Monday, January 23, 2006

The Fanciful, Deceptive Imagination of Dan Brown

In his popular, yet highly inaccurate novel, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown asserts (through a character named Lee Teabing) that the the deity of Christ was an invention of the church at the Council of Nicea.

Here is an excerpt right from the book, “At this gathering [the Council of Nicea] many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and, of course, the divinity of Jesus….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….Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” A character by the name of Sophie says, “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote?” Teabing says, “A relatively close vote at that.” (p. 233)

Dan Brown suggests here that the deity of Christ was a late invention by the church, it was proposed at the council of Nicea, and that it barely passed.

For the person who is unfamiliar with the Bible, church history, or what happened at the council of Nicea this might easily be believed. What was the council of Nicea? The council at Nicea in modern day Turkey was a gathering of 318 Bishops (church leaders from all over the Roman Empire) in A.D. 325 to discuss doctrines related to the person of Jesus. This meeting was hardly the place where it first proposed that Jesus was actually God, as Brown suggests. That belief was already firmly in place as the popular teaching of the church (e.g., John 20:28, Titus 2:13).

In the fourth century there was a man by the name of Arius (256 -336) who was causing some disputes throughout the Roman Empire as it related to the person of Jesus. Arius reasoned that since Jesus was “begotten,” (Jn. 3:16) He must have had a beginning. His false teachings regarding Jesus became known as Arianism. Arianism denied the eternality of Jesus. Followers of his teaching, known as Arians, held that the divine nature of Christ was similar to God, but not the same. The Council of Nicea, this gathering together of the Bishops, condemned this teaching in 325 A.D. and reaffirmed what the Bible already taught, that Jesus had the very same nature as God.

Was it a close vote? You tell me. There were 318 bishops that were called to the meeting in Nicea. As for the vote that was finally taken, only five out of 318 dissented; and only two of those five refused to sign the resulting resolutions, which reaffirmed the prevailing view of the church: Jesus was, and is, God.

Hardly a close vote, as Brown suggests in his book!!! Can you imagine a basketball team being beaten 316 to 2 and then the losing team telling people afterwards that, "It was a relatively close game”? This is just one of many inaccuracies in The Da Vinci Code. The movie comes out in May, 2006. For a more thorough treatment on these errors, you can purchase an hour long teaching I did on this topics by clicking here (DVD cost: $12.00).