Did Christ Descend to Hell, Part Three

March 13, 2009

calvin-john-001I’ve written about the doctrine of the descent of Christ to hell here and here. I don’t subscribe to this doctrine because after reviewing various studies of the scriptures that are used to make a case for the doctrine, I am convinced the point is being stretched. In other words, the Bible doesn’t support the claim of the doctrine. But some very important Christians, with impressive credentials as scholars, have defended the doctrine. John Calvin was one.

For the curious, the scholarly, the pious, or the contentious…here is a link to the Apostles Creed with its own link to the writing of Calvin on Christ’s descent to hell. As I’ve mentioned, Calvin firmly believed that Christ did in fact go to hell immediately after his death. He said, ‘But we ought not to omit his descent into hell, a matter of no small moment in bringing about redemption.’ Click here to read his defense of the doctrine.

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One Response to “Did Christ Descend to Hell, Part Three”

  1. Chris Cole Says:

    I think that the Larger Catechism is helpful here. Q50 asks, “Wherein consisted Christ’s humiliation after his death?” Answer: “Christ’s humiliation after his death consisted in his being buried, and continuing in the state of the dead, and under the power of death till the third day; which has been otherwise expressed in these words, ‘He descended into hell.'” Johannes Vos comments here, “Our catechism teaches that the words ‘He descended into hell’ refer to Christ’s being buried, and continuing under the power of death for a time, the word hell being understood as ‘the realm of the power of death.'” In other words, the Creed is merely stating the Christ was truly dead, possibly to counter the heresy of the Docetists, who claimed that He only APPEARED to die.


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