Spiritual Perspectives


THE DA VINCI CODE (PART 3)

Gary W. Summers

     One might wonder what else could possibly be said about a book that denies the Deity of Christ and portrays Jesus as wedded to Mary Magdalene?  Dan Brown has already exalted the “goddess” theory—that there was a time when the earth was a place of peace and harmony, when human beings were content to “make love, not war.”  Those are not his words, but he rather sounds like a 60’s Hippie who never quite got over Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” (1970).

 

     At any rate, no evidence can be cited for “goddess” theology.  Some cultures may have enjoyed temporary peace, but such hardly ever prevails for long.  In fact, prior to the Flood, the earth was filled with violence (Gen. 6:11).  We read of wars again not long after the Tower of Babel.  Any era of harmony on this Earth must have been brief.  Goddesses could be just as bloodthirsty as their male counterparts, research indicates.

 

     What more can there possibly be to discuss?  There remains the need to consider Brown’s attacks on the Bible, his numerous inaccuracies, and his complete misunderstanding of what faith is. 

 

Faith

 

     Professor Teabing alleges that the Sangreal documents (which are never uncovered in the novel for obvious reasons—they do not exist) “tell the other side of the Christ story” (256), by which Brown means that the apostles rewrote history, all but expunging Mary Magdalene from it and making Christ Divine.  “In the end, which side of the story you believe becomes a matter of faith and personal exploration” (256).  Does this sound as though he is saying a person can believe what he wants?  More will be said about these alleged documents in the “errors” section, but page 341 also deals with “faith.”  Langdon says he is not certain that these documents, if they were to be discovered, should be revealed to the world.

 

     Sophie is stupefied (along with the reader) at such an attitude and protests: “But you told me the New Testament is based on fabrications” (341).  So why would Langdon not want the truth about the “greatest cover-up in history” to be known?

 

Langdon smiled. “Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith—acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove (341).

 

     Brown does not define faith here—but rather fantasy (based on fabrication).  Faith is believing what cannot be proved—but we choose to believe anyway?  When people depart from reality, are they not usually put in special facilities for treatment?  The apostle John did not operate on the basis of any such foolishness.  He provided a reason for writing about the life of Jesus:

 

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31). 

 

     John wrote so that people would have a written copy of the evidence that others observed firsthand.  Nowhere does John or any other New Testament writer encourage people to accept what they imagine to be true.  The reason people believed in the Deity of Christ in the first century was that the miracles of Jesus and the apostles could not be refuted.  Even the enemies of Christianity could not deny that notable miracles were done (Acts 4:16).  These miracles authenticated the claims.  Langdon goes on to question whether or not the evidence should be given to people even if it could be proved that any one religion is based on error.  Jesus said that Truth would make men free (John 8:31-32)—not ignorance.  Langdon’s position is absurd.

 

     The “hero” of the tale then argues that Jesus walking on water and the virgin birth are allegories.  Really?  Of what?  An allegory is a representation of a deeper truth.  Exactly what does walking on water correspond to?  What is a deeper truth than being born of a virgin?  Langdon opines: “Religious allegory has become part of the fabric of reality.  And living in that reality helps millions of people cope and be better people.”  Again Sophie protests: “But it appears their reality is false” (342).  Such a contradiction is no problem for Langdon. 

 

     These comments are nothing but New Age tripe—a version of “create your own reality.”  Either Jesus was born of a virgin, or He was not.  If He was, He is clearly the Son of God.  If not, then He was just a man like all other religious figures.  The idea that people should be allowed to believe whatever they want in religion is ludicrous—even within the context of the novel.  The albino killer is deeply devout.  Should he be allowed to believe whatever he wants, though he murders innocent people?  Are Muslims making the world a better place as they seek to kill Christians and Buddhists and anyone else who disagrees with them?  Truth is the only thing that will help mankind.  Satan knows this fact.  For that reason he continually spreads lies, such as that believing whatever a person wants is all right or that faith is built only upon wishful thinking.

 

     Another insult to Christianity can be found in the author’s apparent belief in astrology and its implications.  Professor Teabing points out that the age of Pisces, the fish, which many have associated with Jesus, recently ended (267).  According to him, “the Piscean ideal believes that man must be told what to do by higher powers because man is incapable of thinking for himself” (268).  Marvelous!  Those who are Christians do not know how to think, according to BAD WRONG.

