noah83120121A telling interview over at Complex with director Darren Aronofsky and Logan Lerman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and Ray Winstone from the cast of Noah.

To kick off the interview, Complex asks the question, “I’m Noah, and you guys are up to your necks in water.  What would you say to me to convince me to let you on the ark?”  And the answers given are rather bizarre but very human.  Lerman says he would “offer up life’s debt, maybe sexual debt?”  Winstone says, “I’m gonna buy you a drink.”  Hopkins simply says, “Please.”  Aronofsky says he would offer to bring his camera and set up a reality TV series for Noah.

The stunner for me, though, is what Aronofsky says next: “That’s what the film is about.  You hit it on the head.  You know, like, what makes you savable?

What makes you savable?  I bring it up because Aronofsky’s comment highlights a common misconception in our society today: that Christianity is somehow about making ourselves worthy enough for God to want to save us.  Actually, though, Christianity is about understanding that we will never be worthy, and it’s in the midst of this unworthiness that God steps in and saves.

In situations like this I’m reminded of two terms.  The first is the “universality of sin”, which means exactly what it says: sin is universal, and every human being is a sinner.  John says that, if we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives (1John 1:10).  Paul is equally clear on this subject, saying, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).  In answering the question of what makes us savable, then, we have to understand that none of us, not even Noah, is worthy of saving on the basis of our own efforts.

The other term that comes to mind is the “total depravity of man”, which is not what it sounds like.  It doesn’t mean that we are so bad that we’re running around doing totally depraved things that would make our mothers blush.  Instead, it means that every part of us is affected by sin in some way such that, if we were to examine each and every part of ourselves, we would find no place within us where we could plant the lever that would pry open the gates of heaven.  In other words, we can’t save ourselves, because we can’t fix our sin.

Therefore we must look to another, Christ, and him alone for our salvation.  Paul tells us that “there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22b-24).

The heart of the matter is that we all bear the label “unworthy,” and nothing we could do on our own can make us savable.  After all, if we could fix sin ourselves, thereby making ourselves worthy to be Christians, then Christ would not have had to die in our place: You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).