Tubal-Cain is not the most widely known person in the Bible, even to keen Bible students. But he does play a part, though not a worthy one, in the 2014 film “Noah”.

Films are notorious for taking real characters and depicting them in a way that suits the film maker, not letting the facts get in the way of a good film. There is no indication of his character in the one reference to him in the Bible:

Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Genesis 4:22

Even those of you who did already know who he was might be unaware that there is a statue of him – and it’s right here in Edinburgh, in Nicolson Square, about a mile from our church building. It was built for the 1886 International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art, and was the exhibit of the Edinburgh and Leith Brass Founders: Tubal-Cain was the first brass worker.


The makers of “Noah” could not be accused of unconscious bias. They openly admitted they chose Tubal-Cain to represent all that was wrong with the world in Noah’s time because he was a descendant of Cain, the first murderer. But as noted above we have no idea what Tubal-Cain the person was really like.

Unconscious bias has been defined as:
Unconscious biases, also known as implicit biases, are the underlying attitudes and stereotypes that people unconsciously attribute to another person or group of people that affect how they understand and engage with a person or group.
The Royal Society has a very good short video clip about unconscious bias:

This week the Commonwealth War Graves Commission admitted it had been guilty of unconscious (or was it conscious?) bias; they did not treat soldiers from foreign countries who were killed in the First World War with the same recognition as British soldiers. And now, 100 years later, they’re doing something about it.

After his experience with Cornelius the Roman centurion, Peter appreciated that he had been unconsciously biased about who was acceptable to God:
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34 and 35
And us? We are not immune either. The first step is to be aware of it and then to make a conscious effort not to let it influence how we react to people. That’s not easy. It took a vision from God for Peter to realise it. We have the benefit of hindsight, but too often our eyesight and our thinking can be blinkered. But God wants us to have open eyes, open brains and open hearts:

Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. Isaiah 32:3

I [Paul] keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people... Ephesians 1:17 and 18


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