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Bible Questions & Answers – September 21, 2014

Here is the link to the mp3 recording of a Bible Question & Answer session I headed up at worship services last night.  Below are listed each question turned into me in the previous weeks and the Bible answer my studies produced.  I hope they help you in your own studies of the Bible.  This was an excellent exercise, and I’m looking forward to the next Q & A session next Sunday night.  Lord willing, I’ll post them and the audio for them next week for your perusal and study.

Disclaimer:  I just heard an error I made in the audio presentation last night.  I spoke of Moses’ hands being held up by Joshua and “someone whose name I can’t think of right now.”  What I couldn’t remember at the time is that it was actually Aaron, not Joshua, along with Hur, who held up Moses’ hands.

Here are the questions and their scriptural answers:

1.  Who wrote Hebrews?

Probably not Paul, because Paul had told the Galatians in Gal. 1:11-12 – “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”  And the author of Hebrews said this about how he received the message of Christ in Heb. 2:2-4 – “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard…”  Unlike Paul, the Hebrew writer did not receive the gospel directly from Christ, but rather was taught it by the apostles of Christ. So that rules out Paul.  The book of Hebrews does not identify its human author, but we do know that the author was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:19-21). Thus, the real author of Hebrews is the Holy Spirit.

2.  Who are the modern descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz?

First, let’s talk about who Amalek and Eliphaz were. You read about them in Genesis 36:12, which says that Eliphaz was Esau’s son and Amalek would therefore be Esau’s grandson.

The descendants of Amalek were a nation known as the Amalekites. They were known primarily as the enemies of the Israelites. Exodus 17 records just one of many times the Israelites and Amalekites fought each other.  During the time of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, the prophet Balaam prophesied under inspiration of God that the Amalekites would be completely destroyed. Hundreds of years later, this prophecy would begin to be fulfilled when God told Saul to completely wipe out the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15.  As we know, Saul failed to completely obey that command, so a small remnant of the Amalekites continued to exist for a few more centuries until they were completely wiped out during the reign of King Hezekiah, as described at the end of 1 Chronicles 4.

Because they were completely wiped out during Hezekiah’s reign and were prophesied to be completely destroyed, we conclude that there are no modern-day descendants of Amalek.

3. No man has seen God at any time (John 1:18; 1 John 4:12). However, Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face” (Gen. 32:30). Moses said the Lord spoke to him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11). Moses, Aaron, Nadab & Abihu, and 70 elders said they saw the God of Israel (Ex. 24:9). Please explain.

In modern times, we tend to use words and phrases in many different senses. Likewise, in Scripture words and phrases are often used in a variety of ways.  With that in mind, consider that the gospel of John says that Jesus, the Word, was God (John 1:1). John then said that Jesus, the Word, “became flesh and dwelt among us” (v. 14)…but then just a few sentences later said that “no man has seen God at any time” (v. 18; 1 John 4:12).

Was Jesus God? Yes. Did man see Jesus? Yes. So in what sense has man not seen God?

The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24). Jesus is God, but no man has ever seen Jesus in his true image as a spirit Being, in all of his fullness, glory, and splendor.  Paul told the Philippians in Phil. 2:6-7 – “who, though (Christ Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

When God the Word, Jesus Christ, appeared on Earth two thousand years ago, he came in a veiled form. He had existed in heaven “in the form of God,” but made himself nothing and took on “the likeness of man.” So when mankind saw Jesus, they saw an embodiment of deity in the form of a man…the Word who became flesh.  Likewise, when Jacob struggled with God in Genesis 32, he saw only a form of God…not the spiritual, invisible, omnipresent God who fills heaven and earth.

But what about those statements which indicate that man saw or spoke to God “face to face”?  Remember, Moses and Jacob and others who made those statements, while they witnessed great and awesome things, still only saw manifestations of God and a part of his glory, not the fullness of his glory.

God specifically said as much in Exodus 33:18-23 when Moses asked God to show him his glory. God replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you…but…you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” God then put Moses in a cleft in the rock and covered him with his hand until he had passed by. Then God took away his hand, and Moses saw his back, but not his face. Moses saw a manifestation of God, part of his glory, but not the fullness of his glory.

Remember also that the terms “face” and “face to face” are used in different senses in Scripture. Exodus 33:11 says that God spoke to Moses “face to face,” but just nine verses later God tells Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live.” Was the author of Exodus so misguided that he contradicted himself in the same paragraph? Not when we realize that these terms are being used in different senses, in different ways.

Numbers 12 shows us the difference. In Numbers 12 Aaron and Miriam had complained about Moses and arrogantly asked, “Has the Lord only spoken through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” (v. 2) God then appeared to Aaron and Miriam. Notice what he said to them in vs. 6-8:  “If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. I speak with him face to face, even PLAINLY, and NOT IN DARK SAYINGS (RIDDLES).”

Notice the contrast. God spoke with the prophets through visions and dreams, but to Moses he spoke not in dark riddles, but plainly, directly. In other words, God…who never showed his face to Moses, nevertheless allowed Moses to see some unmistakable evidence of his glorious presence by letting him see his back, and spoke to him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex. 33:11), in other words, plainly, directly. That’s what “face to face” means.

Look at it this way. If you can work “side by side” with someone without literally working inches from him, and if you can see “eye to eye” with soemone without ever literally looking into their eyes, then God can speak “face to face” with Moses without literally revealing to him his full, glorious, spiritual “face.”

(My thanks to Apologetics Press for giving me lots of great insight into finding the answer to this question.  You can read what they have to say about this question in more detail here.)

4.  Jesus knew his purpose was to save us, and he knew the Father and where he was going to back to.  So why did Jesus pray to have this cup pass from him?  (Luke 22:42)

Jesus, the Word, “was God” (John 1:1). However, John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh.” Paul said in Phil. 2:6-7 that Christ “was in the form of God, (but) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Therefore, Christ was both God and human when he was here on earth.  Being human, his human nature would have been deeply affected that night in the garden, knowing that in just a few hours he was going to die a horrible, painful death in order to save us from our sins. If there was any other way that we could be redeemed, Jesus the man would have wanted to take that option and avoid the cross. Every one of us would want the same thing.

However, the divine side of Jesus, the Son of God, bowed to the will of God the Father by acceding to the Father’s will. In doing so, he did what Paul said he did in Phil. 2:8 and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” in order to be the sacrifice for our sins (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:10-12).

5.  What is the age of accountability?

The term “age of accountability” is a man-made term used to describe a biblical concept, kind of like “Golden Rule” or “Great Commission.”

The Bible teaches that children are born and for a time remain sinless & innocent. Ezekiel 18:1-20 states quite clearly that we do not inherit the sins of our parents.  Ezekiel 28:15 has God telling a human being, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till unrighteousness was found in you,” showing that there is a time in our lives during which we were innocent, with no unrighteousness in us.  In Romans 9:10-11, Paul talked about Jacob and Esau before they were born while they were still in the womb of their mother, and stated that during that time they “had done nothing either good or bad.” This teaches us that children are born sinless and innocent, and during childhood we remain sinless and innocent. That’s why Jesus told adults in Matthew 18:3-4 that they had to be like little children in order to be in the kingdom.

