The Noah Movie: How To Watch It with Wisdom and Discernment

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In my last post, I addressed the issue of concern that some religious believers have about whether or not to see the new movie Noah by atheist director Darren Aronofsky. I explained that there was merit in both arguments to see or not to see the movie. I concluded that if you were not sure whether you wanted to see it or not, I will be blogging my own analysis of the movie after it opens on March 28. Or you can read other reviewers you respect before you make your decision.

I’m the Hollywood screenwriter and novelist who wrote the blog analyzing an early script of Noah that went viral. It was quoted by all the news outlets, mostly for its negative comments while ignoring the positive ones.

Why did I do it? Because I LOVE movies, and I see their potential for both good and bad influence on our cultural values. That’s why I wrote Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films With Wisdom and Discernment. To help people decide for themselves what values and meanings they are ingesting in their media consumption.

But I’ve also studied the story of Noah for many years, wrote an Amazon category bestselling novel called Noah Primeval, and set up a website, www.noahprimeval.com for all things Noah. My fans want to know about these things, and so do I.

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Things To Look For

Most movies are a mixture of good and bad. But discerning that difference can be difficult without a more informed approach to understanding how storytelling and film embodies worldviews and meaning. So, if you’ve decided to watch the movie, I wanted to offer up some ideas to keep in the forefront of your mind as you watch. These will help you understand and appreciate what you like about the movie and be able to discern what you may not like about it for your discussion with others.

Have Some Tolerance For Creative License And Fantasy In The Story

Some hyper-literalists are already complaining that the movie doesn’t follow the details of the Bible. But some of those details are either not relevant or subject to differing interpretation. So chill out.

Take for instance, one example some have talked about. The Bible says that “eight persons were brought safely through water” (1 Peter 3:20). That is, Noah, his wife and three sons, and their three wives. But some hyper-literalists have yelped that in the movie, only six people are in Noah’s family on the ark. Two wives are missing.

The problem with this criticism is its lack of imagination. We find out that one of the daughters is pregnant with twins, which will be the two wives of the other two sons. So, if you are a Pro-Life Christian, then you have to acknowledge that that is technically the eight persons on board, including the four wives. Unless you want to deny the humanity and personhood of the unborn.

Watch The Hero’s Character Arc (not Ark)

The details that really do matter are the ones that reflect the meaning or worldview of the story. And those can be found in paying close attention to the hero’s journey. In storytelling, the hero’s journey is the incarnation of the meaning of the story.

The hero starts out as someone we root for and so we learn to see the world through his eyes by our identifying in sympathy with him. But the hero has an inner flaw, something wrong about the way he sees the world. This flaw results in him making some bad choices. So even though he is sympathetic, we still see he has a goal that he pursues for flawed reasons. As he pursues that goal, he is blocked by obstacle after obstacle, including the villain, that thwarts him at every turn.

The story builds until the point where the hero appears that he will never achieve his goal. When all hope is lost, he faces the truth about himself and gains the inner understanding of his flaw that allows him to achieve what he really needs instead of what he wants. He then embraces this truth, changes and finds the strength to do the right thing at the end. This is the redemption of the hero.

What Is The Hero’s Character Arc In Noah?

Noah was a righteous man of faith. But he was not sinless like Jesus Christ. Noah was a sinner, and therefore had character flaws. The Bible reveals Noah’s drunkenness after the Flood for instance (Genesis 9:21).

So look for Noah’s character flaw in the story and you will understand the meaning that the storyteller is conveying through the hero’s discovery of that flaw. What Noah learns by the end of the film is the moral premise of the story.

How does Noah see the world in the beginning of the story?
As the story moves, what is apparently wrong about the way that Noah sees the world?
What is the villain’s motivation for fighting Noah? This will be the worldview that the storyteller is trying to criticize as wrong or evil.
What is the catalyst that helps Noah to see he is wrong near the end of the story?
How does he change his view about the world or himself and why?
What does he do differently at the end to show a changed life?

The problem with some movies is how dark and unsympathetic the heroes can be. Ask yourself is Noah’s flaw too extreme? Does it make him unsympathetic to you? Why or why not?

That is how the storyteller influences us to see the world through the eyes of the hero with whom we sympathize or identify with.

Bonus Questions About God

God is a tough character to depict in film. Too direct and it seems cheesy, too indirect and it seems like God could be the delusions or dreams of a religious nut.

How is God depicted in the movie?
Does he have a real presence or is he depicted more as a belief that could be explained as self-made dreams or delusions?
Why is God ultimately judging the world? Many sins will surely be depicted, but is man’s sin against God the primary reason or is it man’s “misuse” of the environment?
Since Aronofsky is an atheist and does not believe man is created in God’s image, but rather that God is created in man’s image, how do you think that worldview informs his take on the sacred story of Noah?

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Brian Godawa. Hollywood screenwriter and author of the Amazon bestselling novel, Noah Primeval, a Biblical fantasy with creative license that retells the Noah story without a modern secular or environmentalist agenda.

Noah Facts #9: Round 2 – Noah Vs. Gilgamesh Smackdown!

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Noah is a hot topic these days because of the movie with Russell Crowe. Here is some research I’ve done to add to that conversation.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

Down and Dirty Comparison of Genesis with Gilgamesh

In the previous post, I introduced the issue of the Epic of Gilgamesh and it’s parallel with the Noah story in Genesis. Now, let’s take a closer look.

Biblical scholar Gordon Wenham has listed seventeen major correlations between the Genesis Flood and the Gilgamesh Deluge that indicate a strong genetic connection between the two narratives:

1. Divine decision to destroy
2. Warning to flood hero
3. Command to build ark
4. Hero’s obedience
5. Command to enter
6. Entry
7. Closing door
8. Description of flood
9. Destruction of life
10. End of rain, etc.
11. Ark grounding on mountain
12. Hero opens window
13. Birds’ reconnaissance
14. Exit
15. Sacrifice
16. Divine smelling of sacrifice
17. Blessing on flood hero (1)

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These similar details clearly show a common source connection. From where, it is not certain. But Alexander Heidel’s classic The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels has teased out the differences between the two that shed light on their radically divergent meanings regarding the cause of the Flood and the possibility of redemption for humanity. (2)

In Gilgamesh, the gods send the Deluge because of an undefined sin of mankind (Tablet XI:180). Utnapishtim lies to his neighbors about the ark because the gods do not want man to know what they are about to do.

