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Noah: In scripture and on screen

In the Spotlight

All about IT

by Ryan Downs in Entertainment

It is a cinematic rarity: a remake that actually makes sense. The original It is specifically the sort of movie that deserves a second go, insofar as it made a genuine, [...]


There has been a large amount of uproar from the Christian community recently as the new movie, “Noah”, hit the big screen. Christians are disappointed by how the creators of the movie strayed from the original story in the Bible.

Director Darren Aronofsky stated in an interview that his intent with parts of the movie that may not be considered biblical was to take the long periods of unrecorded time as well as lack of character development in scripture and expand upon it with extra-biblical material.

The reality of it all is that if you take a few chapters of the Bible and turn it into a two hour movie, there is going to be a fair amount that the writers have to take creative liberty with. Nonetheless, many Christians can’t seem to accept this because it strays so much from the actual biblical narrative. Yet as a Christian, I would argue that many times even churches stray from the biblical narrative in how they speak about Noah.

With the controversy over the Noah movie, it would be a good time to consider not only the possibility of a movie’s interpretation being wrong, but our own personal interpretation as well.

Often times in churches when the section of scripture with Noah is taught, it is presented that Noah was a person who was incredibly righteous before God. In essence, the story of Noah is preached to be about a bunch of terrible people who were drowned and one person who got a boat because he was so much better than everyone else.

Yet when we examine the text more closely, we find this is by no means the case:


“The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

Genesis 6:5-8


God looked upon the earth and saw that it was filled with sinful people. As surprising as this may seem to some, this includes Noah. The last verse in that segment declares “but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”

In Hebrew, the original language of Genesis, the word for favor (hesed) is more literally translated to grace.

Grace is a word that is then repeated constantly throughout the Bible to mean something that is given to someone even though they don’t deserve it. In other words, Noah didn’t deserve to be given salvation through the ark. Noah was a man who was a sinner just like everybody else, but was given grace by God.

Then notice what it goes on to say:
“These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.”

Genesis 6:9


Pay close attention to the order of events. God gives Noah grace, and then Noah becomes righteous.

Whenever God gives a promise to someone and they believe it, they are then considered righteous in the eyes of God. This is presented very clearly later on in the Bible with Noah’s descendant, Abraham:


“And he believed the Lord, and God counted it to him as righteousness.”

Genesis 15:6


God is a God of promises. He promises Noah an ark, Abraham a nation, and in both, He promises salvation.

Belief in God’s promises makes us righteous in the eyes of the Lord and through righteousness we receive salvation.

Noah was offered that salvation in the ark. All he had to do was believe and put all of the wood together.

Today, God’s creation is presented with a different promise to believe in. The promise we are given is God’s ultimate promise that all of His other promises were pointing to: Jesus Christ.

We turn not to a wooden ark with a surviving family inside it, but to a wooden cross with a dying man upon it. On that cross, the Son of God was crucified, taking the full punishment and weight of sin. The implications of that moment in history when Jesus came as a human being, lived a perfect life, and died an innocent death are endless. In all of it, the over-arcing reality of Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection was that God was fulfilling a promise that brings righteousness to those who believe.

The story of Noah is similar to the story of Jesus. We see the sin of mankind, humanity’s deserved punishment, and the grace of God given through belief in God’s promise.


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