Crash Goes the Da Vinci Code/Part 15
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2005|
|God equally values both men and women. In a Jewish culture where women were discouraged from studying the law, Jesus taught women right alongside men as equals.|
by Dr. Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, P.O. Box 2526, Frisco, TX, 75034. 214-618-0912. www.ronrhodes.org (Used by permission.)
Did the Church Propagate Lies that Devalued Females and Tipped the Scales in Favor of the Masculine?
DAN BROWN’S POSITION:
“Powerful men in the early Christian church ‘conned’ the world by propagating lies that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine.” (Page 124)
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER:
This is nonsense. God equally values both men and women. In a Jewish culture where women were discouraged from studying the law, Jesus taught women right alongside men as equals (Matt. 14:21; 15:38). And when He taught, He often used women’s activities to illustrate the character of the kingdom of God, such as baking bread (Luke 13:20, 21), grinding corn (Luke 17:35), and sweeping the house to find a lost coin (Luke 15:8 -10). Some Jewish rabbis taught that a man should not speak to a woman in a public place, but Jesus not only spoke to a woman (who, incidentally, was a Samaritan) but also drank from her cup in a public place (John 4:1-30). The first person He appeared to after resurrecting from the dead was Mary and not the male disciples (John 20). Clearly, Jesus’ high view of women is utterly at odds with that of the Gnostic Gospels.
Further, God created both men and women in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Christian men and women are positionally equal before God (Galatians 3:28).
It is interesting to observe that while God is referred to in the Bible as “Father” (and never “Mother”), some of His actions are occasionally described in feminine terms. For example, Jesus likened God to a loving and saddened mother hen crying over the waywardness of her children (Matthew 23:37-39). God is also said to have “given birth” to Israel (Deuteronomy 32:18).
Now, it is important to understand that God is not a gender being as humans are. He is not of the male sex, per se. The primary emphasis in God being called “Father” is that He is personal. Unlike the dead and impersonal idols of paganism, the true God is a personal being with whom we can relate. In fact, we can even call Him “Abba” (which loosely means “daddy”). That is how intimate a relationship we can have with Him.
I must point out that if any documents denigrate women and portray them as secondary and defective beings, it is the Gnostic documents. In Saying 114 of The Gospel of Thomas, Simon Peter is portrayed as saying to Jesus, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.” Jesus responded: “I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Among the Gnostics, women were viewed as woefully inferior beings. In fact, women could be “saved,” the Gnostics taught, only by a return to maleness. Bible scholar Edwin Yamauchi tells us that Jesus’ response to Peter in Saying 114 “refers to the ultimate reunification of the sexes, as the Gnostics maintained that the separation of the sexes was responsible for the origin of evil.” F. F. Bruce provides further insight on the Gnostic view: Jesus’ promise that [Mary] will become a man, so as to gain admittance to the kingdom of heaven, envisages the reintegration of the original order, when Adam was created male and female (Genesis 1:27). Adam was “the man” as much before the removal of Eve from his side as after (Genesis 2:18-25). Therefore, when the primal unity is restored and death is abolished, man will still be man (albeit more perfectly so), but woman will no longer be woman; she will be reabsorbed into man. It is thus truly amazing that Dan Brown tries to position Christianity as a persecutor of women and the Gnostics as women-supporters. The truth is just the opposite!
WHAT HAVE WE SEEN?
In this brief apologetic critique, we have seen that even though Dan Brown claims his book is based on fact, his “facts” turn out to be sheer fiction. His theory is based on bogus documents; he misrepresents and misinterprets history and theology; he is woefully guilty of revisionism; he uses poor logic; he often makes misstatements; he engages in wild exaggerations and speculations; and hence— understandably—he draws flawed conclusions. Crash goes THE DA VINCI CODE!
- THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS, in THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY, p. 130.
- Yamauchi, p. 186.
- Bruce, p. 154.