However, the Bible also speaks of a time when we become accountable for our actions. Isaiah 7:15 speaks of a time when a young man will come to “know how to refuse the evil and choose the good,” in other words, become accountable.  Before they became accountable, they were sinless and innocent. Paul would say in Romans 7:9 that he was “alive,” spiritually speaking, at that time. However, in vs. 10-11 of Romans 7 he then spoke of a time when sin entered his life and he “died” spiritually. When he was accountable, when he knew how to refuse the evil and choose the good and yet he chose evil, that’s when he sinned. And it would be at that point that he and all the rest of us would need God’s grace, we would need forgiveness, we would need to obey the gospel.

Is there a specific, set age for when that time of accountability occurs? No, because each person is different. When each of us becomes accountable for our actions and choices depends upon a variety of social and environmental factors. Children mature at different rates and ages as their spirits are fashioned, shaped, and molded by parents, teachers, and life’s experiences. That’s why there is no set age of accountability.

6.  Why is Jesus God’s one and only Son?

John 3:16 calls Jesus the “only begotten” Son of God. “Only begotten” is monogenes in Greek, mono meaning “only, alone” and genos meaning “race, stock,” resulting in monogenes…”from one race or stock,” “unique offspring,” “only begotten.”

All Christians are called the children of God in 1 John 3:1-2. However, Christ is God’s Son in a very unique way. Of all God’s children, only Jesus is Deity (John 1:1).  He is the only way God the Father is made known to us (John 1:18).  The only way to salvation is uniquely found in Jesus. Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish (John 3:16). God has sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him (1 John 4:9). No one comes to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6).

These are just a few of the reasons why Jesus is God’s only begotten, completely unique Son.

7.  The body goes numb after a certain amount of pain.  Was this true for Jesus?

Psalm 22 is a prophecy about the experience the Messiah would undergo while being crucified. Verse 17 says, “I can count all my bones,” possibly indicating that Jesus would feel pain in every single bone of his body while on the cross.

Remember also that he refused to ingest a local anesthetic before he was nailed to the cross (Matt. 27:34). That implies that he wanted to experience the total package, the complete agony that would come with crucifixion.

With that in mind, remember what he said in John 10:18 – “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus alone had power over his body experiencing death, which leads me to believe that he had power over his body experiencing pain as well. If he refused a local anesthetic, that means he wanted to experience the pain, so it might have been that he kept his body from experiencing any natural numbness that comes from pain.

However, all of this is conjecture. There is no way to be biblically certain.

8.  Is mental illness a sin?

We must be very careful to give a blanket, over-generalizing, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. All mental illnesses are not the same, so we cannot give a simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question.

There are genuine mental problems which exist. Some of them are genetic or hormonal. Some of them are biological or environmental.

There are some genuine mental problems which come about due to debilitating conditions which are self-inflicted.

Some people spend much of their lives indulging in certain sins and as a result become genuinely unbalanced mentally. Wickedness does exact a huge toll, and in some cases mental illness is a consequence of sin.

Some mental problems keep one from being able to make rational choices, while others do not.

And in some cases, many people have cited mental illness because they want to defend their sinful conduct.

What we need to remember is this. We are commanded in John 7:24 to not judge according to appearance. That means we never assume anything about anyone. We do not assume that all mental illness is sin, we do not assume all mental illness is not sin. We do not assume that someone’s mental illness is real or faked, we do not assume that their mental illness holds them accountable or fails to hold them accountable before God.

Instead, John 7:24 tells us to make righteous judgments. That is possible at times, but at times it is not possible. Mark 7:20-22 tells us that one’s actions shows the condition of their heart, but in the case of mental illness are they genuinely in control of their actions? Sometimes it is possible to successfully determine that; sometimes it’s not. God knows all, and he will make the final judgment.

In the meantime, and this is the most important part to the answer to this question, we must always make the conscious choice to always be like Christ wants us to be with everyone, including those with mental illnesses (Col. 3:12-14): kind, compassionate, patient, encouraging. Basically, love them as Christ loves us.

Before moving on, here are some biblical points we need to remember when thinking about mental illness and sin:

Genesis 1:26 tells us that we are made in the image of God. That means, among other things, that we have the ability to choose between right and wrong. If man is incapable of making choices, the whole system of civil law is futile and we ought to abandon our justice system, which would of course result in utter chaos. So generally speaking mankind has the ability to choose between right and wrong. Now, some people are incapable of choosing between right and wrong due to genuine mental illness. However, if one truly does have the mental ability to choose between right and wrong, that person is accountable.

Every command given to man in the bible implies that man has the ability to respond to that command. That’s why Joshua said in Josh. 24:15, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” That’s why Isaiah talked about the time in our lives when we come to know how to refuse the evil and choose the good (Is. 7:15-16). That’s why Jesus told us in Matt. 22:37 to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, but then also acknowledged in John 5:40 that some in fact refuse to come to him. Rev. 22:17 says, “Let the one who desires take the water of life”…why? Because we have the ability to choose. What good is a command from God if we do not have the ability to either accept it or reject it?

With this in mind, if one genuinely is mentally unable to make choices and therefore is not capable of obeying or disobeying God, then the scriptural doctrine of them being eternally punished in hell makes no sense whatsoever.

Therefore, biblically speaking, if a person’s mental problem truly keeps them from being able to make the choice to obey or disobey God, then they would not be sinning. Those of us who are professionally trained in dealing with mental problems might or might not be able to tell if such is the case in a certain situation, but we can be confident that the God who is the final judge is capable of making that judgment, and he will do so.

(My thanks to Wayne Jackson and his excellent book, The Bible and Mental Health, which helped me greatly in part of the answer to this question.)

9.  Do angels walk among us today?

Let’s first define the term “angel.” It comes from the Greek word angelos and literally means “messenger.”  Many are not aware that the Bible uses the word “angel” or angelos to simply refer to a human messenger at times. Rev. 2-3 cite seven examples of this, when Jesus tells John to write to “the angel of the church of Ephesus/Smyrna/etc.” He wasn’t telling John to write to a celestial angel; rather, he was telling John to write to the messenger of that particular congregation, most likely referring to the preacher of that congregation, since preachers are to preach the message of God (2 Tim. 4:2). So in that sense, one could answer this question by saying that human angels, literally human messengers of God, walk among us today. In a sense, God wants all Christians to be his messengers.

However, the question most likely has a different kind of angel in mind, celestial angels. The Bible speaks of the existence of celestial, heavenly angels also, as seen in many places, chapters 5 and 7 of Revelation being cited as just two of many examples.  Concerning celestial angels and whether they walk among us today or how they walk among us today, the Bible gives very, very little information.

Hebrews 1:14 is talking about celestial angels and says, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” So this verse tells us that celestial angels are sent out to serve for the sake of Christians. Notice though that this verse does not give details as to how that happens, nor does any other verse in the New Testament.

