It isn’t often that I offer a movie review, let alone suggest that it could be sponsored by our Institute, but please allow this exception. My wife and I went to see the new movie, Noah, this weekend. There are plenty of professional and fan reviews of the movie, both good and bad, so I will not try to evaluate the movie in that way. I also know that many people have debated whether the movie aligns well with the original story, which again, is not so concerning to me. What I give the movie high marks for is that is presents an important myth for us, here in the 21st century. I also believe that is so well aligns with our new curriculum Sacred Place, Sacred Role, that we may want to consider including it as a resource. Why do I say that? Let me give you a few examples:
First, there is a scene in the movie in which Noah tells his family the story of creation. He uses the language of the Genesis account, but the film aligns the words with the evolutionary process that science teaches us. This was a beautiful account of how creation and evolution can be brought together in a way that sustains and respects both.
Secondly there is an antagonist in the film who ends up being a stow-away on the ark (Again, some creative license here. This is not your Bible story!). The antagonist is caught down below with the animals, eating one of them. When he is told that these animals are meant to be saved, he quotes the Genesis creation story that states that humans are told to “have dominion over all living things”. As he says that, he takes a dramatic bite. Since the ark has two of every animal, male and female, his action clearly indicates the extinction of a species. Thus a human view of domination is clearly linked with the extinction of animal life.
And third, as the film progresses, Noah begins to show his cards. His vision from God not only led him to believe that he was to save all the animals, but also, that humans should cease to exist as God “rebooted” creation. He came to the belief that humans have been so destructive to the earth, that earth would be far better without them. In this way, the film tackles our sense of human specialness, and challenges us to think of new ways for humans to relate to the rest of life on earth.
To combine religion and science, to show how the human domination model has led to the extinction of life forms God intended to be protected, and to remove humanity from its pedestal of specialness by suggesting that God really intended the earth to exist without us: These are the themes of this new movie Noah. Oh yes, it is highly mythical. But what is a myth anyway? A myth is a story that reveals meaning. And in many ways, the meaning that this film points to is aligned very well with our new resource Sacred Place Sacred Role. So, go see the film. Whether it is a good movie or not, I can’t really judge. But it does teach good and challenging lessons that are so important for our time. It’s Noah for the 21st Century!