Break out the umbrellas and the popcorn. The flood of Noah is coming to the big screen. Early reviews are saying the film is full of Hollywood embellishments. If I tried to teach Genesis chapters 6-9 according to this flick, I’d probably get fired (and rightfully so). But hey, it’s a movie, not a Bible study. I could try to pull this production apart and say what’s wrong with it. Instead, I’ll enlarge on why the studio probably wasn’t interested in telling the story exactly the way it plays out in Scripture.
Look at the narrative. God spoke to Noah, revealed what He was going to do, and told Noah to build an ark. Now fast forward the greater part of 120 years. Noah finishes the ark, God floods the earth, Noah and family is saved. That’s pretty high drama at both ends.
What was going on in the middle part of the story—that approximate seventy to eighty years? Nothing…at least, to a screenwriter. Nothing Paramount would want to spend millions of dollars producing. Nothing Russell Crowe would want to star in. Nothing audiences would ever want to sit through with their Milk Duds and Cokes.
Day in and day out, Noah’s life was all about saws and boards and buckets of tar. He got up and prayed and worked on a giant boat. There are no hints of divine appearances filling his time. Noah lived a life worshipping an invisible God. Most days there was not a cloud in the sky, and yet he continued a tedious ship building project that his neighbors must have thought eccentric, if not bizarre. There’s no movie in a plot like that. There’s not even a trailer. Hollywood has to do something to sell it—stay at either end of the story, or script in an alien invasion maybe, a gang war, or environmental concerns.
But the middle part of silent faith and perseverance?—who wants to see that? Well I can’t say I’d want to watch it either, but being in it is pretty cool. For people of faith, the “middle” isn’t boring. It’s the place we currently all occupy, where the overriding theme is relationship with an invisible God (something the world finds delusional). It’s also about working with that God as we preach His Son and build His church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 14:12, Eph. 4:16)—again, something our contemporaries find a massive waste of time. Their assessments fit what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24:
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.
In the midst of it all, we continue our life and labor. When the silent “middle” of our mission is over, the age will end. Then it will be special effects time—on a major scale.
Since I’m living the story, I wonder if I ought to bother seeing the movie.
Well, maybe, if I can get away.
You see, I’m really busy building something…