All at sea

Coming soon to a cinema near you.

NOAH

NoahThe Bible story gets a Hollywood makeover with Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins among the cast. What I’m wondering is how will the filming process tart up or dumb down the story? (Dumbing down isn’t a problem, Evan Almighty was a good take on the story.)

But while the film is not out yet, a few thoughts on the Noah Story.

Like a lot of the early Bible the stories use the same literary techniques as other stories from that area, and it is only one of a number of flood stories, which have something in common, angry gods flood the world and only a few are saved by making a boat. And the Bible story has a lot of elements in common with the other stories. But I think we can learn a lot about God by looking at  the differences. How God is different from the gods of the Babylonians and Sumerians should be reflected in the differences between the stories.

So let’s start with the god or gods destroying people they are angry with. Surely no difference there … or is there?

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. Genesis 6:5-6

Not a lot of anger there, God is hurt and sorrowful. — Now fast forward to the end …

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the Lord smelt the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:20-22

And there’s the difference. Instead of gods who do not care, who destroy men in their anger, or who are angry with each other and mankind is destroyed as a consequence we have a very different God in the Bible version. God loves the people he created. That was something new.

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