 

     Apparently, Moses was misplaced in history, living 1500 years before the Age of Pisces.  Since he delivered God’s law to the people, he evidently thought that men needed to be told what to do by higher powers.  All mankind needs to know God’s laws: we think, reason, and apply within their context.  Eve’s thinking on her own (against the commandment) is what brought sin into the world.  She believed Satan’s lies. 

 

     So, under Pisces the world has been dominated by intense religious fervor (as though it did not exist prior to Christ), but now we have entered the Age of Aquarius (as heralded by the Fifth Dimension back in 1969).  In this age man will “learn the truth and be able to think for himself” (268).  Actually, if one abides in Jesus’ Word, he shall know the truth (John 8:31-32).

 

     But since Dan Brown and his characters are convinced that they know the truth, as part of this new Age of Aquarius, he should be willing to pit his theories and assumptions in public debate against those of us who have never learned to think for ourselves and remain lost in the Age of Pisces.  Brown has constructed nothing more than a house of cards, which is easily collapsible.  He presents no new truth for mankind.

    

Errors, Blunders, and Misrepresentations

 

     Several have put together lists of inaccuracies.  Alex McFarland wrote “The Top Ten Errors found in The Da Vinci Code, and Stanley E. Porter wrote “The Da Vinci Code, Conspiracy Theory and Biblical Canon.”  These will be cited in the brief list furnished below.  Each quotation will be referred to by the author’s last name.

 

1.  Brown alleges that the early Christian Church “needed to convince the world that the mortal prophet Jesus was a Divine being” (244).  Why?  If they knew He was Divine, then alleged “gospels” to the contrary were false and had to be rejected.  If they knew that Jesus was not Divine, then all of these individuals conspired to defraud the world; thus they were evil men.  Do evil men teach the lofty principles found in the New Testament?

 

      Furthermore, Brown claims that the Christian Scriptures "evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions” (231).  This is simply a misrepresentation calculated to undermine the validity of the Word.  The Bible was translated into various languages and sent out into other nations; is there something wrong with that?  The Bible has always been available in various versions, but we have accurate translations today from the original Greek rather than centuries of renderings.  God possesses the power to preserve His saving gospel.

 

      Brown charges that Constantine and others tampered with and changed the Scriptures to promote patriarchal concepts and to demonize the sacred feminine (200-201).  This whole construct assumes that God never had anything to do with the message in the Bible—that men wrote it down and men changed it.  Whatever happened to “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)? 

 

      Brown, however, outfoxed himself.  If Constantine and others fiddled with the New Testament, that would be one thing, but the author goes so far as to allege that they rewrote Genesis as well.

 

  Sadly, Christian philosophy decided to embezzle the female’s creative power by ignoring biological truth and making man the Creator. Genesis tells us that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. Woman became an offshoot of man. And a sinful one at that. Genesis was the beginning of the end for the Goddess (238).

 

      For Christians to rewrite Genesis is a logical impossibility.  All of the Old Testament was translated into the Greek no later than 250 B.C.  If Christians had in any way tried to revise Genesis, there would have been a battle royal—and rightly so.  For 300 years the world could read Genesis 1:26-28 in the Greek.  No one could possibly have tampered with all the extant manuscripts.  Such a charge against early Christians stems from massive ignorance.

 

2.   Constantine likewise did not change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday.  Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 make that clear, as does testimony from history long preceding Constantine. 

 

3.   The Council of Nicea did not confer Deity on Jesus. Porter writes that the issue was “not whether or not Jesus was divine, but…what it meant that he was divine” (6).  As this series of articles showed earlier, the New Testament writers all considered Jesus the Son of God.

 

4.   Brown claims: “Fortunately for historians…some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s hidden in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert” (234).  McFarland quotes Dr. Paul L. Maier who says: “The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 and contained no gospels, nor any reference to Jesus…. The Qumran community, which wrote or preserved these documents, had nothing to do with Jesus or Christianity.”  Porter adds that “there are no gospels of Jesus in the Qumran writings, and no gospels whatever among these scrolls” (7).  Brown is clearly misinformed.   

 

5.   Brown again asserts: “The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great" (232)   McFarland replies that Constantine did not collate the Bible.  “The New Testament began to be recognized by the end of the 1st century. By the 2nd century, church leaders were inserting quotes from the four Gospels into their writings” .

