Having endowed Constantine with a-historical super-powers and credited him with doing things he never did, would never have had any interest in doing, could never have accomplished, and in fact, would have worked against his actual historical interests, Dan Brown continues the demolition of his historical credibility, but at least for a moment he sounds like so many others who blandly throw out the “Christianity just borrowed paganism” line, especially when it involves “dying and rising Saviors.” So at least when this old canard is thrown out, at least Brown isn’t completely alone in repeating it. But, that only proves that at this point he is just as guilty as all the rest in ignoring the fundamental difference between pagan stories of dying/rising gods and the unique Christian teaching of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As common as the allegation is, even a moment’s reflection upon the vast difference between a polytheistic religion with the concept of anthropomorphic gods (gods with physical bodies) that are able to co-habit with human beings and the exalted monotheism of Judaism and Christianity shows one the absurdity of the parallel. Gods dying and rising may be common in polytheistic religions—but in the monotheism of Christianity and of the Jewish/Christian scriptures, the concept of incarnation and resurrection becomes utterly and completely unique. Just witness the Islamic revulsion at the concept of incarnation and you can see how tremendously unique is the idea. Further, you have the Jewish Scriptures and their prophetic witness to the life and ministry of Christ, something completely missing in any allegedly parallel pagan myth. Every time I hear someone casually throwing this alleged parallel out I have to shake my head in amazement at how facile and shallow such reasoning is.
Brown then even tries his hand at the “Constantine changed the Sabbath” argument, ignoring the presence of the phrase “the day of the Lord” in the Christian Scriptures and the wide witness to the celebration of Christian worship on Sunday in the early Christian documents (which, for Brown, don’t even seem to exist). Once again the anachronism in Brown’s fanciful claims is so strong as to be humorous.
From here Brown moves into his unique description of the Council of Nicea itself. Here we begin to see the central anti-Christian thrust of TDVC:
“My dear,” Teabing declared, until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet…a great and powerful man, but man nonetheless. A mortal.”
“Not the Son of God?”
“Right,” Teabing said. “Jesus’ establishment as ‘the Son of God’ was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicaea.” (233)
Here we see what is arguably the most absurd, ridiculous, easily refuted claim of TDVC: and yet, it is central to the entire thesis of the book’s reconstruction of history itself. We could spend a great deal of time refuting this assertion, and will do so in the next installments. For now, I will allow two ancient witnesses to speak to prove that Dan Brown, Doubleday, and everyone associated with the upcoming film, are making their millions at the cost of truth itself:
From AD 108, Ignatius to the church at Ephesus: “Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to her who has been blessed in greatness through the fulness of God the Father, ordained before time to be always resulting in permanent glory, unchangeably united and chosen in true passion, by the will of the Father and of Jesus Christ, our God, to the church which is in Ephesus of Asia, worthy of felicitation: abundant greetings in Jesus Christ and in blameless joy.” (Ephesians 1)
Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.