by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” is one of the best-selling novels of all time. It relates the story of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu who race around Europe while hiding from the law and the Catholic Church. They hold the secret to a discovery that would change all we know of Jesus and the Bible.
Jesus, the secret claims, is not the Son of God but the husband of Mary Magdalene and father of a daughter. Moreover, the New Testament is a carefully constructed lie and Mary Magdalene is the true leader of the early church. These secrets supposedly will shake the foundations of human thought. That is, if they were actually true. Instead, the book is filled with errors. As one writer noted, this book’s gross inaccuracies would be just as offensive if it were about Islam, Buddhism, or Judaism./1
Dan Brown’s book has spawned an entire industry of rebuttals. Some ridicule these efforts to refute a fictional story. Yet, they fail to realize its influence on readers and subsequent viewers of the blockbuster film.
Brown begins his novel with a disclaimer, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”/2 He said in an interview, “One of the many qualities that makes ‘The Da Vinci Code’ unique is the factual nature of the story.”/3 Again, he said “if he were asked to write a piece of nonfiction on these things, he would change nothing about what he claimed.”/4
Martin Lunn defends Brown and says, “Dan Brown’s subversive novel has contributed much to the change the world is going through.”/5 We can see the reverence with which people hold this book.
One of the characters in the novel, Teabing, says,
“Yes, the (church) has potent faith, and because of this, can weather any storm, including documents that contradict everything they hold dear. But what about the rest of the world? What about those who are not blessed with absolute certainty? What about those who look at the cruelty of the world and say, where is God today? What happens to those people if persuasive scientific evidence comes out that the church’s version of the Christ story is inaccurate, and that the greatest story ever told is, in fact, the greatest story ever sold.”/6
He adds that this secret could produce “a crisis of faith unprecedented in its two millennium history.”/7
We see that “The Da Vinci Code” is more than just a mere work of fiction. It can impact people eternally. Bible students must stand firm on the truth of God’s Word and defend the name of Jesus the Christ when people ask about these claims (1 Peter 3:15).
One reviewer said of the errors in the novel, “So error-laden is The Da Vinci Code that the educated reader actually applauds those rare occasions where Brown stumbles (despite himself) into the truth.”/8
This series of articles will not seek to resolve the dozens of errors in reference to art, architecture, and secret societies. Instead, we will address some of the claims that impact Jesus and Scripture. Was Jesus the Son of God? Was he married? Was Mary Magdalene the head of the church? Was Scripture cobbled together on lies?
Readers must keep in mind the seriousness of these ideas. If Jesus is not the Son of God then he did not rise from the dead. “And if Christ is not risen, [our] faith is futile; [we] are still in [our] sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17, NKJV).
1/ Richard Abanes, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code (Eugene: Harvest House, 2004), 77
2/ Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 2.
3/ Abanes, 9
4/ Darrell L. Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004) , 3.
5/ Martin Lunn, Da Vinci Code Decoded (New York: The Disinformation Company, 2004), 4.
6/ Brown, 266-267.
7/ Brown, 267.
8/ Abanes, 11.
Is the Da Vinci Code Simply Harmless Fiction?