The Genesis story of Noah and the Flood is truly bizarre. And with the recent release of the movie Noah, the legend has become increasing strange. With all the discussion around the “accuracy” of the movie, the “inerrancy” of the flood story, and the movie’s over-the-top rock monsters (Nephilim or Watchers), an important issue has been largely overlooked: the morality of God killing everything on earth in a crazed attempt to restart the creation process.
The Noachian story has some fascinating moral questions. For example, is the God of Genesis worthy of worship? According to David Brin, writing for ieet.org:
Let’s say the entire human population, including guiltless babies, were drowned in a fit of angry pique by a questionably-balanced deity who was not setting a very good parental example.
The God of Genesis, in many places, acts more like an angry Greek god than the God of Christianity.
After hurricane Katrina, during a LDS Fast-and-Testimony meeting in my Ward, a couple inferred that Katrina was God pouring down his wrath on a besotted and sinful area. Really? (Lucky, the gentlemen giving the closing prayer offered a different sentiment.) And it seems like some Evangelical ministers implied that HIV/AIDS is God punishing the gay community. Really? This type of logic is what Christians get when they place too much (or any significance) on the historicity of Old Testament allegories. It’s time to move the first five books of the OT into the category of fables, parables, allegories, whatever.
As for the movie . . . it dwells briefly with the issue of who (if anyone) should be dying in the flood. But only briefly. One of Noah’s sons becomes infatuated with a woman on the god’s hit list, but Noah is unable (or unwilling) to save her. This turns the son into a post-flood rebel. In the movie, most of Noah’s angst seems like soap opera. I guess that all the silly action scenes, including the rock monsters (think disguised Transformers), were thrown in to keep our attention. Instead, they seem stupid.
The critics generally liked the movie (77 percent approval rating on rottentomatoes). I would recommend that you skip it. It has mostly disappeared from theaters (after making a fair amount of money), but should soon be out in video.