One thing that has puzzled me ever since I went to church as a teenager was the line I used to say in the Apostle’s Creed: “He descended into hell”. When I said this, my mind was filled with all sorts of fantastic images of Jesus plummeting through the earth on Easter Saturday to a place where the devil lived and where the fire burned continually. I didn’t really know what it meant, but I was happy to say it, because, after all, it was in the creed that the apostles had written, right?
It came as a surprise to me in more recent years to find out that:
- the apostles didn’t actually write that creed
- people have felt comfortable about replacing the line “he descended into hell” with “he descended to the dead”; and
- at least one scholar within the evangelical ranks, Wayne Grudem, had called for the line to be removed altogether!1
I felt that perhaps it was time to have a closer look at the idea of Jesus’ descent into hell. Let’s look at what the Bible says.
[Read the rest of this article I wrote for The Briefing in their Library here]