Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Is Evan Almighty Christian heresy but not in disagreement with Islamic texts?

Wherein should Steve Carrell be under a fatwa? Don't worry about Morgan Freeman, no one would dare mess with him.

Did Universal's pricey comedy "Evan Almighty" suffer an identity crisis heading into its opening weekend? They spent $175 million to make this movie? Wow, I don't think they're making this back.

From my limited understanding of the bible, I'd always heard that God promised Noah that He would never again destroy all living creatures on earth, Genesis 8:21:
And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and said: I will no more curse the earth for the sake of man: for the imagination and thought of man's heart are prone to evil from his youth: therefore I will no more destroy every living soul as I have done.

And the King James Version

What does this mean? Was there a vow made and the creator's of Evan Almighty would have to ignore all theological teachings to make their movie? Here's one explanation:
The covenant of God with Himself was occasioned by the sacrifices offered up by Noah (Genesis 8:20). God’s resolve was to never again destroy the earth by a flood (cf. 9:11). I understand the words, “… I will never again curse the ground on account of many… ” (verse 21), to be parallel with the following expression, “… and I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done” (verse 21).96

The reason for God’s resolve is based upon the nature of man: “For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).

Righteous Noah (6:9) will soon be found naked in a drunken stupor (9:21). No matter how many times the earth’s slate is wiped clean by a flood, the problem will remain if but one man exists. The problem is within man—it is his sinful nature. His predisposition toward sin is not learned, it is innate—he is “evil from his youth.” As a result, a full restoration must begin with a new man. This is what God historically purposed to accomplish.

This purpose is partially expressed in verse 22: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography offers the following in a Q&A for another book--speaking of God's misgivings:
After some time has passed, he is so distressed with the behavior of their descendants that he "is sorry that he had made humankind on the earth" (Genesis 6:6) and proposes to exterminate them. In the end, he makes an exception for Noah; but despite his promise never again to destroy the world by flood, there is little reason to believe that all his regrets are behind him. Noah's children are by no means their father's equal in virtue. In the flood narrative as well, though the subject of free will is not discussed, one might well say, following your intuition, that God's reservations about human free will have grown even greater. (One might as easily say, though, free will being so much a part of what it means to be human, that he has reservations about his human creatures themselves.)

Reading through a description of the Koran's version, the Lord does not seem to make a pact of future nondestruction:
Noah said: "O my Lord! I seek refuge with You from asking You that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have Mercy on me, I would indeed be one of the losers."

It was said: "O Noah! Come down (from the ship) with peace from Us and blessings on you and on the people owho are with you(and on some of their offspring), but (there will be other) people to whom We shall grant their pleasures (for a time), but in the end a painful torment will reach them from Us." (Ch 11:41-48 Quran)

With the issue of the divine command, calm returned to earth, the water retreated, and the dry land shone once again in the rays of the sun. The flood had cleansed the earth of the disbeliveers and polytheists.

Noah released the birds, and the beats which scattered over the earth. After that the believers disembarked. Noah put his forehead to the ground in prostration. The survivors kindled a fire and sat around it. Lighting a fire had been prohibited on board so as not to ignite the ship's wood and burn it up. None of them had eaten hot food during the entire period of the floor. Following the disembarkation there was a day of fasting in thanks to Allah.

The Quran draws the curtain on Noah's story. We do not know how his affairs with his people continued. All we know or can ascertain is that on his deathbed he requested his son to worship Allah alone, Noah then passed away.


Or should heresy be replaced with blasphemous? For the record, I haven't seen the movie, never read the bible, never read the Koran, so I really got nowhere to go with this.

From Dr. James Dobson:
Finally, I was concerned about the rewriting of the story of Noah and his ark. “God,” played charmingly by Morgan Freeman, told the new Noah character that the first flood occurred because the people hadn’t done enough “acts of random kindness" (as in A.R.K. Get it?). God destroyed the world and its inhabitants, the contemporary god said, not to punish a wicked and perverse generation as we read in Genesis 6, but as a benign object lesson to encourage people to be nicer to each other. It was bad theology and a radical distortion of Scripture.

Review from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Office for Film and Broadcasting:
Director Tom Shadyac and screenwriter Steve Oedekerk skillfully mix slapstick with sentiment and surprising reverence. The script has admirable pro-family and pro-environmental themes, the latter providing sensible rationale for the biblical events as they play out.

All these elements are beautifully embodied in Carell's seriocomic central performance. Early on, Carell gets to do his comic shtick, including being bitten in the crotch by a mutt, shaving his nostril hair in an extended montage, and coping with the swarm of birds that poop on his suit as they perch on his head.

But as he starts to morph into Noah, with a beard he simply cannot shave off, and rough-hewn ancient robe he cannot remove, the funny shenanigans subside and he projects warmth and humanity through his eyes alone. Frankly, Carell's playing Noah and indeed the central section of the "serious" part of the story are far better done than the comparable John Huston sequence in 1966's "The Bible."

From MovieGuide:
The best thing about the movie is that it takes God and the Bible seriously, though it doesn’t delve too deeply into these subjects. There are even a couple references to the New Testament, including a reference to alpha and omega, one of the important designations of Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation. And, the movie contains references to serving God and obeying God, even in the little things, under the heading of doing little “acts of random kindness.”

Other than these things, however, there is a pantheistic, heretical description at one point, where God is said to live inside everything. Of course, this is a false interpretation of God’s omnipresence, which actually means that everything in the universe is immediately in the presence of God, who exists outside of space and time but who is intimately involved with every aspect of the physical universe, including all of humanity.

Also, despite the one allusion to Jesus Christ, the movie does not make it clear that, when God appears to us in human form, he always appears as Jesus Christ as noted in John 1. Thus, EVAN ALMIGHTY should have had more overt references to Jesus when the God character appears. As a result, the movie may be confusing to Christians, especially Christian children, and mislead non-Christians about the real nature of God. In spite of the movie’s excellent use of some biblical references, therefore, the movie is still too coy about the Jesus issue. Ultimately, the movie is a lightweight and light-hearted exploration of God that avoids getting too explicit.

From American Family Association:
In essence, Evan Almighty presents a false view of the gospel, and the words of the late John Gerstner, a former professor of church history, best describe this theological problem. Gerstner said, "The thing that really separates us from God is not so much our sin, but our damnable good works."

After watching the film, viewers -- especially non-believers -- are likely to walk away with the perception that good deeds lead to a perfect life, while human effort leads to redemption.

So choosing whether or not to see Evan Almighty could


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4/02/2009 01:38:00 AM  

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