Saturday, March 29, 2014

God destroys the world on page 7 of my NIV Bible: My review of Noah

**There may be a few spoilers - nothing that would actually ruin the movie**

When you say "Noah and the ark" what comes into your head? Noah and his family waiting by the door of a neatly built ark as animals, two by two, walk through the door. You envision a big flood, ending with the ark resting gently on a hillside and a rainbow in the sky. 

That is what I remember.

This morning I opened up my Bible and I pored over the Genesis text about Noah. I wanted to re-read it and freshen it in my memory before I went to the hotly debated cinematic release of "Noah" starring Russell Crowe. Did you realize that it only takes seven pages for God to be so annoyed with humanity and it's evil ways that he tells Noah he is going to wipe out the world? 

Also, does anyone remember the Nephilim? You know, the sons of God?

From Genesis 6:4 it reads:  The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

From Cathleen Falsani's review of Noah in Soujourners: 

"The Book of Enoch is a non-canonical book (although Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox churches consider it to be part of the biblical canon) traditionally attributed to Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch. It includes “The Book of the Watchers,” which chronicles the fall of the angels responsible for siring the Nephilim — offspring of the "sons of God" and the "daughters of men" mentioned in Genesis 6:4.

In Noah, the Nephilim are called “Watchers,” and are massive, rock-encrusted creatures who prey on and are preyed upon by the humans they once loved and abandoned heaven as angels to come to Earth to help. They are beings of light trapped inside hard slag exoskeleton — a punishment from God for their disobedience. They are estranged from the God they love and crave a relationship with, seeking divine mercy but finding none."   
I should have prefaced this review by saying that I'm an absolute movie-GOER. We love movies, any and all, in a non-discriminatory way. I'm also not a big "Christian movie" fan. Namely, because I refuse to put my God in a "Christian movie" box. We ever so gently (or sometimes loudly) put layer upon layer of "Christianity" and apply it to ourselves like glue. We will only see "Christian" movies, only watch so-called "Christian" news networks a la Fox News, and only listen to non-secular music because we wouldn't want to be viewed any other way. I didn't know that this was what God required of me to believe in him. 
I have taken my belief in God out of a box and I've seen it in the beautiful imagery and scenery of the post-creation world that Noah lived in. The movie moved us through an ethereal world that showed the value of protecting the earth, and the belief in a creator that loves us. It is also gritty and dark, full of evil people and evil ways. In the movie, God showed Noah through a dream what his plan was. Noah took this plan to task. I love that it showed Noah as the human being he was, struggling to know what was right yet forging ahead with what he knew his God had asked of him to do. 
Yes, there are creative licenses taken in this film. Some will question the Nephilim, or the Watchers (as they are called in the film). Methusaleh, Tubal-Cain, and even the ways that they lived in closeness to spirituality, healing, seeing. Because we don't understand does it mean it didn't happen? 
I draw a direct correlation to people who dislike talking about the existence of evil and demons to the people that will have a hard time liking and believing this film. No one wants to talk about the existence of demons, yet the Bible is FILLED with them and the people they inhabit. The legions of them that are cast out. We've become a society that only wants the "happy" thing, the good thing that makes us feel all cozy inside. We've sanitized the Bible to our liking so that we only talk about the things that don't make us uncomfortable. 
In the movie when the flood comes and the ark rises up all you can hear are the tormented screams of the wicked. The screams of people drowning for all their evil ways. Noah closes the door and and sits in a jumble in the floor....listening to the screaming. If we can just not watch this and only see movies about little boys who've seen Heaven - precious that he is. Must stay away from movies like this that might make us actually think about what may have happened. Millions of deaths, tortured and real, because God knew the human race to be innately evil. We must only see "real" Christian movies that make us feel wonderful inside.
What IS a real Christian movie? 
I can tell you what it's not. It's not a heart-warming movie that fits neatly in our Christian box. We need to be able to find our God in things that are from this world, things beyond our realm of understanding. We can't find them in the safe and sanitized places. We must seek out the dirty, the gritty, and the scary places to find God. A safe cocoon isn't where He resides, because a deeper plane is where He wants us to find Him. 
We need to ask ourselves if we can find God in these tiny, breathless spaces. Those spaces filled with people who don't profess to believe, the depths of this world where it seems the Godless reside. Do we avoid these places and stay safe? Or do we dive in and find Him where we thought we never could? Or are the places we can no longer find Him the places we think are "safe"? Is it our churches, our classrooms, and our friends? Have we become so set in place that only a "certain way" is the absolute way to find Him according to us? 
I highly recommend it this movie. I found it to be enthralling, full of a deeply spiritual Biblical truth, plus lots creative license thrown in for good measure. God's promise, as ever, is made plain in the end. He is here to redeem us because he cares for us. Go and see it with your mind open, not with a closed one ready to negate any truth you might find. It is a well-made movie with great acting. 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
             and my thoughts than your thoughts."  
                                                                  Isaiah 55:8-9