Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Genesis Code: Overall Review

I recently watched the Genesis Code, which is a 2010 movie.  The movie explores the question of whether science and Genesis 1 are compatible.

I'm glad that I finally got to see it, for I was curious about it when I first watched its trailer online.  I learned about it as a result of doing an online search about Catherine Hicks, whom I love in Star Trek IV and 7th Heaven.  I wanted to see if she was in anything lately, and I saw that she was in the Genesis Code.  I also noticed that Fred Thompson, a 2008 Republican candidate for President, was in the movie, and, being someone who doesn't watch much Law and Order, I wanted to see how good of an actor he was.   Later, I learned that actor Ernest Borgnine was in it as well, and I loved Borgnine in the 1955 movie Marty and the two-parter Little House on the Prairie episode, "The Lord Is My Shepherd" (see my post about Borgnine here).  Another noteworthy actor in the Genesis Code was Louise Fletcher, who won an Academy Award for playing the chilling Nurse Ratched in the 1973 movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  

To be honest, when I first saw the trailer for the Genesis Code, I thought that it might be a Christian movie, but I was not entirely sure.  It looked to me like it might be an impartial exploration of the question of origins, with strong religious and skeptical characters.  After seeing it, and after learning about the immense support that elements of the right-wing gave to it (see here and here), I now know that it's a Christian movie.  Moreover, the guy who plays the pastor in the movie, Jerry Zandstra, is the President of the company that produced The Genesis Code, American Epic Entertainment.  Zandstra, as you can see from the wikipedia article about him, is a minister and has a history in Republican politics.  See here for his thoughts on the film.

The thing is, this movie cannot be characterized as young-earth creationist propaganda.  Actually, it's point is that science and Genesis 1 are compatible because time is relative, and so a day to God may be a much longer time for human beings.  The movie is essentially acknowledging an old earth.  And it also makes the point that the sequence of creation in Genesis 1 is similar to what science says about the order in which things came to be.  Moreover, the movie does not say that dinosaurs co-existed with human beings, but it places the existence and extinction of dinosaurs within the sixth "day" of creation, the sixth day being from 250 million years ago to the time of Adam.

Tomorrow, I'll have a post addressing the question of whether the film fudges on science or Genesis 1 to make the two agree.  I think that it does, in a sense, and yet I am pleased that conservative Christians have become excited about a film that has such a progressive approach to the issue of science and Genesis 1 (though the movie has had its share of conservative Christian critics----see here and here).  I wish that the film had gone a step further and affirmed the theory of evolution, but, unfortunately, it had a couple of swipes against macro-evolution, some of them pretty misinformed (i.e., humans descended from apes), and some of them exemplifying standard creationist or Intelligent Design arguments against macro-evolution.  But the scene in which the pastor, scientists, and students are talking about the age of the earth and the sequence of events in the universe's history makes the movie worth watching (although I could have done without the Christian protagonist smugly saying at the end of the discussion that science has caught up with the Bible).  I wish I could find the entire scene online, but here is a YouTube video that contains pieces of it. 

As far as the rest of the movie was concerned, I thought that it was way too long, but there were a couple of gems.  First, there was the scene in which a skeptical youth is talking with the pastor about faith.  The youth is saying that he was convinced by the presentation about the harmony between science and Genesis 1, but he expected for faith to be a heart-issue rather than something that proceeded from hard intellectual work.  The pastor responds that people come to faith in different ways, some of them pretty mundane.  I appreciated this scene because it highlights that one does not have to believe in God as a result of a flashy experience, as some evangelicals seem to imply.

Second, while I didn't care for most of the inane banter in the movie, I did like one scene near the end, as one of the characters refers to the TNT movie Purgatory, in which an angel said that the creator is tough, but not blind.  I love Purgatory, and I'm glad there are other fans out there!

I'll be writing another post about this movie tomorrow, and maybe more posts after that.  We'll see!

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