The Adamic Spark: Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’

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Darren Aronofsky’s movie ‘Noah’ has received an abundance of attention, so don’t worry: I’m not going to add my own review to the already grandiose pile of reviews out there.

I’m usually behind in watching movies, because to actually venture to see one would cost a significant amount of our already precious income. The gracious Redbox, however, smiled on me the other day and provided me with a chance to see this rendition of the Biblical narrative (or something that vaguely resembles the Biblical narrative). One line in the movie, though, gave my heart such joy that I had to write about it.

In the movie, one of the Nephilim/rock giants/watchers/fallen angels turns to Noah as they traipse across a wilderness in search of Methuselah and says something fascinating: “You have the spark of Adam in you,” (or something similar). The entire movie is, in fact, a commentary on how Noah was another “Adam”, one who had the chance to remedy the mess that occurred under our first father’s watch. It takes some extreme, exegetical gymnastics to pull out of the Scriptures all that Aronofsky puts into the movie, but this specific concept is not far from Biblical truth. Indeed, when Moses mentions Noah’s birth in Genesis 5:29, he tells us that Lamech, Noah’s father, “called his name Noah, saying ‘Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.” What happened because of Adam and his rebellion? The ground is cursed, and man is cursed to work it in pain and sweat (Gen. 3:17-19). Noah will reverse this in some way, undoing what was done by the first man. Noah will serve as a relief, a peculiar Sabbath rest. Interesting…

Post deluge, the LORD tells Noah, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” (8:21). God makes a promise through Noah to never again do what he did through Adam. And then, in an intriguing statement, the LORD tells Noah to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” (9:1), reinstating the “cultural mandate” which He gave to Adam in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” Noah was, in fact, an Adamic figure, something Aronofsky either picked up by chance or noticed from the Scriptures themselves. Beautiful. But Aronofsky doesn’t go far enough. You know where we are headed…

The Adamic spark does not find its resting place in Noah but is passed down. New beginnings and new headship are passed on, in wonderful but different ways, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob, from Jacob to Joseph, from Joseph to Moses, from Moses to Joshua, from Joshua to David, and from David’s offspring to a Man born in an animal stall. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:21 explicitly treats this Man as a second Adam: “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Jesus serves as the Final Adam whose headship reverses in a much greater and final way what has been done by the first. His headship and representation of His people supersedes that of the first Adam: “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:17). Indeed, “as by the one man’s obedience that many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous,” (Romans 5:19). Adam disobeyed, and in turn all of humanity was cursed. Christ obeyed, and now His people can be forgiven and made righteous. His headship even gives those who trust in Him ultimate rest from their toil and labor (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 3 and 4). It also fulfills the “cultural mandate” in a unique way by transforming rebels into disciples, making a huge family from specific individuals from all the nations of the earth (Ephesians 2:11-22; Revelation 8:9-10; Revelation 21:22-26). His Kingdom and Dominion, superseding the dominion and kingdom lost by Adam, will have no end (2 Samuel 7:4-17; Isaiah 9:6-7; Hebrews 12:28-29; Revelation 21:1-2).

What Noah gained was only a shadow of a greater reality gained by Jesus. In Christ, the Adamic spark shines out in a more glorious fashion than it ever shined in Adam. It is renewed and perfected for all of eternity. You want rest from your labor? Run to Jesus. You want to be a part of kingdom that never ends? Run to Jesus. You want everlasting life? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” (John 14:6). We are all looking for a greater Noah. Look no further than Christ. Isn’t Scripture cool?

Besides Russell Crowe, this was about all I enjoyed of the movie. Then again, I would probably enjoy an audio recording of Russell Crowe reading Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (the only book I spark-noted in high school) on audio tape as well, simply because Russell Crowe was reading it. Cheers…

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