Russell Crowe leads an all-star cast in the big-budget film, "Noah."

Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel did not write the movie “Noah” using the Bible as their text, say Joel McDurmon and Brian Mattson. Instead, the movie is written based on an ancient understanding of the world found in the Jewish mystical tradition of the Kabbalah, which, says Mattson, is “essentially a form of Jewish Gnosticism.”

It’s not easy to explain the Kabbalah and Gnosticism in one paragraph. Gnosticism was a wide variety of beliefs in which the material world was thought to be by nature evil, and salvation was said to come through a higher or spiritual knowledge of the mysteries of the universe.

Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between Ein Sof and the mortal finite universe, according to Wikipedia. It’s not easy to explain in one paragraph … or a dozen, for that matter!

Various Gnostic teachings were condemned by the early church and probably would have died out if not for three recent events … and now a fourth.

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First, in 1945 a library of more than 50 Gnostic texts was found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, and promoted as a new and suppressed look at the life of Christ, a clever marketing twist on the early church’s condemnation of Gnosticism.

Second, in 2003 “The DaVinci Code,” one of the bestselling books of all time, suggested that the Gnostic Gospels had as much – or more – validity as the New Testament. It suggested that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.

Third, in 2006 National Geographic published a lead article on the discovery of a manuscript of the Gospel of Judas, which contains “the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke” with Judas Iscariot. It said that Judas was the disciple who was the closest to Jesus and turned Him over to the authorities because Jesus had asked him to do so.

In spite of the headlines and press releases, there is nothing new about the Gnostic texts. In the second century, Irenaeus called the Gospel of Judas “fictitious history.”

Now we are getting a $130 million picture of the story of Noah seen through Gnostic eyes, say McDurmon, Mattson and others.

One evidence of the Gnostic theme is the movie’s reference to “the Creator.” Most viewers will assume that refers to God. Some will realize the term “Creator” is consistent with the strong environmental theme that runs throughout the movie. But Mattson explains that in Gnosticism, “the Creator of the material world is an ignorant, arrogant, jealous, exclusive, violent, bastard son of a low-level deity. He’s responsible for creating the ‘unspiritual’ world of flesh and matter, and he himself is so ignorant of the spiritual world he fancies himself the ‘only God’ and demands absolute obedience.”

Gnosticism had an influence on some Jewish thinkers and later on some early Christians. It almost died out for 1,500 years. It’s now making a resurgence.

What Eusebius said in the fourth century also applies to the Nag Hammadi library, “The DaVinci Code,” the Gospel of Judas and now “Noah”: ‘[The] thought and purport of their contents are completely out of harmony with true orthodoxy and clearly show themselves that they are the forgeries of heretics … to be cast aside as altogether absurd and impious.”

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