Musings of a Christian Geek about the Word, Geek Culture, Science, Music, Movies, and anything that is deemed noteworthy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Biblical Epic: Escapist Fantasy or Private Interpretation?

noah-page-0In addition to music, I am a huge movie buff. All types of movie genres are in my collection. One genre I despise, however, is the genre of the Biblical Epic. Why do you hate Biblical Epics when you love to study the Word? You might ask. The answer boils down to man’s basic spiritual problem, the integrity of the Word. Mankind simply doesn’t believe the Word to be true. This applies double to Hollywood directors and writers. They could care less what the Bible has to say just to tell a “good” story. All one has to do is recount the joke that was the Noah’s Ark movie shown on television a number of years back to see what respect these writers have for the Word.

I bring this topic up because in the last few months, talk has surfaced about two Biblical Epics which mock God to no end. The first is the movie, Noah, by Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky. That’s just wonderful, isn’t it. The director of the movie that tackled lesbianism and ballet is now directing a movie about a man who was “perfect in his generations.” According to Aronofsky, “Noah was the first environmentalist.” Well, he has already missed the mark big time on what the story of Noah is all about, which is about man’s sinful nature and its incapatability with God. Genesis 6:5-7:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

Sorry, but I fail to see anything resembling environmental allegory in the reasons for a global flood to destroy man. Apparently, this movie is based on a graphic novel co-created by Aronofsky about Noah, oddly entitled Noah. In the graphic novel, Noah is more of a Mad Max type character fighting giants on the barren earth. Little does Aronofsky realize the term “giants” used in Genesis 6 is in reference to the sinful men as they were giant in their commission of sin.

An even more egregious example of Biblical artistic license is the Jesus movie which director Paul Verhoeven is trying to get off the ground. This movie will follow Jesus’ life without all the miracles. According to Verhoeven, Jesus Christ “was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth.”   This fact is sad, in a way, because some of my favorite movies are Starship Troopers and Total Recall.

It’s important to note that both Aronofsky and Verhoeven are committed atheists; so, why are they so interested in different aspects of the Bible? I think it stems from a few things. Like I said before in “Humanizing the Humanist” atheistic experience is so dependent upon Christian existence that atheists can’t get away from Biblical stories. Another factor is that these unbelievers have no respect for the Word as they view it as foolishness. This lack of respect for the Word is covered in 2 Peter 1:20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” The phrase private interpretation is translated from the Greek word idios which means “one’s own meaning.” Thus, the Word is not given to any one man’s interpretation, the Word, gasp, actually interprets itself. The Word is not bound by any man. In fact, man is subject to the Word’s discernment. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Here’s an idea, instead of filming Biblical Epics with a lot crap added in for dramatic effect, let’s film an epic based on just what’s written right there in the passage. Many books of the Bible have plenty of story and human elements to rely upon. You need an omniscient narrator and point of view, books like Judges and 1 Kings will suit you just fine. You want to film from one person’s point of view, Nehemiah and Acts provide plenty of material for a film. Now, those would be Biblical Epics I would actually enjoy.