With the movie Son of God releasing in theaters on February 28, for the next three Thursdays I’ll be rerunning a three part series I wrote on last year’s History Channel miniseries, The Bible. Son of God is Roma Downey’s and Mark Burnett’s movie about Jesus that is drawn from The Bible’s scenes pertaining to His life and ministry, as well as deleted scenes that did not make it into the miniseries.
4. Does it really matter if “The Bible” is factually inaccurate and skips a lot of important stuff? It’s artistic license after all!
Yes, it matters. And it matters on a lot of levels.
First, I’ve noticed a lot of details that this movie has gotten wrong when it would have been just as easy/inexpensive/practical to get it right. A few small examples:
In Scripture, Daniel was cast into a pit or cave with lions, and a stone was rolled over the opening (Daniel 6:17). In the movie, Daniel was put into a dungeon with lions and a door was closed and locked behind him.
In Scripture, it is clear that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed primarily for the sin of homosexuality (Jude 7). In the movie, homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah is not even hinted at.
Now, if the movie makers can’t even get these simple details correct, can they be trusted to get the much more complex details of Jesus’ life, teachings, and propitiatory death and resurrection correct? As I said before, a lot of people won’t pick up their Bibles or have a Christian share the gospel with them after seeing the movie. What about them and the real Jesus they need for salvation?
Second, the Bible isn’t just an anthology of short stories which are unrelated to one another. The Bible is one unified story—the story of God’s redemption of sinful man in the person of Jesus Christ. Every story, every incident, every jot and tittle of the Old Testament shows man’s need for redemption and points to the Redeemer to come: Christ. The gospels tell the story of Christ’s redemptive mission. Acts through Revelation point us back to the first coming of Christ and ahead to His second coming. When you omit or mangle any of the links in that chain, the story of redemption –the entire point of the Bible—breaks down, gets tarnished, gets lost in the shuffle. Why is that important? Because the Bible shows us our need of redemption from our sin. Our eternity depends on it.
Finally, and most importantly, God’s word is high and holy, and it must be treated as such rather than playing fast and loose with it. He has preserved it through thousands of years and at the cost of many lives. God takes His word seriously, and so should we.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
…To be continued…
*Just a note for future readers: This article was written during the week between episodes 3 and 4 of the miniseries. Episode 3 wrapped up the Old Testament and introduced the New Testament, covering Jesus’ birth through the calling of Peter. As I write, I have not seen episode 4 or 5.