'The Riot and the Dance' shows God's artistry in creation

Michael Miller  ·  Feb 15, 2018

Samaritan Ministries member Dr. Gordon Wilson likes to “tromp around the Pacific Northwest with his nieces and nephews, looking for snakes and lizards,” according to his bio.

Now he’s taking all of us along on a global tromp to see the glory of God’s creation in The Riot and the Dance, a movie that will have a special nationwide showing in theaters on March 19.

The gorgeously photographed film promises to “open your eyes to the extraordinary glory found all over the animal kingdom.”

Gordon, a Senior Fellow of Natural History at New Saint Andrews College and a regular contributor at Answers in Genesis, says he once dreamed of working with Jacques Cousteau, but then “got realistic” in college. When his nephew, author N.D. Wilson (100 Cupboards) recently was asked to create a distinctively Christian nature film, he asked Gordon to narrate.

The result is The Riot and the Dance.

The film gets up close and, at times, frighteningly personal (SNAKES!) with reptiles and bugs of various sorts, but also birds and buffalo. Through it all, Gordon reminds us of the fact that all creation is groaning under Adam’s sin (Romans 8:22), but that its beauty as God’s handiwork still shows through. We see a snake’s fangs, as well as the beauty of its markings.

“I hope viewers begin to see that these creatures are the direct handiwork of God, to see that God is an artist, sculptor, and engineer,” Gordon says.

He also hopes that the film will encourage Christians to embrace the study of nature.

“We too often think nature is the domain of secular biologists. Why should we? They don't even know its Creator. I want this film to plant seeds in the hearts of young Christian kids so that when they grow up they will love, study, and care for His creation as heirs of His vast estate. I want all viewers to really begin being awestruck at the beauty, complexity, and diversity that God created, while keeping in mind that ‘all creation groans’ since the Fall.”

Gordon shows us the “riot” in the form of ants feasting on an earthworm while fighting off yellow jackets, and tells us about half-ton elephant seal mothers accidentally crushing their young.

“But this is not how the world was meant to be,” Gordon says in the film. “This is the result of the Fall, more riot than it is dance. And it is not how the beaches will be run in the resurrection.”

Then, we’ll have more of the “dance” that we have now, of butterflies flexing their wings, fruit bats nursing their young, elephants forming family units.

Visiting the U.S. Northwest, the Sonoran desert, and Sri Lanka, Gordon also shows us “God’s living art museum.” He also reminds us, as we see a variety of creatures normally regarded as repellent, that “God’s tastes are often nothing like ours.”

“Everything is here because of God’s gracious creative affection, and if He loves a thing, so should we,” Gordon narrates. “Do we see divine artistry in spiders? We should.”

The goal of The Riot and the Dance is to make a “nature film that was distinctively Christian.” It succeeds. And it’s not done yet. This film is only “Part 1: Earth.” Still to come is “Part 2: Water,” so get your scuba gear ready.

To reserve tickets for The Riot and the Dance, go to riotandthedance.com/find-your-theater. To see the latest trailer, go to bit.ly/riotdancetrailer.