The Da Vinci Code: “Let Us Make God in Our Image”

By: Staff Writer; ©2004
Some Christians have become confused by the “fact-based” novel “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. Erwin Lutzer explain why many of Brown’s “facts” should be taken with a grain of salt!


The Da Vinci Code: “Let Us Make God in Our Image”

That Jesus is an extraordinary fellow! Just think of the remarkably different ways He was portrayed in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” and ABC’s “Judas.”

One reporter admitted he was far more comfortable with the Jesus portrayed in “Judas”—the flawed, human Jesus—than he was with the Jesus of “The Passion.” This is hardly surprising. The flogged, bloody, crucified Jesus of “The Passion” seems to demand something of us— something most of us are simply unable, or more correctly unwilling, to give.

Considering the sources he used, it should come as no surprise that the Jesus of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is far more like the Jesus of “Judas.” What is surprising is that so many Christians are wondering if there might just be some truth to his story!

Dr. Erwin Lutzer, a frequent guest on The John Ankerberg Show, has just released a book entitled The Da Vinci Deception (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 2004), in which he comments that “some people reading The Da Vinci Code were confusing legends with facts and superstitions with sober history” (Dedication, p. viii).

Dr. Lutzer says:

Readers should know that the basic plot of this book has existed for centuries and can be found in esoteric and New Age literature such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent (1983), which is referenced in the novel. The difference is that Brown takes these legends and wraps them in a quasi‑historical story that is being read by millions. Many who read the book are wondering if all, or at least some, of its claims might be true. (p. xix)

But The Da Vinci Code also attacks the Bible, the deity of Jesus and the origin of Christianity. How concerned should Christians be when they read this book? How much truth is there to what Brown claims? Let’s look at four examples:

1. Were some important books kept out of the Bible?

In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown says:

More than 80 gospels were eliminated from the New Testament that were unfavorable to “male rule” by Constantine and his delegates at the Council of Nicaea.

Dr. Lutzer responds:

This assertion is bogus. It’s a reminder that legends are often confused with facts in such a way that the legends actually appear to replace the facts.

ATRI responds:

In his Baker’s Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Baker, 1999), Dr. Norman Geisler gives principles for determining which books should and should not be considered inspired scripture (canonicity). He lists first:

Inadequate Criteria for Canonicity. Five mistaken methods have particularly troubled the church:

  1. failure to distinguish a book that was “known” from a book that carried God’s authority;
  2. failure to distinguish disagreement about the canon between different parties from uncertainty about the canon within those parties;
  3. failure to distinguish between the adding of books to the canon and the removal of books from it;
  4. failure to distinguish between the canon that the community recognized and eccentric views of individuals;
  5. failure to properly use Jewish evidence about the canon transmitted through Christian hands, either by denying the Jewish origins or by ignoring the Christian medium through which it has come (Beckwith, 7-8).

Geisler then proceeds to give five “Principles of Canonicity”:

  1. Was the book written by a prophet of God?
  2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God?
  3. Does the message tell the truth about God?
  4. Did it come with the power of God?
  5. Was it accepted by the people of God?

Further study:

Read his entire article at (Theological Dictionary archives: The Can­onicity of the Bible)

2. Do the Gnostic Gospels provide important historical information? Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene?

In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown says:

The Gnostic Gospels provide a historical basis for the alleged marriage of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, as referred to in The Gospel of Philip, as well as Jesus’ intention that she become the head of the church. In concealing the truth about Jesus’ marriage to Mary, the church has engaged in “the greatest cover-up in human history.”

Regarding the Gnostic Gospels, Dr. Lutzer responds:

The Gnostic Gospels contain speculative ideas. These ideas are contradicted by dozens of verifiableearly documents. Mary no doubt had a deep love for Jesus, but there is no hint of romance between them.

ATRI responds:

Many of these Gnostic gospels have been carefully studied, and found to be wanting in many ways. For example, Dr. Norman Geisler concludes his critique of The Gospel of Thomas with this statement:
The evidence for the authenticity of the Gospel of Thomas does not even compare with that for the New Testament. The New Testament dates from the first century; the Gospel of Thomas, the second. The New Testament is verified by many lines of evidence, including self-references, early canonical lists, thousands of citations by the early Fathers, and the well-established dates for the Synoptic Gospels.

Further study:

Read more of this article on The Gospel of Thomas, as well as Dr. Geisler’s critique of The Gospel of Barnabas and his explanation of Gnosticism at (, Theologi­cal Dictionary archives)

Regarding Jesus alledged marriage to Mary, Dr. Lutzer says:

Of course, someday Jesus will be married. We all anticipate his future wedding. Jesus is now engaged to us, the church—his bride. He would not have been married on earth, knowing that his coming marriage is in heaven.

ATRI responds:

Dr. Zola Levitt and Dr. Renald Showers gave a marvelous description of the Marriage of the Lamb in our series Does the Church Still Believe in the Rapture?

Further Study:

Read an excerpt from this series at (Bible Prophecy): The Marriage of the Lamb

3. Has the Church suppressed thousands of documents that could disprove Christianity?

In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown says:

Thousands of secret documents exist that would disprove Christianity.

Dr. Lutzer responds:

Let’s call his bluff and insist that he find them and present them to the world! How desperate one must be to build a case for unbelief on imaginary documents.

ATRI responds:

The honest search for truth is one of the most noble philosophical endeavors of life. Plato declared, “Truth is the beginning of every good thing, both in Heaven and on earth; and he who would be blessed and happy should be from the first a partaker of the truth.”
Any religion or philosophy that makes convincing claims to having absolute truth is worth consideration because only a few do. More to the point, any religion that claims and produces solid evidence on behalf of an assertion that it alone is fully true is worth serious consideration for that reason alone. Only Christianity does this.

Further study:

See the article Why Christianity? ( Apologetic archives).

4. Was the “deity” of Jesus invented for political purposes?

In The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown says:

Constantine invented the deity of Jesus in order to consolidate his power.

Dr. Lutzer responds:

There is not a single shred of historical evidence for such a notion. Not only was Christ’s deity the consensus of the delegates [to the Council of Nicaea], but as can easily be show, this doctrine was held by the church centuries before the council met.

ATRI responds:

Here is one example showing the truth of what Dr. Lutzer said:

Ignatius of Antioch (30-107 A.D.). He was born before Christ died and consistently spoke of the deity of Jesus Christ. Consider a few examples: In his writings To the Ephesians, To the Romans, To the Magnesians and other letters, we find references such as the following: “Jesus Christ our God”; “who is God and man”; “received knowledge of God, that is, Jesus Christ”; “for our God, Jesus the Christ”; “for God was manifest as man”; “Christ, who was from eternity with the Father”; “from God, from Jesus Christ”; “from Jesus Christ, our God”; “Our God, Jesus Christ”; “suffer me to follow the example of the passion of my God”; “Jesus Christ the God” and “Our God Jesus Christ.” The fact that Ignatius was not rebuked, nor branded as teaching heresy by any of the churches or Christian leaders he sent such letters to proves that the early church, long before 107 A.D., accepted the deity of Christ.

Further study:

Read the testimony of other church leaders, as well as Jesus’ own teaching concerning His deity in the article: The Deity of Jesus Christ ( Editor’s Choice ar­chives).

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:… (Eph. 5:6-8)

Obtain a copy of Erwin Lutzer’s The Da Vinci Deception at your local Christian book store.

You may also wish to request a copy of The Facts on False Views of Jesus by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon by calling our office (1-423-892-7722) or visit our online cata­log.


  1. Clc on May 20, 2018 at 11:03 am

    It was sold as fiction not history, why I can’t understand why do much time and money wasted on disproving.

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