Click for Gospel Way home page

Pagan Goddess Worship, Gnosticism, Feminism, and the Da Vinci Code

Pagan Goddess Worship, Gnosticism, Feminism, and The Da Vinci Code

Does Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code contradict the Bible? Should we worship goddesses or a masculine God? Did Mary Magdalene marry Jesus and serve as head of the church? Are Gnostic gospels accurate history?

This is part of a whole series of articles. Click here to go to the beginning of the series.


I. Female Goddesses and Sacred Prostitution


A. Female Goddesses

Theories of the Da Vinci Code

Pagan goddess worship, or "the sacred feminine," is spoken of favorably and repeatedly throughout Brown's book. It is said to be part of the original form of worship, but the Catholic Church changed the Bible to eliminate it.

Langdon explains: "Sex begot new life - the ultimate miracle - and miracles could be performed only by a god. The ability of the woman to produce life from her womb made her sacred. A god." (p. 309) (Note that, if true, this would mean every woman is a goddess!)

"Early Jews believed that the Holy of Holies in Solomon's temple housed, not only God, but also his powerful female equal Shekinah" (p. 309).

"The Priory believes that Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever" (p. 124).

Langdon never does find Mary Magdalene's tomb, but the book ends as he suspects he knows where it is, so he thinks: "The quest for the Holy Grail is the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one." So, "[w]ith a sudden upwelling of reverence" he falls to his knees. (p. 454)

So, the book promotes the increasingly popular view of goddess worship.

The teaching of the Bible

The Bible never presents God as feminine nor as having a feminine counterpart. Rather, there is one true God, and humans should never be honored as God.

God is always presented as masculine in Scripture.

Matthew 6:9 - Our Father in heaven. The original languages of the Bible repeatedly refer to God with masculine terms. In both Greek and English, the term "father," as used for God, is identically the same term used for the male parent in a human family (compare Matt. 7:21 and Eph. 4:6 to Eph. 6:4; Matt. 4:21; 15:4; Luke 1:59; 15:12ff; etc.).

Hebrews 12:9 - God is Father of our spirits, in contrast to earthly fathers of our flesh. "Father" does not mean God participates in a physical sexual union, since God is spirit (John 4:23,24; cf. Matt. 22:30). But "Father" is used for God, because human fathers possess many qualities similar to those of God.

An earthly father has offspring, so God is the source who produced all creation (1 Cor. 8:4-6; Eph. 3:14f; James 3:9; Eph. 4:6). An earthly father has authority over his family (Ephesians 5:23-25), so God possesses authority over all the universe (Matt. 7:21; 12:50; 26:39; Eph. 4:6; Acts 1:7; Heb. 12:5-11). An earthly father should love, provide, and care for his family; so God provides and cares for people (Matt. 6:1-18,29-32; 7:11; Eph. 1:3; James 1:17).

Luke 1:31 - An angel told Mary, "You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus" (Matt. 1:21,25). That Jesus was masculine is a simple fact of history. He was neither feminine nor neuter, but masculine.

No amount of wishful thinking can change the fact that the Bible repeatedly describes Jesus as a masculine male and uses masculine terms for God the Father. God is never presented in the Bible as a goddess.

God has no feminine "counterpart."

The word "shekinah" does not appear in the Bible. It means "indwelling presence of God." God's presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies, but this has nothing to do with a separate being, let alone a female goddess.

Luke 20:34-36 - There is no marriage in heaven; marriage is something done by the sons of this age - v34. Marriage characterizes only people on earth, not God or anyone in heaven.

Efforts to view God as a "Mother" or "goddess," or to claim God had a feminine counterpart equal to Him, are outright lies. Such theories have no regard for any factual evidence, let alone for Scripture.

There is only one true God.

Deuteronomy 4:35-39 - The Lord is God and there is none else besides Him.

Isaiah 43:10,11 - Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.

Exodus 20:3 - You shall have no other gods before Me.

Isaiah 42:8; 48:11 - God will not share His honor with anyone else.

Three separate Beings possess Deity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But these three are completely united in will, goals, purposes, etc. Hence, they are completely united to form one God (John 17:20,21). All have complete authority over all aspects of creation, in contrast to pagan gods and goddesses where different deities rule in different areas or different aspects of life.

[2 Corinthians 6:16-18; Deuteronomy 4:35,39; 6:4; 6:13-15; 32:39; Isaiah 44:6-8,24; 45:5,6,14,18,21-23; 52:6; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Exodus 34:14; Psalm 86:10; Zechariah 14:9; Mark 12:29; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; James 2:19; 1 Timothy 2:5]

Man is not Divine and should not be worshiped as god.

Mary Magdalene is presented in Scripture as a human being. No human is a god or goddess, nor should we worship humans or bow to honor them religiously.

1 Samuel 15:29 - God is not a man.

Matthew 4:10; Romans 1:23,25 - Only God, not any creature, may be worshipped and served. To worship created beings is forbidden as idolatry.

Acts 10:25,26 - Peter refused to allow men to bow to honor him religiously, because he himself was "a man." [Cf. Rev. 22:8,9; 19:10]

Acts 14:15 - The people of Lystra tried to offer sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas as gods (vv 8-18). The inspired men said people should cease such practices and worship the living God. They said they were just men like those attempting to worship them.

Genesis 3:5 - Satan's original temptation to Eve was that she could become like God. Incredibly, Brown still upholds this same temptation to women! It was false and sinful then, and it is false and sinful now.

The idea of goddesses or worshiping Mary Magdalene is contrary to Scripture.

