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Hieros Gamos

Greek for ‘‘Temple Marriage’’ or ‘‘Sacred Union’’; sexual ritual described in The Da Vinci Code, which says a ‘‘man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God’’ (DVC, 309); also claims this continued among Jews and Christians, even in the Jewish temple (309), until the established church engaged in a ‘‘brutal crusade to ‘reeducate’ the pagan and feminine worshiping religions’’ (125). Such claims are false, unfounded, and absurd. While some in nearly every religion have attempted to experience God through peculiar ceremonies, including sexual rituals, used for these ceremonies (2 Kings 23:7; 2 Chronicles 34:33; cf. 1 Kings 15:12; 22:46).

  • the Old Testament specifically stated God’s displeasure with anyone who tried to provide deeper experiences of the divine through ritualistic sex, referring to them as cult or shrine prostitutes (Deut. 23:17).
  • When the Israelites did allow ritualistic sex around their temple (1 Kings 14:24), righteous kings such as Josiah destroyed the houses

First-century rumors accused Christians of engaging in ritualistic sex during the Lord’s Supper. According to one tale preserved by Minucius Felix, ‘‘After much feasting . . . they involve themselves . . . in unions of abominable lust.’’ Partly because of such charges, Roman governors were suspicious of them; however, when Pliny, governor of Bithynia (northwest Asia Minor, in present-day Turkey) investigated Christian worship, here’s what he discovered as standard: ‘‘On a fixed day, they . . . gather before daylight and sing a hymn to Christ as God. They bind themselves to one another as with an oath.... After this, they disperse and come together again to partake of ordinary food.’’

The Gospel of Philip, a document from a sect that tried to blend Christian faith with Greek mystery cults, does describe a ceremony of ‘‘sacred union,’’ but this text probably dates from the late third century— more than two hundred years after Christianity’s beginnings. See also Gospel of Philip; Holy of Holies; temple, Solomon’s.

Printed with permission from Bethany House Publishers, South Bloomington, Minnesota from the book "The Da Vinci Codebreaker : an easy-to-use fact checker for truth seekers" by James L. Garlow.

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