By the Rev. Mary Holder Naegeli
Last night’s opening installment of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s The Bible on the History Channel was alternately inspiring and curious. For a skeptic like me, who believes that commercial television has a poor track record of rendering of the Scriptures faithfully, there were many pleasant surprises in this production. A few missteps, too, but all in all I give it a positive rating while observing with interest some of the editorial choices.
It is the making of those choices that interests me as a Christian educator and Presbyterian teaching pastor. If I were to design a curriculum to unveil The Bible in ten hours, what would I include and what would I leave out? What a torture to even think about it! So this review must begin with an affirmation that two Christians in Hollywood would want to take a stab at it at all, with all the risks that undoubtedly entailed.
Three main characters are presented in the episode entitled “Beginnings”: Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The story starts with Noah in the ark with his family and all those animals in close quarters. As the ride get rough, he encourages his family with the telling of the creation story. The photography and effects here were quite good and awe-inspiring. The description of the Fall and degradation of humanity is swift, but it gets the point across that human depravity had necessitated a rescue of one righteous family and a restart after the flood.