.
I’ll be :sunglasses:

Yeah, I’ll back off too, as I don’t want to stir things up either, and cause anyone anymore stress than they already have. :neutral_face:

But just to throw this out there, I think all of you guys have ways of looking at this issue that together could bring a kind of balance about it.

Lotharson, you protest about things that you see in the Bible, as I do and as many do, much of it in the OT to be sure, but some of it in the NT as well, and I think there is a place for this, because I believe God understands our struggles and welcomes our questions.
And there is a precedent for this in the Bible itself, where there are many who protest and even argue with God, and God listens to protests and can handle our anger and our confusion or anything else that we throw at Him. So I really think there is a place for our grievances, with the Bible, with God, with life and how things are in the world, etc.

On the other hand, Dave, you bring up really good points about how much of the problem could be our interpretation, keeping in mind that these writings are two thousand years or more removed from us, so the people who wrote them back then may have thought a lot differently than we do, here in the postmodern era, including having a more Eastern way of looking at things than a Western way of looking at things, coming at things from the heart rather than from the head more often than not, using a lot of poetry and symbolism and metaphor rather than just stating things as clear as crystal, or in technical language, using intuition more than logic. So, in other words, we don’t have to take everything literally, and there may be a lot more breathing room on interpretation than we might think, even if interpretation may prove difficult.

It’s almost like the Bible is like some Zen master or something (and Jesus is too, when I come to think of it), who throws oddball koans out there for us to chew on. :wink:

In short, the Bible is a difficult book. Which is the main reason I haven’t really read it for the last few years since finishing it the first time.
The Bible was a really difficult read for me at times, and even sent me into bouts of depression on occasion.
Again, this was more likely than not a matter of my interpretation, and I was bringing all my baggage to it, which probably didn’t help.
Maybe if I read it again, with the revelation of UR in mind and with all the changes I’ve gone through, and tried to look at things differently, I may get more out of it the second time around. I’ve been thinking of doing that.
But it’s also because it’s just difficult, the way it’s all put together.

To put it in another way, for me the Bible is like math. I know it’s very important and has a lot of value, but I’m not very good at it, and often it frustrates me, when it’s not boring me.
But then I remember there was a time in high school when I got with the right teacher in pre-algebra, and I ended up being one of the top two or three students in the class.
Granted, I’ve forgotten just about everything I learned in that class, except what a variable is, but hey, I did good! :laughing:
So, with that in mind, maybe there’s hope yet for me as far as the Bible is concerned.

But anyways, yeah, the Bible is a difficult book to begin with, so I think that you’re right Dave, to point out that it’s best not to jump to conclusions, though I think you’re right too Lotharson, because it’s important that we are able to be honest about how these things make us feel, because by being open about those feelings we can perhaps work through them, much as the Psalmists were open with their feelings and by being open with them worked through them (with that said I should probably check out Cindy’s Psalms thread sometime, as it does look interesting).

But lastly, Dick, I like what you had to say on the historical side of all of this, and I think I lean towards that way of seeing the whole flood thing myself, as far as the history aspect is concerned, but I think you make a very important point too, in that we shouldn’t let these things get us off track, or lead us into lots of anxiety and negativity within ourselves on the one hand, or to heated debate with others, or philosophical/theological bar fights, on the other.

And yeah, with that said, I agree we should probably leave it there, and move on.

However, I still have a bone to pick with good ol’ Johnny about A Beautiful Mind. :wink: :laughing:

Blessings to all and to all a goodnight :slight_smile:


Wonderful post, Matthew! :smiley:

I agree so much with what you’re saying (and I agree with what Dick says about Jesus’ use of the flood story). I think we too often heap theological burdens on OT stories they weren’t meant to bear… The OT is used in ways by people in the NT (including Jesus) that we never would today. Often they are looking for a reasonable metaphor, a “good quote” to lend force to the point they’re trying to make in their situation of trying to explain the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This doesn’t necessarily mean they see the stories as literal (though some probably did, but that doesn’t invalidate their point if it isn’t).

Dave said way upthread:

Dave expresses this much better than I ever could :smiley: , and if anyone’s interested, is fully in-line with what Peter Enns is saying. :wink: Be careful in laying too big a theological burden on these OT stories!

PS Matt, I enjoyed A Beeautiful Mind as well and I plan to watch it soon to give it my “PQ” score. :laughing:

Speak of the devil! (or "Old Scratch as Dr Beck prefers… :laughing: ) Oh, so you don’t get the wrong idea, I’m a big fan of Peter Enns and his ideas.

Here’s the latest blog post by Peter Enns about the film Noah.

(This is in parentheses because I’ve ‘backed out of’ the thread, and the parens give me a cute way to get around it. :smiley:
Just wanted to add that Bob Wilson has some excellent writing on scripture that has really helped me. One thread in particular:
Is All Scripture equally valid for us?)