Over in Matthew 18:10, Jesus is warning about not placing stumbling blocks in front children, and he gives the reason why we should be careful not to do this when he says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Notice that Jesus says that children have angels (“their angels”). However, also notice that he gives no other information about these angels of children other than that they see God the Father’s face in heaven. We don’t know what that means. A lot of people read into this verse and conclude that this verse is talking about guardian angels, but if you read the verse you’ll see that guardian angels are never explicitly mentioned. In fact, nowhere in the entire Bible do you read the term “guardian angel.” Now, angels are said to serve for the sake of Christians, and children are said to somehow have angels. Does that mean that these angels guard Christians and children in some capacity? The Bible doesn’t say. Maybe they do and maybe they don’t. Without further biblical data, we cannot say for sure.

Over in Hebrews 13:2 Christians are commanded, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” We see a biblical example of this in Genesis 18-19, where Abraham and Lot separately brought angels into their home without at first realizing it. Now, is that what Hebrews 13:2 is referring to? Is it simply telling Christians that we need to be hospitable because at some time in the past Abraham and Lot had angels in their home and didn’t know it? Or is Hebrews telling us that we need to be hospitable because even now, today, angels might walk among us and come into our home and we are not aware of it? The verse doesn’t specify either way.

In the end, notice the word “unawares” in Hebrews 13:2. That word best answers this question: “Do angels walk among us today?” Biblically, Hebrews 13:2 tells us the answer: We don’t know. (Deut. 29:29)

10.  Can anyone lead in acts of worship?

The simple answer is “No, not just anyone can lead in acts of worship. Some might not be aware, but the Bible actually gives qualifications as to who leads the church in acts of worship in 1 Tim. 2:8 – “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.”

Since other passages speak of women praying and the command to pray being given to the church as a whole (1 Cor. 11:5; Col. 4:2), we know that what’s being talked about here in 1 Timothy 2:8 is leading the church in the act of prayer, and thus acts of worship in general. Notice that the verse says certain kind of people are to do this:

They must be “men.” In the Greek the male gender is specifically referred to. This goes along with 1 Timothy 2:11-12 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 which forbid women in the church from exercising authority, or leading, the men. Naturally, this would not prohibit women from leading in acts of worship if no Christian men were present.

The man who is leading prayer or other acts of worship must be holy, which is what the phrase “lifting up holy hands” means. The Bible calls only Christians holy (Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 3:17; Eph. 1:4; Col. 3:12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 3:1; et al). One becomes holy (set apart) only when one obeys the gospel and becomes a Christian and stays a faithful Christian. Therefore, the qualification of being holy refers to being a faithful Christian. Only faithful Christian men can lead the church in acts of worship when Christian women are present.

These Christian men must also be “without anger” in order to lead prayer or other acts of worship. They must not be wrathful, hot-tempered people. This helps set the proper example and keeps them from placing a stumbling block in front of others while leading them in prayer.

In order to lead prayer or other acts of worship, Christian men must also be “without quarreling,” meaning that they must not be argumentative in nature or in the midst of a quarrel or feud with someone else. This goes along with Christ’s command in Matthew 5:23-24 to not worship God until you’ve done everything you can to make peace with someone who has something against you. Again, meeting this qualification helps keep the man who is leading in worship from placing a stumbling block and distraction in front of his brother while worshiping.

11.  The devil was an angel and he sinned against God in heaven.  Does that mean we could also sin against God while in heaven and be thrown out?

An understandable question, considering the origins of Satan. However, God’s Word gives us several promises which, when you think about it, make it a virtual guarantee that we will not sin against God while in heaven and thus be cast out:

After we are judged and are ushered into heaven, Jesus describes the kind of life waiting for us in heaven as ETERNAL life, life without end (Matt. 25:46).

Revelation 21:4 promises us that in the new heavens and new earth, death will be no more. What kind of death? Not just physical, but spiritual death (death being defined as “separation from God.”) Remember that the wages of sin is spiritual death, spiritual separation from God (Rom. 6:23). If there is no death in heaven, the promise that we will never be separated from God in heaven, then that means there will be no sin in heaven…which is exactly what Revelation 21:27 and 22:15 promise.

12.  If a person had been baptized in a denomination, could they then be a Christian, become part of the Lord’s church, without being baptized into the church of Christ?

When one honestly examines and accepts nothing more or less than the totality of New Testament teaching concerning this question, the only conclusion one can reach is to answer, “No, the person who had been baptized in a man-made denomination would need to be baptized again, this time into the Lord’s church, in order to receive forgiveness of sins & the salvation Christ offers. There are several biblical reasons for this:

First, the Bible says quite specifically in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only “one baptism.” Think about that. There’s only one baptism which God recognizes, only one baptism which God considers to be valid.

With that in mind, we also see in Ephesians 4:4 that there is only “one body.” That “body” is specifically defined by God to be his Son’s church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). Thus, since there’s only one body and that body is defined as the church of Christ, that means there is only one church: the church of Christ, the Lord’s church.

So there is only one body (one church), and only one baptism. Let’s examine further what the New Testament says about this “one baptism.”

The New Testament says repeatedly that this one baptism is done in Jesus’ name. People were told that if they were to have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, they would have to repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name (Acts 2:38). Interestingly, the NT even records an instance where people had been previously baptized, but were baptized again (Acts 19:5). Notice that the verse that describes their second baptism goes out of its way to say that they were baptized in Jesus’ name.

What does it mean to be baptized in the name of Jesus? It’s far more than simply saying the words “in Jesus’ name” when you’re saying a prayer or while you’re baptizing someone. Rather, to baptize or to do anything in Jesus’ name means to baptize or do anything according to his will, COMPLETELY according to his will (Col. 3:17; Matt. 7:21-27).

So what is his COMPLETE will for us concerning baptism? Why does Jesus want us to be baptized?  Obviously he wants us to be baptized in order to obtain salvation and forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16). However, a mistake many of us make along these lines is we tend to think that salvation and forgiveness are the only reasons Jesus wants us to be baptized. They aren’t.

We must remember that Psalm 119:160 tells us that the sum, or total/entirety, of God’s Word is truth. If we want the complete truth about the will of Christ concerning baptism, if we want the complete truth about the “one baptism” we read about in the NT, we have to accept ALL of what God’s Word says about it.

And the whole truth is that Christ has more reasons for us to be baptized than obtaining salvation and forgiveness of sins. Another reason he wants us to be baptized is so that we can be baptized into him (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). What does it mean to be baptized “into Christ”?

Look at Ephesians 1:22-23. It says that Christ’s body is his church, “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” In other words, Christ fills all in all…but what fills up Christ? His body, his church. So if you want to be “in Christ,” if you want to be baptized “into Christ” (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27), you have to be baptized into his body, his church, because his church is what fills him. That’s why the Bible also specifically commands us to be baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13 – “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”)

Remember, Ephesians 4:4-5 says there’s only one baptism, and it also says there’s only one body, one church. 1 Corinthians 12:13 specifically says that we are to be baptized into that one body, that one church.

Look at it this way. 1 Peter 3:21 says that baptism saves us. Want to know why? Because we’re baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). What does that have to do with our salvation? Look at Ephesians 5:23 – “…Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.”

If we want Christ to be our Savior, if we want Christ to save us, we have to be inside his body, his church of which there is only one…because this verse says that Christ is the Savior of his church, his body. How do we get into his body, his church? We’re baptized into it. That’s why Peter said that baptism saves us.