Contrarily, in Genesis, the Flood is very clearly a righteous judgment upon an earth that was “corrupted and filled with violence.” “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

God gives man a “period of grace” of one hundred and twenty years with which to repent and obey God (Gen 6:5-6). Though this purpose is not stated explicitly in Genesis, another passage in the New Testament seems to indicate this notion of God providing such opportunity.

1 Peter 3:19–20
[In the spirit] he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

Surely, there is an assumption, sometimes explicit, but always implicit throughout the Old Testament that if man repents, God will stay his hand of planned judgment.

The ark also provides an example of significant difference between the narratives. The length of Noah’s ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with a displacement of approximately 43,300 tons. It had three levels to contain the animals, that on the surface of the account is structurally feasible.

Utnapishtim’s vessel however, was not so amiable to reality. According to Babylonian measurements, it was supposed to be a square cube of 200 feet on all sides and was divided into seven levels, displacing approximately 228,500 tons, making it a rather questionable sea worthy craft. (3)

In the Biblical story, it is well known that the flood began with rain coming down from the heavens and waters coming up from the deep. The rain storm lasted 40 days and 40 nights, and then after 150 days, the waters began to abate until the earth was dry enough to leave the ark about 360 days or 1 year after the start of the flood.

In the Babylonian versions, the flood storm lasts only 7 days and 7 nights, followed by an unspecified number of days for the waters to dry up before Noah leaves the ark.

Upon leaving the boat, Utnapishtim and Noah both build altars and offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and appeasement unto their gods. But the theological incongruity between the accounts is spelled out in the divine reactions.

In Gilgamesh, “The gods smelled the savour, the gods smelled the sweet savour, the gods gathered like flies around the sacrificer” (Tablet XI:161-163). Of this passage, Andrew George writes,

The simile used to describe the gods’ arrival is famously the image of hungry flies buzzing around a piece of food. This imagery implies a somewhat cynical view of gods, even more disrespectful than the earlier simile likening them to cowering dogs. (4)

Enlil then starts to quarrel with Enki for revealing the secret to Utnapishtim, wherein Enki defends himself with trickery by arguing that he did not reveal it directly to Utnapishtim, but through a dream, thus freeing him from blame.

Contrary to the Babylonian zoomorphic simile of the gods, the Bible engages in anthropomorphism (human-like) in that man is created in the image of God and thus sacrifice is understood in the priestly terms of atonement for sin (Lev. 1:9). God “smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of man (Gen. 8:21).’” Heidel explains

The propitiatory character of the sacrifice is brought out quite clearly in the biblical narrative, where the ascending essence of the burnt-offerings is called a “soothing odor,” or, literally, an “odor of tranquilization.” One purpose of Noah’s sacrifice, as seems to be indicated by what follows, probably was to appease the wrath of God which had been kindled by the sins of mankind and which Noah had just witnessed. But at the same time it was undoubtedly an offering for the expiation of his own sins and those of his family. (5)

Whereas the Babylonian anthropomorphic descriptions of their deities tended to reflect human weaknesses (hunger) and sin (quarreling), the Biblical account depicts the human-like character traits of God in terms of relationship (propitiation and atonement).

In the Babylonian versions, Noah and his wife are blessed with eternal life after Enlil gives in to Enki’s defensive arguments. They are then taken to a distant place, “at the mouth of the rivers,” probably referring to the Persian Gulf, into which the Euphrates and Tigris rivers opened up.

The Biblical version is theologically motivated by God’s covenantal nature. God blesses Noah, and then grants him the original charge given to Adam to multiply and fill the earth, and to exercise dominion over the creatures (Gen 9:1-3). As the flood was a return to the chaos waters before creation, so the world of Noah is a new creation with a new Adam. And God reinforces his value of the created image of God in man, by bringing special attention to capital punishment for murdering man, made in the image of God.

The rainbow becomes God’s covenant promise to stay his hand from Deluge judgment, unlike the Gilgamesh Epic, that has a secondary mother goddess claim that a necklace strung with flies will, “remind her of the hungry gods buzzing around [Utnapishtim’s] sacrifice, and ultimately of her special responsibility to her human children” (6)(Tablet XI:165-169).

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Comparison and Contrast

The value of comparative religion lies in achieving a better understanding of the historical and cultural context of ancient writings like the Bible. Too often, both religious believers and unbelievers approach the text with their own preconceived modern worldview or political agenda that they project upon the text in order to “use” it for their own purposes, positive or negative.

Christians have been guilty of forcing poetic passages into the straightjacket of a hyper-literalistic hermeneutic, or imposing our notions of historical accounting or scientific accuracy upon ancient writers who just did not write with our post-Enlightenment modern scientific or historical worldview.

But it works the other way as well. Modern notions of literary evolution get imposed upon the Bible by detractors who wish to discredit the narrative by reducing it to one of a variety of myths that evolve over time. This modern prejudice also ignores the polemical thrust of much ancient literature that interpreted historical events with divergent meanings, or engaged in retelling narratives through contrary theological lenses. This is not the syncretism of evolutionary plagiarism, but the subversion of worldview polemics.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

FOOTNOTES
1. Gordon J. Wenham, “The Coherence of the Flood Narrative,” Vetus Testamentum 28, no. 3 (1978), p. 346.

2. Alexander Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1946, 1963, p. 230-232.

3. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic, pp. 232-236.

4. .R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts, Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 518.

5. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic, p. 255.

6. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic, pp. 518.

Noah Facts #8: Noah Vs. Gilgamesh Smack Down!

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Noah is a hot topic these days because of the movie with Russell Crowe. Here is some research I’ve done to add to that conversation.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

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Did the Bible Copy the Flood Story from an Ancient Babylonian Epic?

With all the talk about Noah and the Flood, it is inevitable that the old issue would come up about how every culture around the earth has Flood legends. There are even stories like the Akkadian Atrahasis, the Sumerian Ziusudra and the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh that have elements exactly like the Biblical story of Noah.

So, what does all the similarity mean? Did the Bible copy it’s story of Noah from an older myth?

One of the most famous and fascinating myths that find correlations with Noah’s Flood is the Epic of Gilgamesh from Babylonia. Let’s take a look at this epic and see how it compares with the Bible’s story of Noah.

Noah and the Flood in the Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is about an infamous Mesopotamian king, Gilgamesh of Uruk, who was a giant and claimed to be two thirds god, one third human (Sound familiar?). It tells the story of how Gilgamesh hungers for meaning and significance and sets out on a journey to find eternal life.

