The True Story of Noah
Produced by Cheryl Wilcox
Interview by Scott Ross
The 700 Club
Noah’s wife, Emzara, asked, “Noah, what did He (God) say?”
Noah replied, “He’s going to destroy the world”
Last weekend the story of Noah and the Ark made another epic passage from the pages of the Bible and history to Hollywood’s big screen. Director Darren Aronofsky’s crew and all-star cast convincingly recreated the world of Noah’s time. The film’s creators acknowledge they took artistic license with the biblical narrative; a process they didn’t take lightly.
Ari Handel, co-screenwriter and executive producer of Noah, related, “We had to try and figure out how to tell the story and be faithful to what is in the Bible explicitly and then figure out how to address all those tantalizing questions.”
In fact, several well-known evangelical leaders have endorsed Aronofsky’s film. They say, overall, the movie reflects the themes of justice and mercy found in scripture.
CBN’s Scott Ross recently spoke with Larry Stone, author of Noah: The Real Story, who shared some insights on the film and the Genesis account.
Larry Stone: The Bible, it says that God destroyed the world because of the evil of mankind. The movie tends to define that evil as environmental destruction. So Noah is, according to Aronofsky, the first environmentalist. Now, I don’t think that we should get all bent out of shape because it doesn’t follow the Bible closely.
Scott Ross: Ok, in the spirit of artistic interpretation, that seems fair. Aronofsky’s deserves credit where his pre flood world and Genesis agree. It was violent.
Larry Stone: One translation said evil. Evil, evil, men and women thought nothing but evil, morning, noon, and night and God repented that He had made man and said, ‘I’m going to destroy the evil that I see on the earth.’ And Noah was a righteous man, and God said, ‘build an Ark for the saving of your family.’
Using a set and digital imaging, the filmmakers created an Ark with the same dimensions found in the Bible.”
Larry Stone: The Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 feet high. It was one and a half time the length of a football field; half as wide. The largest wooden ships ever made were probably the Chinese treasure ships back in the 1400’s. And these were as long as the Ark and slightly wider. And there are records of them traveling all over the Far East.
Scott Ross: How long did it take Noah to build it?
Larry Stone: 60-80 years.
Scott Ross: Did he have help?
Larry Stone: The Bible doesn’t say. Undoubtedly Ham, Shem, and Japheth, his sons, helped. But he could probably have employed others to help too.
Scott Ross: What did they know about technology then? Saws, hammer, nails, how was it actually assembled?
Larry Stone: We tend to think that people back in the ancient times didn’t have the ability to do the things we did; but look at the pyramids. So they certainly had some technology. People always ask, ‘How did Noah get the animals?’ As I said, the Bible simply says, ‘God brought them.’
Scott Ross: How many animals approximately were in the Ark? Is there any way of estimating that?
Larry Stone: There is. The key there is ‘after their kind’. Does kind mean species? Well, there’s between 3 and 30 million species or does ‘kind’ mean ‘family’? So did Noah have to take a dachshund and a schnauzer and a wolf? Or did he have to take two animals representing the dog/wolf family. Generally speaking, the most he would have had to have on the Ark is 16,000 animals, which is a lot, but they could have fit.
Larry Stone: There are over 300 flood stories around the world. All over the world, from Australia to India to Greece, to South America, to North America. Is it because they borrowed from one another? Some people say the Noah story borrowed from the Gilgamesh epic. Or perhaps these stories are all collective memory of one great worldwide flood.
Scott Ross: Now people are going to say you talk about God being love.
Larry Stone: Yes.
Scott Ross: How does that equate with a God who said, ‘I’m going to destroy every man, woman, child, animal on this planet?’
Larry Stone: “Because I think that we tend today to attribute to God only the attribute of love. And don’t realize that God is holy and cannot countenance sin. So that the evil in us is repugnant to God; even though he loves us.
Scott Ross: Now, God made a covenant with Noah then and said he would never again destroy the world with water.
Larry Stone: Right. Just as the Ark saved Noah and his family and certain animals, at that time, the cross of Jesus Christ is what saves us today. The only solution to our evil is the person of Jesus Christ. That’s why He came the first time to die.
Scott Ross: He’s the Ark.
Larry Stone: He’s the Ark, Yes.
Scott Ross: While the Bible doesn’t say how Noah’s family survived a year adrift, the ‘box office’ Noah saw plenty of drama.
Larry Stone: Another problem that Aronofsky had is that the movie has to have a dramatic tension. And I’m sorry, when you get Noah and his family on the boat and sitting for a year, there’s not a lot of dramatic tension in the Bible. So one of the things that happens, and I found this very interesting, is that Noah sees the people outside the Ark as being evil. And they are. These are the ones that God is going to destroy. But it’s a very strong line of dramatic tension as Noah wrestles with his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of mankind that’s not just outside the Ark, but in the Ark as well.
Larry Stone: There’s no question that Noah, starring Russell Crowe, is going to be a great adventure film. But there’s much in it that is not from the Bible.
Scott Ross: Which will provoke discussion.
Larry Stone: Yes. And so yes, I would recommend—if you’re going to go see it, I think the way to do it is, what some people in my church are doing, we’re going as a group. Some of the questions we can ask and discuss are, ‘Noah saw the people outside the Ark as evil, and then realized that the evil was inside the Ark as well. What does that mean for us in the church?’
Have that conversation whether you see the movie or not.
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