Summary: An answer to Dan Brown’s claim about the divinity of Jesus Christ in "The DaVinci Code."
Cracking the da Vinci Code:
Who Do You Say That I Am?
Forty million people. That’s the number of copies of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code that have been sold since its publication in 2003. That’s a lot of books. And now, two Academy Award winning celebrities, Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, have teamed up to bring us the soon-to-be-released movie that everyone is already calling a block-buster. Brown’s book, and now the movie, is dominating pop culture like no other book in recent memory. Web sites, chat rooms, and study groups abound. Cottage industries are popping up all around the world specializing in merchandise from the movie, from Leonardo da Vinci, from opposing groups all aimed at capitalizing on the popularity of the book. So the question begs to be asked: What is the big deal?
There are several things that make it a big deal, big enough certainly that I think it important to address the issue in a sermon series. But first, let me remind you that The Da Vinci Code is a novel. It is a work of fiction. As novels go, it is a page-turner. The novel is fast-paced, action-packed, and intriguing. The characters are interesting and the dialog is always engaging. I found myself hanging on every page and trying to anticipate the plot twists. I was rarely able to guess correctly.
Unfortunately, some people have come to see it not as fiction, but as “fact-ion.” What is fact-ion? It is generally a novel that weaves historical facts within its story line, thus giving the perception that it is true. Brown even states in the novel that “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.” He certainly leads the reader to believe that while the characters may be fictitious the underlying historical facts are accurate, and therein lies the problem.
The problem is not that Brown utilizes dubious scholarship, or that he distorts some of the historical facts, or even that on a few occasions he outright lies about some facts. The problem is with the subject matter which the dubious scholar-ship, distortions and lies seek to undermine—the authenticity and reliability of the New Testament, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the role of the church in history. It is an attack on the heart of the Christian faith.
I hear you saying, “Well, I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know why we’re doing this,” or, “I’ve read the book, and I don’t believe what’s in there, so why worry?” Let me briefly say that perhaps if you are strong in your faith, there is nothing to worry about. But for others who are new to the faith, or just beginning to explore the faith, or are not strong in their faith, or have been skeptical of the faith, this novel can have a destructive impact. That’s why it is important, and that is why it’s a big deal.
So what is The Da Vinci Code about? The novel is another in a long line of books whose theme is centered on the search for the holy grail. The Holy grail is, according to legend, the cup that Christ used on the night he was betrayed to institute the new covenant. As legend recounts, this cup came to hold miraculous powers because Joseph of Arimathea, who removed Christ’s body from the cross, had the cup present and Christ’s blood dripped from the cross into the cup. The grail became a lost relic of the church, and the search to locate it has continued for centuries.
The Da Vinci Code is a secret regarding the Holy grail, and this secret is communicated through the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci, who at one time, was the leader of a secret society which knew the secret of the Holy grail. The code reveals that the Holy grail is not a cup or chalice, as legend records, but is rather the womb of Mary Magdalene, for it was her womb that carried, not the blood, but the blood line of Christ. Yes, that is correct. Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had children, and this royal blood-line can be traced through the Merovingian royal family of France. According to the novel, this information has been hidden for centuries by the church in its attempt to retain its power and influence in the world. This secret society has guarded this secret in order to reveal it at the appropriate time, and break the church’s domineering hold on culture. The main characters of the novel race over Europe trying to solve the murder of da Vinci’s contemporary successor and unravel the mystery of the code at the same time. The key is understanding the fresco The Last Supper. Supposedly, the person to the right of Christ, traditionally thought to be the apostle John, is Mary Magdalene.