Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Vinci "Facts": Is Jesus Merely Human?

Here's an excerpt from my sermon yesterday discussing some of the misinformation found in The Da Vinci Code. Read or download the full text here...

In The Da Vinci Code book, the character, Leigh Teabing tells Sophie that it was at the Council of Nicea (AD 325) that the delegates voted on the divinity of Jesus.

…Constantine needed to strengthen the new Christian tradition, and held a famous ecumenical gathering known as the Council of Nicea… At this gathering, Teabing said, many aspects of Christianity were debated and voted upon – the date of Easter, the role of the bishops, the administration of sacraments, and of course, the divinity of Jesus….Until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by his followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal…Jesus’ establishment as the Son of God was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea.” And Sophie says, “Hold on. You’re saying Jesus’ divinity was the result of a vote? Teabing replies, “A relatively close vote at that.”

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There was no discussion at the Council of Nicea over whether or not Jesus was God. This is one of the most misleading "facts" in the book. Every early follower of Jesus believed that Jesus was God. That was without question. The discussion at the Council of Nicea was over the nature of Jesus’divinity and humanity. There was a group of people known as Gnostics who didn’t believe that Jesus was fully human. They believed that he only appeared to be human. To them, it was impossible for God to appear in the flesh because flesh was sinful. And so – that was the argument of the day. Not if Jesus was God but if Jesus could be both fully God and fully human.

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