Perhaps the most important connection that the Epic of Gilgamesh has to the Bible is in the presence of a Noah character and his story of the Great Deluge. At the end of Gilgamesh’s journey he seeks out a man Utnapishtim (our Noah) in a distant land because he’s heard Utnapishtim/Noah survived the Flood.

Gilgamesh figures he might wrest from Utnapishtim his secret of eternal life from the gods. But when he discovers that death is intrinsic to human existence and the special gift will never be granted to another human being, he returns to his beloved city of Uruk and finds his final fame in building the mighty walls and city, which will continue after he is long dead.

Scholars have written endlessly on this topic ever since the first translations of the account were available in the late nineteenth century. A comparison of the two stories yields some significant similarities that indicate a common origin, yet some even more significant differences that indicate divergent meaning.

But what about the Genesis story of Noah’s ark? While it is virtually unanimous among scholars that Genesis was written and edited over time using multiple sources, the more extreme view of this has been adopted by the scholarly establishment that has sought to divide the Old Testament, and in particular the Flood story, into contradictory sources that have been woven together from an older “Yahwist” source and a newer “Priestly” source, all with opposing agendas.

This radical view is falling from favor with the advent of literary and form criticism and because of the complete absence of manuscript evidence to support the remote speculation of such radical redaction. (1) What is coming more to light is the genius of composition that exists in the final canonical literary form that virtually defies categorizing of specific sources.

For example, Gordon Wenham has pointed out the complex literary poetic form of “chiasmus” used in the Flood narrative. Chiasmus is a kind of mirroring literary structure that builds the plot with increasing succession, to the middle of the story, where the thematic message is highlighted, only to conclude the second half of the story in a reflective reversal of the first half.

At the risk of overwhelming the reader, here is the literary structure of the Genesis Flood narrative as detailed by Wenham, emphasizing the superior originality of authorship over alleged source material. (2)

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Early Biblical criticism tried to reduce the Biblical Flood narrative to a derivative of the Babylonian version, but that theory is now thoroughly discredited. (3) Archaeologist P.J. Wiseman uncovered the existence of a “toledoth” formula in the repeated Genesis phrase, “these are the generations of,” that indicates original source material of inscribed clay tablets rather than a hodgepodge of Yahwist, Priestly, and other contrary sources. (4)Whatever narrative congruity exists between the Bible and the Gilgamesh Epic, their genetic ties are not found in being a derivative of one another.

In my novel Gilgamesh Immortal, while I do write of Gilgamesh visiting Noah and his wife on a distant island, and I do have Noah tell Gilgamesh the story of the Flood, just as he does in the Epic of Gilgamesh, I bring a subversive twist to the scenario. The story that Gilgamesh inscribes onto clay and stone is not the one that Noah told him. Why? Because Gilgamesh is not a repentant follower of Noah’s god, Yahweh Elohim, the God of the Bible. So it would make sense that if he rejects the living God, he would reject the living God’s metanarrative and replace it with his own that would exalt himself or his biased religious construction. So the version we read in the Epic of Gilgamesh today is the deliberately fabricated version of a rebel against Yahweh.

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So what is the storyline of the Flood in the original Gilgamesh Epic?

In Tablet XI of the epic poem, Utnapishtim, the Gilgamesh Noah, explains that because of some unexplained sin of man, the pantheon of gods decide to send a Deluge to kill all of mankind. But the god of the waters of the Abyss, Enki (or Ea) defies the decision and sneaks away to give a dream to Utnapishtim, a wealthy man who lives in the city of Shuruppak in Mesopotamia. Through the dream, he tells him to tear down his house and build a large boat to save “the seed of all living creatures.” He gives him the dimensions of the boat and instructions of how to build it.

Utnapishtim is to lie to his neighbors when asked about the large boat by explaining that he is going to move downstream to the city of Eridu. When he finishes the boat, he loads on it all kinds of animals as well as all his extended family members and some skilled craftsman.

The gods then start a storm of wind and rain, led by the storm god Adad, that devastates the land with such force, even the gods get scared and hide up in heaven like frightened dogs with their tails between their legs. The blowing wind and gale force downpour lasts six days and seven nights until “all the people are turned to clay.”

The boat finally runs aground on Mount Nimush, and after seven days, Utnapishtim lets out a dove to see if it can find a perch, but it does not and returns to him. He waits and sends a swallow, and then finally a raven that does not return, indicating enough dry land to get out of the boat.

Utnapishtim then offers a sacrifice to the gods, who “smell the sweet savour” and “gather like flies around the sacrificer.” But when the great god Enlil arrives, he is angry to discover Utnapishtim survived the destruction. When he finds out that Enki had leaked the plan to Utnapishtim, they quarrel. But the crafty Enki denies violating the will of the gods because he did not tell Utnapishtim directly, but through a dream.

Enlil resigns himself to the trickery and decides to bestow immortality on Utnapishtim and his wife, so they would be like the gods, but placing them “at the mouth of the rivers” to dwell faraway from normal mankind.

Utnapishtim then explains to Gilgamesh that the gods will not assemble for his benefit to bestow upon him eternal life. He is destined to die like all humanity. To prove the impossibility, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights to prove his worthiness of becoming immortal by exercising power over the stepchild of death: sleep. Gilgamesh cannot do so and he is sent on his way with the consolation prize of finding a magic plant that will restore his youth. As stated before, the serpent then steals that plant away from him.

So, what’s the deal? How does Gilgamesh compare with Genesis? You’ll have to wait until my next post to find out.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

FOOTNOTES
1. See Umberto Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis and the Composition of the Pentateuch, Skokie, IL: Varda Books, 1941, 2005; Duane A. Garrett, Rethinking Genesis: The Sources and Authorship of the First Book of the Pentateuch, Baker, 1991; John H. Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity, 2009; “The New Literary Criticism,” Gordon J. Wenham, Vol. 1, Genesis 1–15. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998, pp. xxxii-xlii; Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990, pp. 12-38.

2. Gordon J. Wenham, “The Coherence of the Flood Narrative,” Vetus Testamentum 28, no. 3 (1978), p. 338.

3. Bill T. Arnold and David B. Weisberg, “A Centennial Review of Friedrich Delitzsch’s ‘Babel und Bibel’ Lectures,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 121, No. 3 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 441-457.

