This blog is supposed to be presenting issues and using Biblical discernment to see whether they are good or not. Unfortunately, I just haven’t do that too often, but thought this might be a good time. When we were flying home, I ended up holding a slumbering infant on my lap while Leah slept, so the only thing for me to do was to watch the inflight movie, which happened to be “Evan Almighty”. For those of you who don’t know, it is a sequal of “Bruce Almighty”, but with a different main character and situation. Thought I did not see the first movie with Jim Carrey playing the main role, my understanding is that the sequal is more geared towards families than the first.
The main premise is that God appears to Evan Baxter, a former newscaster, now elected to Congress. He moves his family to D.C., and soon God appears to him and tells him to build an ark. Baxter fights God’s command, but soon realizes he doesn’t really have a choice. He eventually wins over his family, and builds the ark despite an absence of support from the community and the threat of losing his job. Mixed in is a lot of humor focused on Baxter’s appearance morphing into what they presume Noah would have looked like as well as plenty of animal humor.
When I first saw this movie coming out, something inside of me asked why most Christians had no problem with a movie where they had God being played by Morgan Freeman. I just didn’t think that God was particularly honored by being portrayed like this. It isn’t even like he was a disrespectful figure, but it still did not take the holiness and righteousness of God seriously, but rather perpuated an idea that God wants to be your buddy.
Interestingly, the only people who were really upset as God being portrayed like this was mostly the Islamic crowds in other parts of the world. Doesn’t really surprise me that not many Evangelicals in the US were even asking the question of whether this is acceptable. My view of God is too big for this to be ok in my view. I still am pretty uncomfortable with such a relaxed picture of God, but I also had a few other concerns about the movie:
1. It seemed to basically not get the idea of the Biblical account of the flood. The point of the flood was that Creation had reached such a sinful climax that God decided to destroy it and preserve Noah and his family. The nations had become such an insult to God that they were condemned and destroyed. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, it is basically about a Congressman who is responsible for destroying a pristeen landscape so he could make money on building developments. So much for focusing on real sin issues. This has become Al Gore’s idea of sin issues.
2. Another thing that bugged me was how Evan Baxter was obviously not a believer. He did not pretend to have a relationship with God, and this is demonstrated in the fact that he didn’t know how to pray to God and didn’t see the need to include God in what he was doing in his life. Then in a dialogue, God tells Baxter that “Whatever I do to you, it is because I love you.” This sent shrills up my spine, and continues to perpetuate that God is just the big brother in Heaven who loves anyone, despite their feelings about Him.
3. I was waiting to see what would happen to the people who mocked Baxter throughout the family, then was disappointed to see that they made it on the Ark. So much for following the original story. Imagine being Noah, and seeing people cry out to be saved and then watching them drown. I guess that’d be too harsh for a family movie.
4. God didn’t close the door to the Ark. This may seem like a small detail, but it was God who shut the door, not Noah.
5. The movie was full of seeming contradictions and unanswered questions that beg to be asked. In the end of the movie, the whole development is destroyed, as well as a lot of damage brought to D.C. through the collapsing of a damn. They basically ignore the question of what happened to all of the families in the homes that were destroyed. Were they killed because God was trying to teach a money hungry politician a lesson? The movie ends with the Baxter family going on a hike. Did they forget that their house was destroyed in the flood. The movie doesn’t answer or attempt to answer how God gets people through the tough times.
This may seem like nit picking, but our country is full of people who are ‘good intentioned’, but have no idea what it means to actually live for God in all circumstances. It was all about doing small things to help out your community, and then everything will work out. It is shallow to just leave it at “God does good for those that he loves” and then show a Hollywood ending. That’s not life.
6. It was obviously not a global flood, just a local flood. So depending on your view, that may be a good thing for you.
7. The thing that is most disturbing is that this had just enough of the shallow “christianese” that plagues our country that it was widely accepted by mainline Christianity. Check out the review on Christianity Today. I wasn’t expecting to read that. There was just enough in there for people to not ask the questions that need to asked. Was God honored by this. I doubt it. This begs a larger discussion, that maybe I can talk about soon:
Is God either honored or dishonored, or is there a ‘neutral middle ground’.