Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Was Noah the first environmentalist?

with 2 comments

Darren Aronofsky, director of “The Fountain,” “Pi,” and “Requiem for a Dream” recently sat down with Peter Sciretta of and spoke about some of his upcoming film projects. One of his future movies is a “religious film” dealing with the biblical character of Noah. Here is part of the interview:

Peter Sciretta: The only thing I wanted to ask you about is when you were in San Francisco with The Fountain, you told me about your next project, which is going to be a religious film…

Darren Aronofsky: That was Noah.

Peter Sciretta: Yes, Noah, what’s happening with that?

Darren Aronofsky: We have an amazing screenplay.

Peter Sciretta: Who wrote it?

Darren Aronofsky: I wrote it. Me and Ari Handel, the guy who worked on The Fountain. It’s a great script and it’s HUGE. And we’re starting to feel out talent. And then we’ll probably try and set it up…

Peter Sciretta: So this isn’t something you can make for six million dollars?

Darren Aronofsky: No, this is big, I mean, Look…it’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it.

Peter Sciretta: You would hope so?

Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, I would hope so. It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it. Oh that’s right I forgot I told you that whole religious thing.

It is interesting to see how our culture views biblical stories – outside the metanarrative of Scripture and inside their personal worldview. For Aronofsky, the flood narrative of Genesis 6-9 is about an environmental apocalypse, with its main character being the Al Gore of the ancient Near East. For Christians, the story is much bigger. A few things struck me as I read this interview: 1) Noah’s story is the biggest theme going on in the planet. 2) Noah’s story does connect with us. Not only are we all longing for a savior (just look at all the superhero movies that have been made in the last 5 years), the whole creation is groaning inwardly, eagerly awaiting the redemption of sons (Rom. 8:18-25). 3) Noah’s ark is much more famous than the Titanic. 4) Noah’s story is very timely.

Noah was no environmentalist or weatherman. Noah was a savior. More to the point, Noah was typological of the coming Savior who not only saves people from judgment, but also saves them from their sins. In return, those who are united to him receive life. Noah’s story is about the flood, yes, but what Aronofsky doesn’t realize is that Noah’s story is about Jesus. Unlike Noah, Jesus was (is!) an environmentalist – he walks on water (Matt. 14:22-33) and the winds cease at the sound of his voice (Matt. 8:23-27). Like Noah, Jesus ushers in a new creation as the last Adam (Rom. 5:14). Yet while Noah preaches the gospel by calling the people to turn from their wickedness and enter into the salvation that God provided, Jesus is the salvation. Jesus is the gospel.

If “Noah: The Movie” is ever made I will probably see it. But Hollywood will never get it right. The flood narrative is not the end of the story. It only points to the one through whom all men will be reconciled.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” – Hebrews 11:7


Written by Josh Philpot

April 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

2 Responses

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  1. I find Aronofsky’s comments to border on the hilarious. Environmentalism is the new old religion (a new form of paganism). They have prophets (Al Gore, the UN, Steve Jobs, Google, et al.). They have their divine sacrifices (taking recyclables to the end of the driveway and bowing down to place them there), and they have divine retribution if they disobey (THE SUN! HAVE MERCY, IT IS BURNING US ALL! I’M MELTING! I’M MELTING!!!).
    I am 100% FOR being stewards of our planet, don’t get me wrong. However, the only evidence for an environmental catastrophe is based solely on computer modelling – and you know that I know how easy it is to screw up a computer.
    In addition, from a logical, secular perspective, why should we care? We are where we are due to our higher evolutionary status. It’s survival of the fittest, and if other species can’t adapt, then that is not our fault…I’m being sarcastic, of course.
    The other interesting parallel from your response is that Aronofsky unknowningly brings something else to light: that in the last days it shall be as the days of Noah. Of course he didn’t mean it that way, but that doesn’t negate the truth of Luke 17. I recently read that my generation will have an average lifespan of 120 years…I believe God mentioned in the Genesis account of Noah something about our days being 120 years…

    Brother BILL

    April 8, 2009 at 2:36 am

  2. Great response! I agree with your comments about environmentalism being the new fad/religion of our day. Indeed, it’s idolatry! But this is no “new” thing. The Israelites and their neighbors were consumed with the weather, probably more so than we are. It just looks different today. In the end people are still trying to predict the future (which only God can do) and are still longing for a savior (whom God has provided).

    Josh Philpot

    April 8, 2009 at 3:27 am

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