Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

People of faith understand that the answer to the above question is an unambiguous “No.” Science can actually bolster faith. The two films discussed here make that case. The first is a drama. The second is a documentary.

1. The Genesis Code. After a limited theatrical release, American Epic Entertainment’s movie The Genesis Code is currently enjoying big (and unexpected) success on DVD. In the film, which tackles believers and non-believers in the arenas of science and academia, producer Jerry Zandstra (who I spoke with yesterday) adds actor to his eclectic resume, portraying a minister whose college-age daughter faces academic discrimination because of her outspoken faith.

Here’s the plot of the film as summarized on the company’s website: Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent façade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry’s suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry — who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front — sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true!

Mini-Review: I only recently caught up with the film (having unfortunately missed it during its theatrical run) I can report to you that it’s a film of great heart with likable characters and the courage to take on multiple thorny issues, including the perceived anti-faith bias in academia and the ongoing debate over whether scientific research has basically discredited the Bible (particularly the Book of Genesis). The film utilizes Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to argue, rather effectively, that the biblical and scientific creation narratives don’t cancel each other out and that science and religion (when thought through) actually support one another.

The cast is lead by relative newcomers Kelsey Sanders and Logan Bartholomew (who up to now is best known for his work in Hallmark’s Love Comes Softly film series). They’re crossed paths (and mutual attraction) are at the core of the film and they handle their roles enough skill to suggest that long-term mainstream success could be in their futures. They are ably supported by a cast of film and TV veterans that include Catherine Hicks (TV’s 7th Heaven), Ernest Borgnine, Louis Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Fred Thompson and Ben Murphy (from one of my all-time favorite shows Alias Smith and Jones).  Then there’s Jerry Zandstra as the female lead’s minister dad.  As he admitted in our conversation, he’s essentially playing himself. The movie is directed by C. Thomas Howell who is perhaps best known for his acting work in films like The Outsiders.

The Genesis Code isn’t a perfect movie. There are patches of somewhat clunky dialogue and I think it might have benefited from a little streamlining.  For instance, the sub-plot involving young Blake Truman’s dying mother throws the film a little off balance. I’m not saying it needed to be jettisoned. It just seemed to be to be one rewrite away from being better integrated into the story. But, overall, these characters are engaging and the pivotal scene in which the theory unifying the faith and scientific perspectives on creation is actually quite riveting. I’d, in fact, recommend putting that single scene on YouTube. I think it would go viral — which would, perhaps, help market the movie which is now available at various retail outlets such as Walmart and Target, as well as through etailers like Amazon.
For its basic likability and intriguing premise, The Genesis Code is recommended. 

2. Cosmic Origins. No review here since I haven’t seen the 49-minute film but if executive producer (and Catholic priest) Robert Spitzer has his way you will — through a pre-release screening program being offered to parishes, schools or other organizations interested in putting forth the idea that science and faith, far from contradicting each other, actually go together like milk and cookies. Interested groups are urged to go to www.CosmicOriginsFilm.com for information on screening packages available. The website also includes the trailer, clips from the film and a variety of free downloadable resources for use in promoting the pre-release screening program.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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