Chapter 3: The Christ and the Code
So what about Teabing’s claim that until A.D. 325–nearly three centuries following Jesus’ time on earth–nobody believed that Jesus was anything more than "a mortal prophet" and a "a great and powerful man"? Notice that Teabing does not personally reject the divinity of Jesus (many people do reject it), or claim that certain modern day scholars deny that Jesus was somehow divine (many scholars do deny it), but that the early followers of Jesus–the Christians of the first three centuries following Jesus’ time on earth–believed that he was not divine at all, but "a mortal" only. For one thing, this seriously undermines the credibility of Teabing’s character, for any historian, whether or Christian or not, knows that the early Christians most definitely believed that Jesus of Nazareth was somehow divine, being the "Son of God" and the resurrected Christ. In fact, the central issue at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 was not whether Jesus was merely human or something more, but how exactly his divinity–which even the heretic Arius acknowledged–was to be understood: Was he fully divine? Was the Son equal to the Father? Was he a lesser god? What did it mean to say that the Son was "begotten", as the Gospel of John states in several places (Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18)?
Even Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Templar Revelation, two of Brown’s main sources for his statements about Jesus, Constantine, paganism, and the Council of Nicaea, do not propose that prior to A.D. 325 nobody believed Jesus was divine. In fact, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail do not even deny the possibility that Jesus was divine; their main interest is insisting that Jesus was marred to Mary Magdalene: "And while we ourselves cannot subscribe to Jesus’ divinity, our conclusions do not preclude others from doing so. Quite simply there is no reason why Jesus could not have married and fathered children while still retaining his divinity."
The authors of The Templar Revelation have a different perspective; although they admit that Jesus was called the "Son of God" by his early followers, they write that this was a mistake, and that "Jesus was not so much the Son of God as a devoted son of the Goddess." Their central thesis is that Jesus was "essentially an Egyptian missionary" intent on promoting the pagan religion of the Isis/Osiris mystery cult of Egypt. "Christianity was not the religion founded by the unique Son of God who died for all our sins", they write, "it was the worship of Isis and Osiris repackaged. However, it rapidly became a personality cult, centered on Jesus." Both books agree that Jesus’ main goal was the establishment of political power, that he did not die on the cross, and that his resurrection was a clever and elaborate hoax, all of which is either stated directly or hinted at in The Da Vinci Code.
The essential point is that Teabing’s statements, which apparently reflect Brown’s beliefs as well, are not only false, they aren’t even supported by Brown’s main sources. What The Da Vinci Code does share with The Templar Revelation and Holy Blood, Holy Grail is the conviction that historical, creedal Christianity is a lie, an elaborate ruse born out the thirst for power and a violent desire to suppress the truth about Jesus: that he was a mere mortal, or a married man with lofty political goals, or the high priest of an Egyptian mystery religion. In their own ways, each denies the death and resurrection of Jesus, his salvific work, and the establishment of a unique people–the Church–bound not by ethnicity or gender or social status, but by the unique work of Jesus Christ, the God-man. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus", the apostle tells the Christians in Galatia, "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:26-28).
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