Like his previous thriller, “The Da Vinci Code,” Dan Brown’s current best seller takes the reader on a fascinating tour of architectural symbols, statuary and cryptic meaning. No longer centered in Rome or Paris, “The Lost Symbol” is all about the U.S. capitol in Washington D.C.
Acclaimed as the fastest selling adult novel in history, the book’s plot is based on the premise that an ancient treasure of unimaginable value was hidden in Washington D.C. by our nation’s forefathers. A treasure so precious that it was brought to America centuries ago for safekeeping. The story is mostly a race between a ruthless character intent on finding the treasure for his own gain and the main character, Robert Langdon who tries to get there first to stop him.
At one point in the book, the chase is centered in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress. I recently visited this room and agree with Dan Brown that it must be one of the most beautiful rooms in the world. I also noticed something interesting not mentioned in the book. This octagonal hall has eight massive pilasters, which have plaques high above each one. The names of the two pilasters facing the entrance of the space and supporting a common barrel vault are “Religion” and “Science.”
As Robert Langdon deciphers one fascinating clue after another, it becomes clear that the treasure is something about religion and science. Warning: You may not want to read further, but I hope you do. I’m about to give away part of the ending.
According to the novel, a new science has discovered that matter is a manifestation of thought and that understanding this concept plays a profound role in what man is capable of. Brown writes, “Now science, which for centuries has derided religion as superstition, must admit that its next big frontier is quite literally the science of faith and belief…” He presents the idea that the Scriptures have always been encoded with scientific information and that the precious treasure sought for centuries is this truth that unlocks the true meaning of the Bible.
As I read this I wondered, “Is Dan Brown a Christian Scientist?” Without apparently knowing it, his plot begins to follow a trail blazed by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy over 150 years ago. A trail that recognizes the intertwined nature of the Bible and science.
On Dan Brown’s website I found the following questions:
Question: Are you Religious?
A: I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology, and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a minister, “I don’t get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, but here it says God created heaven and Earth and the animals in seven days. Which is right?” Unfortunately, the response I got was, “Nice boys don’t ask that question.” A light went off, and I said, “The Bible doesn’t make sense. Science makes much more sense to me.” And I just gravitated away from religion.
Question: Where are you now?
A. The irony is that I’ve really come full circle. The more science I studied, the more I saw that physics becomes metaphysics and numbers become imaginary numbers. The farther you go into science, the mushier the ground gets. You start to say, “Oh, there is an order and a spiritual aspect to science.”
I appreciate Dan Brown’s recognition of the value of metaphysics and of the spiritual aspect of science. Unfortunately, at the conclusion of “The Lost Symbol” he steers off course and provides a theory that it is the human mind and not God or the divine Mind that is causative. Nonetheless, his book is reaching millions of readers who may begin to consider the spiritual aspect of science themselves.
In 1866, Mary Baker Eddy discovered the true relationship between science and the Bible and its benefit to mankind. She named her discovery Christian Science. She learned that the Bible explains the great potential within each of us — potential that is unrealized because of the limiting human beliefs we often hold about ourselves.
For instance, she proved that health is natural and normal and doesn’t require prescription medications to maintain it. She proved this by healing countless individuals by using Christian Science and teaching others to do the same. She shared her discovery with the world in her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
I enjoy Brown’s books; they never fail to entertain. If you haven’t read, “The Lost Symbol” – it’s a good read and will make a long flight go by in a heartbeat. Although, please be warned there are some disturbing parts that I wish he had omitted.
“Science and Health” is not a fast-paced adventure novel. It’s not a thriller chasing after a hidden treasure that can change the world. To me, and thousands of others – it is that treasure.
As many symbols in Washington D.C. are seldom understood or recognized by the public today, so it is with Christian Science, its discoverer Mary Baker Eddy, and her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” I’m confident that this will change. As the Bible itself notes, “Nothing is hidden that will not be made known; nothing is secret that will not come to light.”