"The Da Vinci Code": A Brilliantly Crafted Deception
- Sunday, February 15, 2004
Few things have done more to injure the witness of the Church than attacks on the deity of Christ, the reliability of Scripture, and the rise of feminist ideology. This demonic trinity has counterfeited the truth, ruined countless lives, and resulted in the eternal damnation of many a soul. Now these three have been brilliantly combined into one profoundly evil witness in Dan Brown's latest best-seller book, "The Da Vinci Code."
Those tempted to believe "The Da Vinci Code" is just a fly-by-night fad had better look again. Since its release last March, the book has sold more than four million copies. In November, ABC aired a primetime special, "Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci," which investigated its claims. Variety.com recently announced Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman – makers of the Oscar-winning "A Beautiful Mind" – are teaming up again to make "The Da Vinci Code" for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Chuck Colson warns the movie is already effectively affirming the unbelief of nonbelievers, turning off honest seekers, and even confusing and disillusioning many Christians.
Though the book is written as a novel, Brown claims the backdrop to his fictitious story is based on fact. Complete with footnotes of source materials, the author alludes Jesus was actually wed to Mary Magdalene, had children who were hidden away in the south of France, and that the Church suppressed this information because it would undercut claims of Jesus' deity. The story about the real Jesus has supposedly been kept by a secret society called "The Priory of Sion," of which many famous Europeans, such as Leonardo da Vinci were members. Allegedly, some of the world's greatest intellectuals and artists, like da Vinci, have planted clues to the authentic account of Jesus' life in paintings, cathedral architecture, and even Disney cartoons.
The book also implicates Emperor Constantine of Rome as having financed a staff to manipulate existing biblical texts to make Christ divine. Brown claims before the Council of Nicea in 325, when Constantine called bishops from around the world to present-day Turkey, "Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet ... a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless." According to Brown, the truth is theoretically found in the Gnostic Gospels – an extra-biblical source.
Sandra Miesel in "Dismantling the Da Vinci Code" adds that Brown's writing is "best calculated to attract a female audience. (Women after, all, buy most of the nation's books.) He has married a thriller plot to a romance-novel technique .... In short, Brown has fabricated a novel perfect for a ladies book club." Indeed, Brown has masterfully tapped the hot-button issues of feminism in the way he portrays Mary Magdalene. Mary is depicted as a woman unjustly portrayed by the Church as a prostitute, who played a much more significant role as Jesus' wife, the mother of his children, and the greatest of the apostles. She is seen as an icon to the claim that the abilities and influence of women have historically been maligned and subjugated to the authority of men.
How clever! How amazingly slick! This book is a brilliantly crafted deception straight out of the pit! What's so terribly sad is that post moderns – who are typically undiscerning, who make their decisions by their emotions or pseudo-scholarship, and who love anything that sounds like an attack on entrenched power groups – will likely embrace it to their own spiritual demise. Chuck Colson writes, "'The Da Vinci Code' is an ideal way to get past people's guard. Between trying to guess who the real villains are and trying to decode the various clues scattered throughout the book, who's going to notice that Brown's religious theories are as phony as a three-dollar bill."
Contrary to the assertions of "The Da Vinci Code," the teaching of Christ's deity was established long before the Council of Nicea. Early Christians often paid with their lives or suffered tremendous persecution because they argued Jesus was the one and only true God. In fact, recorded in the pages of the New Testament, biblical scholars have identified what they believe are portions of early Christian creedal confessions referring to Christ's divinity that were formulated and verbally passed along years before they were recorded in the books of the New Testament.
Collin Hanson in "Breaking the Da Vinci Code" also points out the Greek word Kyrios, which was used by the earliest Aramaic-speaking Christians referred to Jesus' divinity. He writes: "In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint, predating Christ), this term became the preferred substitution for 'Jahweh,' the holy name of God. The Romans also used it to denote the divinity of their emperor, and the first-century Jewish writer Josephus tells us that the Jews refused to use it of the emperor for precisely this reason: only God himself was kyrios. The Christians took over the use of kyrios and applied it to Jesus, from the earliest days of the Church. They did so not only in the Scripture itself (which Brown argues was doctored after Nicea), but in the earliest extra-canonical Christian book, the Didache, which scholars agree was written no later than the late 100s." In other words, pre-Nicene Christians acknowledged Jesus' deity and understood it to be fundamental to their faith.
Moreover, the Scriptures are not the kind of texts a man would write if he could write or could write if he would write. They are so remarkably unique in their continuity, circulation, translation, teachings, influence, and tremendous superiority to any and all other kinds of books, one would have to be an absolute fool not to recognize they are conceived of God. In addition, it's important to note the Church didn't create the canon; it didn't determine which books would be called Scripture, the Word of God. Instead, the Church only recognized, or discovered, which books had been inspired from their inception. That process started centuries before Nicea or even Constantine's legalization of Christianity in 313.
Lastly, true Christianity has never done anything but lift women to a place of honor wherever it has spread. There is not the slightest credible evidence Jesus and Mary were ever married or had a sexual relationship. Except for a highly questionable Gnostic text, which has a gap in it and possibly refers to Jesus kissing Mary on the mouth, there is absolutely no evidence to make the case Mary was anyone other than a woman honored as the first of several witnesses to the resurrection and a devoted and respected follower of Jesus. To say or imply her reputation and place among Christ's followers was in some way smeared or degraded to undermine the role of women in the church, is nothing but identification with today's feminist left and their radical agenda.
I am not one for advocating book burning, but I will say that "The Da Vinci Code" is not worth the ashes burning it would create. It is as Sandra Miesel contends: "Blasphemy delivered in a soft voice." What is more, I unapologetically contend that those who embrace its seemingly intellectual revisions of the Lord Jesus, the Scriptures, and the Church will ultimately reside where all blasphemy is destroyed forever and forever – the fires of hell!!!
Rev. Mark H. Creech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. (ChristianActionLeague.net), based in Raleigh.
© 2004 AgapePress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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