[See also 1 Corinthians 1:12,13,29-31; 3:21; Matthew 23:8-12; Ezekiel 28:2,6-10; Genesis 3:5; Acts 12:22,23; Isaiah 55:8,9; Hebrews 2:7; John 10:33; Numbers 23:19; Revelation 9:20; 14:9-11]

B. Sacred Prostitution

Theories of the Da Vinci Code

Brown says true worship, in both the Old and New Testaments involved sacred acts of fornication.

The book describes: "The once hallowed act of Hieros Gamos - the natural sexual union between man and woman through which each became spiritually whole ... Holy men ... required sexual union with their female counterparts to commune with God ..." (p. 125).

Sophie describes a ritual she saw in which men and women chanting around an altar. On the altar a man and woman, wearing nothing but masks on their faces, had sexual intercourse in rhythm to the chanting, while the people around them watched. (p. 311)

Langdon explained what she saw: "Hieros Gamos ... means sacred marriage ... Historically, intercourse was the act through which male and female experienced God. The ancients believed that the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal knowledge of the sacred feminine. Physical union with the female remained the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately achieve gnosis - knowledge of the divine. Since the days of Isis, sex rites had been considered man's only bridge from earth to heaven ... Sex begot new life - the ultimate miracle - and miracles could be performed only by a god. The ability of the woman to produce life from her womb made her sacred. A god. Intercourse was the revered union ... through which the male could find spiritual wholeness and communion with God ... [It] was not about sex, it was about spirituality. The Hieros Gamos ritual is not a perversion. It's a deeply sacrosanct ceremony." (pp. 308, 309)

Langdon again: "... 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. Men seeking spiritual wholeness came to the Temple to visit priestesses ... with whom they made love and experienced the divine through physical union" (p. 309).

The book implies that this practice was also originally part of true Christianity.

Remember the author claims that all descriptions of ancient rituals are "accurate," which would include his claims about these ancient rituals of goddess worship and sexual union in worship in the temple. They are the "sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and know God"!

The Bible teaching

The true God repeatedly condemned sexual acts, especially fornication, in religious service.

The Bible throughout forbids all sexual union outside marriage.

The Da Vinci Code tells us that man can and should satisfy this desire with temple priestesses, and that such acts make one spiritually whole. But the Bible says the sexual union must be reserved for marriage.

Exodus 20:14 - You shall not commit adultery.

Hebrews 13:4 - Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. The sexual union outside marriage is fornication or adultery. God will judge those who practice such.

1 Corinthians 7:2-4,9 - The man does not have power over his own body; only his wife has the power. So one who cannot control that desire should marry, then husband and wife should satisfy one another in marriage.

[Revelation 21:8; 22:14,15; Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:23-7:27; Mark 7:20-23]

Worship of pagan idols often involved sexual relations, but the true God always reproved this.

The sexual union was practiced commonly in pagan idol worship. It was for such corruption as this that God cast these nations out of the land of Canaan.

Deuteronomy 23:17,18 - God forbade that any of the daughters or sons of Israel should be "ritual harlots" or practice prostitution in religious rituals (see NKJV footnote). [1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46]

Numbers 25:1-5 - The women of Moab and Midian seduced men of Israel to commit fornication with them in worship of their false gods. This practiced occurred because heathen idol worship promoted it, but God said the guilty men should be killed.

1 Corinthians 10:8 - This New Testament recalls this Old Testament event as a warning to us today that we still must not commit fornication.

1 Samuel 2:22-24 - Sure enough, some priests did lay with women at the door of the tabernacle, but what did God say about it? They were corrupt and did not know the Lord, but their sin was very great (2:12,17). They made God's people transgress (v24). God said they were vile and committed iniquity. As a result, He rejected them as priests (3:12-14). This is how God views the acts Brown said are not a perversion but make men spiritually whole. [Cf. Exodus 32]

1 Corinthians 6:9-11,18 - Corinth was a center of heathen idol worship. As a result it was also a center of immorality, including fornication. Some Christians had been guilty before their conversion, but they had to cease it or they could not inherit the kingdom of God.

Acts 19:23-28 - Diana was a fertility goddess worshiped at a great temple in Ephesus. As a fertility goddess, she was worship by ritual relations with temple prostitutes. This is exactly what the Da Vinci Code promotes; but Paul preached against it, resulting in a riot!

Ephesians 5:3-7 - Writing to the Christians in this same city of Ephesus, Paul specifically warned not to partake in fornication. Those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God, but the wrath of God comes on them.

Revelation 2:14,20-23 - Some people did indeed try to introduce among God's people fornication like idol worshipers practiced, including what Balaam led Israel to do (in Num. 25). But Jesus expressly forbade it, saying the doctrine was of Satan and those who practiced He would ultimately kill (referring to the second death, the lake of fire - 21:8).

So, the Da Vinci Code says is it "accurate" that Israel practiced goddess worship, including ritualistic harlotry, and in fact this is the sole means of knowing God. Such views appeal to pagans who promote the idea of many gods and goddesses, to feminists who rebel against the idea of a masculine God, and to immoral people who seek religious approval for sexual immorality.

But the Bible says this doctrine is of Satan; and those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God but will be in the lake of fire.

Click here to go to the next article in this series.

Click here to go to the beginning of the series.

(C) Copyright 2007, David E. Pratte
Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale. Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. For details click here for our copyright guidelines.

Gospel Way Home Page Go to the Bible Study Online Library (the Gospel Way)

See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) if you have questions about this site or about the author.

Bible Study Lessons
Free Online Bible Courses

MP3s
Free audio Bible
 study recordings

Free monthly Bible
 articles
by 
Email or Blog

Email
Contact Us

Free E-Books
Commentaries
or Class Books
or Electronic Books

Tweet   Pin It        RSS Feed 

Hit-meter: 15774699