Dr. Brian Mattson, a theologian with a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from the University of Aberdeen who now serves as Senior Scholar of Public Theology for the Center for Cultural Leadership, has written a scathing review of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” that takes special aim at the numerous Christian leaders who endorsed a film “direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources” that has zero to do with the Bible.
“This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources,” Mattson writes.
Mattson reminds that the “subject matter” of Arnofosky’s debut film, “Pi,” was Kabbalah, so it makes sense that he was already familiar with it. Moreover, a number of moments in the film that at first seemed like artistic flourishes — a glowing Adam and Eve, the serpent skin Noah wraps around his arm — all have a basis in either Kabbalah or Gnosticism:
The world of Gnostic mysticism is bewildering with a myriad of varieties. But, generally speaking, they hold in common that the serpent is “Sophia,” “Mother,” or “Wisdom.” The serpent represents the true divine, and the claims of “The Creator” are false.
Where the numerous Christian leaders who endorsed the film really got fooled, though, was in assuming Aronofsky’s “Noah” had anything to do with God of the Old Testament or the Bible. It doesn’t. “Noah” is really about “The Creator,” a completely different being according to Gnostics, and an evil one. If Aronosfsly’s “god” seemed a little anti-human to some of us, here’s why:
Except that when Gnostics speak about “The Creator” they are not talking about God. Oh, here in an affluent world living off the fruits of Christendom the term “Creator” generally denotes the true and living God. But here’s a little “Gnosticism 101” for you: the Creator of the material world is an ignorant, arrogant, jealous, exclusive, violent, low-level, bastard son of a low level deity. He’s responsible for creating the “unspiritual” world of flesh and matter, and he himself is so ignorant of the spiritual world he fancies himself the “only God” and demands absolute obedience. They generally call him “Yahweh.” Or other names, too (Ialdabaoth, for example).
This Creator tries to keep Adam and Eve from the true knowledge of the divine and, when they disobey, flies into a rage and boots them from the garden.
Mattson also explains that why Russell Crowe’s Noah turns into a “homicidal manic” in the second half of the film:
Many reviewers thought Noah’s change into a homicidal maniac on the ark, wanting to kill his son’s two newborn daughters, was a weird plot twist. It isn’t weird at all. In the Director’s view, Noah is worshiping a false, homicidal maniac of a god. The more faithful and “godly” Noah becomes, the more homicidal he becomes. He is becoming every bit the “image of god” that the “evil” guy who keeps talking about the “image of god,” Tubal-Cain, is.
But Noah fails “The Creator.” He cannot wipe out all life like his god wants him to do. “When I looked at those two girls, my heart was filled with nothing but love,” he says. Noah now has something “The Creator” doesn’t. Love. And Mercy. But where did he get it? And why now?
In the immediately preceding scene Noah killed Tubal-Cain and recovered the snakeskin relic: “Sophia,” “Wisdom,” the true light of the divine. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.
Unless Mattson is off base with his facts, which is doubtful based on his resume, Aronosfsky has pulled off one of the greatest bait-and-switches in history.
The director was not only able to fool the public (and maybe the studio) into buying into the idea that “Noah” was a biblical epic, he also fooled legions of Christian “thought leaders” who were apparently ignorant of Kabbalah and Gnosticism but also willing to put on blinders when it came to the obvious paganism that those of us who are not theologians picked up on.
Mattson lets them have it, too: [emphasis original]
The scandal is this: of all the Christian leaders who went to great lengths to endorse this movie (for whatever reasons: “it’s a conversation starter,” “at least Hollywood is doing something on the Bible,” etc.), and all of the Christian leaders who panned it for “not following the Bible”…
Not one of them could identify a blatantly Gnostic subversion of the biblical story when it was right in front of their faces.
I believe Aronofsky did it as an experiment to make fools of us: “You are so ignorant that I can put Noah (granted, it’s Russell Crowe!) up on the big screen and portray him literally as the ‘seed of the Serpent’ and you all will watch my studio’s screening and endorse it.”
He’s having quite the laugh. And shame on everyone who bought it.
In the opening of my “Noah” review, I wrote that Aronofsky “conceived” this film for “the sinister purpose of leading people to believe that Christianity and Judaism are something they are not.”
At the time, I had no idea where his ideas had come from, but that the director was trying to lead people away from the God of the Old Testament was blatantly and sickeningly obvious.
Indeed, “shame on everyone who bought it.”
Especially those who should have known better.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC