*Note: This book review was written elsewhere by the same author and republished here. It was not written on the date that this webpage was published
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code was the second and most famous in Brown's series about conspiracy theorist and symbologist Robert Langdon. This book has sold millions of copies and saw an equally successful movie made about it. Like The Shack, Paradise Lost, and even good books like Pilgrim's Progress, this book is from a genre like Didactic Fiction. Didactic Fiction is a fictional story that is intended to teach a message. The message in this book is clearly anti-Christian, and it butchers both history and theology in order to make this message. Interestingly, most of this book is either buildup or based upon the foundation of a few things laid out in just a few chapters.
The first thing that we should examine is the basis for the worldview. Multiple times in the book, particularly early on, the characters express admiration for Pagans, Kabballah, Gnosticism, and other forms of false religion. On pages 267-268, an Astrological look at the stars is cited as a source. The Bible says about Astrology, "You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!" (Isaiah 47:13-14, ESV). Astrology cannot, in any way, be reconciled with Christianity or worship of the true God. Furthermore, to support his claim that Jesus actually was married to Mary Magdalene, Brown brings up the Gospel of Philip on page 246. The Gospel of Philip was a deuterocanonical book (That's a fancy word meaning it was said to be from God but wasn't actually in the Bible, kind of like the Apocrypha or Sarah Young's Jesus Calling) that was written some time in the 200s or 300s. Though it shares a name with the Apostle Philip, it was neither written by him nor his namesake, the Deacon Philip, both of whom were dead by the time it was written. It is what is known as a Gnostic Gospel, a group of deuterocanonical books that were written by some of the first heretics that plagued Christianity. Particularly, this book was most likely written by a student of Valentinus, who quite likely denied the divinity of Jesus. Using books such as the Gospel of Philip as if they are authoritative is to add to Scripture.
Brown's sources in this book seem to confirm the saying that, "Man will believe anything as long as it's not in the Bible." Not only does Brown seem to go to so many extra-biblical sources, but he rejects Scripture itself. Brown promotes the ludicrous idea that Constantine created the Bible at the Council of Nicea. On page 231, he claims, "The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God." He added, "The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine the Great." He claims that the Bible was put together in AD 325 at the Council of Nicea, despite the fact that the canons of Nicea never even mention which books are considered valid. While on page 231, Brown mentions that more than 80 gospels were considered for the final version of the New Testament at Nicea, Irenaeus of Lyons (Who died in AD 202, 123 years before Nicea) mentioned there only being four Gospels in his book, Against Heresies. Not only does this mean there were far less than 80 Gospels, but it also indicates that there was a completed canon that the Church generally agreed upon. Furthermore, his disregard for Scripture is a deeper symptom of other beliefs.
By throwing out Scripture, not only has Brown embraced the heresy of Liberalism, but he has opened the door for many more heresies. While the odd teaching that Jesus was a married man with a daughter is frequently cited in this book, even then it appears to be a means to an end for Brown's real goal: Promoting Arian heresy and denying the divinity of Jesus. On page 233, Brown writes, "Until [Nicea], Jesus was vied by His followers as a mortal prophet... a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal." Ignatius of Antioch died in AD 108 (217 years before the Council of Nicea), and he wrote in his letter to the Church in Ephesus, "For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan." Similarly, Polycarp, who died in AD 155 (170 years before the Council of Nicea), referred to Jesus as, "our Lord and God Jesus Christ." Obviously, the Church believed in the Divinity of Jesus pre-Nicea.
Brown appears to hate the divinity of Christ so much that he will toss to the wind any accurate reading of history as well as the infallible Word of God. By embracing the Liberal heresy, Brown is throwing out the only means by which we know the Gospel. Romans 10:17 (ESV) says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." By rejecting the Bible, Dan Brown is rejecting the Christian Faith, as the two are so intimately connected and inseparable. Furthermore, by denying the Divinity of Jesus, it is clear that Dan Brown worships a different god. 1 John 2:23 (ESV), says, "No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." We know that rejecting one member of the Godhead is to reject them all and to embrace an idol. All idols are powerless to save, and if Jesus was just a mortal man then His death was insufficient and powerless to save. What Dan Brown does in rejecting Jesus's divinity is create an idol and chase a false gospel, which is powerless to save and is no gospel at all.
For a presentation of the true Gospel, please click here.
Brandon C. Hines
Brandon is a young writer, theologian, and polemicist. He adheres to the 1689 London Baptist Confession and believes in Calvinism, Covenant Theology, Credobaptism, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the Essentials of the Christian Faith.