Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Dan Brown, Origin, and God

When Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code became an international bestseller thirteen years ago I was fairly determined not to read it. It sounded as though it was another lurid page-turner, this one with a time-worn premise that Jesus married and had children. This has been kicked around for centuries but Brown gave a different twist to the plot with Mary Magdalene not only as Jesus' spouse but showing up in Leonardo DaVinci's painting of the Last Supper. The "code" is that Mary is the Holy Grail rather than the cup which Jesus used to celebrate Passover and institute the Eucharist.

A year or so after it was published a parishioner gave me a copy of the novel and I did read it. I was exasperated from start to finish yet I kept on reading. C'mon, why would the police summon Harvard professor Robert Langdon, who is in town on business, to a murder scene in the Louvre? Would any Roman Catholic society commit murder to cover up "proof" of Jesus' marital status when speculation has surfaced repeatedly in the past? And who stops while fleeing from pursuers to give long-winded explanations of all the "symbology" of the story?! Hey, the man has sold 200 million books, so what do I know?

Brown does seem to have a fascination with Christianity and religion which persists in his novels. His latest is Origin, which was released yesterday. Here is the synopsis provided by the New York Times:

As the story begins, Edmond Kirsch — “billionaire computer scientist, futurist, inventor and entrepreneur” — is preparing to present a new discovery to an eager crowd (and to the world, via the internet) at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. He has promised that this announcement, the details of which are enticingly withheld until the very end of the book, will upend people’s view of religion by proving irrefutably that life can be created using the laws of science, thus excising God from the equation. (The theory is real, borrowed from the M.I.T. physicist Jeremy England.)

Image result for origin dan brown review

In an interview for the Times Brown identifies that his father, still living, instilled him with a love of science, math, and intellectual puzzles. His mother, recently deceased, was religious but became fed up with church politics. He credits her for his sense of wonder and mystery.

The Times article concludes with this:
Though Mr. Brown comes out strongly in favor of science, both in person and in his novels, he cannot give up the possibility that there is something else out there. “It’s probably an intellectual weakness,” he said, “but I look at the stars and I say, ‘there’s something bigger than us out there.’ ”
There are lots of scientists who are rigorous in their methodological discipline and are people of faith. Science and religion aren't mutually exclusive, as I've suggested before.
Are you a Brown fan? Does Origin intrigue you? Is Tom Hanks now too old to run around playing Langdon in a movie version of the book? Have you made your peace between science and God's existence? Is there something bigger than us out there?

1 comment:

Judy said...

New scientific discoveries only make me stand more in awe of the Creator!

I read The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, saw the movies, and I would like to read "Origins" - just because I can always learn something from a new book. (I was shocked by the violence within the church, but probably should not have been, given history and murders in cathedrals, etc.

Tom Hanks might be too old, but Hollywood can do a lot with a good make-up artist!