4. P. J. Wiseman, D. J. Wiseman, Ed., Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis: A Case for Literary Unity Thomas Nelson, 1985.

Noah Facts #7: The Sequel To The Days of Noah –– Jesus Kicks Angelic Butt

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Just adding some discussion to the conversation about Noah that has been raised with the soon to be released Noah movie.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

The Watchers From the Flood are in Hades and Christ Proclaims His Triumph Over Them

1 Peter 3:18–22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water… Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

In my previous post, We looked at how this passage spoke of the spirit of Jesus, during the three days he was dead, proclaiming to the imprisoned spirits who were the rebellious Watchers and their evil minions from the Days of Noah. Those were the Sons of God who mated with the daughters of men. I hinted that this journey of Christ’s was a descent into Hades or Sheol. I explained the ancient concept that assumes earthly rulers and powers are animated and empowered by spiritual or cosmic rulers and power behind them.

But where exactly are the angels imprisoned? And what exactly did Jesus “proclaim” to them? The answers are amazing.

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Where is the “Prison”?

One interpretation of the prison is that it is a metaphor for human beings on earth who are “imprisoned” in their sin. But the context of the passage mitigates against this view. When the New Testament refers to preaching the Gospel to people on earth, the Greek term for “soul,” is used (psyche). But this is not a term about a ghost in a machine, but rather an expression of the life of an individual human, their inner being, their “person,” or their “self.”

Peter writes in 3:20 that “eight persons (psyche) were brought safely through the waters” in the ark during the Flood. When Peter preaches the Gospel in Acts 2, it says that “those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls [psyche]… and awe came upon every soul [psyche]” (Acts 2:42-43). “Soul” could be used synonymously with “individuals” or “persons.”

But in 1 Peter 3, the distinct Greek term for “spirit” (pneuma), not “soul” (psyche), is used in contrast to the physical flesh. And these “spirits” are those who were disobedient in the days of Noah (v. 20), so they could not be people on earth at the time of Christ. Christ was proclaiming to spirits. During the time of Christ, those who were around in the days of Noah could only be in one place according to the Old Testament: The Underworld of Hades or Sheol.

Hades was well known in the Greco-Roman world as the holding cell of the spirits of the dead until the judgment. Sheol was the Hebrew equivalent for Hades so the two could be used interchangeably. Prisons in that time period were exactly that, holding cells for punishment. So when Peter refers to a prison for spirits, this view concludes that he is referring to Hades/Sheol, just as he did in 2 Peter 2:4 when he said that the disobedient angels were cast into Tartarus, the lowest point in Hades.

The descent of Christ in 1 Pet. 3:19 is poetically structured to counterbalance the ascent of Christ into heaven in verse 22. In the same way that Christ went down into Hades, he later ascended up into heaven. But more importantly, if Christ makes a proclamation to the spirits in prison, those dead and bound prisoners are certainly not in heaven. They are most likely in Hades.

Another passage, Ephesians 4:8 quotes Psalms 68:18 about Christ “ascending on high and leading a host of captives.” Paul then adds a parenthetical,

Ephesians 4:9-10
“In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”

Christ “descending into the lower regions, the earth” can legitimately be interpreted as referring to Christ’s incarnation or even his descent in the Spirit on Pentecost. But other scholarship argues that the phrase is better translated as “descending into the lowest parts of the earth,” in other words into Hades. (1)

This Underworld interpretation would seem to coincide with the memes presented in 1 Peter 3. The contrast of the heights of heaven with the depths of Hades, and the tying of Christ’s death, descent into Hades, resurrection, and ascension into the totality of his victory over the angelic principalities and powers.

Psalm 68 says that after leading the host of captives, God “received gifts from men,” a reference to the notion of ancient victors receiving tribute from their conquered foes. Paul changes that “receiving of gifts” into “giving of gifts” as a expansion of that victory over foes into a sharing of victory with his army, the people of God. But the context of conquest over the angelic powers is also apparent in Eph. 1:20-21, “when he raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named.”

Christ’s death on the Cross becomes the apparent defeat by God’s enemies, led by angelic principalities and powers. But it turns around and becomes a disarming of those spiritual powers and the beginning of his triumph over them (Col. 2:15). In this view, Christ dies, goes down into Hades to make a proclamation to the original minions of evil, now held captive. Then he raises from the dead and ascends into heaven to be coronated as king over all authority and powers of heaven and earth (Eph. 1:20-21). And that victory over spiritual powers brings us to the next element of 1 Peter 3:18-22.

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What was the Proclamation?

In the ancient world, kingly victors would perform a triumphal procession through the streets of a conquered city. They would parade their captive opponents, alive or dead, on carts to show off their power over their enemies. Thus the triumphal procession in Psalm 68 quoted in Ephesians 4:8 as “ascending on high and leading a host of captives.” This would also be an encouragement for obedience from the vanquished inhabitants. (2) Triumphal language like this in 1 Peter as well as other passages (2 Cor. 2:14; Col. 2:15), reflect this military type victory of Christ over the ruling authorities achieved at the Cross.

This triumph is referred to in the next verse of 1 Peter 3:22. “Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” The subjection of the spiritual powers occurs sometime before or during the ascension in this passage, most likely in the prison of Hades.

In Col. 2:15 we read that God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them” in Christ’s death and resurrection. Messiah’s death on the cross forgives us the legal debt of our sin, and his resurrection unites us in a new spiritual life.

But why would Christ have to proclaim authority or victory to those who were already imprisoned? Would that not be anti-climactic? Not if their fellow fallen angelic powers still ruled outside that prison on the earth, much like imprisoned Mafiosa leaders are still linked to their fellow criminals on the outside.

The angelic powers imprisoned at the Flood were the original rebels, the progenitors of the ongoing Seed of the Serpent that continued on in a lineage of evil on earth. They were in bonds, but the resultant War of the Seed that they spawned originated with their fall.

Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension secured his victory over the principalities and powers and gave him all authority with which to draw the nations back to him through the Good News of his kingdom.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

FOOTNOTES
1 “κατώτερος,” Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 640; Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Romans to Philemon., vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 325.
2 Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Romans to Philemon., vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 387.

Noah Facts #6: The Days of Noah and How Jesus Fits In

Watcher2Special thanks to Darren Aronofsky and Paramount for raising the discussion of Noah with the new movie.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.



