Was Noah a violent, murderous environmentalist who experienced an anthropogenic apocalypse? Did God hate humans because they destroyed His earth?
Not according to the Bible.
The movie Noah changes a story of love and redemption into an environmentalist propaganda piece about humans destroying the earth, and a call for human extinction.
Brian Godawa, who read the original script, reports that in it the earth became a desert with no rain because of human actions like hunting animals for food and sport. Never mind that the Bible says there was no rain because a mist rose from the ground (Genesis 2:6)—i.e., humidity and water vapor in the pre-flood world made rain unnecessary.
The Noah of the Bible is “…a righteous man, blameless in his generation.” The Noah of the movie script, as Godawa reports, is a shaman who avoids other people and “maintains an animal hospital to take care of wounded animals or those who survive the evil ‘poachers,’… Noah is the Mother Teresa of animals.”
Godawa makes the movie’s message clear:
Noah has himself become a bit psychotic, like an environmentalist or animal rights activist who concludes that people do not deserve to survive because of what they’ve done to the environment and to animals. Noah deduces that God’s only reason for his family on the boat is to shepherd the animals to safety, ‘and then mankind disappears. It would be a better world.’ He concludes that there will be no more births in this family so that when they start over in the new world, they will eventually die out, leaving the animals in a humanless paradise of ecoharmony and peace. As Noah says, ‘The creatures of the earth, the world itself, shall be safe.’
Darren Aronofsky missed two key parts of the Biblical story when he decided to create this movie based on the worldview of radical environmentalists.
First, God put man over the earth to steward it. Genesis 1:26–28 states:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God gave man dominion, which means that, in order of importance among creatures, man comes first. Environmentalists, of course, don’t agree. Godawa pointed out that the ethic behind Noah’s belief that his family should not procreate was “The same as all environmentalist activists: The ends justify the means. ‘We must weigh those [human] lives against all creation.’” Environmentalists like Aronofsky believe that man only damages the earth, but we know better.
Humanity being made in the image of God has the ability to innovate and create. When God gave man dominion over the earth, it was because under the stewardship of man the earth is more productive.
Second, Noah the movie is a story of death and destruction rooted in evil. The Biblical story of Noah is one of both just judgment and gracious redemption.
Genesis 6:7–8 states, “So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
God the Creator was justly angry that the people, made in His image, were evil and no longer worshipped Him. But God had grace on Noah. This doesn’t mean Noah was without sin, but it does mean he had faith. As Genesis 6:9 states, “Noah walked with God.” God, through His mercy, saved Noah and his family, and thus the human race as well as the remainder of the animals.
This is one of the many amazing stories that show God’s awesome plan. God did not use the righteousness of Noah solely to save the human race and the animals from the flood. He used it in His plan for the ultimate redemption of creation through Jesus Christ.
In Far As The Curse Is Found: The Covenant Story Of Redemption, Michael D. Williams points out that the story of Noah is another example of God’s overarching redemptive story, and His covenant with man. God in His providence saved Noah to create the line that would lead to Christ. People, fallen and sinful, did not know, or care, that they needed redemption, but God cared, and He saved Noah and ultimately the rest of His creation. He covenanted with Noah and all of the earth never to destroy it again with water.
Williams contends, “the inclusion of the animals and the very earth within the covenant emphasizes that the scope of God’s redemptive program is as wide as his creational work.” God “also reaffirms man’s covenant place within creation, in phrases intentionally reminiscent of God’s commission of Adam as a covenant representative.”
Genesis 9:1–7 states:
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
The command God gave to Adam He repeated to Noah. The story of Noah is not the environmentalist story of destruction, it is a story of grace—God’s grace given to a fallen creation that will ultimately lead to redemption.