by Bill Nugent
The Da Vinci Code, a best selling novel, has garnered a great deal of attention in recent days. The story line consists of medieval theories, legends and lore woven into a postmodern thriller novel with political overtones. The novel also makes some very serious direct attacks on the Christian faith. Let me emphasize the word “novel” because it is clearly a work of fiction and is not fact. A major motion picture based on the book was released some years ago.
Any serious scholar who examines this book is drawn to the conclusion that it is mere speculation based on very limited evidence. Uninformed readers, however, are misled by this book and some people even promote it as truth. It is therefore necessary to counter its errors.
The plot of the book is centered on the unproved, far fetched supposition that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and they had a son who became part of French royalty. It is claimed that the Roman Catholic Church suppressed the story over the centuries.
The book also claims that the Holy Grail is not the chalice that was used at the last supper but is rather the body of Mary Magdalene. I should point out that the Bible does not use the term “Holy Grail.” The Bible doesn’t define it as the chalice used at the first holy communion at the last supper. The attribution of power to the chalice was done much later in legends formulated in medieval times.
The novel also blasphemously denies the deity (divinity) of Christ. It alleges that the doctrine of the deity of Christ did not originate with Christ Himself but was introduced later and Constantine called the Council of Nicea in 325 AD order to enforce it. It is then alleged in The Da Vinci Code that Christ was deified as part of a larger attempt to assert male dominance and suppress goddess worship. Feminist victimization is a major underlying theme of this book and forms a major political subtext.
The novel was given the title The Da Vinci Code because Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) supposedly was a believer and propagator of the Mary Magdalene as wife of Jesus rumor.
The divinity of Christ is clearly taught in the New Testament by the very words of Christ Himself. (See John 5:23, 8:58, 10:30.) The apostles, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, also asserted that Jesus was and is divine. He is equal with God the Father. (See John 1:1,14; 5:18, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 1:6-8.) Only Jesus as God in flesh was capable of dying for the sins of all people. The early church leaders who came after the apostles continued to teach the deity of Christ. To say or imply that Constantine or others invented the doctrine of the deity of Christ in order to promote a patriarchal system is as ludicrous as it is anti-historical.
God came to man as the God-man (Christ) to die for the sins of all people. He, in His great love and mercy, took upon Himself the punishment due to all people for our sins. The name “Immanuel,” a title of Christ, means “God with us.”
Part of the reason The Da Vinci Code denies the deity of Christ is that it relies on the Gnostic Gospels to buttress its claims. A large number of manuscripts of Gnostic Gospels were found in an earthenware jar in Nag Hamadi Egypt in 1945. Among this group of manuscripts was the so-called Gospel of Thomas and the so-called Gospel of Philip. Since these manuscripts are dated anywhere from AD 150 to the third or fourth centuries AD, no scholar, not even the most liberal, regards them as actually having been written by the Thomas or Philip of the New Testament.
Dr. Erwin Lutzer of Moody Church, Chicago Illinois writes about the Gnostic Gospels: “These Gnostic Gospels are non-historical, and even anti-historical; they contain little narrative and have no sense of chronology. They scorn the belief that God would have come in the flesh . . . These documents make no pretense of actually overlapping with the canonical gospels. They are filled with many garbled New Testament quotations along with many foolish sayings that they put in the mouth of Jesus” (page 9 of Dr. Lutzer’s booklet Rumors about Jesus: The Jesus of The Da Vinci Code).
Sandra Miesel, writing in the Roman Catholic newsletter Crisisstates that in The Da Vinci Code “Blasphemy is delivered in a soft voice.”
The allegation that Jesus married Mary Magdalene is outlandish speculation with no biblical support and ironically very little support even in medieval legend and lore. Those who deny the deity of Christ commit the sin of blasphemy and separate themselves from Christ. I pray that readers not be misled by The Da Vinci Code.
“That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father . . .” John 5:23