Have you been baptized into Christ’s church? You haven’t if you were baptized in a denomination, because those churches are all man-made. The Bible says there’s only one, his Son’s church, the church of Christ. Why not obey the gospel today by confessing your faith in Christ, repenting of your sins, and being baptized into Christ’s body, his church and receive salvation and forgiveness?

(Tune in next week for the next Q & A session audio and answers.)

A Biblical Movie Review: Noah

WARNING!!  Everything you are about to read contains MAJOR spoilers about the movie Noah.  In fact, if you go to see this movie after reading my review, it will be highly likely that you will know what’s about to happen right before it happens; that’s how detailed I plan to get in my synopsis of this movie.  So be forewarned.  Want to see the movie not knowing what’s going to happen?  Go see it first and then come back and read my review.  Otherwise, let’s get started…

This is the first movie review I’ve ever written about any film, much less a film that is supposedly about events and people one reads about in the Bible.  Just to let you know right off the bat, my focus is not on critiquing the acting, the directing, the cinematography, etc.  If you want that kind of review, there are plenty of places to go on the web to get it.

Russell Crowe NoahTo comment briefly on such things before moving on, I did think Russell Crowe as Noah, Jennifer Connelly as Noah’s wife Naameh, Anthony Hopkins as Methuseleh, and Emma Watson as Ila all did fine acting jobs when it comes to portraying the characters as written in the Noah screenplay and as directed by Darren Aronofosky.  As you will see, I wish the screenplay and the goals of the director about the message of the film were very different so these actors and actresses could have done a fine job acting out scenes which are based far more on biblical truth, but as far as simply critiquing them on their acting skills alone, they did a great job.  Likewise, the special effects of the movie were top-notch in and of themselves, especially the flood scenes.  I can definitely see why the movie cost millions of dollars to make.  It was very well done from a cinematic standpoint.

But that’s not the focus on this review.  My goal concerning this blog in general and this review in particular is show biblical truths to you, the reader.  That being the case, I want to write about what this film got right and close to right (i.e., portraying events which while not technically described in the Bible could still be within the realm of biblical possibility).  I also want to write about what this film got wrong from a biblical standpoint (that is, what it portrayed which blatantly contradicts clear biblical truths.)

There’s a reason I want to do this.  With the exception of the film The Gospel of John (whose goal was to basically show on camera the entire gospel of John, verse by verse), I have yet to see any biblically-based film which remained 100% true to the Bible.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with this in most cases, per se, because the Bible does not go into great descriptive detail about many of the events it describes.  Therefore, if you are going to make a film based on biblical events you will by necessity have to take some degree of “artistic license.”

Take the biblical account of Noah, for example, as laid out in Genesis 6-9.  Read those chapters and you will see that there is no record of Noah himself or anyone else (other than God) saying one word to anyone about anything until chapter 9, after he has already built the ark, survived the flood, and put his feet back on dry land.  A film about Noah which remained 100% true to the Bible in terms of dialogue would be, for all practical purposes, a silent film.

So I have no problem with a screenplay writer imagining conversations Noah would have with his family about building the ark, or imagining a scene in which they cared for the animals inside the ark while the flood was going on and talked about how they would do so.  Likewise, I don’t have a problem seeing Val Kilmer’s Moses in The Prince of Egypt having conversations with Miriam about Pharaoh refusing to let the Israelites go, or the scene in Jesus of Nazareth which portrayed the death of Joseph with Mary at his side before Jesus began his ministry in which a dying Joseph talks proudly of the great things Jesus will do.  Scenes like that are not in the Bible, true, but they do fall within the realm of biblical possibility.  In other words, one could say that the events in those scenes COULD HAVE happened without contradicting in any way the actual biblical account.

Unfortunately, Noah strays so far from the Genesis account of the titular character and the biblical accounts and teachings of other characters and events which are portrayed in the film that I was hard-pressed to find any scene which was true to the Bible in any way, much less find a scene whose “artistic license” fell within the realm of biblical possibility.  There were a few, but they were FEW.  Few and far between.  Unfortunately, I will show you that the overwhelming majority of Noah not only was imagined in the mind of man, but imagined and portrayed in such a way that blatantly and repeatedly contradicts what the Bible says actually happened and also puts our holy God and his righteous servants in a bad light.

And that’s why I’m writing this review and biblical critique of Noah…so that the truth of God’s Word will be known.  The New Testament warns of false teachers, and also warns of how they will work: “…by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive” (Rom. 16:18).  People tend to watch films of historical events and walk away thinking that what they saw on the screen was how it went down…when the historical evidence recorded in historical documents reveal a completely different story.  Most people don’t know this, however, because most are very unfamiliar with actual history and also because what was portrayed on film was done so in a very believable and attention-getting way.  Such is the power of film.  In like manner, people tend to watch films of biblical events and walk away thinking that what they saw on the screen is how it happened, even if it is not.  They do this for the same reasons people believe Hollywood over actual history:  they are unfamiliar with what the Bible actually says, and they are “wowed” by the great acting, cool special effects, and the drama portrayed on the screen.  The “smooth talk and flattery” of film “deceives the hearts of the naive.”

People who are unfamiliar with the Bible will probably walk away from Noah thinking that God is very distant and uncaring, and that his righteous chosen servants are in fact not so righteous, but rather homicidal and genocidal.  They will also walk away having an even more warped and unbiblical view of angels than they had before, which is saying something because there’s already a lot of mistaken and extra-biblical notions about angels out there.

The truth must be known, so let’s open our Bibles and get right down to it…

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1.  The movie starts off by saying, “In the beginning there was nothing.”  To be fair, towards the end of the movie Noah is inside the ark during the flood telling the creation account to his family and he elaborates on that statement a bit more by then talking about “the Creator” and how he created the world.  (More on that in a bit…)

Here’s the truth.  The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).  Not, “In the beginning there was nothing.”  Saying that there was nothing in the beginning implies that God was not in the beginning either, and thus implies that God is not eternal when the Bible says that he is (1 Tim. 6:16; Deut. 33:27; Rom. 16:26).  In so doing the film contradicts itself when Noah later repeats, “In the beginning there was nothing,” and then immediately starts talking about the Creator and how he made the world.  If there was nothing in the beginning, then the Creator wasn’t there either.  So where did he come from, if he is not eternal?  Who created the Creator?  Perhaps planting the seed of questions like that is what the director, a known atheist, had in mind.

2.  God is never mentioned in the film.  Instead, reference is continually made to “the Creator.”  I wish that was all there was to it, because if it were, I wouldn’t have a problem with it in and of itself.  After all, the name of God isn’t mentioned once in the biblical book of Esther, and yet his presence is continually felt in a very positive way as Esther shows his providence at work protecting his people.  Yet, as you will see, Noah really puts “the Creator” in a bad light in various ways, so much so that a small part of me is actually GLAD that the name of God is not mentioned in the film.  However, I also know that only people who have lived by themselves on a desert island all their lives will see this film and not associate “the Creator” with the God of the Bible.  That is unfortunate, for reasons stated below.