Thanks,Dave (and Bob) :smiley:
That is certainly a very thought-provoking paper by Bob. I like it very much!

looks like Peter Enns saw Noah…and **Liked IT! :astonished: ** More

Though I am very biased given where the film comes from, I think if you are looking for a good film on Jesus I think the Son of Man film very much worth a look, though much of it is in Xhorsa there are subtitles, anyway here is a link:

Oh and thank you for your earlier directing me to Peter Enns blog alecforbes in an earlier post on another thread, I am very much enjoying it :slight_smile:

Glad you’re enjoying it, Nightrevan! :smiley: His approach to scripture has helped me tremendously and his blog is informative and entertaining (I think). He’s got a good sense of humor, it seems. :wink:

How cool, Grant! It’s so interesting to see how the story of Christ can make sense within any time and place in political or cultural history. Call me a hippy or something, but I think the ability to touch so many people so uniquely speaks to the Gospel’s divinity. :smiley: Plus, I do not mind listening to a film in Xhorsa at all-- I think languages are best appreciated for their quality when I can’t understand them. :laughing:

Interestingly I’m told it shows demons being redeemed because nothing is irredeemable…

Seems to be generating a lot of heated debate! e.g. According Brian the movie is based on Kabbalah (mystical Jewish stuff, a bit like Gnosticism), which explains why it’s confusing in parts … -fast.html , and then Brian responds saying he’s still right :confused:

At very least it’s thought provoking & creating interest in the story/themes of Noah!

I thought it might be a belated April Fool joke, but apparently it’s true, Russell Crowe has met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, to “discuss faith and spirituality” as tweeted by Lambeth Palace.

Apparently, Matt, Justin Welby told RC he was brilliant in Gladiator, but A Beautiful Mind was a stinker.




Well, I saw the movie. It is absolutely the most Unbiblical Biblical movie I’ve ever seen or could imagine. It’s much more than just taking literary liscense to flesh out a very very short, skeletal story in scripture, it changes many of the few elements, twisting and breaking the bones of the story. The first thing noteworthy is the first text of the movie which says something like, “In the beginning there was nothing.” And then it presents a pictoral slide of evolution, with angels falling from heaven rebelling against God because they wanted to help man and then becoming encased in rock becoming rock monsters who later help Noah build the ark. And the crazyness just goes on and on. Noah ultimately becomes convinced that the plan was to save the animals, the “innocent”, and destroy all of humanity including himself and his family, leading to him almost killing his granddaughters. It was the strangest movie I’ve ever seen. It even seems to me that “god” was presented as being the snake in Eden though that was unclear in the movie. It was just a weird movie one I wouldn’t encourage anyone to waste money to see. Maybe watch it on dvd, but anything more is a waste of money. And it’s too rediculous to be upset over!

You know, the more and more I read about this movie, the more I think I’d probably like it, even if a lot of folks hate it :laughing:

This is a really good article about Noah that peeks my interest in the film even more: … retelling/

I think I’m going to have to see Noah as well at some point, Matt. To be honest, though, I think I’m going to see Wes Anderson’s *The Grand Budapest Hotel *this weekend. I love Wes Anderson’s films (and, yes, I’m a bit weird—Bottle Rocket is a classic in my opinion). :laughing:

The most helpful review I’ve come across is … bout-noah/

I paid to see Noah twice. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I found the movie intriguing, thought-provoking, and edifying. It’s one of those movies that gets better the more you mull it over. I noticed things the second time I saw it that I missed the first time. The film is thoughtful and many-layered. One can tell that Aronofsky reached deep within himself to make this movie. It is not shallow, blockbuster schlock. I hesitate to go into too many details here, lest I spoil the movie for any one.

I re-read the Noah narrative in Genesis after seeing the film, and I did not notice even a single thing in the movie that contradicts the scriptural text. Certainly, a great deal has been added, but nothing contradicted. (This of course was necessary. If nothing had been added, then none of the characters could have had any lines, and few besides Noah could even have a name.) Even more so, the movie gives unusual interpretations at times, but again these are not contradictions of the text. Instead, they are contradictions only of the usual assumptions made in re-tellings of the Noah story in children’s books. For example, consider the movie’s hyper-literal interpretation of the text “There were giants IN THE EARTH in those days.” Not merely living on the earth, but literally “in the earth”.

A tripping point for many seems to be Noah’s actions on board the ark after the Flood has wiped-out sinful humanity. Please note: God gave visions to Noah twice and only twice in the movie, and both merely told him to build an ark for his family and for the animals. Neither vision implied human extinction. That was Noah’s (and only Noah’s) idea. The scene of Noah on his knees in the rain demanding an answer from the silent heavens parallels the scene with the wicked Tubal-cain in the rain demanding an answer from the silent heavens. Noah’s sinful intentions and mistaken notions were NOT revelations from God. They result from Noah taking his eyes off of God and focusing instead on human sinfulness.

The movie was a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness (even for fallen angels). Aronofsky’s deft handling of wives for Ham and Japheth is sublime. Indeed, God provides all that is needed.

Thanks for your thoughts, Geoffrey :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’m thinking I’ll probably see it eventually, when it comes out on DVD. I’ve enjoyed (well, enjoyed may not be the right word, as Aronofsky’s movies tend to be pretty raw and intense) a couple of Aronofsky’s other movies, like Pi (Pi was a little weird I admit, but it was well done), Requiem For A Dream, and The Wrestler, and I’m also planning on checking out his movie The Fountain at some point, which I never got around to seeing and would like to see (Black Swan doesn’t really look like my kind of thing, but I may check it out at some point).

People have different tastes in movies just like they have different tastes in food.

Someone may watch Noah and see genius, another may watch it and see crap. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as it were.

You’ve got people who really loathe Citizen Kane (which I’ve actually seen… technically well-made, but kind of boring… ‘rosebud’ :wink:), which most film scholars say is the greatest film ever made, then you got people who really love Plan 9 From Outer Space (which I’ve also seen… terrible, but hilarious :wink:), which most film scholars will say is the worst movie ever made.

It’s all a matter of perspective. :slight_smile:

And, thinking about my own tastes as far as movies go, I’ll probably like Noah, I imagine, even if a lot of folks would like it to go crawl into a corner somewhere and die. :laughing: