The problem with biblical motion pictures is that they often begin to take precedence over the text they assume to portray. The reviews that I have browsed already tell me enough to know that parts of “Noah” are not part of the biblical text.
The harsh reality of Genesis 6 through 10 is that while God has created the world in love and to be in relationship with him, that has not happened. I turned to Walter Brueggemann’s commentary on Genesis to refresh my reading of Noah.
God’s creation has not honored the Creator. As Paul writes in Romans 1:25, “creation has exchanged the truth about God for a lie, worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.”
We read in Genesis 6:6 that God is sorry and his heart is grieved. Pay attention to the heart of God in the event.
"What we find there is not an angry tyrant, but a troubled parent who grieves over the alienation. He is growingly aware that the ‘imagination of the thoughts’ of the human heart are unrelievedly hostile (v.5). The conjuring, day dreams, and self-perceptions of the world are all tilted against God’s purpose. God is aware that something is deeply amiss in creation, so that God’s own dream has no prospect of fulfillment. With that perverted imagination, God’s world has begun to conjure its own future quite apart from the future willed by God.
"…v. 6 shows us the deep pathos of God. God is not angered but grieved. he is not enraged but saddened…The evil heart of humankind (v.5) troubles the heart of God (v.6).”
"But a close reading indicates that it is the heart and person of god which are placed in crisis. The crisis is not the much water, which now has become only a dramatic setting Rather, the crisis comes because of the resistant character of the world which evokes hurt and grief in the heart of God."
But of course, God is held responsible for the destruction because we assume it is undeserved and out of proportion. Our judgment of God comes from our subjective assumptions that our sense of morality and measurement of what is right and wrong is sound. Just as I see the depth of human sin in the cross of the Son of God, so we see the depth of the depravity of Noah’s time in the flood. The same God who is accused of being too wrathful and angry by those convinced of the rightness of their own cause and insight, is the same God who gives his only Son even for those who could care less about him.
It is somewhat ironic that the same person who has trouble with the judgment of God is the same person who judges God.
What holiness requires that earth be flooded in order to cleanse all that will not honor and love God? And we get the impression this wasn’t just a few people smoking and drinking out behind the gym. I read the Noah story and I need to ask “what kind of God is this?” Which is to ask, who he is really? What are his standards? How has he made this world? Is he really this jealous for our love and devotion?
When the waters clear nothing has changed. The human heart is still evil. We have a few examples of that still with us today, wouldn’t you say? It is the Lord who commits himself to the world by saying “never again.” It will cost God. God will have to live with a rebellious human race. He still is.
Who really suffers here?