Spiritual Perspectives


THE DA VINCI CODE (PART 2)

Gary W. Summers

 

      What do readers of this book find so attractive?  The adventure part of it might grip the reader; perhaps some like the nifty explanations offered of the origin of certain words, or maybe it is the use of anagrams, symbols, and the secret societies, along with the alleged cover-ups that appeal to people.

 

     Some of the clues are actually anagrams, such as O draconian devil and Oh lame saint!  But then the author, Dan Brown, gets carried away.  Too many things become anagrams, including the name Mona Lisa, which is purportedly the names of two Egyptian gods (121).  The author stretches credulity in his comments about the rose.  After asserting that Mary Magdalene is referred to as the Chalice, the Holy Grail, and the Rose, Professor Teabing adds that the rose “has ties to the five-pointed pentacle of Venus,” before pointing out that the word rose is identical in English, French, and German (254).  Robert Langdon (the book’s hero) adds this tasty trifle: “Rose is also an anagram of Eros, the Greek god of sexual love.”  One can only assume that Langdon (and perhaps the author) has a one-track mind.

 

     The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language gives as the origin of our English word rose the Latin rosa.  Latin and Greek were both languages used throughout the Roman Empire, and obviously rosa is not an anagram for Eros.  To assume that there is some significance in a derivative of this word in languages that developed centuries later is preposterous.  One wonders that Brown did not insist that Bette Middler is a direct descendant of Mary Magdalene, since she sang The Rose.

 

     Doing anagrams may be enjoyable if not profitable.  What should we make of the fact that the word evil is the word live spelled backwards?  Is living evil?  Furthermore, lived backwards is the devil.  The goosebumps should be breaking out all over by now.  And what about the name, Dan Brown?  From it we can get:

BORN DAWN

BARN DOWN

BOND WARN

BRAND NOW

WORD BANN

BAD WRONN

 

     On WORD BANN the second N is for emphasis, and the last phrase—well, in Greek, if two G’s are together, the first G becomes N (as in aggelos [angel]; why not reverse this practice here with the two N’s and make the second one a G, thus making the author’s name an anagram for BAD WRONG, which somehow seems appropriate?

 

“Goddess” Versus the Bible

 

     The thesis of this book is that “goddess” worship represents balance and harmony, symbolized by the sexual union of man and woman, which is regarded as highly spiritual.  But then that evil Christianity came along and has all but destroyed the beauty of “goddess” worship.  According to Brown, the word pagan simply referred to country dwellers, who “clung to old, rural religions of Nature worship” (36).  Theoretically, the Church so feared those who “lived in rural villes” that they made the word referring to those residents, villains, refer to evil souls (36).  How dastardly!

 

     Even the pentacle was vilified to be associated with devil worship, but originally, it innocently referred to Nature worship.  Langdon states:

 

This pentacle is representative of the female half of all things—a concept religious historians call the ‘sacred feminine’ or the ‘divine goddess.’

 

“The goddess had a place in the nighttime sky and was known by many names—Venus, the Eastern Star, Ishtar, Astarte—all of them powerful female concepts with ties to Nature and Mother Earth (36).

.     The International Bible Encyclopedia confirms that Venus corresponds to Astarte and Ishtar.  Not unexpectedly, it is pointed out: “The immoral rites with which the worship of Ishtar in Babylonia was accompanied were transferred to Canaan” (1:320).  Dan Brown neglects to have his character, Robert Langdon, tell us that Astarte is in some time periods associated with that patriarchal concept of fighting.  “As goddess of war she is seen unclothed, weapons in hand, on a galloping stallion, charging into war” (1:320).  Oops!  Whatever happened to that serene sense of harmony in goddess worship that “the Church” tried to destroy?

 

Brown’s “Church”

 

     It should be increasingly noticeable that, when author BAD WRONG refers to “the Church,” he is speaking of the Roman Catholic Church, which he erroneously depicts as the only one of record.  Apparently, he does not realize that the Roman Catholic Church is not the church described in the New Testament—they are an apostate version of the one Jesus established.  The New Testament does not speak of cardinals, archbishops, a pope, a diocese, mass, Christmas, Easter, secret orders (such as Opus Dei or the Priory of Sion), monks, abbots, friars, indulgences, monasteries, or convents.  Furthermore, neither Constantine nor the church of the 4th century tried to rewrite history.  The reader of The Da Vinci Code should think about all the contradictions involved in this and other assertions.

