In recent weeks there has been no shortage of internet banter focused on upcoming Bible-themed films. Roma Downey’s film ‘Son of God’ will be coming to the big screen tomorrow (2/28) and Russell Crowe’s new film ‘Noah’ will release exactly one month later on March 28th.
Reactions to this latest wave of Bible-themed films range from extremely positive to downright oppositional. One such critic of ‘Noah’ is Answers in Genesis founder and President Ken Ham. Following a panel discussion held for the film earlier this week at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Ham made the following statements on his Facebook page:
“My conclusion? From a biblical perspective–the movie is going to be worse than I thought it was. What a waste! Hollywood needs to keep out of making movies with biblical themes!”
“My advice? Don’t waste your time and money–and don’t subject your kids to it.”
Followers of Ham may not be overly surprised by his sentiments as he made similar statements regarding the film on the Answers in Genesis blog last November.
The day after Ham’s comments appeared on Facebook, John Snowden, Biblical consultant for the film, responded via The Christian Post Opinion Page in an article titled ‘Why People of Faith Can Embrace the ‘Noah’ Movie’. Although John does not expressly come out and say he’s responding to Ham’s criticisms, I’m sure Ham is amongst those Snowden had in mind as he was writing the article.
An important point John asserts early on in the article is that, “Unfortunately, those who have felt compelled to criticize the film in these stories haven’t actually seen it – so it’s difficult to understand what exactly they’re criticizing.” I think Snowden is rightfully frustrated with his critics, especially if they are drawing broad conclusions solely from a few clips or a rough cut of the film. While I don’t necessarily ancicipate many of the film’s current detractors changing their minds, it will be helpful for them to contribute to the discussion after they’ve seen and evaluated the actual film that will appear in theaters.
Snowden goes on in the article to offer ten reasons people of faith can embrace the film. Heres’s a quick summary:
- “Noah Has a Relationship with God” – God communicates with Noah through visions
- “Noah Acts Faithfully Yet Isn’t Perfect” – While Noah trusts God and acts faithfully, he’s portrayed as having sins and struggles.
- “Noah Sees and Acknowledges His Own Sin” – Noah is portrayed as being aware of his sin and no better than those tho died in the flood
- “It Keeps Closer to More of the Text Than You Might Have Imagined” – Core features of the story will seem awfully familiar to moviegoers who are familiar with the book of Genesis.
- “Noah Speaks, and the Women Have Names” – There is some extra-Biblical license taken to create dialog, give people names, etc.
- “Noah Focuses on His Family” – Noah is portrayed as a father trying to keep his adolescent family focused on God’s mission to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Noah turns to his grandfather Methuselah for advice on how to interpret his vision from God.
- “The Story Depicts (and personifies) Evil Humanity in Genesis 6” – Some extra-biblical license is taken to create a villain in order to personify the evil of humanity expressed in Genesis 6.
- “The Film Embraces Some Really Good, Important Theology” – Snowden suggests that the film does not push overpopulation or global warming, but focuses on Noah’s understanding of God’s justice and mercy, as well as the question of humanity’s worthiness to be saved. Supernatural physical healing plays a role in the story. Man as God’s image bearer is a key part of the film.
- “Bible Stories are Back – In a Big Way” – Snowden feels the quality and caliber of the actors and filmmakers speaks to the importance placed on portraying this Biblical story well.
- “Twenty-Somethings Are Disengaged From Faith, and This Can Engage” – This film presents an opportunity for Christians to engage those around them in “a deeper conversation about God and his plan of salvation.”
Snowden wraps up the article with an encouragement for Christians to “focus on the opportunity” and “use it as a springboard for holy conversations.”
Based on the amount of controversy we’ve seen to date around this yet to be released film, I’m confident there will be much more discussion in the month ahead. Potential moviegoers who lean towards a more literal view of Genesis 1-11 will no doubt be more uncomfortable with the film, while those outside of that viewpoint will find much less to be concerned with. As for myself, I hold to a literal view of Genesis 1-11. However, I fully expected the writers and filmmakers to use some artistic license in order to adapt this story for their film and I’m looking forward to seeing Russell Crowe portray an interpretation of Noah on the big screen.
The irony I find here is that regardless of whether we’re writing for or against the film, we’re all attempting to utilize it as a starting point for faith-related conversations. In that regard, each of us is already acting on Snowden’s reason number 10 for Christians to embrace the film.
Are you concerned about the upcoming ‘Noah’ film? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
- Why People of Faith Can Embrace the ‘Noah’ Movie – (TheChristianPost.com)
- Ken Ham’s Facebook comments following NRB Panel Discussion
- Noah Movie Official Trailer
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