Noah – the new action blockbuster movie from Paramount Pictures

  • Recently on UCB Radio, Paul Hammond the presenter asked Jon the freelance theologian this question: “Does it matter if the new Noah film is faithful to the Biblical story or not?”

    Broadly speaking, if we are going to limit any versions of Noah to ones that are Biblically authentic then we are going to have to clear the shelves of our Christian bookshops of any children’s books about Noah, and probably quite a few of the adult books will need to go too.

    The story of Noah is not that long, and certainly there is not enough in the narrative to fill out a two hour Hollywood blockbuster. However, from the trailer that has been on YouTube for a while, it does seem the film-makers are focussing on Noah’s presumed confrontation with the people around him, as he fulfils his calling to build an ark.

    Interestingly, in Rabbinic thought, every major Old Testament character has one flaw. For example, King David was an adulterer, Moses was a murderer, and so on. Noah’s flaw is that he did not intercede for the people around him. God revealed the divine plan to wipe out all life on Earth and Noah seems to go along with it unquestioningly. In contrast, Abraham pleads for the lives of people in the doomed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The flood narrative in Genesis is one of the most asked-about Biblical stories on freelance theology, with many questions concerning whether it is necessary to believe in the literal truth of the story. While some people do claim the factual basis for the story of a worldwide flood, it is also possible to view this story as a warning tale, and also a symbol of redemption. The world is laid waste as the result of sin, but after the devastation there is the promise of the rainbow; of a new earth, a new creation.

    The story of Noah is one that, however much ruin has been caused by sin, there is the possibility of a new start. That is a powerful message and one that applies today as much as it did when the story of Noah was first written down centuries ago.

    Questions and articles about Noah on freelance theology

    The likelihood that all the animals went to Noah

    The size and contents of Noah’s ark

    Was there rain before the flood?

    Long lives in Genesis

    Babylonian influences on Genesis

    The curse laid on Ham by Noah in Genesis 9

    And God Remembered Noah – a talk on the text by Jon

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