By Marc W. Gibson
When I first heard that a television movie was being made of the story of Noah and the Flood, I was rather excited. It was advertised to be a huge production to bring the beloved story to life. Movies depicting Bible events and people have been made through the years. Some have been rather good, though there were always the inevitable inaccuracies and additional story lines to make a dramatic movie. But I had hoped this would turn out to be a decent portrayal of the great story from Genesis. I was wrong. I was disappointed. I was outraged.
The miniseries (which aired in early March) was a waste of time and money. The scenery and computer animation was good, but the story was a jumbled mess of inaccuracies, attempts at silly humor, and ridiculous writing. A disclaimer was given that “dramatic license” was taken with the story of Noah, but the result was an insult to any lover of God’s word. I am sure God was not amused or pleased. I hope the “license” is revoked before any more wrecks take place.
I should have seen the disaster coming when I learned ahead of time that the movie would depict Noah building the ark during a drought that followed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now, most anyone who half-knows the book of Genesis would scratch his head at this setup. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah took place a good while after the Flood. Genesis 6-9 tells the story of Noah while Genesis 19 tells of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Noah wasn’t even around by that time! And to add insult to injury, who do we learn is living in Sodom and is friends with Noah before the Flood? None other than Lot and his wife. Something doesn’t add up here. Lot is Abraham’s nephew, but Abraham would not be born until about 300 years after the Flood. A nephew is living 300 years before his uncle. The movie also depicts Noah pleading for the city of Sodom instead of Abraham, who actually did this in Genesis 18:16-33. What does Hollywood and a television network care? They have a movie to make. Those who are greedy for profits and ratings will show no respect for God’s word.
If that wasn’t enough, the movie then informed us that Noah did not do all the building of the ark. God supposedly went ahead and cut much of the wood for him, and eventually finished the ark Himself The Bible says that God told Noah to build the ark and “thus Noah did, according to all that God commanded him, so he did” (Gen. 6:22). The movie ark itself was depicted with a promenade-type deck where people and animals could stroll leisurely. It would be too boring to depict the ark, as the Bible does, with one window and one door (Gen. 6:16). Such small details need not concern movie writers, I guess.
The Bible states that Noah’s three sons had wives that joined them on the ark (Gen. 7:7). The movie had Noah’s three sons kidnapping their girlfriends from their families and forcibly hauling them onto the ark. They would get married after the Flood, but only after Noah and his wife worried about them committing fornication while on the ark. The writers seemed intent on changing details in order to appeal to modem, worldly minds. ne portrayal of God, Noah, his wife, and their three sons was disturbing. It lacked the respect and dignity deserved of such grand characters of the Bible. Also, the rain was shown to start before they entered the ark. The Bible states that they were on the ark seven days before the rain started (Gen. 7:4, 10).
Just when it couldn’t get any worse, it did. Apparently some people had made rafts and boats in an attempt to survive the Flood, and then tried to take over the ark like a gang of pirates. It was an action-packed fight scene, just like every movie is supposed to have. That was too much — I couldn’t stand to watch much more. The “dramatic license” had become a license to blaspheme and tear apart the word of God. Such is the result when people reject the inspiration of Scripture.
This whole experience is instructive on several points. The movie makers probably figured that since there is so much ignorance of the Bible in this country, few people would notice the changes that were made. Most people don’t read the Bible and, therefore, do not know what it says. The TV is their source of information on nearly every- thing, so why not learn about the Flood from a miniseries. What a sad commentary on our society. Do we study our Bibles so that we can know God’s word accurately? False doctrines abound all around us; we need to be ready to expose them and give an answer for our faith. Believing lies will cause people to fall into the ditch of error.
We really should not be surprised to see a movie produced by our society that laughs at a serious story in the Bible. The movie could have made the important point that people were destroyed because of rebellion against God and his will. Our society needs this message, but this movie was a chopped up, re-mixed Hollywood version that fits what people want today: a new updated 21st century rewriting of the Bible. People don’t want just what the Bible says; they want to shape it into a story (or doctrine) to their liking. Such disrespect and folly will not sit well with the Lord in judgment. Movies about the Bible that were made in the past showed a little bit more respect for the stories, but not this one. Let’s not rely on TV miniseries, but do what has worked for faithful families for centuries: faithfully pass down the great stories of God children learn the truth about the love and justice of our great God from his Book. This is best way to prepare our minds to follow Jesus and the truth.