This is a copy of my article for the MAY 2014 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’

The End Of The World … Is Just The Beginning

So says the poster for the Hollywood Blockbuster starring Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe in this film inspired by the Biblical story of courage, sacrifice and hope.

It probably comes as a surprise to many to learn that the Bible isn’t the only religious book that records the flood.  Most cultures have traditions about a worldwide flood that swept the earth. In fact, there are 270 different flood traditions firmly established in many ancient cultures, stories from Babylon, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Syria, Italy, Scandinavia, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia and Polynesia, to name a few. Isn’t it a remarkable coincidence that many of these places, long before the Bible was even compiled, had stories of a huge flood and some kind of saving Ark?

Noah is directed by the visionary filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and, even though it plays loosely with the story we read in the Old Testament book of Genesis chapters 6 to 9, it raises genuine questions of faith and doubt, righteousness and wickedness, judgement and mercy, and the relationship between humanity, the world and God. It is a great film, I saw it a few weeks ago, and it is well worth going to see. If you do, or have been, might I suggest there are five ways you can watch the film:

Aesthetically: View the film as a piece of art, looking at different aspects of the film-making, such as storyline, scripting, characterisation, cinematography, editing, music and design.

Emotionally: Consider the impact of the film and how it makes you feel, and what it causes you to think about.

Intellectually: Think through some of the ideas explored in the film, such as beliefs, values and attitudes about subjects such as reality, humanity, knowledge, wisdom and the deep desires and longings of the human heart.

Morally: Reflect on the morals expressed and explored in the film and the way in which the film advocates and/or critiques different values – either directly through the storyline and characterisation or indirectly through the moral implications of the ideas it explores.

Spiritually: Bring together all of these to consider the impact of the film on your beliefs, attitudes and actions.

It would be fair to say that Noah touched me on all of the above.  It is, as I said earlier, a great film. However, it reminded me, quite strongly, that whilst God has a plan for the way that we should live, the ‘Ten Commandments’ or the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ are just two examples, each of us have been given the freedom of choice to accept or reject his love which was shown to us, as I suggested in the April/Easter edition, in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What might you choose?