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We saw the movie Noah the other day, and are not quite sure what the hullabaloo is about -- though there is always a degree of hullabaloo around "major" movie releases. We hadn't seen one in quite some time.

There were some arresting scenes, and touching moments, but like other modern movies, it was top-heavy with violent action, paganism, and special effects.

It was typical Hollywood fare, which is why we're not sure what all the commotion was about.

Is it true that the movie strays from the Bible?

This is a movie. It barely resembled the story of Noah. It is more Gnostic than anything. Demonic-like creatures -- the "giants" mentioned in Genesis and apocrypha -- -- served as the good guys, helping to launch the Ark and defend it against attackers. (Good guys?) Meantime Noah is portrayed as a maniacal husband and father insisting (until goodness finally takes him over) on killing twin grand-daughters because he's convinced the Lord wants every single living human destroyed. He also hands down a snake skin once shed by the serpent in the Garden. In other words, the movie has the man who built the Ark and helped the Lord in a new Creation not only assisted by towering demonic creatures but also bequeathing the skin of Satan to his offspring.

This is a movie less akin to the Book of Genesis than it is to Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.

The divergence from Scripture is so blatant as to be nearly harmless.

It is entertainment, pure and simple, probably without any real malicious intent -- and nothing more than entertainment (for those who like lots of explosive action, and a movie that is long).

At least it features the reality of God (although always "Creator").

At least it has folks going back and reading Genesis.

Perhaps unintentionally, it causes us to reflect back on how things were in the time before the Flood -- which were very similar, it seems, to what reaches a crescendo in places like Hollywood (lust, materialism, etcetera).

There are interesting aspects. One of them gets back to those giants. Were the giants mentioned in the story of Noah what are elsewhere described as "Nephilim" or "Watchers": the fruit of fallen angels who interacted with human females?

Many in Evangelical circles believe so. So do a number of Catholics. Notes one source: "The Nephilim were offspring of the 'sons of God' and the 'daughters of men' before the Deluge according to Genesis 6:4; the name is also used in reference to giants who inhabited Canaan at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan according to Numbers 13:33. A similar biblical Hebrew word with different vowel-sounds is used in Ezekiel 32:27 to refer to dead Philistine warriors." In modern times: aliens? There is an apocryphal Book of Enoch that calls these entities the Watchers (as does the movie).

Here's what one translation of Scripture (the New American Standard Version) says: "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown."

Quite mysterious. What were these? Is there an occult element? (The director reportedly was involved in kabbalah.)

Notes a Bible site:

"The Book of Enoch alleges that two hundred of these Watchers descended to earth in the days of Jared (Genesis 5:18), and some of them are given names. The worst one of all is called Azazel. The name occurs in other Jewish documents, like the Apocalypse of Abraham. Azazel is accused of having 'scattered over the earth the secrets of Heaven and hath rebelled against the Mighty One.' His name is also found in ancient Jewish ritual concerning the Day of Atonement. On that day, the iniquities of the people of Israel were laid on the scapegoat, and then the scapegoat was driven away 'to Azazel, to the wilderness' (Leviticus 16). Azazel was a demon who inhabited a region in the Judean wilderness."

Not exactly the good guys. It gets into sci-fi, when it doesn't get into the demonic. "This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources," noted one critic. "To my mind, there is simply no doubt about this."

As for the Flood, there are the scientific attempts to verify and explain it. Was it an enormous tsunami-flood from a mega-volcano called Santorini near Greece and inundated the Middle East (what was then considered the "world")? That doesn't square with raining for forty days. Others wonder if there are vast reservoirs of water underground that suddenly sprung forth (as depicted in the movie). Some even try to link it to climate change. Still others search for the Ark in the mountains of Turkey, Russia, and elsewhere. 

"The Bible (Genesis 6–9) describes a worldwide flood  covering even the highest mountains of the earth and the construction of a huge boat (a rectangular box-like craft) that transported animals, at least two of a kind of all land animals on the earth," noted a scientific website (pro-evolution). "The Qur'an (Suras 11 and 71) has almost a duplicate story with a similar huge boat that transported animals and a worldwide flood. In addition two older stories exist in ancient Babylonian epics that describe a huge flood. One is the Epic of Gilgamesh, describing a flood on the Euphrates River (Academy of Ancient Texts). The other is the Epic of Atrahasis, which has a huge flood on the Tigris River.

"In the Epic of Gilgamesh, [Utnapishtim] is warned that a god plans to destroy all humanity and is told to build a ship to save himself, his family, friends, and cattle. In the Epic of Atrahasis, a tribal chief survived with his family by floating in a boat down to the Persian Gulf. After the flood subsided, the chief got out on dry land and erected an altar and sacrificed to a water god so that such a flood would not happen again. Noah also built an altar when he got off the Ark and offered sacrifices (Genesis 8:20). Because these stories all describe an ancient huge flood in Mesopotamia, it is extremely likely that a huge flood could have occurred. However, the next question is: 'Did the Noachian Flood cover the whole earth?'"

The conclusion: it was a regional event.

"If the 3.4-meter–thick layer of flood deposits in southeastern Mesopotamia (MacDonald 1988) represents a huge flood of ancient times, and if it is the remnants of the one described in the early Babylonian epics, then the authors of these epics were likely survivors who lived in a village on natural levees on the lower parts of either the Euphrates or Tigris Rivers where the flood waters covered their village, natural levees, and adjacent flood plains for distances of 160 to 320 kilometers so that no land could be seen, and their 'whole world' would have been under water."

We'll take this all under advisement. There are good points in the movie, such as: how we have degraded what God created; His handiwork. (This is not "subduing" the earth.) It is also interesting that no matter the inaccuracies and fictionalizations, movies often seem like harbingers. (On opening night in Los Angeles, a quake shook a theatre showing it right at a climactic scene).

The point is purification.

God is not only the Creator of the earth, but also the cause of the Deluge. We really have no doubt about this (and neither did the movie, if it's speaking about the same Creator!).

It's not just in Genesis:

Here is Psalm 104:6-9:

“You covered it [the earth] with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth."

-- Michael H. Brown

[Note also: Michael Brown retreats: Philadelphia-New Jersey area]

[resources: Sent To Earth]

[see also: The secret Gnostic key to Noah]

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