3.  The film portrays Cain killing Abel, which is biblically correct (Gen. 4:9), although no mention is made of God accepting Abel’s sacrifice and rejecting Cain’s (Gen. 4:1-7).  That’s okay, since the purpose of the film at that point is to give a quick backstory in flashback form.  However, the film then immediately gets off the biblical rails in a major way when it says that Cain was sheltered by fallen angels.  Yep, fallen angels protect Cain.

Here’s everything the Bible says about Cain (Gen. 4:1-17, 22, 24-25; Heb. 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11).  Read it.  See anything about Cain being protected by fallen angels?  I sure don’t.

True, God did put a mark on Cain in order to protect him from being killed in retaliation for Abel’s murder (Gen. 4:14-15).  However, nothing is said about what this mark is, or what it does.  Does this mark mean that angels would protect Cain somehow?  Without further biblical data, one cannot say so with certainty.  However, people tend to take things about which the Bible does not give the specifics, assign specifics to them, and then talk of those specifics as if they were fact.  That’s how the whole notion of “guardian angels” came into being.  The Bible doesn’t say a thing about guardian angels; it only says that angels serve Christians in some unknown way(s) (Heb. 1:14), and that children have angels who see the face of the Father in heaven (Matt. 18:10).  Do these verses leave open the possibility of angels guarding Christians and children?  Sure, but they don’t specifically say that angels do such things.  In like manner, does God’s mark on Cain leave open the possibility that angels somehow protected him?  Sure, but the Bible doesn’t say that such is actually what happened.  If we are to “speak the truth,” we shouldn’t either (Eph. 4:15).

But here’s another question.  Let’s say hypothetically that God marking Cain meant that he assigned angels to protect Cain.  Would he assign FALLEN angels to protect Cain?  Angels that DISOBEYED him?  That goes beyond the realm of biblical possibility in a big way.

4.  Let’s talk more about these fallen angels in Noah.  The film describes them as the “Nephilim” mentioned in the Bible, and also calls them “the Watchers.”  One of them gives to Noah their origin story, which goes as follows.  They were created on the second day.  Because they tried to help Adam and Eve in some way, the Creator (God) punishes them by making them fallen angels and turning them into rock-like creatures who move in ways very similar to the tree-like Ents in The Lord of the Rings series.  That begs the question of why God did this.  Did these angels help Adam and Eve before they sinned?  If so, why in the world would God punish them?  Did they try to help Adam and Eve after they sinned?  If so, their punishment would be understandable…but even so, the only biblical account of any angelic activity surrounding the events of Adam and Eve’s fall certainly does not lend to the notion that angels helped them in any way (Gen. 3:22-24).

Back to the film.  Over the years, these fallen Watchers made out of rock protected Cain’s descendants, but then the evil descendants of Cain turned on them and killed most of them.  Methusaleh rescued the few survivors of the Nephilim by performing a miracle in which he wiped out their pursuers by using a sword that made fire sweep out and consume them.  They apparently were banished or exiled themselves to this wasteland which had clear boundaries which Cain’s descendants were afraid to cross.  However, at one point in the film Cain’s descendants do so anyway because they are in pursuit of Noah and his family.  That’s when the Nephilim appear, wipe out Noah’s pursuers, take Noah and his family prisoner, and debate amongst themselves whether to let them go, or kill them or leave them to rot as punishment for mankind falling away from God.

One of them takes pity on Noah and his family because he somehow sees some good in Noah, lets them go, and becomes their traveling companion and guardian.  Later, the other Nephilim will catch up to them and start to punish this particular Watcher because of his kindness, but a miracle – supposedly from the Creator (although it’s never specifically assigned to him) – convinces them to lay off their fellow Watcher and actually decide to help Noah build the ark.  In fact, the film will give the impression that the Nephilim are the ones primarily responsible for building the ark as they are the ones seen doing most of the heavy lifting, etc.

Later, as the rain starts to come down and the evil hordes of Cain’s descendants descend upon the ark to try to overtake it and kill Noah’s family, the Nephilim fight off the bad guys and each of them are killed in the process.  When the first one dies, the light in the center of his rocky body (also seen in the rocky holes in his face which are his eyes) is released from his body and is revealed to be his soul, a luminous being which is immediately drawn back up into heaven.  Other Watchers, seeing this, conclude that “the Creator” has forgiven them and has taken them back, apparently to no longer be fallen angels anymore.  As each of them subsequently die, the lights within them which are apparently their angelic souls are released and fly back up into heaven.

Okay.  Where to begin…?

The Nephilim are mentioned in the Bible, in the context of the Genesis account of the flood (Gen. 6:4).  They are also mentioned to exist centuries after the flood during the time of Moses (Num. 13:33).  Nephilim is a Hebrew word meaning “giants,” which is how some English translations depict the word in Genesis and Numbers.  They are described as “mighty men who were of old, the men of renown” (Gen. 6:4), and later during Moses’ time are said to both be and produce “the sons of Anak,” whose large size made the Israelite spies think of themselves as “grasshoppers” (Num. 13:33).

Notice that both of these verses describe these giants as MEN, not ANGELS (fallen or otherwise), and definitely not creatures made out of rock.  They are giants, true, and the film at least got that part right in that the rocky Watchers are huge.  (Even so, a study of the description of the giant Goliath’s size as described in 1 Samuel 17:4 leads me to believe that the giant men of the Bible were not RIDICULOUSLY huge in size, like the giant of Jack and the Beanstalk or like these rocky creatures in the film, but rather were men of unusually large stature like we see today…say 9-12 feet tall, for example.)

Throughout Christendom, there is a common misconception of the Nephilim read about in Genesis 6:4, namely that they were the offspring of sexual unions between angels and men, which is itself an erroneous interpretation of the marriage of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of man” described in Genesis 6:1-4.  A lot of people understandably think that the term “sons of God” refers to angels in this text, as it does elsewhere (Job 38:7).  However, “sons of God” at other times in the Bible refers to righteous human beings (Gal. 3:26).  Considering that Jesus said that angels do not marry (Matt. 22:30), and that the Genesis text says that “the sons of God” did in fact marry “the daughters of men,” the only conclusion in keeping with the entirety of the Bible is that Genesis is describing righteous men marrying women.

A study of the previous chapters in Genesis (chapters 4-5) reveal that the descendants of Cain and the descendants of Seth are being described and compared, with Cain’s descendants becoming more evil while also more technologically inventive and Seth’s descendants becoming more righteous.  The film actually alludes to this several times in a clear and good way.  (More on that below.)  With that in mind, “the sons of God” (i.e., the righteous descendants of Seth) married “the daughters of men” (i.e., the unrighteous descendants of Cain) in Genesis 6:1-4.  What was the result?  Evil spreading more rampantly on the earth (Gen. 6:5; cf. 1 Cor. 15:33), which was the reason God decided to destroy mankind with the flood (Gen. 6:6-7).

Yet, as mentioned earlier, a lot of people in the religious world think that the Nephilim are giant offspring of the mating of angels and humans.  When I first heard the term Nephilim in the film and saw them described as fallen angels, that’s where I thought the film was going.  However, the film never did call them the result of sexual unions between angels and men, nor did the film allude to such things happening at all.  Instead, the film said that they were angels created on the second day who became fallen angels, rock creatures due to being punished for wanting to help man.  Here’s the biblical truth, though.  The Nephilim in the Bible are giant human beings said to exist both during the time of the flood and centuries later during the time of Moses.  That’s it.

