In the previous article, we reviewed some of the distinct
features of The DA Vinci Code. Today I want to focus
on Gnosticism, from which some of the myths in The DA
Vinci Code originated.
Gnostic roots predate Christ. As the gospel spread throughout
the world, Gnosticism quickly grew and developed into a
variety of sects. One of the most well-known doctrines of
Gnosticism is that Christ was divine but not human -- He
did not come to earth in the flesh (1 Jn. 2:18-22; 4:3;
2 Jn. 1:7).
In the first century, Gnostics began mixing their man-made
religious doctrines with the doctrine of Christ. They taught
that salvation came through an occult knowledge only available
to Gnostics. (The English word "Gnostic" is from the Greek
word gnosis, meaning knowledge.)
Gnostic Gospels of Philip and Mary Magdalene
In modern time, the Gnostic gospels were lost until 1945
when Muhammad 'Ali al-Samman, an Arabian peasant, discovered
them in Egypt. He found fifty-two texts in thirteen leather
bound books. Until this discovery, our knowledge of Gnostic
gospels came from the writings of early Christians, as they
fought against the heretical doctrines of Gnosticism.
In The DA Vinci Code, myths from the gospels of
Philip and Mary Magdalene are employed. Namely, that Jesus
and Mary Magdalene were married and had at least one child,
allegedly resulting on a royal bloodline on earth that continues
to this day. And, that Jesus intended for Mary Magdalene
to be the leader of His church, not the apostles.
Today, we must decide whether to believe God's word or
Gnostic Gospels Cannot Be God's Word
We know that Gnostic gospels are not God's word by apply
two basic principles.
First, we know the Gnostic gospels are not God's word because
none of them were written before the late second century.
The Gnostic gospels were written by people pretending to
be an apostle or someone else living while Christ walked
the earth. They are fake gospels.
Secondly, God promises that His word will live forever
(1 Pet. 1:24-25). Since the Gnostic gospels were lost for
hundreds and hundreds of years, they cannot be God's word.
They were dead gospels, lost in Egypt for many hundreds
of years; they are not the living word of God.
The Apostles Fought Gnostic Doctrines
Gnostics believe that the heavenly pleroma (Greek
word translated "fullness") was the center of divine life.
Jesus, they believe, was an intermediary eternal being (or
aeon), sent from the pleroma to restore the lost
knowledge of humanity's divine origin (The
Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05). Thus,
they do not believe that Jesus was human -- that He came
to earth in the flesh.
John: Jesus Came in the Flesh
God, through the apostle John, tells us that Jesus came
in the flesh.
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with
God" (Jn. 1:1-2). "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt
among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten
from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14).
The apostle John also tells us that anyone who does not
confess that Jesus came in the flesh is an antichrist (1
Jn. 4:2-3; 2 Jn. 1:7). Antichrists do not abide in the teaching
of Christ, and do not have God (2 Jn. 1:9).
Paul: Jesus is the Pleroma
Peter tells us that some of Paul's teachings are hard to
understand, because of the wisdom God gave him (2 Pet. 3:15-16).
Paul's refutation of Gnosticism has to be some of the most
difficult teachings to understand, but I'll do my best to
summarize it in the following paragraphs.
Paul tells us that Jesus was the pleroma (fullness
of God) in bodily form, saying, "For in Him all the fullness
of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
The Gnostics believed Jesus was an intermediary being sent
from the pleroma, who did not come in the flesh.
They try to make Jesus into a hired servant rather than
acknowledge His deity. Paul refutes their doctrine, giving
Jesus the honor He deserves (Col. 2:9-10):
- Jesus came in bodily form -- flesh.
- Jesus is the pleroma. He was also the pleroma
when on earth in the flesh.
- As the pleroma, we are complete in Jesus.
- As the pleroma, Jesus is the head over all rule
To take this one step further, Paul tells us that the church
(Christ's body) is the pleroma (fullness of God).
He says, "And He put all things in subjection under His
feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in
all" (Eph. 1:22-23).
Then to take this another step, Paul tells us that Jesus
is the Savior of the body, which is His church. He says,
"For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also
is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of
the body" (Eph. 5:23). As members of Christ's body we are
in the pleroma, and saved.
To summarize, Paul refutes Gnostic doctrines by setting
forth these truths:
- Jesus is the pleroma, fullness of God. Therefore,
we are complete in Him.
- Since Jesus is the pleroma, His body (the church)
is the pleroma. Therefore as Christians, we are
saved because we are members of Christ's body.
There are other truths revealed in the New Testament that
refute Gnostic doctrines, which we cannot examine in this
brief article. But let's determine to obey God's command,
"avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments
of what is falsely called 'knowledge'" (1 Tim. 6:20). The
Greek word translated "knowledge" in 1 Timothy 6:20 is gnosis,
the word from which the Gnostics derive their name.
Man-made religious doctrines are opposed to God, His word,
and His doctrine. We must examine them in light of the truth
revealed in God's word, and reject them. This includes what
is falsely called knowledge, namely Gnosticism.