Thursday, July 06, 2006

To Keep You Interested

I am going away for a few days in order to deliver my firstborn son to summer camp. In the meantime, to keep you interested in things theological, I offer the following related to the Da Vinci Code...

  • The main characters seem to think that Jesus being married represents a threat to the doctrine of Jesus' Deity. That's not true. It is not the case that if Jesus is proven to be human then he is not divine; Christians hold that Jesus was both human and divine. We don;t hold that Jesus was 50% God and 50% human, such that anything that adds to one nature necessarily takes away from the other. We hold that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. Anything that shows Jesus was human therefore supports one part of the Christian belief about Jesus without taking away from the other. If Jesus were married then it does no harm at all to the belief that Jesus was divine. There really is no theological need to cover up a lineage of Jesus, even if there were one.
  • Some might disagree, but I think its important to deal with Brown's book. Yes, I know it is just a work of fiction, but the reality is that Brown's book blurs the distinction between fiction and non-fiction with the claim to represent some concrete elements accurately. The average person though isn't equipped to know where the fiction begins and ends. If we don't stand up and say so, they'll make up their own minds, and, most likely, will get it wrong to the detriment of their spiritual walk.
  • I do not understand why people would think it so odd that Jesus would be celibate. Granted it was normal for a man to marry, Jesus was not an official rabbi. The pharisees, who were official rabbis, did not accord him that status (and Jesus never claimed it at any rate) that he should be required to marry. Besides, it isn't like it was unheard of for a man to marry for religious reasons; there was a group of very pious people in the area called Essenes who lived at Qumran (they were the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and they did not marry. They were well respected for that practice by the average Jew, too.
  • Why do these characters treat Gnosticism like it was a united, monolithic movement? It wasn't. There were several versions of it, often with mutually exclusive teachings. They would never buy Brown's assertion that these are all legitimate versions of Christianity; they all competed with each other to be the true Christianity.
Have a good weekend.

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