As for the film’s allusion that these angels were created on the second day, the Bible nowhere mentions that angels were created on the second day (Gen. 1:6-8).  True, a case could be made that it is implied that angels were created at some point during creation week, at least by day 4 (Job 38:7; cf. Gen. 1:14-19, 31)…but nowhere does it specifically state that they were created on day 2.

As for the film’s notion that the Creator (God) actually PUNISHES these angels for wanting to help man by turning them into rock creatures destined to roam the earth for centuries, here’s what the Bible says.  Angels are actually assigned by God to SERVE those men and women who inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).  The Bible also says that angels who sinned against God did so by “not stay(ing) within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling” (Jude 6), with nothing mentioned about sinning by helping man.

Noah says the punishment actually given to these sinful angels was to…turn them into rock creatures who roam the earth?  The Bible says the punishment God gave to angels who sinned was to  “cast them into hell [literally in the Greek, “prison”] and commit them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4; cf. Jude 6), at which time they will be cast into hell for all eternity along with Satan (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

And then it gets really confusing in the last scene with the Nephilim, in which they are being killed while HELPING MAN (specifically, Noah and his family) and are then REWARDED by the Creator who takes them back into heaven.  Let me work this out in my mind.  The Creator initially punishes these Watchers specifically for helping man…and then takes away their punishment because they died doing the exact same thing??  It seems like the Creator (God) doesn’t know what in the world he wants…which might be exactly what the makers of the film are wanting to convey.  But here’s what the Bible says:  “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Cor. 14:33).

5.  Let’s talk about some positives about the film, the few things the film got biblically right or close to right, before moving back to the myriad of errors:

  • As mentioned earlier, the film alludes both vaguely and specifically at various times to the fact that Cain’s descendants grew more and more evil while also becoming technologically proficient, while Seth’s descendants were righteous.  A study of Gen. 4:16-5:32 reveals this to be the case.  The film shows at its beginning that the descendants of Cain were at war with the descendants of Seth.  This certainly could have been the case, considering the biblical implications of each family’s righteousness and wickedness (cf. John 3:20).  However, the Bible also teaches that the descendants of Seth and Cain started to intermarry at this time (Gen. 6:1-2), something which is also vaguely alluded to in the film but also would seem to contradict the notion that the two families were warring.  That said, the film also implies that by the time Noah was grown the line of Seth had all but become extinct.  Perhaps this is due partly to war and partly to intermarriage, although neither is specifically stated in the film.
  • Enoch is correctly said to be Noah’s great-grandfather, Methuseleh Noah’s grandfather, and Lamech his father (Gen. 5:21-32).
  • Concerning Methuseleh, he is correctly depicted to look extremely aged at the time of the flood, although there is no mention in the film of his biblical age at the time he died.  A study of the biblical chronology certain leaves open the possibility that the flood killed him, as is depicted in the movie (Gen. 5:27-32; 7:6).  However, the movie depicted him as a good man.  That being the case, the Bible teaches he would have been inside the ark when the flood came rather than outside of it, because the Bible teaches that only the righteous were inside the ark (Gen. 7:1; 2 Pet. 2:5).
  • Tubal-Cain, the villain of the film, is an actual character in the Bible.  As mentioned in the film, he is a descendant of Cain, and is said to be “the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron” (Gen. 4:22).  If I remember correctly, there is a brief scene in which we see Tubal-Cain actually beating out metal on an anvil.  The Genesis chronology certainly leaves open the possibility that Noah and Tubal-Cain were contemporaries, although nothing is said of them actually knowing each other, Tubal-Cain being alive when the flood began, or trying to overthrow the ark, as is the case in the movie.
  • In the film, the wife of Noah is named Naamah.  In the Bible, Noah’s wife is not specifically named, but there was a woman named Naamah who was Tubal-Cain’s sister and thus a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:22).  I do not remember anything in the film which states or implies that Noah’s wife was also Tubal-Cain’s sister.  (That would have actually been a neat little twist if they had made it that way.)  What the Bible does leave open as a possibility is that Noah’s wife might very well have been a descendant of Cain’s, considering that it was at this time that “the sons of God” (Seth’s righteous lineage) intermarried with “the daughters of men” (Cain’s unrighteous descendants) in Genesis 4:1-2.
  • Tubal-Cain kills Lamech in front of a young Noah at the beginning of the film.  Both of these characters are shown in the Bible to exist and be likely contemporaries, although no mention is made of them knowing each other or Tubal-Cain killing Lamech.  In fact, the Bible says that Lamech lived 595 years after he fathered Noah and had other sons and daughters (Gen. 5:30), whereas in the film he dies while Noah is probably 11 or so.  (Compared to the other things the film gets wrong, this is definitely a minor error.)
  • Noah and his family are vegetarians in the film, while all the villains in the film are meat-eaters.  In the Bible, God originally made all of humanity vegetarian, as well as the animals (Gen. 1:29-30).  This would not change until after the flood ended (Gen. 9:3).  See my recent article for more information about this.  In the film, Noah looks down on meat eaters and says that they think eating meat gives them strength whereas they ought to be looking to the Creator as the source of that strength.  Later, Tubal-Cain will tell Noah’s son Ham that man was created in God’s image to rule over the world and in some vague way correlates that with eating meat.  While I applaud Noah for saying that one should look to the Creator (God) for strength rather than looking to meat and Tubal-Cain for biblically pointing out that man was created to rule over the world (Gen. 1:28), the Bible does not correlate the eating of meat and/or vegetables with either of those concepts.
  • The film did not give us very specific close-ups of the specs of the ark, but from what I could so from the panning shots it seemed that they followed the specifications the God of the Bible gave to Noah (Gen. 6:14-16).  I counted three decks.  The size of the ark certainly seemed like it would go along with the length of 300 cubits, bread of 50, and height of 30.  I saw one door on the side of the ark, various rooms within it, and the film showed Noah’s sons (and the Nephilim, sigh) covering it with pitch during its construction.  No mention was made of gopher wood.  It seemed to take 10 years to build in the film rather than the 120 implied in the Bible (Gen. 6:3).
  • In the film, the Creator (God) seems to miraculously bring all the animals on the planet to the ark, starting with birds, then reptiles, and ending with mammals.  The Bible has God assigning Noah the task of bring pairs of every kind of animal, both male and female (Gen. 6:19-20), and the case could be made from the wording of verse 20 that God had a hand in bringing them to Noah.  While at first no pairings of male and females seem to be taking place with the animals, Ham later talks of how there are pairs of male and female of each kind of them on the ark.  No mention in the film is made of seven pairs of clean animals and birds (Gen. 7:2-3).  In the film, the animals were put into some sort of hibernation state through some sort of miraculous smoke or incense waved around them by Noah’s family.  The Bible doesn’t talk of any of this, although in my opinion it leaves open the possibility that somehow God put the animals on the ark in some sort of hibernation during the duration of the flood.  Also, I didn’t see any dinosaurs around, either on the ark or outside of it.  This is probably due to the film’s implications of theistic evolution (more on that later).  Nonetheless, a biblical description of animals which fits the description of dinosaurs found in the book of Job, which took place after the flood, makes the case that dinosaurs were on the ark and survived the flood (Job 40:15-24; 41:1-8).
  • Noah is called a preacher of righteousness in the Bible (2 Pet. 2:5).  We do not know if this was before or after the flood.  If it was before the flood, the film VERY VAGUELY alludes to this when Noah condemns the evil of Tubal-Cain and his peers, although it seems that this Noah is more interested in condemning the ENVIRONMENTAL evils of his peers than any other kind of sins.  (More on this below…)  Unfortunately, any notions of righteousness in this Noah are completely offset by his misguided, homicidal notion which are given much more preference in the film (again, more on this below…).
  • The Bible describes the wickedness of Noah’s contemporaries in this fashion:  “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 God saw the earth, and behold, it was very corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth…for the earth is filled with violence…” (Gen. 6:5, 12, 13b).  The film does an average job of portraying the wickedness of man before the flood.  A lot of emphasis is placed on environmental damage done due to man’s wickedness, which I believe is due to the goal of the film’s producers and directors to make a pro-environmental theme to the film.  Other types of wickedness are briefly alluded to in the film comparatively.  An animal is torn apart by a mob at one point.  Women are seen to be kidnapped and traded.  One young girl in particular is seen to be left in a trench filled with dead bodies.  Men from Cain’s family tree repeatedly try to kill Noah and his family throughout the film.  Noah himself alludes to the sinfulness of man a lot, although about halfway through the film he does so in a Calvinistic, “total depravity of man” mindset which, unfortunately, leads him to have the unrighteous, misguided notion that it is the Creator’s will that he kill his family even after they survive the flood.  (More on that below…)
  • The actual flood sequence looked pretty good and seemed to be mostly biblically accurate.  It started to rain, and it seemed pretty clear that a worldwide flood wasn’t going to happen simply from the rain, heavy though it was in the film.  But then water burst out of the ground in huge, violent geysers, huge tsunamis came in wiping people out, the water rose and was shown to rise as high and then higher than the highest mountains, and there was even a shot from space in which the entire planet was shown to be covered in rain clouds and hurricanes.  There is no indication of this being a “localized” flood, but rather a global one.  A character in the film talks of the waters in the heavens meeting the waters of the earth, or in the earth.  All of this is in complete accordance with what is stated and implied in the biblical account (Gen. 7:11, 17-24).  The only possible departure from the biblical text in this regard is that the flood seemed to end and the waters recede a lot sooner than is indicated in the Bible (Gen. 7:12, 17, 24; 8:3-6, 10-12, 13).
  • After the flood, Noah is shown to pick grapes, drink the wine from them, get drunk and pass out naked, and be covered by Shem and Japheth who look away from his nakedness, while Ham initially discovers him and does not avert his eyes.  This itself is in keeping with the biblical text (Gen. 9:20-23).  However, the circumstances surrounding it in the film are different from the Bible.  In the film, Noah has exiled himself in a cave due to his wrongful actions on the ark rather than “be a man of the soil (who) planted a vineyard” who got drunk and lay uncovered “in his tent” (Gen. 9:20).  The Ham of the film never told his two brothers outside of the tent about what he saw; rather, Shem and Japheth arrive shortly after Ham and they all observe Noah together, with the two brothers simply reacting differently than Ham.  In the Bible, Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan after awakening and learning what Ham had done to him, and blesses the offspring of Shem and Japheth (Gen. 9:24-27).  In the film, however, Noah gives no such curse or blessing to anyone, and instead talks of a vague regret that Ham had seen him in that way.  Compared to the largely greater and more numerous errors in the film, this is minor in my opinion.
  • The rainbow is shown at the very end of the film as emanating from the sun in an admittedly spectacular fashion.  It is implied that this is due to the actions of a silent Creator who vaguely is giving his blessing to Noah who had just quoted Genesis 9:1, 7, something which God actually said.  No mention is made of the rainbow being a sign from the Creator that he would never again bring a flood to wipe out humanity, as is the case in the Bible (Gen. 9:8-17).

