SCOTTSDALE, AZ – We have been hearing rumblings for months about the new “Noah” movie, starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins. Some believe it is too religious a movie for Hollywood to make, while others deem the completed project not religious enough—straying radically from the Biblical account in the telling.
In fact, the Bible affords us very little information about the antediluvian world, and nearly 2,000 years of intense human history are summed up in precious few Biblical pages. More detail has come to light in the past 150 years as extra-Biblical histories purporting to tell the stories of the early patriarchs and their families have been discovered and translated. Chief among these is the Book of Enoch—on which “Noah” writers and producers obviously relied heavily for much of their material for the movie.
How reliable are the versions of the Book of Enoch that have been discovered? The short answer: not very. However, much useful information can be garnered from their pages if tempered with substantial quantities of religious and scriptural understanding—neither of which is possessed by those who made this movie.
The extra-Biblical parts of the “Noah” story that are probably correct are 1) the help of the Watchers (although not angels, not all fallen, and not tabernacled in stone), 2) the widespread industrialization of the pre-flood era, 3) the powerful abilities of Methuselah (as all of the Patriarchs), and 4) the ark being built in large part by the Watchers.
So what did they get wrong? Pretty much everything else. What is the biggest problem with “Noah”? It is the misunderstanding of the reason for the flood, God’s part in it, and Noah’s attitude and calling in its regard.
One thing that the ancient Book of Enoch clarifies is that God was not vindictive toward His children on earth, and did not will the flood to occur due to some sense of retribution. In fact, the destruction of the coming flood hung over the head of humanity for hundreds of years by their own device, and the powerful angels asked God how long he would stay their hand from allowing the flood to come in on the rebellious children and destroy the massive wickedness that had infected the earth.
1 And after that he showed me the angels of punishment who are prepared to come and let loose all the powers of the waters which are beneath in the earth in order to bring judgement and destruction 2 on all who [abide and] dwell on the earth. And the Lord of Spirits gave commandment to the angels who were going forth, that they should not cause the waters to rise but should hold them 3 in check; for those angels were over the powers of the waters. [I Enoch, Chapter 66]
This abundance of God’s mercy is lost from the Biblical account—to our collective detriment. Indeed, how often have I heard some rube state, “I can’t believe in a God so vindictive that he would kill everyone in the world with a flood.” In fact, humanity had openly rejected God, and engaged Him in hostility. The earth was a miserable, confused cesspool of humanity, and children born into that depth of corruption had no chance.
As a precautionary word, let me share that the world of today is not that much different from the world of Noah, and the same result will occur if the course is not timely corrected—not because a vindictive God will destroy us, but because an ignored Father will eventually allow us to have things our own way.
The movie’s Noah finds himself lacking because he cannot bring himself to ensure the race’s demise. In fact, the mission of Noah was exactly the opposite. ‘A New Beginning’ was the true message and purpose of the Flood, and the movie eventually meanders back to that concept, following a side trip that derails the story entirely.
I cannot in good conscience recommend “Noah,” because it misses the true points of Noah and the Flood entirely. However, I won’t advise you to avoid seeing it, because although flawed and uninspired in many respects (not unlike the corrupted versions of The Book of Enoch that survived), it does convey the enormity of the problem of humanity’s departure at that day and the finality of the cure if repentance is evaded.
J.L. Thompson is a Christian writer, and holds a Juris Doctor degree. He is Editor-in-Chief of Scottsdale Multimedia, Inc., a leading ghostwriting firm. Volume One of his new novel series “The Coming Flood” has just been released, titled Enoch in the City of Adam. Visit J.L. Thompson on Facebook