As many have already noticed, there are some very cool stories in the Bible. Supernaturally cool and, better yet, true stories.
One of the sweetest – yet most overlooked – aspects of the presentation of these supernaturally cool true stories by God in history and His thoughtful preservation of them in the loving, vivid detail of His Word is the fact that God is the inventor and perfecter of drama.
He is the ultimate author and storyteller, with all of His stories being both completely true and completely purposeful in their revelation of His nature and character through the purposefully dramatic use of every bit of His creation. The creation of time for the purpose of making such a thing as revelation possible in and of itself tells us something incomprehensibly great and inspiring about God – and that’s before we even begin to consider the stories he has woven and continues to weave even now through His creation of time and all that He has placed therein, including us.
So it is that biblical accounts are uniquely powerful and uniquely important. They are also uniquely fantastic, serving as the inspiration for innumerable variations and creative bursts from the minds of men. Some of these inspired thoughts are faithful and true, at least as much as sinful men on this side of eternity are capable of by the grace of God. Many others are rank perversions of beautiful tools, types, and themes displayed in Scripture, purposefully warped, corrupted, and often openly mocked in the “re-imaginings” of men at war with God.
We should never be the least little bit surprised by such warping and perversion on the part of the unbelieving mind. If we have a biblical understanding of the nature of man, we should expect nothing but the perversion of truth at critical points in the telling or retelling of any story attempting to convey a meaningful message to an audience.
Which is why I had zero expectation heading into Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Oh sure, I had some hope for less of a retarded, semi-comical trainwreck of a film than it turned out to be, but I had no expectation of Scott faithfully telling the story of the Exodus in detail. He’s an unbeliever, so he simply cannot do that. It’s beyond him. A solid, faithful presentation of the biblical record is simply outside the realm of possibilities allowed by his very nature as an unbelieving, unregenerate man.
Is he talented?
Films like Gladiator, Alien, and Bladerunner are masterpieces on many levels. Ridley Scott is arguably the best director alive and operating in the film industry today.
And the cast of Exodus: Gods and Kings is excellent as well. As is the production value.
One sad reality once again made plain by this smoldering pile of Bible-mutilating film propaganda is that pagans put their money and talent where their mouth is. They spend what it takes both in time and treasure to produce the finest possible product within the severe limits of their God-hating nature.
How sweet would it be for Christians to man up and do the same with their treasure and talent instead of leaving the culture to be molded and shaped by works like Gladiator, Alien, Bladerunner and Exodus: Gods and Kings? How sad is it that instead of setting and then eclipsing the highest of production standards in film, Christian filmmakers are best known for bilge like Left Behind? (Which is arguably more theologically unhinged than Scott’s Exodus…and perhaps Alien, too.)
Here again we are painfully reminded of our long neglect of the Great Commission, this time in the realm of the arts – a realm that we ought to be striving mightily to conquer to the glory of God through the production of the finest art possible. But that is a blog for another time. For now, let’s get back to Exodus…
I will not go into detail here as to the many very major problems with this flick when it comes to profound deviation from the biblical account. Those details have been covered thoroughly by many others, and I am thankful for the availability of such helpful and insightful criticism.
What I thought might be useful in this context is a reminder as to why it is that Ridley Scott and Friends would do such violence and make such dreadful mutilations to such a fantastic (and practically made for silver screen success – just ask Cecil B. DeMille) story as that which is preserved in the pages of the biblical book of Exodus.
Why did Ridley do it?
Why did he erase all of the clarity of God’s purpose from his version of the story?
Why did he have God’s voice portrayed by a little boy and why were the words spoken by that kid nothing whatsoever like the words actually spoken by God as recorded in Scripture?
Why, why, why?
I mean, can Ridley Scott not read?
Nope. That’s not it.
Well, what then? Is he a moron?