6.  Now back to the major problems in the film, starting with the fact that the film’s makers want to promote a pro-environmental film over a pro-biblical film.  Noah (and by implication the Creator) is shown as being very pro-environmental to the extreme.  He rebukes his son for simply picking a flower for its beauty, and the Creator a minute later miraculously causes the flower to reappear in full bloom as his first “communication” with Noah.  Noah and his family live in a wasteland that is implied to be the result of the evil of mankind as a whole, specifically their irresponsibility to environmental awareness.  The only exceptions are the green mountain upon which the good Methuseleh lives (implying that good people are “green”), and later when the Creator miraculously turns the wasteland where Noah lives into a forest of greenery both as a way to provide wood for the construction of the ark and also as an implied pro-environmental message.  When Noah talks of the Creator punishing mankind with the flood for their evil, the message seems to be that men are being punished because of what they did to the environment rather than for their sin per se.

The biggest travesty this pro-environmental theme has brought to the biblical accuracy of the film is found in how the film’s Noah somehow comes to the conclusion that, even though he and his family are safe on the ark and all of evil mankind outside are drowned, the Creator wants him to lead his family to kill each other once the flood is over so that mankind will be completely extinct.  In this way the planet will be saved, he says.  This leads Noah to both say and do things which completely contradict his biblical description of righteousness and blamelessness (Gen. 6:9).  In fact, this Noah goes so far away from the path of righteousness for no apparent, logical, and sensible reason that I observed people get up and leave the theater on two separate occasions while this was occurring in the film.

While being environmentally responsible is a noble goal, the film attributes to it an extreme mindset that, for the sake of promoting that message, will completely change in a negative fashion the biblical message of Noah in the minds of many viewers, especially the ones who are not familiar with the actual biblical account.  This is extremely unfortunate.

7.  The Bible clearly says that eight people were in the ark:  Noah, his wife, and his three sons (Shem, Ham, and Japheth) and their wives (Gen. 7:7).  However, in the film none of his sons are married by the time the flood comes and only one of them, the oldest Shem who appears to be his twenties, is romantically involved.  He is romantically involved with Ila, a girl barely in her teens who, a decade earlier, was adopted by Noah when he and his family came across her as an abandoned orphan who was seriously wounded in her abdomen.  This wound made her barren, which caused her as a teenager to initially resist Shem’s sexual advances (that’s right, two of the people in the “righteous” camp of the film have no problem making out lasciviously; see Gal. 5:19-21).  Her barrenness posed a question for much of the film.  If the only two women on the ark are her and Noah’s wife, and she is barren, then how will the family reproduce and repopulate?

Incest seems to be the only solution I as an audience member could come up with in my head, until a visit to the aged and wise Methuseleh changes that (thankfully so, although I wouldn’t have been surprised if the film had actually proposed incest as a solution).  Noah’s Methuseleh appears to have miraculous powers; he wiped out an army with a fiery sword as a young man, and later he put a young boy to sleep simply by touching his forehead (none of this is attributed to him in the Bible.)  When Ila visits him, he touches her abdomen and she suddenly is no longer barren and somehow recognizes it. 
 
