Reading Time: 3 minutes

Russell Crowe is the new Noah

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

facebook twitter instagram

Russell Crowe stars as the titular Noah. The film, being shot in Iceland and New York, is due in theaters in 2014 (Credit: Paramount Pictures/Niko Tavernise)

Noah will be in theaters March 28, 2014.  Here’s what we know so far: Russell Crowe is Noah; Anthony Hopkins is Methuselah; Jennifer Connelly is Noah’s wife, Naameh.  Emma Watson plays his adopted daughter, Ila; Ray Winstone is his arch-enemy Tubal-Cain; and Shem and Ham have been cast as well.

This news is both good and bad.  Let’s start with the bad: Hollywood will once again tell an unbiblical story about a biblical hero.

The Bible nowhere names Noah’s wife or gives him an adopted daughter.  Noah’s third son, Japheth (Genesis 5:32), has apparently been left out of the story.  Nor does the Bible say that Noah had an “arch-enemy,” much less his brother (or half-brother) Tubal-Cain (Genesis 4:22; 5:28-29).  We do know that Tubal-Cain “forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:22), so he presumably could have made some serious trouble for Noah.  On the other hand, he could have been a handy helper as well.  And Naamah was Tubal-Cain’s sister, making her Noah’s sister (or half-sister) as well as his “wife.”

Now to the good news: Hollywood will once again tell an unbiblical story about a biblical hero.  While I wish they would get the facts right, at least they’re interested in a critical figure in God’s word.  Joseph, Moses, David and Esther have all had their own feature films as well.  And The Passion of the Christ was a major commercial hit, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time.

A photo of the life-size Noah's Ark being built for Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic movie. The director shared the image with followers on Twitter July 20, 2012 (Credit: Twitter/@DarrenAronofsky)Contrast the continuing popularity of biblical stories in our culture with this fact: the British government declared this week that “Mohammed” is once again the most popular English baby name.  It has come in first or second every year since 2007, the only name to do so.  Britain’s Muslim population is expected to double in the next 20 years.  Already there are four time more Muslims who attend mosque on Friday than Christians who attend worship on Sunday.

We can draw three conclusions.  First, our culture is “ignostic” spiritually—ignorant of biblical truth and more “spiritual” than religious.  Second, we’re running out of time to give God’s word to our nation—what’s happening in Europe will happen here unless we reverse the trends.  Third, there is a God-shaped emptiness in every soul—we somehow know that we need more of God than we have.

Pascal said it best: “What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?  This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”

Has he filled your “empty print and trace” today?