And that’s where things get tricky…
First off, those involved in creating this fleeting hit job on the biblical Exodus are most certainly not intellectually deficient in the basic IQ measurement sort of way. Mr. Scott is a sharp guy. Very sharp. And I’m sure that the same goes for most, if not all, of those who worked on the Exodus film. But in a very real sense, even though they are bright in many ways, even their high IQs and mighty talents are fundamentally corrupted by their unrepentant sinful nature. In many instances, the Bible describes such people as fools.
Again, this is not a reference to mere intellectual capacity in the IQ rating sense. It is, however, a statement as to the very real, practical intellectual consequence of being enslaved to sin. As unrepentant unbelievers, Ridley Scott and those who actively sought to suppress the crystal clear truth of God in their (per)version of Exodus were literally unable to grasp, much less faithfully present, anything even remotely resembling the true, full beauty of the biblical account of the Exodus, even though it has been preserved in clear, vivid detail right there in the pages of Scripture.
It was not a lack of information, education, or knowledge that prevented them from handling such a magnificent story and opportunity in a competent manner. It was their very nature that made them incapable of even beginning to do so. They could not faithfully tell this uniquely powerful story because they could not stand the things that it conveys about God.
Contrary to popular belief, everyone knows God. Not just “a god” or a vague notion about a god, but the one and only true God.
God Himself tells us so quite clearly:
God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. . . ~ Romans 1:18-22 (bold emphasis added)
So why do Ridley Scott and those involved in attempting to rewrite the Exodus do what they do?
They do it because they hate God and, in proud rejection of His revealed nature, they actively (and passively) strive to suppress the truth about Him.
And who has modeled this behavior most effectively for the likes of Mr. Scott?
The professing church.
For those of you familiar with this Moses guy and Exodus thing, you may remember something called “The Ten Commandments”.
Well, those Commandments are just as clear as anything in all of Scripture. They’re much clearer than much of what Scott’s Exodus attempts to mangle from Scripture, even.
Yet, here in America, just ask a self-described “conservative, Bible-believing Christian” where they stand on obeying the first – and foundational – of those Ten Commandments and see what happens…
Watch ’em spin and sputter. Watch ’em contradict and contort.
In practically no time at all they’ll most likely be either outright denying the command by God to disallow the worship of false gods in the land, or they will pretend to not really have clarity as to what the First Commandment means at all. They will find any way – however delusional or dishonest it may be – in order to defend their true god – the idol of explicitly Scripture-denying American style “liberty” and “freedom” to worship false gods – from the one true God and author of Scripture.
In other words, they are just like Ridley Scott and Company where it matters most.
Which is why these professing Christians are most responsible for the creative sewage drowning our culture at the hands of folks like Ridley Scott and through films like Exodus: Gods and Kings.
Even so, they are all God’s tools. False gods, real kings, and unbelieving fools…they are all His to do with as he pleases to fulfill His purposes.
Ridley Scott is God’s property, as is every true believer, every unbeliever, and every false believer.
They are all His and He will tell His story perfectly through them and everything else that He has crafted and placed within His creation of time.
It’s all His.
We’re all His.
And this whole story in which we live and breathe is ultimately going to to glorify Him and benefit His people perfectly and forever…however much some of the tools used to get there might wish or imagine otherwise.
The sooner we come to understand, embrace, and cherish that truth, the better equipped and more inspired we will be to go about the business of actively applying His Gospel-fueled Great Commission to the realm of art and film, thus making things like Exodus: Gods and Kings and Left Behind little more than sad reminders of our past rebellion and neglect.
And wouldn’t that be nice? Leaving Left Behind behind, I mean…
May God grace His people with the talent, resources, desire and opportunity to actively engage and conquer every realm of creation for the name and glory of Christ the King.
How cool would that be?
Here’s an idea:
Let’s find out together…right here and now…by His grace, for His glory, and to the eternal benefit of our children, grandchildren, and countless generations to come.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
Soli Deo Gloria!