June 18, 2008

The Creed - Jesus Christ (pt 2)

My Friends,


Today, let's continue thinking about the description of Jesus in the Creed.

He descended into hell; the third day He arose 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.

He descended into hell

These words were not included in the original Creed but showed up in the fourth century. (O'Connor p. 223) Since then, it has become part of our Creed recited at each Mass. What is the meaning of them? Hell is not a physical place (neither is Heaven), so Jesus didn't go anywhere in the geographical sense. What did He do, then, that those four words depict? Jesus saved not only those people living at the time and those who would come after (such as you and I) but also everyone before. Jesus died to save us all - even those who died without ever knowing Him.


the third day He arose again from the dead

Jesus didn't "escape" death or "cheat" death, He conquered it! Jesus really did die; a corpse was placed into the tomb and sealed in with a rock.

Time is not kind to a body. A rock isn't going to seal a tomb like a silicone gasket. Jesus' body suffered through time in the tomb, yet His resurrected body was fine. The temple of His body was rebuilt, just as He said it would be (John 2:19) - and just as ours will be, when we are resurrected to join Him. Time is not the master of God; God is the Master of time and over death.

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

After returning from the dead, Jesus still had a physical body on earth. When He left earth again, to return to Heaven, He did not die. If He did not die, then He left no physical body here; He was taken bodily into Heaven. This leads many to believe literally in the new earth described in the Book of Revelation. If Jesus is physically in Heaven - body and soul - than it follows that we will share in His triumph and return to a physical life when Jesus comes to reign for eternity. Those who pass judgement will live, body and soul, with Jesus forever.

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