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“Da Vinci Code” and the Deity of Christ

Fri, May 26th, 2006
Posted in Commentary

The Da Vinci Code–fact or fiction? Since 2003, The Da Vinci Code has sold over 40 million copies, and a motion picture recently debuted. Let’s consider what the Da Vinci Code book presents in light of historical facts.

According to Dr. James Kennedy, The Da Vinci Code “claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were man and wife and had a child, that the Bible is ‘a product of man.... not of God,’ and that church leaders made Christ divine by a narrow vote in the fourth century.” This viewpoint is summarized in the book: “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.” (p. 235)

Consider this dialogue from the book: “‘My dear,’ Teabing declared, ‘until 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.’ ‘Not the Son of God?’ [said Sophie] ‘Right,’ Teabing said. ‘Jesus’ establishment as “the Son of God” was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.’ ‘Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?’ ‘A relatively close vote at that,’ Teabing added.” (p. 233) Was Jesus not considered to be God until the Nicene Council of AD 325?

The Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical Church council. “In The Da Vinci Code, we read that the doctrine of Christ’s deity passed by a ‘relative close vote.’ That is fiction, since only five out of more than three hundred bishops (318) protested the creed. In fact, in the end, only two refused to sign it.” (The DaVinci Deception by Erwin Lutzer, pp 9-10) Yet the Church believed in this long before that strong affirmation of Christ’s divinity in 325 AD.

1) Written in the 1st century, the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) clearly teach Jesus’ divinity. For example, Jesus declared: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah....’ ‘But what about you?’ He asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:13-16)

“Now Thomas ... was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.’ A week later... Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands... Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:24-28)

2) The Apostle Paul, whose letters were all written by 64 A.D., taught Christ’s divinity. Paul wrote: “From them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9:5) Paul also wrote: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-10)

3) Early church leaders accepted Christ’s divinity: “We have records outside the Bible of early Christians who believed Jesus is God long before the Council of Nicea, including Ignatius (AD 105), who said Jesus was God ‘manifested in human form,’ and Clement (AD 150) who said, ‘It is fitting that you should think of Jesus Christ as God.’” (Citizen Magazine, May 2006, p. 22) “Polycarp of Smyrna, a disciple of the Apostle John, sent a letter to the church at Philippi in about AD 112-118. In it, he assumes that those to whom it is addressed acknowledge the divinity of Jesus .... Dozens of other writings ... prove that the early church affirmed the deity of Jesus.” (The DaVinci Deception, pp.12-13)

Belief in Jesus’ divinity was common among first-century Christians, and the Council’s vote at Nicaea in 325 A.D. was anything but close. Many other aspects of The Da Vinci Code are not historically accurate. The Da Vinci Code is labeled as fiction and should not be considered factually accurate or a reasonable basis for one’s beliefs about Jesus Christ.

Mike Hopper is pastor of the Fillmore Free Methodist Church.

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