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Our readers asked:

Can Filmmakers Add Scenes to Biblical Stories?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Q: The Movie Son of God has details that do not appear in the Gospels, e.g. Peter returning from the empty tomb and immediately celebrating the Eucharist. Is this allowed?

Sure. St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises suggests the person making the retreat imagine Jesus appearing to his mother Mary. The Gospels don’t tell of this, but our imaginations can envision such an event happening.

Movie like Son of God are imaginative recreations of the central truths of the Gospels. God often works powerfully through our graced imaginations. Our love for and appreciation of who Jesus was, is and will be, is often powerfully influenced by imaginative works from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Jesus Christ Superstar.

Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Smart guy.

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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  • Rick Malloy

    Hi Mike. Good point. Obviously, the imagination can be used in ways both graced and disgraced. That’s the human condition. The discerning believer can distinguish between which imaginative presentations are helpful to faith formation and which are unhelpful. There’s a huge difference between the Divine Comedy by Dante and The Davinci Code by what’s his name, Brown?

    I didn’t see Noah, but I thought Son of God was OK, not great. About Son of God being protestant… I was pleasantly surprised to see Peter requesting bread and wine as soon as he returned from the empty tomb. Pretty Eucharistic image, IMHO.

  • Mike


    too Fr. Malloy you for got that Satan can also work man imagination to distort the truth of Jesus or God, the Noah movie for example where they had the Fallen angles helping Noah out to save mankind too. when the CGI looked that taken from the Transformers movies. and where did they get that stray woman played by Emma Watson and where not they all already married before this took place where in the movie that I could just not finish watching because it was too boring and off point, with all of man imagination it was too much of a departure from what Genesis told of in the Bible, sure they had to make up dialog as in all moves that say they are a true move, or based on a true life happening as no one can actually get every little detail of every word that cam out of all of them peoples mouths to make it an actual true story, by the definition of true.

    but that Noah move is almost a complete departure of what the bible told, as no where in there did it say that the fallen angles helped Noah out in any way whatsoever. then there is that missing middle of the Ark so they can put someone on a raft to punish him or her thing that they had going on it the movie, what was that all about, then the stray woman they decided that could go with them played by Emma Watson gets pregnant out of “wedlock” sub plot thing going on in there too. what was that all about?

    the son of God is a Proteastent view point on Jesus, and there’s is an already distorted belief system about Jesus as it is to begin with so that speaks for itself.

    the imagination is not always guiled by God, even in things telling of
    God or Jesus. I think it is then to my option that you have a too much
    of a positive out look on life when it should be more of a realistic out
    look on life. this too is a distortion of reality and the truth. so do be careful where you step for you may step into a pile of dung then be happy about it.

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