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Christ’s Descent Into Hades/Sheol

One of the most difficult and strange passages in the New Testament is 1 Peter 3:18-22. It’s oddity is only matched by the fact that it is connected to another difficult and strange passage in the Bible: Genesis 6:1-4. The Genesis passage speaks of the Sons of God mating with the daughters of men in the days of Noah and breeding Nephilim giants that lead to the judgment of the Flood.

1 Peter 3 is notorious for its difficult obscurity and lack of consensus among scholarly interpretation. Views are divided over it with a variety of interpretations to pick from. So, let’s take a look at it more closely with an attempt to clarify its meaning.

1 Peter 3:18–22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water… Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

When Did Christ Go on His Journey?

Some believe it was after Christ was resurrected in his body that was “spiritualized” by the Holy Spirit. The oldest most traditional view was that this occurred when Christ was dead. It was his “living spirit” that is being contrasted here with his “dead flesh” on the cross or in the grave. But whether Christ proclaims in his resurrected body or in his immaterial spirit, the next question arises, who are the spirits to which he proclaims and where are they? This will help clarify the picture.

Who are the Spirits in Prison?

The identity of the spirits has been debated extensively and falls into four possible categories: Human spirits, demons, fallen angels, or a combination of the above.

John Elliot debunks the notion that “spirits” refers to human beings by looking at the Greek word for spirits (pneuma) in Biblical and Intertestamental texts. He concludes, “use of ‘spirits’ for human beings is very rare, and even then it is always qualified. In the Bible and related literature, when reference is made to deceased humans in Hades or the underworld, the term used is not pneuma but psyche.” (1)

But another commentator, Ramsey Michaels, shows that “spirits” (pneuma) is used of demons frequently in the New Testament for those supernatural beings that Jesus often confronted in his ministry. (2) He points out that in 1 Enoch (a likely source text for this passage), pneuma is used of both the giants and demons as the surviving part of the giants killed in the Flood.

1 Enoch 15:8-10
But now the giants who are born from the (union of) the spirits and the flesh shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, because their dwelling shall be upon the earth and inside the earth. Evil spirits have come out of their bodies.

But what of the fallen angelic Sons of God (also known as Watchers)? Are they ever referred to as “spirits”? As the 1 Enoch 15 passage above shows, the spirits of the Nephilim hybrids comes from their angelic Watcher progenitors who are also called spirits. In verse 4 of that passage, Enoch condemns the Watchers for violating their heavenly being as spirits (pneuma) and defiling themselves with “the blood of the flesh begotten children.” (3)

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The only other New Testament Scriptures that speak of imprisonment of spirits are Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4, the very passages that are literarily dependent on the book of 1 Enoch. (4)

Jude 6 (NASB95)
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day

2 Peter 2:4
God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [Tartarus] and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment…

1 Enoch 12:4; 10:12
the Watchers of heaven who have abandoned the high heaven, the holy eternal place …bind [the Watchers] for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment.

Jude not only quotes Enoch outright in Jude 4, but throughout his entire letter, he follows the progression of ideas in 1 Enoch and references memes and motifs from that ancient source text. 2 Peter 2 is considered a paraphrase of Jude with the addition of the word for Tartarus as the description of the location of punishment.

Tartarus was well known by the ancients as the lowest place of the Underworld where the Titans were bound in pagan mythology. That Underworld was referred to as Hades (Greek) or Sheol (Hebrew), and has obvious conceptual links to Jude and Peter’s location of punishment (see below for more on Tartarus and Hades). (5) It would make most sense that Peter’s second letter about angels bound in the prison of Tartarus would have continuity with the “spirits in prison” he is writing about in this first letter.

But the spirits are specifically indicated as being those who were disobedient during “the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared.” That “days of Noah” is exactly the time period that 1 Enoch speaks of the fallen Watchers and their giant progeny receiving their comeuppance with a binding in Tartarus/Hades at the Flood.

1 Enoch 10:11-13
And to Michael God said, “Make known to [the angels] who fornicated with the women…bind them for seventy generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment and of their consummation…in the prison where they will be locked up forever.

Chad Pierce makes a convincing argument that the disobedient spirits are not just the Watcher angels, demons, or human spirits alone, but the sum total of all who defied God at that time because cosmic powers are often united with human powers in the ancient world. (6)

In the Bible, the angelic power over Persia animated the human kingdom of Persia (Dan. 10:13), The Roman human kingdom in Revelation is granted its power from Satan (Rev. 12-13), and both are destroyed together in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:7-10).

Wink explains that the ancient mind of the Biblical writers was steeped in a macrocosm/microcosm of “what is above is also below.” “Angelic and demonic activity in heaven was reflected in events on earth…These Powers are both heavenly and earthly, divine and human, spiritual and political, invisible and structural.” (7)

Reicke adds that the “fallen Angels… the Powers, the demons in general, can in a certain way represent the whole world of fallen angels.” (8) It appears that the author of 1 Pet 3:18-22 has left the recipients of Christ’s message purposefully vague so as to include all forms of evil beings. The spirits in prison are thus all the forces of evil which have now been subjugated and defeated by Christ.” (9)

In the next post, I will take a look at just what did Jesus actually “proclaim” to these imprisoned spirits?

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

FOOTNOTES
John H. Elliott, 1 Peter: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (vol. 37B; Anchor Yale Bible; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), .

2 Matt 8:16; Luke 10:20; “unclean spirits” in Matt 10:1; Mark 1:27; 3:11; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 4:36; 6:18; Acts 5:16; cf. Rev 16:13; “evil spirits” in Matt 12:45//Luke 11:26; Luke 7:21; 8:2; Acts 19:12–13 (for the singular, cf. Matt 12:43//Luke 11:24; Mark 1:23, 26; 3:30; 5:2, 8; 7:25; 9:17, 20, 25; Luke 8:29; 9:39, 42; 13:11; Acts 16:16, 18; 19:15–16).” J. Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter, vol. 49, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 207.

3 Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha vol. 1, 21.

4 Nickelsburg, 1 Enoch: a Commentary, 7. Also, E. Isaac, “A New Translation and Introduction,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1 (New York; London: Yale University Press, 1983); Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, vol. 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004), 178.

5 See the Appendix of Brian Godawa, Enoch Primordial (Los Angeles, Embedded Pictures Publishing, 2013), 336-338.

6 Chad Pierce, Spirits and the Proclamation of Christ: 1 Peter 3:18-22 in Its Tradition-Historical and Literary Context, (Durham theses, Durham University, 2009), 215-218. Available at Durham E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/13/

7 Walter Wink. Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament (The Powers : Volume One), (location1552-1553, 182-183.) Kindle Edition.

