Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH would seem to be filled with Christian and biblical themes seeing as how the story is found in chapter 6 of the very first book of the Bible. But since it turned out to be such a radically different tale than the one found in Genesis, is it still useful for sharing the Gospel of Jesus with unbelieving friends and loved-ones? Yes! And we’ll give you a couple tools from the the film for just that purpose.
How To Best Understand Darren Aronofsky’s Noah
To preface any discussion on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, it is best to understand the angle from which its writers and director are telling the story. Ari Handel along with Aronofsky crafted the script in accordance with the Jewish exegetical tradition known as midrash, a form of scriptural interpretation meant to “search out” and “dig for meaning” from the original narrative via imaginative subplots and hypothetical situations. In other words, it’s creating a folktale in order to better understand history more deeply.
This is what Aronofsky and Handel were trying to accomplish in this creative retelling of the story of Noah. Despite his self-professed atheism, Aronofsky admires the biblical Noah and has always wanted to share that story in a refreshing way (even if alarmingly so) that was devoid of the common pretense associated with it.
Noah Or Gnoah?
That being said, many contrasts exist between the Noah of reality and the Noah of the film, which we like to call Gnoah. Noah directly communicated and even walked with God while Gnoah had to listen at a distance. Noah always did as the Lord commanded him, but Gnoah got ahead of God – thinking He said something when He didn’t – so much so that he wanted to kill his newborn granddaughters. Noah built the ark with his own hands, while Gnoah needed the Watchers to help him and his family to build it.
The rest of the story really spirals out of control thanks to the gratuitous drama, but the skeleton of the real story is still there. The theme of death bringing about new life permeates almost every scenario played out, from the flower that Ham picks and then regrows almost immediately to Methuselah’s blessing of fertility that he bestows upon the barren Ila.
This theme is capstoned with the flood itself – a flood that will destroy the world only to bring on new life afterward. It’s a flood that “separates the foul from the pure, the wicked from the innocent, that which sinks from that which rises,” says Gnoah. “It destroys all, but only to start again.” Such is the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the salvation that is offered through baptism – which is really what the flood is: a type and shadow of baptism – which too is a type and shadow of dying to our own sins and being raised with Jesus in newness of life.
And isn’t that what the real Noah is all about anyway?
Christian Themes In Darren Aronofsky’s Noah Movie
In Finding Christ In Cinema we dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. We take a closer look at the stories they tell and see if we find the face of Jesus looking back. Together we explore the deeper meanings of these films; their plots and their twists; the characters and their choices; and see how we can relate them to the gospel of salvation and ultimately our Christian walk.
For complete show notes and other episodes of FCC visit the Finding Christ In Cinema website.
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QUESTION: What Christian themes did you find in NOAH? Let us know below.