 

     First of all, if the Catholic Church was the only church, and they tried to rewrite history, then why did they not do a better job of it?  Why, for instance did they not clearly identify Peter as the head of the church and living in Rome?  Come to think of it, why do they not call him the pope and expunge his wife from the New Testament (Matt. 8:14; 1 Cor. 9:5)?  How many times have they been embarrassed by this truth over the years?  And why did they not change the wording of Matthew 16:18 to: “Upon you, Peter, I will build my church,” instead of allowing for other interpretations, such as the true one—that it is the Deity of Christ upon which the church is built?  In fact, since they were allegedly tampering with the New Testament, why did they not put all of their terminology into the Scriptures?

 

     The truth of the matter is that it took several centuries for the Roman Catholic Church to develop into the apostate church they had become by the A.D. 600s.  The New Testament does not authorize secret “Christian” societies or one man to rule over the church (Matt. 28:18).  Peter was a fallible man (Luke 5:1-8; Matt. 26: 69-75; Gal. 2:11), who refused to allow anyone to worship him (Acts 10:25-26).  In fact, he wrote that all Christians are priests—we are a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:5).  The church of the New Testament continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).  Such was the only doctrine necessary for them to live their lives in a way that pleases God; Jesus had taught that the truth would make men free; could God not preserve that truth from those who sought to destroy it?

 

The Deity of Christ

 

     Professor Teabing assures the heroine, Sophie, that “the early Church needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet Jesus was a divine being. Therefore, any gospels that described earthly aspects of Jesus’ life had to be omitted from the Bible” (244).  Here BAD WRONG shows his ignorance of history.  Many early manuscript fragments, and lectionaries (Scripture readings for the church) set forth the Deity of Jesus before it was ever questioned by the Gnostics and the material they wrote in the third and fourth centuries.

 

     One of the first attacks against Jesus and His atoning work was to question or deny the Deity of Jesus that was set forth in the New Testament.  As already presented, it is the foundation of the church—Jesus’ church—the church of Christ (Matt. 16:16-18).  Mark records that Jesus equated His ability to heal a lame man with the fact that He could forgive sins, which is a declaration of His Godhood (Mark 2:1-12).  Mark also records the Lord’s acknowledgement and admission of being the Son of God before the high priest (Mark 14: 61-62).  The gospel of John begins with the information that Jesus is an equal part of the Godhead—the One who became flesh (John 1:1-14).  Jesus claimed perfection—that He always did the Father’s will (John 8:29).  The resurrection proves the Deity of Christ, which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach unequivocally.  Paul affirms in Athens that God will judge the world through Christ (Acts 17:30-31), which corroborates what Jesus had already taught (John 5:22, 27).   Paul thunders forth the Deity of Christ in the introduction to his letter to the Romans (1:4) and agrees with John about Jesus’ role in the Godhead (Phil. 2:5-8).

 

     No one made this doctrine up after Jesus died.  If the apostles originated this idea out of some sort of misguided motive, they only brought misery upon themselves and died for a lie that they concocted but refused to renounce.  What happened is that, as Christianity began to spread, men began to develop theories about Christ.  Some theorized that all flesh is evil and therefore Jesus could not have had a literal body; He only “appeared” to have one.  The epistle of 1 John begins with a refutation of that error.  Jesus had a physical body—the apostles had touched Him. 

 

     Eventually, heretics arose who denied His Deity (for reasons best known to them).  Of course, the Pharisees had this objection all along—even when inundated by evidence.  What Brown fails to realize is that the evidence Jesus and the apostles presented to people is the reason they believed.  The Jews did not need a new religion founded upon some man.  They already had a religion of God given through Moses.  The Gentiles did not need a new god; they already had several.  Yet he apparently thinks that the world decided to follow Jesus as just a human being and without evidence.  Why would they?  The fact is that literature denying the Deity of Christ arose later, which is the reason the church rejected it.  They knew it contradicted Truth.

 

     “Moreover, Jesus as a married man makes infinitely more sense than our standard Biblical view of Jesus as a bachelor” (245).  “And why is that?” the reader wonders.  “Because Jesus was a Jew, and the social decorum during that time virtually forbid a Jewish man to be unmarried” (245).  Really?  And where did Brown obtain that information?  And what is his proof for Jesus being married?  “If Jesus were not married, at least one of the Bible’s gospels would have mentioned it and offered some explanation for His unnatural state of bachelorhood” (249).  What?  One of those unreliable, rewritten “gospels” would have mentioned if He was NOT married?  What kind of argument is this?  Would the Scriptures also tell us that Jesus did not have four wives?  Should we therefore assume He had four?  What about John the Baptizer?  No statement tells us that he was a bachelor, either; so students of the Bible ought to assume he was married, also, right?