8 Bo Reicke, The Disobedient Spirits and Christian Baptism (New York: AMS Press, 1946), 121.

9 Pierce, Spirits and the Proclamation, 218. See also Reicke, The Disobedient Spirits, 121.

Noah Facts #5: Yes, Virginia, There are Nephilim Giants. Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

Noah-Fighting-Watcher-Russel-Crowe-Aronofsky-Film-e1359229778664Thanks to the Aronofsky movie about Noah, interest has been piqued in this critically important story of Primeval History. And there is so much more to the original Biblical story than we’ve been taught in Sunday School. In fact, in some ways, we’ve been taught wrong. Let’s talk about it.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

If You Think Aronofsky’s Nephilim/Watchers are Fantastical, Wait Until You Know What Really Happened.

Word on the street is that Aronofsky’s Noah has Watchers that fall from heaven, and are huge giants made of rock with multiple arms. And also that they came to earth to help mankind, but have become rejected either by man or by God. It sounds like he’s confused the Watchers and mixed them up with the Nephilim spoken of in Genesis 6, which are two different beings. We’ll see when the movie comes out.

But the interesting thing is that this was one fantasy element that Aronofsky did not have to make up because the truth is stranger than fiction. I don’t know why he didn’t follow the Enochian/Jude/Peter interpretation of the Bible. Maybe he didn’t know about it. I’ll explain.

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In previous posts, I wrote that the Watchers, or Sons of God, came from heaven and mated with the daughters of men. These angelic rebels were seeking to pollute or corrupt the image of God in mankind as well as stop the promised Messiah from coming through a fully human bloodline.

But the text says that the offspring of this angelic/human union were the Nephilim. Who the heck are they? There are a lot of books and movies and TV shows that have played with the notion of Nephilim (remember the X-Files?). But so much of that is just made up entertainment. Let’s look at what the Bible actually says about the Nephilim.

Fun Facts About the Nephilim in the Bible

Genesis 6:4
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

Numbers 13:32–33
“The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

The two passages quoted above are the only two places in the Bible where the Hebrew word Nephilim is used. The Genesis verse occurs before the Flood, and the Numbers verse occurs as Moses and the Israelites are in the Exodus standing on the verge of entering into the Promised Land. And it is very important that the Anakim in the Promised Land are direct descendants of the Nephilim before the Flood.

But the question remains, what does the Hebrew word Nephilim mean? Some scholars looking at the root word claim that it means “fallen ones” because that is what the Hebrew means, “to fall.” But there is a problem, and that is that the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Bible) which is sometimes quoted by the New Testament authors as authoritative, translates this word as “giants.” Did those ancient Hellenized Jews not know the true meaning of the word? Or did they know something we do not?

Indeed, most all the ancient Jewish sources before Christ understood this term to mean “giant.” Here is a list I compiled of the many ancient sources that understood these beings as giants.

Biblical scholar Michael S. Heiser has revealed a Biblical reference that virtually seals the proof that Nephilim are giants, not merely “fallen ones.” In his article “The Meaning of the Word Nephilim: Fact vs. Fantasy,”(1) he explains that Numbers 13:32-33 has the word “Nephilim” twice. And that in the original language, the first Nephilim is the Hebrew spelling that could mean “fallen ones,” but the spelling of the second Nephilim is in Aramaic, and that word definitely means “giants.” So the author is making an equivalency between the two words in Hebrew and Aramaic. Call them “fallen ones” or not, the Nephilim are not the fallen angels called Watchers, they are not ancient aliens and they are not Annunaki. The Nephilim are giants.

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Let’s take a look at the Anakim who were the descendants of the Nephilim. The Anakim or “sons of Anak” are unquestionably defined as giants throughout the Bible because of their tall height (Num. 13:33; Deut. 1:28; 2:10, 21; 9:2). One of the most famous of all those Anakim giants was Goliath. He stood at 9 feet 9 inches tall. And his brother Lahmi was of the same titanic genetics (1 Chron. 20:5). Philistia had a big problem with these Anakim giants, as 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 and 11:23 attest to no less than five giants who seemed to be seeking King David out, and were killed by David’s warriors.

As it turns out, the Anakim were not the only giants in the land. Evidently the land in and around Canaan was crawling with giants that were called by different names in different locations. Deuteronomy 2:10-11, 20-23 says that there were giant clans, “great and many, and tall as the Anakim.” The names of the clans were the Emim, Rephaim, Zamzummim, Horim, Avvim and possibly Caphtorim.

But if we go back in time from David to Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land, we see that the giant Anakim that David was fighting were merely the leftovers from Joshua’s own campaign to wipe them out:

Josh. 11:21-22
Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained.

King Og of Bashan, who Moses defeated, is described as one of the last of “the remnant of the Rephaim” whose bed was over 13 feet long and made of iron (Deut. 3:11). That is no kingly bed alone; that was a large strong iron bed to hold a giant of about 11 feet tall.

I write about all this and more in my novels Joshua Valiant and Caleb Vigilant.

But it all starts with Noah Primeval.

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List of Giants

The Bible reveals that there are many different clans that either were giants or had giants among them that were ultimately related in a line all the way back to the Nephilim of Genesis:

Nephilim (Gen. 6:1-4; Num. 13:33)
Anakim (Num. 13:28-33; Deut. 1:28; 2:10-11, 21; 9:2; Josh. 14:12)
Amorites (Amos 2:9-10)
Emim (Deut. 2:10-11)
Rephaim (Deut. 2:10-11, 20; 3:11)
Zamzummin (Deut. 2:20)
Zuzim (Gen. 14:5)
Perizzites (Gen. 15:20; Josh. 17:15)
Philistines (2 Sam. 21:18-22)
Horites/Horim (Deut. 2:21-22)
Avvim (Deut. 2:23)
Caphtorim (Deut. 2:23)

The following are implied as including giants by their connection to the descendants of Anak in Numbers 13:28-29:

Amalekites
Hittites
Jebusites—The word means “Those who trample”
Amorites (Amos 2:9-10)
Hivites

Here were the towns, cities or locations that were said to have had giants in them:

