Friday, November 15, 2013

Aronofsky puts Noah on the big screen

The trailer for Darron Aronofsky's Noah is doing the rounds. With the possible limitations of Russell Crowe as Noah it looks pretty impressive. The release date in the end of March 2014 so I wonder if that raises some good possibility for a short Noah preaching series for a church or CU over Easter or early summer term. Who knows how big a film it is but advertising alone will get people thinking about the story.

Six years ago, the Guardian reported:
The script, Aronofsky tells me, is no conventional biblical epic. "Noah was the first person to plant vineyards and drink wine and get drunk," he says admiringly. "It's there in the Bible - it was one of the first things he did when he reached land. There was some real survivor's guilt going on there. He's a dark, complicated character." 
Noah is famous, compelling, features in kids books, has big-action and is right in the mainline of the Bible's story. You could easily get three messages from the Genesis 6-8 story if you wanted...
1. The world filled with wickedness. When this gets personal that's hard to hear but the diagnosis of Genesis 6 makes huge emotional sense as we look at the world today. The context is Genesis 1-6 tells us that the world should've been filled with goodness, again something that resonates in us and our desire for beauty and good design, care etc. A world being de-created in need of re-creation.
2. The one righteous man - a preacher of righteousness to the world, a picture of the true Righteous One, calling us through death to resurrection. It's an opportunity to speak of Jesus and his death and resurrection. Aronofsky says Noah's story tells of "new life emerging from old." We think every man is an island but John Donne is right, we're all connected... one man dies and we all die, but if he rises from the grave...
3. The hope of a renewed creation - see Noah, in a newly re-formed world, waiting to be filled with goodness. This is the hope of peace on earth, a new world, an end to pain... unachievable by the flood, unachievable by our utopian dreams... but achievable through the true and greater Noah.
Opening up the Noah narrative inevitably raises a number of big objections and questions like...
  • Did this actually happen? Is Genesis 1-11 myth or true myth? 
  • Was the flood localised to the middle east, or was it global? An opportunity to engage the question of whether 'the earth' in Genesis means the land... and to think about the widespread myths of floods in so many human cultures...
  • What kind of God floods the world? There are massive questions here about sin and the extent of sin and the wrath of God in response to it that don't sit easily with people (and probably shouldn't.)
In any case, Noah's story, is a myth - even a true myth - that we need to hear today if we're to know what kind of world we live in and what kind of hope we need.

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