 

     The fact is, however, that Jesus does have a bride—the church.  John said of Jesus, ”He who has the bride is the bridegroom” (John 3:29).  Brown would fare better if he read more Scriptures and fewer unsubstantiated legends.  When he quotes from a Gnostic “gospel,” he does not even realize that it contradicts itself or his theory.  In the so-called “Gospel of Mary Magdalene” is a section in which Peter expresses jealousy over Mary Magdalene.  Levi accuses him of being hot-tempered and then asks, “If the Saviour made her worthy, who are you to reject her? Surely, the Saviour knows her very well” (247).

 

     See the flaw in logic?  Jesus is being called Savior.   Only one who is without blemish can qualify to pay man’s penalty for sin.  If Jesus is not the perfect Lamb of God, then He cannot be the perfect sacrifice for sins.  If He is a flawed human being, as all of us are, then He cannot take our place and redeem us from our sins.  Jesus, however, was perfect and therefore qualified to be our Savior.  However, He could not be perfect and lie about who He was.  He cannot claim to be Deity (as already shown) if He is not and still qualify as a perfect sacrifice.  Liars are far less than perfect human beings.  Therefore, whether the Gnostics realized it or not, the Deity of Christ is linked to His being Savior.

 

     Furthermore, if any of the Gnostic “gospels” taught that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, Brown would have quoted the text.  The closest thing he could find was that she was called “the companion of the Saviour” in the Gospel of Philip (246).  He then alleges, through Professor Teabing that “any Aramaic scholar” would say that “the word companion, in those days, literally meant spouse” (246).  Porter offers up a pertinent reply:

 

Since the Gospel of Philip is written in Coptic as a probable translation from the Greek, it really makes no difference what an Aramaic scholar thinks. What does a Coptic or Greek scholar think? … the word for companion, “koinwnon,” is simply a transliterated Greek word (4).

 

     It is rendered as “companion,” “partner,” “fellow,” “accomplice,” and “sharer.”  Porter points out that spouse is not one of the recognized definitions (4).  Jesus was never married to Mary Magdalene or any other woman; His only bride is the church.

 

A Royal Marriage?

 

     The book further alleges that Mary Magdalene was of royal descent of the house of Benjamin (248). 

 

By marrying into the powerful House of Benjamin, Jesus fused two royal bloodlines, creating a potent political union with the potential of making a legitimate claim to the throne and restoring the line of kings as it was under Solomon (249).

 

     What?!  First, who said that the House of Benjamin was powerful in New Testament times?  Second, who said that a royal bloodline from Benjamin even existed? Samuel said to Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue…” (1 Sam. 13:14).  Later God tore the kingdom away from Saul himself (1 Sam. 15:28).  The tribe of Benjamin did continue (as evidenced by Paul in Philippians 3:5). Although King Saul had several descendants who survived him (1 Chron. 8:33-40), the Scriptures never refer to them as a royal house, either in the Old or New Testaments.  So where is the evidence that a royal house continued?

 

     Third, where is the proof that Mary Magdalene was of the tribe of Benjamin?  Fourth, Jesus did not need to marry anyone “to make a legitimate claim to the throne” since He was descended from the tribe of Judah and David.  In fact, He was raised up by the Father to sit on David’s throne (Acts 2:30ff), but it is a spiritual throne—not a literal one.  Brown is thinking earthly kingdom, just as the Jews did and just as premillennialists do.  Jesus is king over the spiritual kingdom of prophecy (Isa. 2:2-4).  He never came to restore a line of earthly kings.

 

     According to BAD WRONG (via Professor Teabing), Mary was with child when Jesus was crucified.  She fled to France and gave birth to a daughter named Sarah (255).  Even if all of that were true, all the theory provides is a daughter and a royal bloodline without any sense of purpose whatsoever.  Teabing blathers on:

 

The Church, in order to defend itself against the Magdalene’s power, perpetuated her image as a whore and buried the evidence of Christ’s marriage to her, thereby defusing any potential claim that Christ had a surviving bloodline and was a mortal prophet (254).

 

     This would be laughable, if it were not so blasphemous.  If “the Magdalene” was so powerful, why did she have to sneak away to France?  Given this scenario, God the Father is a poor architect, planning to restore the bloodline only to have it lost in obscurity; Jesus is a poor prophet to have missed seeing this hijacking of His church; and the Holy Spirit apparently had no power to thwart the vicious apostles’ actions in rejecting Mary Magdalene or preserving Scriptural truth.

 

    

 

*Send comments or questions concerning this article to Gary Summers. Please refer to this article as: "Whatever the article name from above is (05/07/06)."

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