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God, man get makeover in Hollywood's 'Noah'

(Editor’s Note: Paramount Pictures has contacted WND and claims substantial changes have been made to the screenplay that formed the basis for this article. The film company asserts the script quoted below is not representative of the final work scheduled to be released in theaters on March 28, 2014.)

In the biblical account of Noah and his famous Ark, God is so grieved by wickedness, corruption, violence and evil in the world that he resolves to destroy all the earth’s creatures by flood, yet spares Noah because, Genesis explains, he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

The major Hollywood film “Noah” scheduled for release March 28 and starring the Academy Award-winning Russell Crowe as the famous Ark-builder, however, tells a very different story.

Want the truth about the Ark, the flood and the archaeology behind it all? Get “Noah: The Real Story” exclusively from the WND Superstore!

An early copy of the movie’s script, made available online in 2012, reveals God’s grief in “Noah” is less about murder and violence, more about abuse of natural resources.

For example, in the movie’s pivotal early scene, when Noah’s wife asks him why the Creator is planning to destroy the world, Noah gets a vision of the pristine environment before mankind, a taste of the barren land after humanity’s crimes against the planet and responds, “Because it is dying already. At our hand, all he created is dying. … If we work to save it, perhaps he will too.”

Pivotal scene from script of "Noah"

Moments in the film like this have several critics wondering just how much director Darren Aronofsky has twisted the scriptural account of Noah to fit his own agenda for the movie of the same name.

Back in September 2008, Aronofsky gave SlashFilm.com a preview of his approach to the tale: “I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse, which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist.”

Environmental themes in the film can be seen in a later scene as well, when Noah confronts the warlord Akkad with a message from the Creator: “We must change. We must treat the world with mercy so that the Creator will show us mercy.”

“Mercy?” Akkad asks. “How do you mean?”

“We must respect the ground,” Noah replies. “Respect the rivers and seas. Respect the other beasts of the Earth. Stop the slaughter, the rape, the carnage.”

As WND reported, Ben Field, head of the film and TV department for Australia’s Hillsong Church, issued a warning to Christians who may be hoping “Noah” will bring the biblical hero to life: “If you’re expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you’re in for a shock. … There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense.”

In fact, the Hollywood Reporter discovered early screenings of the films with Jewish audiences in New York and Christian audiences in Arizona produced “worrisome” and “troubling” reactions.

“The old adage that says the book is usually better than the movie is frequently true,” writes Larry Stone in the chapter titled “Noah Goes to Hollywood” in his new book, “Noah: The Real Story.”

Stone also has written “The Story of the Bible” and “Women of the Bible.” He’s a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and University of Iowa School of Journalism, and as vice president of Thomas Nelson Publishers and president of Rutledge Hill Press has published more than a dozen New York Times bestsellers.

In “Noah: The Real Story,” Stone points out some of the material from Aronofsky’s movie adaptation of “Noah” most contradictory to the scriptural account and most likely to offend Christian viewers.

“The world of Aronofsky’s Noah is a bleak one,” Stone writes. “Noah decides the only reason God preserved him and his family is to make sure the animals on the Ark return to the earth safely. If mankind disappeared, ‘it would be a better world.’ His family should have no more births so that humans will eventually die out and then ‘the creatures of the earth, the world itself, shall be safe.’ But one of his daughters-in-law is pregnant. If it is a boy, Noah will let it live; but if it is a girl, it will be killed. The woman gives birth to twin girls and Noah sets out to kill them both while the animals on the Ark help pin down his family. But he’s too weak to carry out his task. ‘I can’t do it,’ he says to himself and to God. ‘I am sorry.'”

Scene from screenplay of "Noah"

Brian Godawa is the screenwriter for the award-winning feature film, “To End All Wars,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, and author of “Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment.”

In an October 2012 blog post, Godawa explains why the near murders upon the Ark in Aronofsky’s “Noah” are such an affront to the Jewish and Christian faiths:

“The movie script for ‘Noah’ is deeply anti-biblical in its moral vision,” Godawa writes. “While the Bible commands mankind to ‘work and keep’ the garden of earth as its stewards, the sin that brought about the judgment of the Flood was not violence against the environment as depicted in the script; it was violence against God and his image in man. That’s no minor difference.

“Also, at the end, when psycho Noah realizes that he cannot kill the baby girl to stop the human race, the reason is not because he realized he was too extreme against humans, but because he was too weak to follow through with God’s commands and his ‘higher cause’ of genocide,” Godawa continues. “This Humanistic worldview certainly tugs at the heartstrings of our hubris. Man’s weakness of compassion makes him superior to God.

“Most of the last half of the script is a family killer thriller like ‘Sleeping With the Enemy,’ that asks the dark dramatic movie question, ‘Will Noah kill the child if it is a girl or not?’ Ancient sex-selection infanticide,” Godawa writes. “But in the end, he fails. … He is just too compassionate to carry out God’s cruel plan. Noah is more loving than God.”

Stone insists there’s a greater and truer lesson behind the biblical account of Noah that Aronofsky’s version of the tale misses completely.

“When Noah was warned of disaster, God told him how to survive the Great Flood,” Stone writes in “Noah: The Real Story.” “What can we do now to survive the end of the world? How can we taken action to save people, save plants, and save animals?

“Noah’s secret on how to survive the end of the world is to watch, be ready, and choose now which side you are on … who you will believe and serve,” Stone writes.

He quotes Christian author C.S. Lewis, who wrote, “God will invade … When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right, but … this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature.

“It will be too late then to choose your side … It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.”

See the trailer for Stone’s “Noah: The Real Story” below:

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