The Da Vinci Code Debunked - Part II
If The Da Vinci Code is to be believed, Jesus was a great, but very mortal, man. Not only was he not divine, he was not widely regarded as divine until the Council of Nicea declared him so in a "close vote."
Not so, counters Pastor Delashmutt. Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. His humanity could be seen by the fact that he experienced physical birth and death, and had human limits such as hunger, thirst, and fatigue. He was also vulnerable to pain and suffering.
But he was divine, too. The Bible refers to Jesus as "mighty God," "everlasting Father," and "Prince of Peace." There is also the reference to "The Word" becoming "flesh" and "dwelling among us." Paul in the Colossians talks about the fullness of the deity living in bodily form. Clearly, these passages communicate the deity of Christ. Maybe that's why the real vote at the Council of Nicea wasn't close at all: 316-2.
The pastor charges that The Da Vinci Code gives us a re-tooled Jesus, who comes across as a "Gnostic teacher, a prophet, who offers a certain kind of salvation through self-realization." This ties in with New Age concepts whereby you find divinity within yourself. The Gnostics wanted you to look within yourself and find a "light" that makes you divine.
The pastor cited a passage from the book of Thomas (which is not a true gospel since it contains no narrative). "When you come to know yourselves then you will become known. And you will realize that it is you who are sons of the living God." As an aside, Pastor Delashmutt stressed that whoever this Thomas was, he lived in the 2nd century A.D. and thus was not the apostle Thomas.
The Gnostic Jesus is unlike the Biblical Jesus, who fulfills the Old Testament prediction of a savior who offers forgiveness for moral guilt through his death. In sum, to save the human race, Jesus had to be human; for his salvation to reach the entire human race throughout all time, he had to be divine.
What about the book's claim that he was married to Mary Magdalene? What do the gospels say about her? They certainly don't defame her in any way. She traveled with Jesus along with other women and helped finance his ministry. She stayed to the end of his crucifixion. She went to his tomb; found it empty. She was the first person to communicate with the resurrected Jesus. Quite an honor for a woman at a time when women couldn't even give testimony in court.
There's a stunning passage in the aforementioned book of Thomas about Jesus saying that Mary M. would have to be turned into a male in order to become human. Not exactly a liberated view of women. It even contradicts the stress placed on the "sacred feminine" in The Da Vinci Code.
As for a marriage, there's no record of Jesus being married to Mary M. or any other woman. The fragmentary book of Phillip makes incomplete references to Mary M. being Jesus's companion and kissing him. So any claim of marriage is quite weak. But Pastor Delashmutt says it wouldn't have been inherently sinful for Jesus to have been married. Just the same, Jesus had good reasons for not taking a wife. For one thing, it would have been tough on his wife, given his death at only 33 or so. Also, if he had biological children, that would have run counter to his plan to create a new family of humanity that would allow anyone to become a child of God through faith in him as lord and savior.
God does work through bloodlines sometimes, as he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and their descendants. It was this bloodline that culminated in Jesus. But Jesus had a different mission. He came as the Messiah who would enable all people to be adopted into God's family. The Hebrew people of this time apparently believed they were sure to enter God's kingdom because of their descent from Abraham. But believing you are special because of your bloodline opens the door for prejudice against other people from different bloodlines. Bloodlines have nothing to do with Jesus. Those who trust and accept him are born of the spirit and become children of God regardless of their bloodline. If Jesus had had children, this fact might have been muddled.
As a concluding statement, I would have to say that there was nothing really surprising in either of Pastor Delashmutt's sermons. He doesn't buy the view about Jesus and Mary M. put forth in The Da Vinci Code, and states his objections quite clearly. To his credit, however, he isn't livid over Brown's book. He has no interest in censoring the book or boycotting the film. Perhaps he believes, as I do, that if the Biblical Jesus is the true Jesus, then nothing can be done to dethrone him. Best-selling authors, New Age gurus, doubting agnostics, cynical atheists, and disbelievers of every stripe can all have their say. In the end, Jesus will be what he has always been.