by Richard Mansel, managing editor
“The Da Vinci Code,” claims Jesus was a regular man who married Mary Magdelene and fathered a daughter. Then supposedly Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. constructed the lie that he was the Son of God.
The theories about Jesus in “The Da Vinci Code” come primarily from Gnosticism. The Gnostics taught that salvation came through the possession of special/secret knowledge. It was a “heresy far more subtle and dangerous than any that had appeared during the early years of the church.”/1 A short sampling of their exotic teachings is found below. The fact that Brown saw them as having more authority than the Bible says a lot about his intentions.
They taught that God could not have come in the flesh, so Christ and Jesus were seen as separate beings. “Jesus Christ of the Gnostic [Docetic branch] writings is a phantom, a spirit who sometimes inhabits a body and sometimes doesn’t, and who talks in a way that very few could understand.”/2
They taught that Jesus did not die on the cross but said, “It was another upon whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height…over their error…And I was laughing at their ignorance.”/3
“The Supreme Father God or Supreme God of Truth is remote from human affairs; he is unknowable and undetectable by human senses. She/he created a series of supernatural but finite beings called Aeons. One of these was Sophia [Greek for “wisdom”], a virgin, who in turn gave birth to an [sic] defective, inferior Creator-God, also known as the Demiurge.”/4
Scripture combats Gnosticism rather than trying to cover it up. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, the Word was God” (John 1:1). The “Word,” or “logos” means the “very thoughts and expressions of God.” John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). John says that they had seen and handled the Word (1 John 1:1).
And this knowledge of Jesus was not something unknown and secretive because God “has given us an understanding, that we may know Him” (1 John 5:20). John addresses the Gnostics directly in 1 John 2:18-23 and says they left the believers and went their own way and were liars and antichrists (cf 2 John 7).
Long before the Council of Nicea, the New Testament writers were teaching that Jesus was God (John 1; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1, et al). Justin Martyr wrote in 150 A.D. that “being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God; both God and Lord of hosts.”/5 Irenaus wrote in 185 A.D., “our Lord, our God, and Savior, and King!”/6 Clement of Alexandria wrote in 200 A.D., “truly most manifest Deity, He that is made equal to the Lord of the universe; because He was His Son.”/7
The Council of Nicea met, not to invent the divinity of Christ, but to combat the heresy of Arius. The divinity of Christ had already been taught for hundreds of years. Nevertheless, Arius was contending that Jesus was created. His views were denounced by the majority of those in attendance because Arius was violating Scripture and not because they were hiding subversive truths.
Brown’s claims that Jesus was not the Son of God are discarded when an examination of the facts are undertaken. The small portion of the Gnostic heresy enumerated here should be disturbing enough to cast sufficient doubt on Brown’s charges. For the serious student, there is monumental evidence of the deity of Christ cited by believers and non-believers alike. The faith, we can be assured, is secure.
1/ International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 2:484.
3/ Darrell L. Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004), 78.
5/ Richard Abanes, The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code (Eugene: Harvest House, 2004), 37.
Where did Dan Brown get these teachings about Jesus?