by Ed Vasicek
The Da Vinci Code book and movie—as well as other similar fiction novels—are hotbeds of controversy. In today's culture, fiction can be and often is accepted as fact, and in view of the immense popularity of the book—soon to be enhanced by the movie—there is a huge potential for a persuasive attack on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This attack centers on whether or not Jesus had children, as the book and movie suggest. The book—fictitiously based on an "ancient document"—suggests that the divinity of Jesus was something created by the church centuries after His death, and that Jesus was married and had children (or fathered children out of wedlock). How can the church best defend against this canard?
First of all, even if such an "ancient document" actually existed, much too long a time elapsed between Jesus' crucifixion and the supposed creation of the document, without corroboration. To illustrate, suppose I wrote a document that claimed Abraham Lincoln was a closet Mormon and had five wives. I would be making these claims less than 150 years since his death; nonetheless, I have nothing to substantiate my claims. So, if someone uncovered my writings a thousand years from now, he would hopefully not reason, "this dates back to only 150 years after Lincoln, so it must be relevant!" Instead, he should reason, "There is too much of a gap for this to be historically reliable." This is a very different scenario from first century documents written by reasonable and respected men who were eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ—the Gospels.
To suggest Jesus was married and had children (or had children apart from marriage) because of documents written centuries after Christ is simply absurd—completely contrary to the eyewitness accounts of the Gospels. Jesus KNEW He was the Lamb of God, something religious liberals do not believe. If you knew you were going to die at a young age, would you marry and leave children behind? No, that would be both irresponsible and anything but loving.
Secondly, you would be into all sorts of theological messes if Jesus had children. Jesus was conceived miraculously, without a sin nature—though liberals do not believe in the Virgin Birth, and thus believe Christ was just as prone to sin as we are. Since Jesus had no sin nature, would his children have been born without a sin nature, too? Or was Jesus really a sinner, fathering these children out of wedlock? Or was He a homosexual, as some gays claim? Once you start down that path, speculations are without limit.
Did He resist the temptation in the wilderness but succumb later? If so, He was no longer sinless, as Peter asserts: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth" (1 Pet. 2:22). The Book of Hebrews asserts that He " has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin" (Heb. 4:15). Jesus Himself offered this challenge to His contemporaries, "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me?" (John 8:46).
These first century documents clearly present Jesus as sinless. To say that the church invented His sinless perfection in the fourth century when first century documents assert He was sinless is nonsense. To claim His deity was invented in the fourth century when both the Old and New Testaments assert His divinity is beyond reason (Isa. 9:6, Zech. 12:9-10, John 20:28).
In 2 Corinthians. 11:4, Paul scolds the Corinthians naiveté, "For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully." Unfortunately many today are accepting "another Jesus."
Paul's words to Timothy take on new relevance: "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
Folks, the myths are on the rise.