NOAH: THE MOVIE, A REVIEW
Noah. Finally watched the movie. Here are my thoughts after reflecting on what I saw, heard and experienced. As seasoned movie goers who had already been inundated with a multitude of reviews, some good, mostly bad and a few indifferent, I think we have finally figured out why there was such a visceral reaction against this movie from a Christian perspective. As we left the theater on the outskirt of Flint Michigan, the people I attended the visual extravaganza all had the same reaction. It was the worst movie we had ever seen. Our assessment was based on the multitudinous discrepancies between the movie and the biblical account of Noah and his family.
Yet when I pondered the supposed changes to the story, there were other thoughts and connections I had to embrace from a religious perspective. I am a Christian so even though I knew the director had intentionally set out to make the most non- biblical movie of all time, I still sat waiting for the familiar as I viewed a plethora of religious images and implications that distorted my understanding of the biblical account. And then it hit me as my wife Clara and I were processing our thoughts afterward during our car ride home.
All of us had commented on the lack of wives for two of the sons as they boarded the Ark. We were appalled at Noah and Methuselah’s narcotic based communication. As a noncompliant individual who rejects the notion that Nephilim are fallen angels, the assumed rocky variation of this aspect of the Pentateuch’s narrative was particularly disturbing. Noah’s cold and seemingly heartless lack of concern for his sons desire to become a man through sexual expression was confusing. The story of creation incorporated evolution. The serpents skin granted powers. Noah was the modern source of the admonition to be fruitful and multiply, not the LORD. Mankind possessed latent mystical power of magic, including the power to heal by transference of blessing through a transference of psychic energy. All this was very, very confusing.
Reflecting on the movie’s opening comments made this even more troubling, as there were biblical allusions to parts of the biblical account, which created a placidity toward the indiscretions we were about to see on the screen. My initial assessment caused me to see Robb Bell’s Universalism in the watchers reincorporation with the creator, as the cast down angels were seemingly forgiven. I saw the Gap theory of creation as evolution collided with creationism. I saw deism as God was distant, dispassionate, non-communicative following initial instruction regardless of the person who was spoken too and why they received a message and direction.
I witnessed human frailty and rebellion against God’s purposes in their lives, including Noah’s embracing of familial emotions and connection at the end of the narrative, even as his wife and daughter in law made allowance for the twin girls who were born on the Ark to be sacrificed, which was reflective of Abram’s willingness to participate in the rituals of his ancestors concerning child sacrifice. Humans achieving industrialization and complexities in the Noetic world is accepted among some theological circles.
There was even a possible allusion to the beginning of polygamous relationships and incestuous relationships when the twins were allowed to live while one of the two uncoupled sons left his family to become a wanderer, leaving the two girls behind to become child brides for his remaining nonattached brother. Oh, did you see the animosity at leaving the girl behind and the sons vehement anger that this produced toward his father over his lack of bride? And have you heard about the angry Christian response to the lack of brides on board the Ark for all of Noah’s sons? That wasn’t necessarily true. If the young woman who was trampled to death had been brought on board, there would have been an extra bride for Noah’s sons. Remember the twin girls and Noah’s two young sons? There were brides on board the Ark, provided by God. They just needed to be born. There was even an account of Cain and Abel and the long term implications of the conflict between herbivorous and carnivorous mammals, including the human animal.
As troubling as these concepts were, including cannibalism in times of extreme lack of nourishment, there are those who would accept them as biblical, depending on your camp and belief system, including a capricious and cruel deity who directs human decisions like a grand puppet master ala John Calvin and Augustine. There are many theologians, pastors and Christian leaders who embrace some of these ideas to varying degrees, even as others consider them misguided.
This apparent embracing of the worst of Christian theologies, blending them into a embellished potpourri, that was more reminiscent of a kaleidoscope view of humanities past from a biblical perspective than a real appraisal of the biblical account. Then it hit me. The brief insertions of the overtly Jewish names strategically placed on the screen at the beginning of the movie started to make sense as Clara and I spoke of the alternative ideas we saw including new age concepts and a anti-industrialization worldview that was vegan in orientation for those lived correctly and innocently.
Then it hit me again. This really was the most non-biblical account of a major biblical figure ever made. It also made the Muslim aversion to the movie more sensible as well. This is not a biblical account, nor was it a Koran based view of Noah. It’s sole source of information comes from the Kabala, a Jewish book of mysticism and magic that has influenced many, many key personnel in the Hollywood subculture. Cabbalism embraces magic as a means of manipulation and lesser gods as the primary influencers of humanity, who are not beyond the ability to harm humans or deceive them in maniacal expressions of self aggrandizement or egotistical gratification.
Humanity is the inferior expression of created beings who carry the imagio deo (image of God), existing on a rung below angels, fallen or otherwise. This leads to the need to strategize concerning ways to manipulate these beings. The know how to achieve this end is found in elaborate rituals, amulets and incantations that force these creatures to serve humanities initiates into the dark arts. The deceiver in the garden is seen as deity who at times can be beneficent as one of many angels who interact with people occasionally.
The Kabala includes the concepts that ran parallel in the movie with the biblical account we Christians embrace concerning creation, Cain and Abel, the Fall and the story of the flood. They also embrace the idea of creative order with a strict regimentation of hierarchy among the ranks of men and angels. They also embrace an entirely different type of sentient being.
The guardians that I mistook for Nephilim were not Nephilim at all. They were another mythical creature taken from the Jewish mystical way of thinking that finds its origin in the Kabala. Judaic mysticism embraces a creature or creatures that are very powerful entities who come from earth that is animated by angelic presence incarnated not in flesh made from clay. Rather they remain clay. I am speaking of the Golem, who were believed to serve as protectors or guardians of the Jewish people. Golem are a major factor in Cabbalism. In fact, those who are capable of animating clay through incantation are considered to be the highest order of magical manipulators.
There are other allusions to Cabbalism in the movie that make sense, including the use of hallucinogenic substances to induce visions and sexuality as the real measure of what it means to be mature and to have mystical powers released into ones essence. The producers and directorial persons were not kidding. They took a story that carries mutual implications in three major religious perspectives, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, which created a climate of curiosity and reactive fervor. Yet rather than following the Torah, Koran or the Christian Scriptures, they chose to use the Kabala as their source for their extravaganza, thus giving a truly non-biblical view of Noah, the creation account and the fall of man, including man’s rebirth following the flood. As an added bonus, they included the origin of the Golem and the reason many people have sought the key to a means of reanimating them in the midst of humanity yet once again. And they included Hollywood liberalism to boot.
Had they told us that this was Jewish mysticism and Cabbalism, very few people would have spent the money to watch the movie, including us. The genius of the non-biblical allusion allowed these evangelists and purveyors of a minority religious sect to take the center stage and create a whole lot of money. To this end, all of us who embrace creativity and capitalism say bravo regardless of our appalling distaste toward the biblical distortion Cabbalism creates.