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Da Vinci Code or Divine Christ: Who Do You Trust?

by Dr. K. Scott Oliphint , Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology Westminster Theological Seminary

Luke 3:21-22 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

In the late 1950s there was a popular game show called, “Who Do You Trust?” With apologies for the grammatical error, there may not be a more important question to ask. It is a question that needs to be asked when discussions of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code take place. More on that in a minute.

When Jesus Christ began his public ministry, he was declared by his heavenly Father to be his “beloved Son.” This announcement did not escape the notice of the powers of darkness. Almost immediately, after the Father announced his good pleasure in his Son, Jesus “was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1-2).
How did the devil begin his temptation? He wanted Jesus to give him proof that He was the Son of God. He tempted him with three different offers. Two of the three are a demand for proof.

Luke 4:3 "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread;"

Luke 4:9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here...”(The other temptation is a request by the devil that Jesus fall down and worship him.

Dan Brown, in The Da Vinci Code is not the first one to challenge the divinity of Christ. The devil himself receives that honor. Neither will Brown’s challenge of Christ’s divinity be the last one; others are bound to come. So how should we think about this challenge?

One way to think about it is to ask: “How did Jesus respond to the devil’s requests?” Surely if Jesus is God he could have easily turned stones into bread. He could have thrown himself down from the pinnacle of the temple without harm. But he didn’t.

Instead, Jesus turned the devil’s attention, not to himself, but to God, and to what he had said. In response to the challenge to turn stones into bread, Jesus said, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone`" ( Luke 4:4). Why did Jesus respond this way? The devil wasn’t asking about how we are to live, or about whether one can live by bread alone. The devil was wanting Jesus to do something that no mere mortal could do. Did Jesus just dodge the challenge he was given? No, he didn’t.

Jesus responds this way because he knows that the devil’s challenge will not be answered if Jesus performs some powerful act; the devil’s problem is not that he has failed to see God act in miraculous ways. The devil’s problem is that he will not believe what God has said.
As a matter of fact, there was a similar temptation given many years before this one. It was a temptation given, not in the midst of a wilderness, but in a plush and plenteous garden.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, `You shall not eat of any tree in the garden`?" (

The devil comes to Eve, not to tell her to disobey, at least not at first. He comes to Eve so that he might get her to question the word of God. And he tempts her by asking a question, a question that is close to the truth, but which is, as a matter of fact, a denial of it. God had not said that Adam and Eve could not eat from any tree; He had said that there was one particular tree from which they were not to eat. The devil knew that. His question was not out of curiosity. His question was designed to get Eve, and Adam after her, to disobey. And he succeeded.

Jesus knows that the devil’s design is to get him to stop trusting what God has said. So, instead of arguing with the devil about his own powers, Jesus replies to the devil in such a way that shows that he is trusting what God has said. Even though he has been in the wilderness for 40 days, and even though he is hungry, he knows, because God has said, that his life is not defined by what he eats alone. It is defined by the “spiritual” food of God’s word. God had already said, “This is My beloved Son.” No more proof was needed.

Dan Brown would like for us to believe that Jesus is not divine, that he is not the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity. He wants us to see Jesus as “a mortal prophet,” and “a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal” (The Da Vinci Code, p. 233).

Despite the fact that Brown’s facts are wrong (for example, Jesus was not declared divine by way of a vote as Brown says on p. 233), the question we must ask ourselves is, “Whom do you trust?” Do you trust Dan Brown to guide you into all truth, or at least to destroy what has been foundational to Western civilization? Or do you trust “ every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4)? This does not mean that there are no evidences or supportive documents on both sides of the discussion, there are. These can be easily perused by any interested party. But evidences and documents are always discussed in the context of that fundamental question, “Whom do you trust?” Answering that question goes a long way toward determining how you will look at evidences and supporting documents.

Do you want to put your faith in Dan Brown? Or would you rather put your faith in one in whom millions, for over two thousand years, have trusted, not only for their “spiritual food” in this life, but in the life to come as well.
If Dan Brown is right, then there is no hope for anyone. If Dan Brown is right, it is not simply a Western religion that dies, all of humanity - past, present and future - dies; and death is the bitter end.

In the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia entitled, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mr. Tumnus, the faun, is explaining to Lucy what Narnia is like as it lies under the spell of the White Witch. So, says Lucy,

“The White Witch? Who is she?”

Tumnus responds,

“Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”

The Chronicles of Narnia were written for children, and their message is accommodated to them. What a perfect way to express to a child what hopelessness might be - always winter - cold, lifeless, a situation where no water flows for drinking, no plants for eating. Always winter, and never Christmas. To a child this would mean that, in the midst of the cold, there was no holiday, no rest, nothing to which to look forward, no surprises, no anticipation.

It does mean that, of course, but it means much more. It means that there is no hope. It means that no baby was born in a manger in Bethlehem. It means that there were no tidings of great joy brought by angels. It means that the angels never sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased" (Luke 2:14)! It means that the message of the entirety of history, since Adam gave in to the devil’s temptation, the message that God would save a people for himself, that message is not true. It means that no people are saved, that God has not come down to us, and that sin and evil will have their way. It means the White Witch wins. It means it is now, as it was in the beginning, and ever shall be, winter, and nothing but winter.

If you choose to believe Dan Brown, you have chosen not to believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That is a choice with consequences that are terrible now, and will be even worse in eternity.
If, however, you choose to believe what the Father has said - that Jesus Christ is the Son of God - then there are tidings of great joy for you. If you believe what God has said about His Son, then Christmas is a reality for you, not just on December 25th, but every day of this life, and into the next.
Revelation 11:15 "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."

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  : This website is a response to Sony Pictures movie "The Da Vinci Code"
  based on Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code