Gob (2 Sam. 21:18)
Hebron/Kiriath-arba (Num. 13:22; Josh. 14:15)
Ar (Deut. 2:9)
Seir (Deut. 2:21-22)
Debir/ Kiriath-sepher (Josh. 11:21-22)
Anab (Josh. 11:21-22)
Gaza (Josh. 11:21-22)
Gath (Josh. 11:21-22)
Ashdod (Josh. 11:21-22)
Bashan (Deut. 3:10-11)
Ashteroth-karnaim (Gen. 14:5)
Ham (Gen. 14:5)
Shaveh-kiriathaim (Gen. 14:5)
Valley of the Rephaim (Josh. 15:8)
Moab (1 Chron. 11:22)

Many significant individuals are described in the Bible implicitly or explicitly as giants being struck down in war against Israel:

Goliath (1 Sam. 17)
Lahmi, Goliath’s brother (1 Chron. 20:5; 2 Sam. 21:19)
Ishbi-benob (2 Sam. 21:16)
Saph/Sippai (2 Sam. 21:17; 1 Chron. 20:4)
Arba (Josh. 14:15)
Sheshai (Josh.15:14, Num. 13:22)
Ahiman (Josh. 15:14, Num. 13:22)
Talmai (Josh. 15:14, Num. 13:22)
An unnamed warrior giant (1 Chron. 20:6)
And unnamed Egyptian giant (1 Chron. 11:23)
Og of Bashan (Deut. 3:10-11)

The ubiquitous presence of giants throughout the narrative of the Old Testament is no small matter. When God commanded the people of Israel to enter Canaan and devote certain of those peoples to complete destruction (Deut. 20:16-17), it is no coincidence that these peoples we have already seen were connected in some way to the Anakim giants, and Joshua’s campaign explicitly included the elimination of the Anakim/Sons of Anak giants.

If you are like me, you’ve been troubled by God’s actions of having the Israelites kill every man, woman and child in Canaan. Our modern cultural bias makes us think that is mere genocide. But there’s more going on behind the scenes and it ties in with the fact that these cities all had Nephilim descendants in them. There was a genetic corruption (heavenly/earthly, not racial) taking place that was so heinous, God wanted it stricken from the earth.

The Anakim giants were clearly spoken of as coming from the Nephilim back in Genesis 6, and those were the genetic hybrids of angel and human sexual union. God destroyed mankind and imprisoned those angels who sought to violate God’s created order, corrupt God’s image in man, and stop the Messiah from being born who would whoop Satan’s butt. But their genetic offspring of giants continued on in the land of Canaan until they were wiped out by Joshua and ultimately the messiah king, David.

But it is not until Jesus, the Messiah, that the full victory over the spiritual powers and principalities in the heavenly places would be accomplished. That is for the next posts.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

FOOTNOTES:
(1) Michael S. Heiser, “The Meaning of the Word Nephilim: Fact vs. Fantasy” http://www.godawa.com/chronicles_of_the_nephilim/Articles_By_Others/Heiser-Nephilim.pdf

Noah Facts #4: The Flood Did Not Judge Polluters of the Environment, but Polluters of God’s Image

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The Noah movie starring Russell Crowe is raising the topic of the Flood and just why it happened. I thought I would add to the conversation so if you watch the movie, you can do so with wisdom and discernment.

I’ve written a Biblical fantasy novel called Noah Primeval. I’ve researched this topic extensively. Noah Primeval has been a category bestseller on Amazon for 3 years. It’s first in a series of novels called Chronicles of the Nephilim.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

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The War of the Seed

In the older Noah script I read, (and we’ll see if it’s the same in the movie) man is depicted as violent and evil. But there is also a tie-in with the environment, as if God’s judgment on destroying the earth is predominately because man was a polluter of the environment, an obvious analogy of the modern Global Warming narrative that we Westerners are destroying the earth from our carbon emissions.

I had complained in my viral blog post critiquing the script that this was an important subversion of the original Genesis sacred story, which was NOT about polluting the environment, but about polluting the image of God in man. We will see if this message is still as strong in the movie.

But let’s take a look at what the Bible actually teaches about the issue.

In the last post, I made the point that the Watchers came from heaven and were not only seeking to corrupt and violate the heavenly/earthly divide, but to pollute the human bloodline in order to stop the coming Messiah. Noah was uncorrupted in his flesh. And guess who came from Noah’s bloodline? Israel, God’s people, and ultimately, Jesus, the Messiah (Luke 3:23-38).

So how did these Sons of God know about the Messiah so early in the primeval history? Because when God cursed the Serpent in the Garden (and that serpent is Satan, a fallen angelic being — Revelation 12:9), he said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your Seed and her Seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

“Seed” means “offspring.” God here is prophesying a cosmic War of the Seed, where the “offspring of the Serpent” or Seed of the Serpent will war with the Seed of Eve. And Messiah is the ultimate Seed who would crush the head of the Serpent (Revelation 12:10; Luke 10:17-20). Jesus is called “The Seed” to whom God made his promises (Galatians 3:16).

So since the fallen angels knew about this prophecy through Satan, who was one of them, it would make sense that they would seek to corrupt that Seedline of Eve with their own seed to stop Messiah from coming, by corrupting God’s image.

In Judaism, the high priest was the one who mediated between men and God. But there was a problem that had to be fixed. And that was that the high priests were also sinners who needed to atone for their sins as well, over and over.

So the system was imperfect. It needed a perfect sinless high priest to atone for sins once and for all. It needed a God-man hybrid.

Think about it. The whole point of the Messiah was that he would be fully human in his flesh, but fully God in his “seed.” This is why the Virgin birth is so necessary. If his human flesh was already tainted by fallen angelic seed, then he could not be fully human. But the mediator between God and man must be fully human, uncorrupted flesh like Noah, or he cannot mediate for humans. In the same way, the mediator had to be fully God or he could not mediate on God’s behalf.

Look at this New Testament passage and see that reality expressed through Jesus being a “high priest” who sacrifices for our forgiveness or atonement:

Hebrews 7:26–28
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest [Jesus], holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

The fallen Watchers were trying to corrupt the bloodline of Messiah with their own mocking pre-emptive tainting of the Seed of Eve with the Seed of the Serpent. This War of the Seed is exactly the story I try to tell in my Chronicles of the Nephilim, starting with Noah Primeval.

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But What Does the New Testament Say?

