I must admit that while I don’t profess to be a film critic by any stretch, the Hollywood conflict between science and the bible has always been of interest to me. In fact, this conflict has been on the forefront of the criticism directed at blockbuster ‘biblically inspired’ movies since the 1950’s. My own research into the whereabouts of the legendary Ark of the Covenant eventually turned into a white paper, a book, and even a sci-fi film (for more info on the Remi Award winning film: The A.R.K. Report). I found that without a doubt it’s easier to retain credibility when dealing strictly with the more scientific aspects that surround the subject’s physical properties. EXODUS, being released just yesterday, is already being referred to it as ‘biblically inspired,’ but that’s about it. In this case, I think it’s also safe to quote the popular saying that “the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.”

Whatever you may think of it, it cost approx. $140 million to create, quite a bit more than DeMill’s Ten Commandments version. It’s interesting to note that It took more than 1,500 visual effects shots to digitally bolster the ranks of the Hebrews and to help authentically render plagues of hail, locusts and frogs, although some 400 actual amphibians were actually brought to set at one point. In this case, the Director Ridley Scott, who by the way is a self-proclaimed agnostic, offers us amazing visuals, at the same time making darn sure that the audience is aware that all the plagues are not so miraculous after all, but happened due to what most would call ‘natural causes.’ The massive volcanic eruption that was in and around the same time (although that in and of itself is disputed) that occurred on the Greek Island of Santorini was apparently the cause for the majority of the plagues. By synching geological and historical events, Scott is hoping to make a case for the scientific approach.

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I deal with this topic in the Preface of The A.R.K. Report whereby I make the case that the recent onslaught of Armageddon-type movies like 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, etc. introduce into pop culture the concept that at the end of the day there is a final agenda that is quite likely Divinely ordained, whether it comes about through heavy weather or not. In the case of the Ark for instance, some of its uncanny and highly powerful energy properties can be attributed in part to its being constructed like a giant conductor and super-capacitor. In fact, there are newspaper articles put out in recent history by engineering professors theorizing that the construction of the Ark provides for generating a current of static electricity of up to 10,000 volts! (The ARK Report, pg. 67) From my perspective and experience in analyzing the biblical narrative, I take the traditional approach in the sense that science, and archeology as well for that matter, should ideally provide a PROOF for the bible, and not the opposite. Theoretically, there should be no conflict whatsoever. I certainly found that this was the case while researching my book. Could it be that Santorini DID actually affect the ancient Israelites in Egypt? Perhaps. It’s not impossible. But to imply that there was no Divine involvement at all is stretching the Hollywood take (no pun intended) just too far. Why does Moses have to be hurt by a rockslide? Portraying Moses as a bit of a basket case is not exactly helpful to the plot.

There are certain scenes however that did stimulate the imagination and did not provide a conflict. For example, the scene of the Red Sea waters parting then coming back down was interesting to experience. Even the short scene in NOAH that depicted Adam and Eve as beings of light/spirit rather than naked people in a forest was food for thought. Same holds true for the awesome power and violence of the flood waters, and the fountains of the deep that opened up. Those concepts are more true to the Book in its original form. Keep in mind that no matter how much weight you put behind science, nobody has the right to portray belief in God as petty or foolishness. The solution? One has to balance the use of ‘artistic license.’ It’s interesting to note that Christian Today reported that the casting of white actors in the lead roles was being protested. But of course! It’s a known fact that the Egyptians were in fact dark-skinned people.

To conclude, common sense dictates that there doesn’t HAVE to be disparages between science and the bible. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the upcoming movie about King David and the Hollywood depictions of the Ark!
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