What is her reaction?  She literally runs into the arms of Shem and initiates fornication with him.  All of this happens right before it starts to rain.  That’s right.  Two of the supposedly righteous souls God saves upon the ark are committing the same sexual sins the rest of evil man is committing, right before the flood.  Thankfully, no nudity was shown and fornication was implied rather than shown in explicit detail.  Still, not the best message given when it comes to biblical morality.  I wonder how many biblically illiterate viewers will walk away from the film thinking that God has no problem with sexual immorality since two of the righteous people, people to whom the film ascribes more heroism than Noah himself, are sleeping together outside of marriage?

8.  As a result of their pre-deluge fornication, Shem and Ila find out that she’s pregnant while on the ark.  Good news as far as repopulating the human race, right?  Unfortunately, no.  In his efforts to achieve the pro-environmental goals the Creator has somehow assigned him, the film’s Noah has decided that he and his family must die at all costs.  So he is prepared to do whatever it takes to that end, including murdering Ila’s offspring should they be female.

noah movieThis turns his entire family against him.  His wife denounces him.  Shem and Ila actually build a raft and are going to leave the ark and set out on their own, until Noah literally sinks that idea by setting the raft on fire.  Shem threatens to kill him and actually tries to do so.  Ham, jealous because Shem is in a relationship and he is not and upset already because Noah had earlier not tried to save another orphaned girl so he could also have a mate and had let her die, decides to side with Tubal-Cain (who had somehow stowed away upon the ark and remain hidden from Noah and his family all that time…yes, you read that correctly) and join him in his efforts to kill Noah.

While discussing Noah’s homicidal tendencies with Tubal-Cain, Ham attributes them to the Creator (God.)  I think that needs no further elaboration or commentary.

Because of his disgust over Noah, Ham actually gives killing his father serious consideration in the final climactic battle between Noah and Tubal-Cain, only to kill Tubal-Cain instead.  As the fight takes place, the ark crashes onto a mountain due to the waters residing, presumably the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:4).

While that is going on, Ila gives birth to twin girls with the help of Noah’s wife.  Instead of this being a joyous occasion, it’s a scene of terror and sorrow for all involved out of fear for the family patriarch and supposed hero of the film, Noah.  Earlier, Shem stood guard with a weapon to keep Noah from trying to kill her.  Exactly how you always pictured the family dynamic on the ark, wasn’t it?  Anyway, Noah hears about the birth, having just survived a fight in which Tubal-Cain and Shem try to kill him and Ham thinks about killing him only to then decide to save him by killing Tubal-Cain.  Does all of this cause Noah to have a change of heart?  Nope.  He goes after Ila and the newborn twins in her arms with a knife.  Ila begs him to at least let her calm the crying twins before he kills them.  He lets her, and she sings them a lullaby which he had sung to her years earlier and his father, Lamech, had sung to him.  This somehow causes Noah to change his mind and not kill the twins.  He later attributes this decision to love.  Yes, love.

9.  After all of this is done and they are safely back on dry land, Noah tells Ila not only that he decided not to murder her daughters because he suddenly loved them, but also that he decided to ostracize himself from the rest of his family because he failed the Creator, thus implying to the audience that his homicidal actions were the will of God.  In fact, he had actually looked up at the sky and says, “I can’t do it,” while walking away from the twins.  Ila is the one who tells him that the Creator must have given Noah the choice to kill or be merciful, and that Noah chose love.  She thus encourages Noah to be a father and grandfather, and help them start again.  Noah agrees, and goes to his wife where they reconcile.

How would Noah know for sure that it was the Creator’s will for him to kill those babies?  How would Ila know for sure that what actually happened was that the Creator gave Noah a choice and Noah made the right choice?  In fact, how would Noah even know in the first place that the Creator was telling him about the upcoming flood, or that he needed to build an ark, or that animals would come, etc.?

I ask only because “the Creator” (God) IS SILENT THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FILM!!  He never says a word.  Ever.

Noah has a dream about a flood, and somehow attributes that to a message from the Creator.  He later apparently gets high from a hallucinogen slipped to him by Methuseleh and has a vision about the ark and the animals being saved, and somehow attributes that to a message from the Creator.  So from this he knows exactly how big to build the ark, that the animals will come, and what to do with them once they get there.

But then he decides somehow, without a vision or anything like that (certainly not ANY VERBAL COMMUNICATION), that the Creator wants him to kill himself and his entire family!  And then after he decides that he can’t obey the Creator in that (after almost doing so), his adopted daughter (daughter-in-law?  Did her and Shem ever actually get married?  I didn’t see it…) somehow knows that in reality all of this was a test from the Creator, and Noah passed.  How did she know that, without ANY ACTUAL VERBAL COMMUNICATION from said Creator?

Compare that with the actual biblical account in which God ACTUALLY TALKS to Noah and tells him exactly what to do and Noah does it and there are no apparent misunderstandings of any kind… (Gen. 6:13-22; 7:1-5; 9:1ff).

This is the problem so many in the religious world have, right here.  They have an actual message from God, the Bible, God’s Word, given to them in which it is shown in black and white exactly what God’s will is for them.

And so many are completely ignorant of it.  They hardly read it, if they do at all.  Instead, they go by feelings.  They say that the Holy Spirit somehow guides them through intuitions, feelings, visions, etc., all the while ignoring the fact that the Bible is the actual message from the Holy Spirit and they need to be reading that!!

Read Proverbs 14:12, Jeremiah 10:23, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 2:1-4, and 2 Peter 2:19-21 to see what I’m talking about.

This is what Noah is promoting.  Religion based on feelings and theories rather than on actual, real, communicated will from God.  And that’s probably the biggest disappointment of all…

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Well, I could go on.  I could tell you about how Noah fought off marauders OUTSIDE OF THE ARK even while A TIDAL WAVE WAS SUBMERGING IT.  I could talk about the mystical cloth of Lamech and the miraculous powers it somehow conveyed to various people throughout the film in a vague way.  I could talk about how it promoted theistic macro-evolution, a theory disproved by science and completely unscriptural.  I could talk about how Adam and Eve were portrayed as luminous beings somehow, and that the forbidden fruit had a heartbeat.  There’s probably more even beyond that which I could talk about…

But the above should be enough.  More than enough.

It took me six hours to write all of this.  That’s how much error there is in Noah.  I’m tired.  I think that’s it for now.

It’s up to you as to whether you want to see it.  If you choose to go even after reading all of this, I could see that as a case of wanting to see all of this for yourself rather than take my word for it.  I can’t blame you for that.  The only thing I ask is that you go home afterwards and read your Bible to get the truth of the matter.

If you choose not to see the film, well, I can’t say that I blame you for that, either.  I wish I hadn’t.

Either way, let me leave you with a challenge.  A plea.

Please study your Bibles more.  Please come to know the Scriptures better.  That is what will keep you on the right path when Satan throws darts of deceit like the film Noah to try to get you to stumble.

Psalm 1:1-3.  Read it.  Practice it.  Obey it.  Live it.

Thanks for reading.