 

6.  Brown also referred to the Nag Hammadi Documents, which contained some of the Gnostic Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas.  These were supposed to have been repressed by Constantine, but they were rejected by Christians because of their obvious flaws.  The irony is that Brown needs these to undermine Christianity, but they do not support “goddess” theology; in fact, the Gospel of Thomas is a real blow to the sacred feminine.  Porter records the following:

 

Perhaps most problematic however is saying 114, which is not referred to in The Da Vinci Code. This is no surprise, since this saying seems to undermine the very hypothesis that Brown wishes to assert…. Simon Peter says to his fellow disciples that Mary should go out from among them, because women are not worthy of the life. Jesus responds by saying that he will lead Mary, “so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself a male will enter the kingdom of Heaven” (12-13).

 

Apparently, Jesus was not contemplating marriage to Mary Magdalene after all.

 

      The Final Blasphemy

 

      Probably, one thinks he has heard everything by now, but this last charge by BAD WRONG is utterly incomprehensible and vicious.

 

Langdon’s Jewish students always looked flabbergasted when he first told that the early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the Temple. no less. Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah. Men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the Temple to visit priestesses—or hierodules—with which they made love and experienced the divine through physical union (309).

 

     These words constitute blasphemy and are an offense and outrage to both Jews and Christians.  Anyone ought to seriously wonder what drugs Brown imbibes, for surely he could not have written such vile heresy while sober.  What “early Jews” are those who allegedly believe this corruption of holiness?  Porter writes that “the term Shekinah or its equivalent is not used in the Old Testament or the New Testament,” but was used later in an attempt to disprove what Brown claims.  Rabbis affirmed that “what dwells in the temple is not God’s mate but God himself” (3).

 

     Brown must have confused the Jewish Temple with the temple of Aphrodite, who had 1,000 priestesses who came down into Corinth each evening to have sex (worship) with male participants.  These women were called hieroduli.  As Bible students know, the Holy of Holies was allowed to be entered into only once a year—only by the high priest—and for the purpose of atonement, not fleshly pleasure.  The Old Testament  does not even hint at a powerful female equal of God.   Brown also besmirches God’s name.

 

The Jewish tetragrammaton YHWH—the sacred name of God—in fact derived from Jehovah, an androgynous physical union between the masculine Jah and the pre-Hebraic name for Eve, Havah (309).

 

     Porter demonstrates that Brown’s etymology is bogus.  The reader should ask, “How does Brown know the “pre-Hebrew name of Eve”?  What language was that?  But besides all that, YHWH did not have vowels in it in the Hebrew.  It was decided to infuse these four consonants with the vowels from another word translated “lord”—adonai.  Thus, the pronunciation became Jehovah (3).  Therefore, the word could not come from the union of two other words as Brown describes. 

 

The Title of the Book

 

     Brown also makes many claims concerning Leonardo Da Vinci, which the reader cannot know to be true.  In fact, considering his track record on other bits of “history,” they are doubtful.  He claims that Da Vinci was “a flamboyant homosexual and worshipper of Na-ture-s ture’s divine order…” (45).  Da Vinci, theoretically, incorporated tributes to his own beliefs in his paintings to thumb his nose at the Church (46).  In The Last Supper, he supposedly painted Mary Magdalene next to Christ (242-43).  Close scrutiny does indicate a somewhat feminine face.  McFarland writes: “John's appearance reflects the way Florentine artists traditionally depicted John.  (See The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code, Richard Abanes, pp. 71-72.)

 

     Considering all the false information contained in The Da Vinci Code, the reader should be asking himself, “Is there anything of a historical nature that I can believe in this book?”  It would be best to remember the words at the top of the copyright page of the large print edition: “This is a work of fiction.”  This caveat applies not only to the characters but to the background information and alleged historical insights as well.  Brown is especially not to be trusted with anything that relates to the Bible.

 

     Kevin V. Rutherford’s statement near the opening of his excellent chapter on The Da Vinci Code from last year’s Power lectures, Why Should I Believe the Bible? serves as a fitting summary here: “Dan Brown’s book elevates paganism, attacks Christianity, perverts history, distorts the facts, and promotes sexual immorality” (458).  Now, that assessment is accurate.

 

 

 

 

*Send comments or questions concerning this article to Gary Summers. Please refer to this article as: "Whatever the article name from above is (05/14/06)."

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