Basic Errors Presented As Truth In The Da Vinci Code
It seems that some people are accepting the Da Vinci Code as truth. We wanted to bring some of the many errors in the Da Vinci Code to your attention in case you get into conversations about the matter, or, if you are a media member, in case you cover the issue.
FICTION: The deity of Christ was fabricated at the Council of Nicea in AD 325 by a vote, a close vote.
FACT: The deity of Christ was a main reason the Council was called. Since it was a reason the Council was called, how could it then be fabricated during the Council.
FACT: Almost all parties already believed that Christ was divine, including all the early church heresies. The only dissenting party on the question of Christ’s deity not only denied his deity, but also his true humanity. Arius argued that Jesus was a unique creature, a human body with no rational human soul. Instead, He was indwelled by a created, pre-incarnate spirit called the Logos.
FACT: The vote was not close; only two bishops opposed the final accord affirming the deity of Christ, out of the 318 bishops in attendance.
FACT: Even the early heresies that predated the Council affirmed the deity of Christ. Gnosticism denied that Christ had come in the flesh, but solidly affirmed his deity.
The lost gospels that the Da Vinci Code references were Gnostic in nature and fly in the face of the Code’s assertion that these lost gospels deny Christ’s deity. They in fact deny his humanity, the complete opposite of the claim of the Da Vinci Code.
FACT: The book of Romans, an uncontested Pauline epistle written c. 55 A.D., shows that the notion of Jesus’ divinity was circulating within 20 years of the crucifixion. Note the opening: '…declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.' – Romans 1:4
FACT: Ignatius (AD 110-130) affirms Jesus as God: 'We also have a Physician the Lord our God, Jesus the Christ, the only-begotten Son and Word before time began, but who afterwards became also man of Mary the virgin.' – The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians
FACT: Irenaeus (AD 115-190) writes: '...in order that through Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow’...' – Against Heresies X.1
FACT: Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) writes: 'In these books, then, of the prophets we found Jesus our Christ foretold as coming, born of a virgin…and being called the Son of God.' – The First Apology of Justin, XXXI
FICTION: 'Because Constantine upgraded Jesus’ status almost four centuries after Jesus’ death, thousands of documents already existed chronicling His life as a mortal man. To rewrite the history books, Constantine knew he would need a bold stroke. Constantine commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up, and burned.'
Fortunately for historians some of the gospels that Constantine attempted to eradicate managed to survive.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s in a cave near Qumran in the Judean desert. The scrolls highlight glaring historical discrepancies and fabrications, clearly confirming that the modern Bible was compiled and edited by men who possessed a political agenda – to promote the divinity of the man Jesus Christ and use His influence to solidify their own power base.'
FACT: The scrolls were discovered in the ‘40s and say nothing of Jesus. There were no gospels in Qumran. Not one shred or shard or bit of pot mention His name. Additionally, how is it possible for Constantine to gather up all of the handwritten copies from every nook and cranny of the Roman empire by the 4th century and destroy the vast majority of them?
FICTION: 'The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in AD 325' and 'more than eighty gospels considered for the New Testament.'
FACT: Early New Testament scripture, the authoritative 'rule'(or 'canon'), was the teaching of either the Apostles commissioned directly by Christ, or those who were companions of apostles and wrote under their authority and tutelage (e.g., John Mark, companion of Peter and author of the Gospel of Mark, or Luke, the companion of Paul).
When the last apostle died, the emphasis naturally shifted to the written record of their instruction, the Gospels and letters (epistles) they left behind. Therefore, the preeminent question about any work was, did it have apostolic authority? Controversy arose only when a Gnostic named Marcion (c. 150 A.D.) flatly rejected, for theological reasons, works that until then had been accepted as authentic for nearly a century.
In the debate that ensued, v the early church identified three categories of text. The 'Homologumena' consisted of those books that received unanimous support by all church leadership. This included 20 of the 27 New Testament books, including all four Gospels.
The 'Antilegomena' were those contested. They received support from some members of church leadership, but not others. Some were ultimately rejected (Shepherd of Hermas, the Didache, Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, the Second Epistle of Clement). Others were ultimately accepted (Revelation, Jude, James, Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John). The final group – called variously the Pseudepigrapha,
Apocrypha, or simply the 'heretical books' – were 'set aside as altogether worthless and impious,' according to Eusebius.
These included hundreds of documents that received no support from the church and were considered completely spurious by all orthodox fathers. This group included more than 50 apocryphal gospels, with the Gospel of Thomas specifically singled out by Eusebius as part of this group.
The most ancient catalog of canonical works is the Muratorian Canon (c. AD 200). This record was discovered by Ludovico Muratori in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, and published by him in 1740. Though the first portion of the fragment is missing, it mentions Luke and John specifically as the third and fourth Gospels – strongly implying Matthew and Mark came before it. In fact, Irenaeus quotes directly from all four canonical Gospels 30 years before the Muratorian list.
The inclusion of John is ironic in light of Teabing’s claims. The fourth Gospel is an irritation to liberal critics because of its 'high Christology.' It is replete with mentions of Jesus as the Son of God, an idea Teabing says didn’t surface for another 155 years. If Brown is correct about the Nicean conspiracy, we would not expect to see the four canonical Gospels singled out and affirmed early in the historical record. Yet that’s exactly what do find.
Works like the Gospel of Phillip or the Gospel of Mary (Magdalene) – which feature so prominently in Brown’s novel – were never taken seriously by the early church. Rather, they were opposed for a very good reason. They, like the other Pseudepigrapha, were late-comers. They lacked any connection with the original apostles and contradicted the records written by those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life.
Why should we trust the Gospel of Phillip, for example, against Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John? Do we have evidence Philip and Mary are early, authentic, and reliable? How do we know they are 'unaltered,' as Teabing claims? Brown cannot just say these things; he must show these things. Unless, of course, he’s simply writing a work of fiction. No, the actual historical evidence shows an early consensus on the Gospels.
The canonical Gospels had broad acceptance and were in early use by the church. The Gnostic Gospels like Thomas, Mary, and Philip were not. Nor were the 'more than 80 gospels considered for the New Testament.' Which is why, in actual fact, they were never even considered.
This is only a scratching of the surface, but important information to know as the Da Vinci Code is being accepted as historically accurate and the topic of much conversation. As an evangelical I feel it is important that these facts get out there.