Origin from Dan Brown vs Genesis from God
International exposure for creation.com in best-selling novel
Published: 13 March 2018 (GMT+10)
It is for inquiring minds—like that of the young Dan Brown—that creation.com exists. Unfortunately, it didn’t exist c. 1978 when a teenaged Brown (later author of the blockbuster antichristian book and movie The Da Vinci Code) asked his Episcopal minister to reconcile the big bang with the Genesis account of God’s creation and received the reply, “Nice boys don’t ask that question.”1 Perhaps if Brown’s minister could have directed him to creation.com then, Brown wouldn’t now be publishing novels that ridicule Bible-believing Christians—particularly those who believe what God says in the opening chapters of Genesis and believe that the evidence supports it.
Will God survive science?
This is the question asked by Dan Brown’s latest novel, Origin,2 which has Harvard professor Robert Langdon, the main character, attending a highly-publicized announcement of Edmond Kirsch, a former pupil. Kirsch proclaims that he has found the definitive answer to the two fundamental questions of human existence: Where did we come from? and Where are we going? Langdon states, “ … in our lifetime, the myths of religion would be all but demolished by scientific breakthroughs.” (p. 53).
The story is set in the Spanish royal palace, the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum and in several centuries-old Spanish churches. Brown’s picturesque descriptions of Spanish architecture and artifacts are so intriguing, one might temporarily abandon the novel in order to hop down Google search trails of Iberian Peninsula imagery. It’s a shame that Brown did not commit an equal amount of research to biblical creation so that he could portray creationists’ beliefs as accurately as he did Spanish architecture.
Creationists equated with flat-earth advocates and Muslim allamahs
Brown doesn’t waste much time—he first goes off track in the prologue. Kirsch is convinced that his astonishing breakthrough will shatter the foundations of the world’s religions. In order to gauge their reaction, Kirsch shares the culmination of his ‘scientific’ research with three religious leaders—a Roman Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim allamah—in advance of a worldwide, live-feed presentation. Since the author intends to use the main character’s scientific discovery to trump the book of Genesis, wouldn’t it have made sense to include an evangelical creationist among these?
All ‘religious’ people, including biblical creationists, are described by Brown as ignorant, holding to ancient myths, legends, and fairy tales, and terrified that science will disprove God. One of his characters states, “Creationists are today’s flat-earth advocates, and I would be shocked if anyone still believes in creationism a hundred years from now.” (p. 418) Kirsch believes that his discovery will show people across the world that the teachings of all religions are dead wrong. Indeed, in the wake of Kirsch’s advance screening of what would later be a worldwide, multimedia presentation, the Rabbi comes to view ancient Jewish literature as a “collection of outdated contradictions” (p. 32).
Errors of fact or fiction?
Although Origin is a work of fiction, molecules-to-man evolution is presented as irrefutable scientific fact. Kirsch is portrayed as a highly respected scholar and many undiscerning readers will believe his pronouncements are the ‘gospel truth’, such as:
- “Life arose spontaneously from the laws of physics” (p. 402).
- [evolution is proven by] “a clear timeline based on the fossil record” (p. 385).
- “The dawn of Homo sapiens … occurs at 200,000 bc” (p. 406).
- [Darwin] proved that life continuously evolved (p. 386)
- We [humans] are not special. We exist with or without God (p. 400).
Kirsch, in his global presentation, recalls the strong reaction from modern religious leaders when 50-year-old test tubes from the Miller–Urey experiment were found in a closet at the University of California, reviving interest in the idea of creating life in a lab. While over 200 million viewers are watching the live stream, Kirsch’s display refreshes to the homepage of creation.com, “a recurring target of Edmond’s wrath and ridicule” (p. 388). Though this is a fictional tale, CMI would be happy to have our web address flashed before 200 million people at once! However, at least the hundreds of thousands of readers who have purchased Origin will see creation.com and CMI’s mission statement recorded on page 388. God can use even a foolish, hostile-to-our-cause novel to drive people to the truth. Kirsch goes on to state that creation.com is “popular, influential, and it contains literally dozens of blogs about the dangers of revisiting Miller–Urey’s work” (p. 388).
If only Dan Brown had actually visited some of these so-called ‘blogs’ he would have found that they are not merely someone’s creative opinion; instead, they are thoroughly researched and documented articles by Ph.D. scientists. And when Kirsch states that creation.com is warning of the ‘danger’ of reexamining the Miller–Urey experiment, he is not only fabricating something which has never existed on the site, he utterly misrepresents CMI and creationists in general by portraying them as afraid of open examination of the evidence, in case it disproves God, the Bible or Christianity. [Case in point—The Miller–Urey experiment revisited (2015).]
The thousands of articles on creation.com in fact represent the very opposite—an encouragement to all not to blindly swallow evolutionary interpretations but to open-mindedly consider all the evidence. Ironically, perhaps, for Dan Brown fans, the evidence against a spontaneous origin of life from lifeless chemicals is actually exceptionally strong—see Origin of life.
Fiction and fairy tales or truth?
Origin is a well-written, fast-paced, entertaining fairy tale. The ‘f-word’ is used but twice, probably a record low number for most modern, best-selling fiction. It is well-researched in the areas of atheism and evolution, but poorly-researched regarding creationism. Even though Brown knew to visit creation.com, he obviously didn’t read even a smattering of the well-researched articles found there. Rather than portraying creationists as having the intellectual boldness to stand up against the humanistic paradigm of the day, he paints us as timid mice, ever fearful of the evolutionary cat that will soon pounce and destroy us all.
What Kirsch and his creator Dan Brown fail to take into account is that biblical creationists aren’t just any old adherents to some dusty religion, but children of God Himself, empowered by the indwelling Spirit. Belief in Genesis creation isn’t just one more ‘ism’. It stands on the rock-solid truth of Genesis, the seedbed of all Christian doctrine and the foundation of the saving Gospel. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8) The ‘danger’ we are concerned about is not from exposure to evidence, but the danger to one’s eternal soul from rejecting God’s good news in favour of evolutionism’s false history.
Dan Brown’s biography clearly demonstrates why we do what we do at CMI—sending trained speakers into hundreds of churches each year. Most pastors, like the one Brown questioned in his youth, may be wise in theology but are not equipped with the scientific answers that support the creation account in Genesis. If only young Dan could have asked his questions of one of our CMI scientists, or visited creation.com, he might now be producing literature that brings eternal glory to the Creator God instead of temporal glory to himself.