Did Jesus Descend Into Hell?

Posted: June 14, 2011 in history, Jesus, theology, video

If you’re familiar with the Apostles’ Creed (as I hope you are), you’ll know that it is widely considered one of the most foundational summaries of the Christian faith.  First referred to around 390, the Apostles Creed is still regularly recited today in many Christian traditions (sadly, not so much among Baptists).

However, one line often leads to some raised eyebrows (in bold):

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth; and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried.  He descended into Hell.  On the third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sin; the resurrection of the body; and the life ever-after.  Amen.

An astute reader of the Bible will quickly begin to wonder where that phrase finds biblical support (a common answer is 1 Peter 3:18-20, but this is based upon a faulty interpretation of the text).  However, this is where a little history lesson can prove extremely helpful…

Below, Doug Wilson explains not only the wording of the Apostles’ Creed, but also how the different biblical terms pertaining to death and the afterlife relate to one another (i.e. Hell, Hades, Abraham’s Bosom, Paradise, etc.).  His comments are very helpful in clarifying an oft misunderstood topic.  Check it out!


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