Your God Doesn't Forgive . . .
A couple weeks ago I went, like many of you, to see that movie The Da Vinci Code. I had in fact read the book in the fall of 2004 and hoped it would go the way of all bad literature. But that was not the case. There was one arresting scene in the movie that I did not recall in the book however.
Professor Langdon, Sophie Neveu, and Professor Teabag (I mean Teabing) are escaping France on Teabing's private jet. During the flight Sophie interrogates the monk, Silas, on his culpability in her father's death. After a semi-violent exchange Neveu says "Your God does not forgive murderers, he burns them."
It was a dramatic moment in the movie and it made quite an impression on me. The God she refers to is the "Christian" God regardless of Silas' abuse of the word. Is this what Dan Brown thinks of the Christian God? Is it true that the Christian God does not forgive murderers? Is he a merciful God? Is the view that Sophie reflects one that is common to our "Christian" America?
Does that assertion represent simply an emotional outburst on Sophie's part or does it truly reflect her worldview? Given the context, however, of the book/movie I can only draw the conclusion that it truly reflects her worldview. This is, it seems to me, to be a bold theological statement about the character of God.
But is it true? Does it reflect anything at like the character of God revealed in Scripture and supremely in the life of Jesus of Nazareth? I have to say once again that this is one of Dan's biggest hooters (see the previous post Dan Brown's Top 10 Hooters http://stoned-campbelldisciple.blogspot.com/2006/06/dan-browns-top-10-hooters-nearly.html).
The Torah relates the story of a man by the name of Moses. Exodus 2.11-15 tells us that Moses took justice into his own hands and murdered an Egyptian task master, becoming a fugitive of the law. The Lord saw fit to make this man, next to Jesus, the greatest mortal to walk the face of the earth. We will be singing the "Song of Moses and the Lamb" for eternity. What mercy was shown.
Dr. Luke tells the story of a man named Saul. This man was the ancient counter part to Osama bin laden -- a religious terrorist. Luke gives us but one example of his calculating coolness in the face of the death of one follower of the Way (Acts 7.54-8.1). Saul would later tell us that he was give grace by God and made an apostle for the cause of the Nazarene. He became the pattern of grace for all (1 Timothy 1.12-17).
But perhaps the greatest rebuttle to Sophie's theological judgment of the character of God is seen in the Gospels Brown wishes to cast aside. Jesus was dragged before a packed court, arraigned on bogus charges, brutally beaten, hauled through the streets, and nailed to a cross. As he hung exposed before all the world, to die due to jealousy and hate, the crowd still taunted him.
In the midst of it all, we have perhaps the greatest and most forceful rejections of Sophie's false view of God. Through the commotion of hate we hear a voice that made even the demons quake
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23.34)
Those are, perhaps, the most amazing . . . and thus the most unbelievable words . . . in the entire canon of Scripture!
Sophie was wrong. Sadly, her theology is embraced by many who would follow the Nazarene. But if her theology were true, what would have happened to Moses? to Saul? and the jeering crowd before the Cross?
Perhaps another more disturbing question would also be: Are we Christians proclaiming a message that is more in tune with what Sophie hears or what Jesus says on the Cross?