Know Your Bible

VOL. 5                           June 18, 2006                           NO. 22

The Da Vinci Code #4

The Sacred Feminine

    The theme of "the Sacred Feminine" is interwoven throughout Dan Brown's best-selling novel, The DaVinci Code. This motif is joined with that of the quest of the Holy Grail. All who have read the exploits of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are familiar with that legend. But according to Brown's novel, those guys got it all wrong. The Holy Grail was not the chalice that Jesus used at the last supper. Not at all. It was the womb of Mary Magdalene in which the offspring, the royal blood of Jesus Christ, was borne.

    The Internet has numerous sites devoted to the Sacred Feminine. Radical feminists and new agers are enamored with this fantasy. Without belaboring the story line of the novel (anyone interested can get the book from the library or borrow the copy that I bought at a yard sale), this theory has it that goddess worship was very much a part of Judaism and primitive Christianity. The goddess took the forms of Isis in Egypt, Ishtar in Babylon, Asherah in Canaan, Aphrodite in Greece, and Venus in Rome. In the early church it was manifested in Mary Magdalene.

    Leigh Teabing, the fictional scholar of the novel, asserts: "The early Jewish tradition involved ritualistic sex. In the Temple, no less. Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon's Temple housed not only God but also His powerful female equal, Shekinah" (pg. 309).

    The most sophomoric Bible student would surely shake his head in amazement at the ignorance manifested in this statement! The term "Shekinah" in the Hebrew Old Testament describes the glory of God, not a divine consort. Furthermore, monotheism, the belief in and worship of the one God, was the most fundamental tenet of Jewish theology. The sexual practices of pagan idolatry were constantly forbidden and renounced by the law and the prophets.

    The DaVinci Code claims that the church "demonized sex" while the pagan religions exalted it as a sacrament. The estrangement between the character, Sofie Neveu, a French police officer and code breaker, and her grandfather, a curator of the Louvre in Paris, was occasioned by a lurid ritual of pagan sex that Sofie chanced to witness, which involved her beloved grandfather and guardian. This was later explained to her and to readers of the novel as a good thing for it was simply the "hieros gamos orgy", the ritualistic sex between priests and priestesses to promote fertility.

    While there may be some truth in the charge that sex was "demonized" by the church following the first century, the Bible regards it as a wonderful gift from God. But God has clearly defined the boundaries of sexual relations: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4, NKJV). Pagan orgies will only multiply the problems that our world is already suffering from the Sexual Revolution including AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    It is really ironic that an important part of the novel's plot is the claim that the Roman Catholic Church did all it could to suppress the Sacred Feminine. In fact, they have done the very opposite. No, they have not deified Mary Magdalene, but for all practical purposes they have done so in the theology of Mary the Mother of Jesus, also called Mary the Mother of God and Mary, Co-Redeemer. The Catholic Church practices a form of idolatry as they display the statues of Mary and others and teach people to kneel before them.

    The cult of the Sacred Feminine claims, however, that Mary the Mother of our Lord was exalted to take attention away from Mary Magdalene. We are told that many of the classic paintings of Madonna and Child are actually Mary Magdalene holding the child of Jesus. The evidence? There is none.

    The fact is that in the deepest sense, the Bible is the advocate of the sacred feminine. While God is always spoken of in the masculine gender, both the man and the woman were created in His image (Gen. 1:27). Without the woman, man was incomplete. Furthermore, God is described through forms both masculine and feminine, though the male images are predominant: "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you" (Isa. 66:13).

    In those lands where many gods, male and female, are worshiped, women are brutally dealt with. Such was the situation in the traditions of India, Japan, Africa, and pre-Christian Europe. In India, women were traditionally burned alive by their husbands in a ritual known as sati. These customs were outlawed in 1829, but had to be banned again in 1956 and again in 1984. We still hear of them occurring.

    The truth is, no system of thought or religion has exalted and ennobled women as have the Bible and Christianity.

---Ken Green

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 "He's Too Religious"

    We know some Christians who were criticized recently for leaving a family gathering early in order to attend a worship service. They were accused of being "too religious". Someone said they were "overly zealous". One relative urged them to realize that "sometimes family considerations have to come first".

    We wonder what these folks would have said to the apostle Paul. When faced with imprisonment and death he said, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might ... testify the gospel" (Acts 20:24). They likely would have said, "Paul, you're just too religious!"

    And, what about Peter and the other apostles? The rulers of the Jews threatened them, beat them, threw them in jail, and "commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus". But they "departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ" (Acts 5:40-42). Would they be described as "overly zealous"?

    As for the matter of putting "family considerations" first, remember that Jesus said, "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:37). The apostles and early Christians would be regarded as complete fanatics in our day. Yet, Paul said, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1).

    You don't need to worry about being too religious!

---Greg Gwin

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