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Decoding The Da Vinci Code – Fact or Fiction?
By Deena Escobar - July 22, 2004

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for your are God my Savior, my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

It has been the topic of one too many conversations for my taste. Conversations overflowing with speculation and conjecture. What is it? The Da Vinci Code, a novel written by Dan Brown. And fair warning to those of you who haven't yet read the book, but plan to-I'm going to reveal all in this article…

The Da Vinci Code has become extremely pervasive in today's pop culture, and it seems it isn't going away any time soon. You hear about it at work, in social circles, at dinner parties. Director Ron Howard is even making a movie out of it. Just a few of the many outrageous claims that people are recanting of Brown's novel are:

  • Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and they had children together.
  • Jesus is not really the Son of God and the Church fabricated his divinity.
  • There were actually 80 Gospels written, but the Nicene Council only voted to adopt 4 of them.
  • It is actually Mary Magdalene that is seated at Jesus' left hand in DaVinci's painting, The Last Supper.

Knowledge is Power

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has sold over 7 million copies
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code has sold over 7 million copies

When I'd first heard about The Da Vinci Code months and months ago, I wasn't planning on reading it. It went against everything that I believed. Why would I want to support that or spend time reading something that I already knew to be untrue? And then I knew-because it would equip me to defend my faith. It would allow me to stand firm in my beliefs and to seek answers to questions like the ones above. I finally had to read the novel. And so I did…

In its purest form of entertainment, the novel is a suspense-thriller of the most intriguing kind; a conspiracy theory. It opens with a murder at The Louvre in Paris that sends the leading characters on a wild ride through Europe, uncovering puzzle pieces and an underlying story which ultimately reveals that the Holy Grail is not a chalice at all, but is actually Mary Magdalene and her remains. And buried with her, the revelation of the royal bloodlines between a union of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. According to Brown's novel, all of this is information that the Church, for centuries, has tried to keep hidden from the rest of the world. The message Brown tries to leave readers with comes across loud and clear-Christianity is a fabricated religion stemming from deception and lies.

"Cracking the Code"

It's time once and for all to put an end to the speculation and the mystery surrounding the truths behind the novel. Because it is just that-a novel. Fiction, just like The Lord of the Rings, just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, just like Cinderella.

It's easy to see why people question the validity of Brown's novel. He cleverly and intricately weaves his fiction with real people and real events and elements of history that we know of, past and present-Leondardo Da Vinci, Mary Magdalene, the Holy Grail. One quickly gets caught up in the fast-paced suspense and intrigue of the story that you just consume all of Brown's "facts" without even realizing it. But when all is said and done and fact and fiction are pulled apart, there's no "code" to crack because they're all falsehoods dressed up to look like the truth.

The Rock Stands Firm

The Rock is dedicated to helping it's church uncover the false claims of The Da Vinci Code. Pastor Kyle Osland, who oversees the Rock University program, understands wholeheartedly that believers at all stages have questions concerning their faith. Concerning The Da Vinci Code, Osland recalls Ecclesiastes 1:9 which says there is nothing new under the sun.

Osland says that Brown's claims have been around for ages, but where Brown "is unique is that he has so closely woven some content that is very accurate with some that is fictional, that even for seminary students it can be difficult to know the facts."

Historically, all of the novel's claims have been made before, and just like The Da Vinci Code, all of these claims have been refuted time and time again. "Brown's style of fictional history has obviously been popularized in the past by other creative artists like filmmaker Oliver Stone in his movie 'JFK' for example, mixing fact with fiction to weave a compelling story, yet still a fictional view of history," Osland points out.

Finding Answers

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

In truth, there is no evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and that they had children together. Another question that is posed by Christian theologists moreover is that if they were, indeed, married, what reason would the church have to hide it? If we know that Jesus was human, why would his marriage to another be so wrong? Regarding the claim that in Da Vinci's The Last Supper, it is actually Mary Magdalene seated to Jesus' left and not John, most reputable art critics disagree. And if it's not John in the painting, then where is he? Would Da Vinci have purposely left out one of Jesus' twelve disciples? Not likely.

Depending on how far you want to delve, most of the claims of the novel can be debunked by researching the history of the Church. In the end, much of what begins as a cleverly instigated plot, winds up as a poorly researched, mildly entertaining work, at best.

If you're anything like me, reading The Da Vinci Code brings up a lot of questions. Because I'm not well versed in early Christian history, it was hard to know what was fact and what wasn't. One thing was for sure though, I wanted to get to the truth. Just knowing that there were people out there reading it, questioning its validity, possibly believing its claims to be true, it left me with a sense of uneasiness. "It is our desire at the Rock Church to give congregates basic tools in our 200 Covenant class to be able to decipher the true from the fraudulent, at least concerning the Bible," says Osland.

Never Stop Growing

Whether you have questions concerning the facts in the novel or if you find yourself questioning your faith and what you believe, the Rock encourages you to seek answers. And of course, never forget the power of prayer. It's okay to read The Da Vinci Code and novels like it, as long as you are reading with a discerning eye and asking God to reveal the truth to you. Colossians 2:8 gives good advice and warns you to make sure that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. When it comes down to it, the only truth that matters is the truth of Jesus Christ.