Is God the godess mother of us all?
Pop culture preachers offer their Holy Grail of discovering what’s divine within us. Didn’t even Jesus believe that we are part of God, and God is part of us? He taught, “The kingdom of God is within us.” Believers sip from this preaching brew, intoxicated by the notion that our human potential is one with the Divine’s energy.Preachers who teach God and humanity share a continuum of existence rarely, if ever, mention sin. Our problems are described as irritating foibles, bad habits or idiosyncrasies needing correction. What’s the prescription for our maladies? Get in touch with a universal God who created us. Our lives came out of this God’s womb. Like primitive, pagan religions before Christianity, preachers tell us how alike we are to the gods. “Feel good” preachers define the Holy Grail similar to how pagan religions pre-dating Christianity did. No longer a goblet used by Christ at the Last Supper, the Grail now comes from a goddess who acts like Mother Earth. She gives to our birth sparks of her divinity. We should feel good about ourselves because, like sparks shooting from a roaring fire, we are extensions of a goddess who created our lives.Such a goddess who identifies with humanity attracts big crowds on Sunday morning. Worshippers who feel beaten down during the week crave a spiritual pep pill. Told that they posses what’s divine within them, they find a smile across their souls.Such a message is motivationally alive but dead wrong. Orthodox Christian belief reminds us the Holy Grail defies our finding it. We are not absorbed in what’s divine, like a sugar cube in steaming coffee. Though the language sounds stuffy and very academic, Christian thinkers through the centuries are correct about a huge separation between God and humankind. They call it the “ontological split.” Ontology is an offshoot of philosophy. Ontology students study what it means for God and humanity to exist. Ontology pinpoints how different we are from God.The Bible teaches our Creator is split from the creatures he created. Sin, separation from God we can’t bridge, causes the Creator/creature split. The split is a chasm we can’t cross. We search for the Holy Grail, the cup of forgiveness Christ used at the Last Supper before his crucifixion. But our hunt for the Holy Grail never ends. Even Christ’s forgiveness of our sin doesn’t perfect us on earth. Believing we are so good as to be divine is the worst of sins. Not surprisingly, the First Commandment instructs, “You shall have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:3.A hook author Dan Brown uses in “The Da Vinci Code” to snare his readers is the promise that the Holy Grail has been found. More accurately, she has been found.Legends regarding the Holy Grail appeared in the latter part of the 12th century. One tale describes Joseph of Arimathea, an evening visitor of Jesus who wanted to know how to be born again. Supposedly, he took the Grail with him to prison. It became his dietary genie. Over the next 42 years, food miraculously popped up in the Grail.”The Da Vinci Code” skillfully interweaves two plots, one prominent and the other subtle. Readers love the thrilling plot, intensified by intrigue, murder and mysterious symbols. Main characters Robert Langdon and Sophie Nevue search for the Holy Grail.What’s subtle is the religious plot Dan Brown concocts. He resurrects ancient mother-goddess religions predating Christianity. The goddess’s fecundity impregnates earth and sky with her dynamism. Humans are born from her womb and return to it, becoming gods unto themselves.Brown’s gripping novel directly attacks orthodox Christianity’s God. He denies the ontological split. Creator and creatures meld. We are gods, and God is us.Langdon, played in the movie by Tom Hanks, reveals the secret of the Holy Grail’s identity. Dan Brown fancies how the Vatican has covered up this secret for centuries because, if known, it would show Christianity false and the Christian God a myth. Reports Langdon, “The Grail is literally the ancient symbol for womanhood, and the Holy Grail represents the sacred feminine and the goddess, which of course has now been lost, virtually eliminated by the Church.”Much contemporary preaching that skips sin, giving us a sunny outlook, is pantheism parading as Christianity. Pantheism teaches how a goddess who gave birth to the universe acts like air we breathe. This goddess is around us and within us. When we breathe deeply of this goddess, she gives birth to our best selves. We become like her.Even some Christian feminist writers sound like Dan Brown. Wendy Hunter Roberts in “Celebrating Her: Feminist Ritualizing Comes of Age” (1998) writes: Deep within the womb of the earth lies a memory of sacredness nearly buried under the weight of patriarchy. … More and more women – especially those with Christian backgrounds – are being drawn to this empowering, goddess-centered worship.”The Da Vinci Code” enthralls readers with an exciting plot, dashing and demonic characters, and adventure roused in treasured European art and sacred architecture. But it is a literary facade built on sand. The novel’s Holy Grail is a tin cup because its theology is cheap and faulty. It gives birth to the mother of all religious lies. The Biblical God is not one with creation. His creatures cannot supersize themselves to become him. His creatures can’t supersize themselves, becoming him.The Rev. Jack R. Van Ens is a Presbyterian minister who heads the nonprofit, tax-exempt Creative Growth Ministries, enhancing Christian worship through lively storytelling and dramatic presentations. Van Ens’ book, “How Jefferson Made the Best of Bad Messes,” is available in local bookstores for $7.95. Vail, Colorado
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