The following was written as an afterword to Erwin Lutzer’s The Da Vinci Deception, a Christian response to the misleading fiction of the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code.
I once read that Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman dreamed that he was standing in a great cathedral in Europe, looking at a painting of Jesus. Desperate to hear a word from outside his own world, he whispered, “Speak to me!”
That response, we are told, was the motivation for his movie Silence, which portrayed people who despaired of finding God. In our world, it is believed, we can only hear ourselves. No voice from outside the human predicament comes to us to tell us about the ultimate reality. When seeking a word from God, we are often confronted with complete stillness.
Has God Spoken?
Has God spoken, or is the universe silent regarding ultimate questions? If God has not spoken then we ourselves must be silent, for if God has not spoken, we have no insight into the meaning of life. Nor can we judge moral issues or speculate on the possibility of life beyond the grave. We must also be silent in our quest for justice, for if there is no God, we have no assurance that the scales of justice will ever be balanced.
The good news is that we have overwhelming evidence that God has spoken, and he has spoken plainly. The Bible teaches that God has spoken in nature. But nature does not tell us whether God loves the world, nor does nature tell us how we can be reconciled to our Creator.
When God wanted to speak a human language, he came to us in the person of Jesus. We read, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
God’s Complete Message
When Christ appeared in human form, there was an explosion of revelation. He is God’s final and most complete message to mankind. And if we are honest, we must admit that the evidence for his being the Son of God is overwhelming.
Buddha taught enlightenment, yet he died seeking more light. He never said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Sigmund Freud believed that psychotherapy would heal emotional and spiritual pains. But he could not say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Have an Open Mind
Whenever I meet an atheist or an agnostic, I challenge him to a twenty-one-day experiment. Simply put, I ask him to read one chapter from the Gospel of John each day with an open mind. In fact, I even challenge unbelievers to pray, God, if you exist, show me. Those who have had the courage to take me up on my suggestion ruefully admit that the stories of Jesus could not have been manufactured. To believe that the same One who gave the Sermon on the Mount would deceive us about his identity just doesn’t make sense. We must either recognize that he is the Son of God or explain him away as a delusional fanatic.
No other religion in the world teaches what Christ did: Our reconciliation with God must be a free gift to us as undeserving sinners. The reason? We do not have the kind of righteousness that God accepts; we can’t make ourselves good enough for God. Since we can’t rectify our relationship with God, we need a heavy dose of grace. Obviously, this grace must be a free gift—free because we cannot add to it by our own goodness and promises of reform. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Grace and Forgiveness
I invite you to bow before Christ—not the Christ of The Da Vinci Code but the Christ of the New Testament, who invites all to come to him for grace and forgiveness. To a paralytic he said, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5), and to an immoral woman he gave this comfort: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).
After his resurrection and exaltation into heaven Jesus affirmed, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:17-18).
Those are the words of a Savior worth trusting!
Taken with permission from The Da Vinci Deception, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright© 2004 by Erwin Lutzer.
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|Published:||September 01, 2004|