I just watched my first episode of The Bible Series, “The Beginning” which covers the three “beginnings” of the Bible:
- The Beginning in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (brief)
- The Beginning in the new world with Noah and his family (brief)
- The Beginning in the Promise Land for Abraham and the Jewish People (main focus)
I thought that Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett did a great job of classifying these commencements together for the sake of time—one hour. I was hoping for more illustration in the Garden, but I see why they skipped ahead to the story of Abram/Abraham.
It’s a Colour Thing
The first issue that struck me was that, as far as the main characters were concerned there was not much colour. Most, if not all of the lead actors, were Caucasian. This is noticeable to me since I myself am a woman of colour and hope to see ethnicities represented as accurately and frequently as possible in roles that denote them.
This colour issue was most noticeable to me when Sarah held the infant Isaac in her arms. He was the sweetest Middle-Eastern-looking child, yet his newborn and older child actor counterparts reverted back to the typical Caucasian actors.
That said, I was thrilled to see the angels accompanying Jesus to Abraham’s encampment to be one Black and one Asian. Which leads me to my next topic.
As aforementioned, I was happy to see two actors of drastically different ethnicities portray the angels. I believe when we go to heaven and even those of us on earth who are privileged to interact with angels on assignment will see a vast colour spectrum of angelic representatives as well.
Now when the angels visited Sodom, I was surprised by how the angels were depicted to have found Lot, or should I say, how Lot found them. I do not think it what truly happened in the story, yet I believe it does fit this Biblical passage:
Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)
Another angelic depiction that does not fit the specific story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction yet, fits perfectly into the overall angelic depictions of the Old Testament was the warlike persona.
The Bible tells us that the angels struck the people of Sodom with blindness—which was portrayed in The Bible Series—yet greatly elaborated upon. However, I will again stress that it is not in and of itself unbiblical.
Here are some examples of warrior angels on the loose:
He cast on them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble, by sending angels of destruction among them. (Psalm 78:49 emphasis mine)
Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” (II Samuel 5:23-24 emphasis mine)
And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. (II Kings 19:35 emphasis mine)
If the angels who rescued Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah did more than strike the people with blindness, it was not mentioned in the Scripture because God did not think it pertinent to what we needed to know.
The State of Sodom
Another big issue that stood out to me was the actual behaviour of the people of Sodom. Not one homosexual was depicted. The Biblical lines depicting the townsmen banging down Lot’s door in order to take the angels and know them sexually was completely omitted. It just made them all look like they were wild. And although this was true, the main depiction the Bible provides us with is very different.
I admit, I have no clue why this was left out of the story since it has such massive implications, especially in a day and age where we are literally fighting the wave of homosexuality and sexual perversion in all of its forms, and fighting tooth and nail for the preservation of marriage as the Scripture defines it.
Maybe this was specifically why they left it out. I really have no idea, yet I don’t want to jump to false accusations and harm the good name of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett so I’ll move on.
Lot and his family seem to drop off the face of the planet after the destruction of Sodom, although we know Scripture tells us that a longer, ridiculous (on Lot’s part), incestuous story followed that gave birth—literally—to the Moabite and Ammonite peoples who became enemies of Israel once they left Egypt and returned to the Promise Land.
For the full Biblical account of Lot as well as Sodom and Gomorrah, you may see here.
Back to Abraham’s Family Troubles
I would have loved to see more hateful behaviour from Hagar in the story. We know that she ill-treated Sarah after she conceived Ishmael, yet I do not think we see this to the fullness that it truly was. I make this point because I feel that this tension was a great part of the reason (literally, not so much spiritually) for the forced separation of Hagar and Ishmael from Abraham and all that were his.
I also wish that a more physically beautiful actress had been chosen to play Sarah since the Scripture speaks of her beauty to the extent of causing Abraham to lie to, first, Pharaoh, then Abimelech, to prevent their killing him to take her as their respective wife.
We also know that their unfruitful, yet necessary sojourn through Egypt was where they acquired Hagar and as we can see in modern times, plays a huge role in the relationship between the nations in the Middle-East.
All in all, I believe that in The Bible Series: The Beginning, Roma and Mark accomplished what they set out to do—remained true to the spirit of the Bible, even if some details were changed.
As someone who sits under extremely revelatory ministries, it’s sometimes hard to watch an adaption of a Bible story or passage because I find that many directors cut out seemingly insignificant bits and pieces that, spiritually, have a great impact on the overall setting and story of the Bible. Yet as a writer and, one day, movie maker, I also understand the artistic liberties these visionaries must take and do take to accomplish the vision that God has given them for a project as best they can based on the level of their own present relationship with God and level of prophetic revelation and illumination.
Again, I want to emphasis the Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett did a lovely job and I encourage you all to purchase The Bible Series at your earliest convenience!