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Hell – Did Jesus really descend into it?

All Souls’ Day

Deacon Robert Banet

I’ve always been bothered every time we say the Creed on Sunday.  How so?

Why did Jesus go to hell?  In the letters of Peter they say Jesus went to to preach to those in hell. Why preach to them if they cannot repent?

I think I can clear up at least some of your problem.

Please do.

There are two understanding of the word hell: to the ancients it meant simply the place of the dead, the good and the bad dead. Today we usually use the word  for the place of eternal torment.

But the Creed uses the word in its ancient sense – the place of the good dead and the bad.

I see.  It’s beginning to make sense.

Jesus preached to those good souls who died in God’s grace, like those in the Old Testament, and took them to heaven.

I see. So in the Creed we do not mean the word hell in the modern sense but in the ancient sense, the place of the dead, good and bad.

Exactly.  It can be confusing but I think it’s a good explanation.


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