The New Testament confirms divine/human cohabitation as evil and worthy of punishment because it actually alludes to this very violation of fleshly categories and resultant punishment in 2 Peter and Jude. If you compare the two passages you see the sensual violation of human and angelic flesh that we read about in Genesis 6:

2Pet. 2:4-10
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell (tartarus) and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Jude 6-7
And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in gross immorality and pursued strange flesh, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Both these passages speak of the same angels who sinned before the flood of Noah, and who were committed to chains of gloomy darkness. 1 Peter 3:19-20 calls these imprisoned angels “disobedient.” According to our study, the angelic sons of God are revealed as sinning in Genesis 6, so these must be the same sinning angels referred to by the authors of the New Testament.

Both Peter and Jude link the sin of those fallen angels with the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is described as indulging in “gross immorality” by pursuing “strange flesh.” The Greek word for “gross immorality” (ek porneuo) indicates a heightened form of sexual immorality, and the Greek words for “strange flesh” (heteros sarx) indicate the pursuit of something against one’s natural flesh. The angels who visited Sodom were clearly spoken of as enfleshed in such a way that they were physically present to have their feet washed and even eat food with Abraham and with Lot (Gen. 18:1-8; 19:3).

Angels on earth can have a physical presence. Bible students know that the men in Sodom were seeking to engage in sexual penetration of these same angels who visited Lot in his home. So here, men seeking sex with angels is a violation of the heavenly and earthly flesh distinction that the Scriptures seem to reinforce – a replay of Genesis 6.

Some Christians believe the passage is referring to homosexuality, but it’s not so much that. Peter and Jude link the angels sinning before the flood to the violation of a heavenly and humanly separation. The New Testament commentary on Genesis 6:1 affirms the supernatural view of the Sons of God as angels having sex with humans.

So, who exactly are the “Seed of the Serpent”? Ultimately, they are all those who are on the side of Satan, just like the “Seed of Eve” would be all those who are “in Christ” or on the side of Messiah.

In a previous post, I explained that the people in Canaan were considered from the cursed line of Ham. We know that the Canaanites worshipped evil gods and engaged in child sacrifice and all kinds of moral perversions. So the Canaanites are considered the Seed of the Serpent for one.

But there is more to it than that. Because the Nephilim of Genesis 6 were the hybrid offspring of the sexual union of angelic Watchers and humans. So just who were these Nephilim, these literal Seed of the Serpent? I’ll explain in the next post.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.

Noah Movie: From 3 Guys Who Have Seen It.

Noah movie psoter 660

Okay, so three respectable Christian leaders have seen the Noah movie because Paramount is trying desperately to keep bad press from hurting their release within the religious community. Fair enough.

The three men were at the NRB and had a panel discussion about the film. But they also posted their views.

John Snowden, an advisor on the film wrote “Why People of Faith Can Embrace the Noah Movie.” He’s paid by Paramount, but let’s be fair to him, he did seek to try to influence the movie for the better during his consultation. But he was almost only positive.

Phil Cooke, a filmmaker and media consultant, wrote, “Should Christians Support the Movie Noah” in the Huff Post. His conclusion was that whatever negatives of the movie are outweighed by the positives, and we should all see it and use it as an opportunity to dialogue about this Biblical subject while we have the chance. Very thoughtful challenges.

The last guy, Jerry Johnson, president of NRB was in my opinion the most balanced in his presentation of Five Postive Facts About Noah, and Five Negative Features About Noah.

I say this because his view represents what I think most movies are, a mixture of good and bad elements. And he acknowledges both with fairness.

His five positives are:
Noah’s context among all films is positive.
Noah knows its place among Bible films.
Noah follows the basic plotline of the biblical story.
Noah takes some key Gospel doctrines seriously.
Noah takes some textual elements literally.

His five negatives are:
Noah’s main character does not ring true.
The environmental agenda is overdone.
The theistic evolution scene will be a concern for many.
The Nephilim concept seems convoluted.
Secondary biblical details are blurred.

Those first two were my biggest concern about the script that I had read. We will see if they have pulled back on the extremity of those depictions or not. As I’ve always said, I was analyzing a script, not the movie, and we will see if there is much of a change there.

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I must say, several of these negatives are not issues for me.

Though I am not a believer in evolution, the evolutionary sequence is not bothersome for me, because I know there are many intelligent and godly Christians who have some good arguments for evolutionary creation that I respect. I am actually open to this as a possibility. I do not believe Genesis One has anything to do with scientific textbooks of material creation, so it has no bearing on whether evolution is true or not. It is an ancient creation story which does different things than our modern scientific minds who think God was explaining physics. As I understand it, if God is given the authorship of that evolutionary process, then that is entirely consistent with the Scriptures.

Also, the secondary biblical details that he mentions are not of issue either because they are ultimately consistent with the Bible anyway. Tubal-cain gets on the ark. But he is killed so he doesn’t survive on the ark. If the family clan was six, but then one girl was pregnant with twins, then that means there were 8 on the ark, hyper-literalists. Unless you are not pro-lifers. The point here is that those are consistent with the spirit of the text. I take some very similar liberties in my bestselling novel, Noah Primeval. So give us a break.

I’ve always said the most important issues are the original intent of the sacred stories, not always the details. But you know, even then, that is a matter of interpretation too. Because as I said, if the girl is pregnant on the ark, and those children will be the wives of the other sons, then that is consistent with the text. There are many examples of this in the Bible. For instance, there are four giants that were killed by David’s men in 2 Samuel 21:16-22. But then it concludes, “These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” Well, hyper literalists, the text earlier does not say David killed them at all, but that only his men did. So we understand that being “felled by David’s hand” is a NON-LITERAL way of saying David gets the credit for what those under him do. There are so many examples of this in Scripture.

The Nephilim concept is a personal issue for me, as you may already know by previous posts here and in future posts. What a wasted opportunity to finally bring to the screen and to the discussion about this very important storyline neglected in the faith community.

Not only do I write about this in my Noah novel, but I also just released a Biblical study book detailing the fall of the Watchers, the Nephilim and how their storyline flows through the entire Bible. It’s called When Giants Were Upon the Earth: The Watchers, The Nephilim, and the Cosmic War of the Seed.

Buy the novel Noah Primeval, here on Amazon.com in Kindle or paperback. The website www.ChroniclesOfTheNephilim.com has tons of way cool free videos, scholarly articles about Watchers and Nephilim Giants, artwork for the series, as well as a sign-up for updates and special deals.