Having now seen the Noah film I can report that the account portrayed is Biblical in heart but not Biblical in the sense of the letter or literal to the recorded account we have in our ‘canon’ today. Great themes run through-out the film of faith, hope, redemption, life overcoming barrenness, obedience etc. But then you have the rock monsters that are fallen angels who came out of heaven to help the banished fallen man rediscover the Creator. Creatures that show more grace and are prepared to risk their position in heaven than maybe the Creator himself. This is an interesting talking point in itself. A stowaway on the ark, no wives for two of the sons, the seeming death of innocent people through the flood, and much more that is added either from other traditions and sources or for dramatic purposes. I still have an issue with the whole judgement of the whole mankind thing from a God I have come to know as grace and love. But that is another ongoing story and thought process in my life. What I am contemplating today is what makes our story of Noah more creditable than anyone else’s story of Noah? I know the good evangelical answer to that, it is as recorded in the Word of God, only the Bible is God breathed, the writers of the Scriptures wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the whole canon of Scripture is the Holy infallible Word of God. Maybe I am on a downward spiral of faith or maybe I am on an upward journey of finding faith, that is for you to decide, but I am finding personally a richness of faith in seeing things through fresh eyes and not the blinkers that were provided for me over all those years. I still see the Bible as a special book of incredible revelation and will, if ever given opportunity, share from it, but on this personal journey through this blog and amongst friends I think it is time for honest, brave discussion and thought processes.
I love the stories and legends surrounding King Arthur and his knights. In recent times we have had a television series portraying Arthur and Merlin as young boys/young men. We have had TV dramas, films and books including the great science fiction writer Stephen Lawhead. All of these adaptations bring a different flavour to the ongoing legend that surrounds King Arthur. What we have found over the years is that the fact gets swallowed up with the exaggerated stories of what went on in the courts and the with the round table. Stories of defeating fire breathing dragons, romance with a common woman, Merlin who is a wizard, great battles that have been won etc. Inside all legends will be an element of truth but as is the case with most heroes legends build themselves around the core of truth that there is until we get to a place where there is no dividing line. Out of all these writers of drama and story who has the most creditable story? Probably the one that resonates most with us or the one we were brought up hearing. I think we find a similar scenario with the account of the Flood and Noah. No one who was there in person wrote this story or recorded it so what we have is the account that was passed down through oral tradition over many centuries. And even after a couple of generations I would say the account takes on almost legendary status. Also added into this mix is a theology of an angry God who wants to punish people and does so through natural phenomena, hence when a flood occurs and people die it must be God not pleased with something. All of this mixed in together makes an incredibly exciting story to tell the children and the grand-children, just like the stories of King Arthur or Robin Hood or a family member involved in the war. Over the centuries what really happens gets mixed with legend and belief systems and it builds an altogether different story to the one that really took place. But what about inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Unless they had encounters with God that we are unable to have and recorded stuff from a personal audience with God Himself then what we have is oral tradition mixed with legend mixed with belief system mixed with the Holy Spirit, and what comes out is a mix of what makes the person who he or she is and God speaking to them. In other words the Bible is special as a book, it is God breathed, it is inspired and contains the Word of the Lord, but it is also the record of the legends of God passed down from generation to generation to generation. The legends of God alongside the legends of some amazing people who were trying to work out God for themselves in their own lives.
Truth in Part.
We all only know truth in part. Drawing the parts together brings a bigger picture of what could have actually happened. That is why I am not prepared to write off any of the events seen in the Noah film drawn from a variety of sources. As believers we should really be amazed and in awe that a self confessed atheist could make such a faith filled film. In a way totally dismissing the notion of being an atheist at all as God infuses all things. Rock creatures are not named in our account of the Noah story but other accounts and traditions talk of such beings, the Watchers. They are mentioned in the Book of Enoch. That book never made our canon but does that make that legend any less usable to help build the legend of Noah? Is it any less feasible? Did the writer of the Book of Enoch write his account any differently than the writer and recorder of the book of Genesis? Was there more holy breath on one than on the other? The Book of Enoch is quoted in the book of Jude in the canon. One in, one out. The in one quotes the out one. But because it is out the stories are less feasible than the one’s in. Who decided? Man? By inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are back to that old chestnut again. Infallible men? With a different Holy Spirit? Huge questions. There was a time I would have rode the hobby horse proudly about things not being Biblical but I am getting to a stage where I am learning to appreciate the nuances and contradictions. I am also learning to appreciate that other legends may in fact contain an element of truth about the God I love and serve. Legends of God passed down over centuries will be so full of added adventure that I just want to find the truth embedded within. Truth goes beyond being factual. Faith is stuff of heart and story not head and intellect. God is a legend. But within the legend is the truth that I hold dear to. The books and the Book reveal Him but He is not contained therein. He is bigger than any legend about Him could possibly portray. I still love the Book, but I love the revealed God more than the Book. And I am so glad that His stories will be told forever more in one form or another. A true Legend passed on.