Christ Descended into Hell: No Hope without It

"Of the twelve affirmations that constitute the Apostles' Creed . . . none has caused greater uncertainty and debate over the centuries than that declaring that Jesus Christ 'descended into hell.'" Ref21

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Pastork's picture

I would agree with both Calvin and Aaron Denlinger that Christ did not actually descend into hell between His death and resurrection, although I do not think it is heresy to think so, recognizing that many Evangelicals do think so (and not because they are influenced by Rome). Yet Calvin's view of the Creed on this point seems a bit forced to me. I have briefly outlined what I think is a better view of the Creed and its usefulness in an old teaching outline I have on the Creed.

I recognize that whether or not Christ actually descended into hell is a debated issue even among conservative Evangelicals, but in my view the Creed never originally intended to assert such a thing in the first place. Here is my conclusion in the above linked teaching outline:

"The Apostles' Creed as originally developed and used by the Church should be cherished by contemporary Christians as a valuable and helpful part of our Christian heritage. It should not be dismissed so easily and glibly as is often done by modern Baptists in particular. However, we should use it with a proper awareness of the later additions to the Creed, not assuming that these later additions truly reflect the ancient consensus of the Church. And we should be careful not to use it as though it provides a complete statement of faith for the contemporary Church, for we have been obliged to make more explicit many crucial doctrines as they have later come under attack."