Summary: This sermon is an examination of the claims in Dan Brown’s book ’The Da Vinci Code’ and seeks to give a Biblical Response.
A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO
THE DA VINCI CODE
Rev. Bryan Guinness, Associate Pastor, Peoples Church of Montreal
2097 Union Ave, Mtl, QC H3A 2C3, Tel: (514) 845-9834, Fax: (514) 845-1652
© May 2006
The first pages of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code acknowledge that the story is fiction, but that the facts within it (dates, documents, historical figures, etc.) are true. This has led to a great confusion for many readers about how to distinguish between fact and fiction. Also, because Dan Brown quotes historical sources, the novel gives the illusion of being factual even in those matters where it can be shown to be fraudulent. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what is fact and what is fiction.
Plot of The Da Vinci Code
The Da Vinci Code opens with the curator of the Louvre lying dead in the museum. Meanwhile, Robert Langdon, a Harvard professor and expert in esoteric symbolism, who happens to be in Paris, is tracked down by the French police and asked to interpret a strange cipher left on the body of the murder victim. Langdon is joined in his investigation by a young cryptologist named Sophie Neveu. When Sophie warns Langdon that he is the prime suspect in the murder, they both flee from the scene of the murder. It turns out that the murder victim has intentionally left clues for them to follow. The crime is linked to the legendary search for the Holy Grail. The fugitive pair link up with a Holy Grail fanatic Sir Leigh Teabing. Teabing enthusiastically instructs them on matters surrounding an alternate understanding of Jesus and the New Testament. He cites Gnostic Gospels, ancient documents that supposedly give a more reliable account of Christ’s life and teachings that the New Testament. The trio flee to London and then Scotland, staying one step ahead of the police. They slowly uncover hidden codes and manuscripts that the Church has hidden from the public. The secret information concerns the notion that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a daughter. Legend has it that Mary and the daughter went to Gaul after the crucifixion where they established the Merovingian line of French royalty. This dynasty, we are told, continues even today and this information and their whereabouts is guarded by the organization known as the Priory of Sion. Members of this secret organization down through the centuries have supposedly included Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, and Victor Hugo. Furthermore, the Holy Grail is none other than the progeny from Jesus’ marriage to Mary Magdalene. Leonardo knew all this, we are told, and used his well known painting The Last Supper to conceal many levels of meaning.
Outline of Response
Dan Brown’s agenda is not hidden: This book is a direct attack against Jesus Christ, the church, and those of us who are his followers and call him Savior and Lord. The implication of the book is that Christianity is based on a big lie, or rather, several big lies. According to Brown, Jesus was not God, but his followers attributed divinity to him to consolidate male rule and suppress those who worshipped the divine feminine. According to Brown, at the Council of Nicaea, Constantine invented the idea of the deity of Christ. What makes The Da Vinci Code so troubling is that it purports to be based on facts. In the flyleaf we are told, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in the novel are accurate.” On his web site Dan Brown makes other statements about the historical reliability of the work. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what is fact and what is fiction. This is done under 5 headings:
1] Constantine and the Council of Nicaea
2] Gnosticism and the Gnostic Gospels
3] Jesus, Mary Magdalene, & the Search for the Holy Grail
4] The Bible: How it was formed
5] The Reliability of the Bible
1] Constantine and the Council of Nicaea
Q] Did Emperor Constantine reinvent Christianity for his own purpose?
Q] Did the Council of Nicaea invent or create the modern New Testament?
3 claims in The Da Vinci Code regarding Constantine and the Council of Nicaea
1. Constantine invented the deity of Christ in order to consolidate his power
In The Da Vinci Code Sir Leigh Teabing explains to Sophie that at the council the delegates agreed on the divinity of Jesus. Then he adds, “Up to that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.” So Constantine “upgraded Jesus’ status almost three centuries after Jesus’ death” for political reasons.
2. Constantine rejected other gospels from the New Testament (that were favorable to the divine feminine) because they did not suit his political agenda.