Since the new Noah movie was released, conversations about the story in Genesis 6-9 are suddenly commonplace. It seems like everyone, even people who haven’t picked up a Bible in years, are suddenly experts on the story, or at least interested in discussing it.
What a great opportunity for Christians to (gently and respectfully) shine light on these discussions. As you talk with your friends about Darren Aronofsky’s version of Noah and compare it with the account in Genesis 6-9, here are a few talking points that can give those discussions spiritual depth:
#1 – The story of Eden is about MUCH MORE than the destruction of the environment. One of the underlying themes in the movie version of Noah is God’s anger at how mankind had destroyed the beauty of His creation. Of course, people WERE responsible for messing up the planet, but it was not through mining and hunting. Creation was cursed through sin. Adam and Eve’s sin placed the entire earth under a curse. Sin brought death, for everything. Believe it or not, this is an important point. In this simple fact lays the foundation for the entire Gospel story. (For reference, see Romans 8:19-25).
#2 – Even in Eden, God revealed a plan to save humankind. Remember, God made people in His own image, This truth was mentioned in the movie, but it came from the lips of a misguided, wicked man. On this point, he was right – God is the Father of humankind, and even our sin could not quench His love for us. From the beginning, He planned to make right what we had made wrong. That’s why “Movie-Noah’s” rant on the ark was so misguided. God intentionally chose to preserve Noah’s family because He had promised to rescue humans from the eternal consequences of sin. We deserved judgment, but in His mercy, God kept humanity alive. One day, through Noah, He would bring a Savior.
#3 – The movie’s rock monsters . . . no . . . never mind.
#4 – The rainbow after the flood was a significant symbol. Even though the movie gave the rainbow a passing “cameo” at the end, it actually meant something very important. It sealed God’s promise not to send another worldwide flood. In fact, some Jewish Rabbis used to look at that symbol and remark that God turned the bow so that the arrows would shoot away from the earth – a reminder that He would no longer destroy the people or animals there. And to be sure, if the rainbow symbolizes an instrument of warfare, it is now “put away”, hung in place by the clouds, suggesting that the “battle”, the storm, is over. God responded to the wickedness that He saw and brought a swift and destructive war on the earth. But now, He declares peace.
In a greater sense, however, the rainbow points to something larger. It points to Jesus Christ. Yes, that statement may be a reach, and I should confess that I think nearly everything in the Bible points towards Jesus. But follow this path of logic – God looked at the earth and saw wickedness everywhere. In His anger He poured out judgment, which was deserved, except that He preserved the race through Noah. Why? Was Noah sinless? Absolutely not. But Noah loved God and lived to please Him, and God responded by showering Noah with grace. With Noah, He graced us, too.
Implicit in God’s promise not to destroy the earth by flood again lay the groundwork for something greater. It opened the door for a relationship between God and mankind that would eventually lead to a Savior (see point #2) – the Messiah – who would personally shoulder the burden of God’s wrath over our sins. God still demanded justice for our sins. But Jesus became the punishment, which opened the doors for us to have true relationship with God. That’s why, when we see the rainbow, we should ultimately remember Jesus.
#5 – God WILL judge the earth again. The Bible clearly teaches that one day, Jesus will return, and this time He will not come as sacrificial Savior – He will come as returning King . . . and Judge. Obviously, many in our day scoff at that idea. They did in the New Testament days as well. That’s why Peter explained in 2 Peter 3 that we all need to remember what happened with Noah. He wrote:
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3-7)
Peter goes on to explain that we are living in an age of God’s Grace – an age where God is patiently waiting for people to turn to Him. He is giving us an opportunity, just as He gave Noah. Let’s be sure not to squander it.