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Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Maker of
heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our
Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of
the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell. The
third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended
into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the
Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the
quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy
catholic church; the communion of saints; the
forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the
life everlasting. Amen.
The Rule of Faith
• “Rule of Faith” (Regula Fidei), meaning a “measure”
or “ruler.”
• Also called “the tradition,” “the preaching,” and the
“Rule of Truth.”
• Church father Origin described it as “the teaching of
the church preserved unaltered and handed down in
unbroken succession from the apostles.”
Aristides (AD 120)
“As for the Christians, they trace their origins to the Lord
Jesus Christ. He is confessed to be the Son of the most
high God, who came down from heaven by the Holy
Spirit and was born of a virgin and took flesh, and in a
daughter of man there lived a Son of God…This
Jesus…was pierced by the Jews, and he died and was
buried; and they say that after three days he rose and
ascended to heaven…They believe God to be the Creator
and Maker of all things, in whom are all things, and from
whom are all things.”
Irenaeus (AD 180)
“…this faith: in one God, the Father Almighty, who
made the heaven and the earth and the seas and all that
are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God,
who was made flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy
Spirit, who made known through the prophets the plan
of salvation, and the coming, and the birth from a virgin,
and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and
the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ
Jesus, our Lord, and his future appearing from heaven in
the glory of the Father to sum up all things and to raise
up anew all flesh of the whole human race…”
Old Roman Creed
(AD 215)
I believe in God the Father almighty
and in Christ Jesus His only Son, our Lord
Who was born from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
Who was under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and buried,
on the third day rose again from the dead,
ascended into heaven,
sits at the right hand of the Father,
whence He will come to judge the living and the dead;
and in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Church
the remission of sins,
the resurrection of the flesh.
Hell Enters the Creed
• Jerome (AD 347-420) included it in his creeds
• Arian creeds (AD 359-360) included it in their creeds
• Rufinus of Aquileia (AD 390) included it in the
Apostles’ Creed
• Aside from inclusion into creeds, the concept of
Christ’s descent was a very old belief (mid-second
century or earlier)
Meaning of “Hell”
• Hell – 17th century English word that is not the same
as hell as we know it (fiery torment)
• Inferna – Latin term for the underworld (not
necessarily hell as we think of it or as Dante’s Inferno
describes it)
• Hades – Greek word for the underworld, the grave, or
the state and power of death
Matthew 12:39-40
“But he answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous
generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it
except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah
was three days and three nights in the belly of the great
fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three
nights in the heart of the earth.’”
• “Heart of the earth”  The grave or the underworld?
Romans 10:6-7
“But the righteousness based on faith says, ‘Do not say in
your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to
bring Christ down), ‘or “Who will descend into
the abyss?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”
• “Abyss”  Is this hyperbole or literal?
Ephesians 4:9-10
“(In saying, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean but that he
had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He
who descended is the one who also ascended far above
all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)”
• “Lower regions”  Is it the lower regions of the earth
or “lower regions, that is, the earth”?
Luke 23:42-46
“And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into
your kingdom.’ And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.’ It was now about
the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole
land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then
Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into
your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he
breathed his last.”
• “Paradise”  Where is it located?
• “Into Your Hands”  Entrusting Himself to God or
going to God?
Acts 2:25, 27, 29-32
“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it
was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says
concerning him…‘For you will not abandon my soul
to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.’…Brothers, I
may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that
he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this
day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had
sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his
descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the
resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to
Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised
up, and of that we all are witnesses.”
• Hades  The underworld, the grave, or the state of death?
1 Peter 3:18-20
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the
unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to
death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went
and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly
did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of
Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that
is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”
• “Made alive in the spirit”  Christ’s soul or His resurrected
body?
• “Spirits in prison”  Human or angelic
• “In the days of Noah”  Why such a limited audience?
7 Common
Interpretations
1. Jesus’ human soul descended into hades to endure punishment for
our sins.
2. Jesus’ human soul descended into hades to give some a second
chance at salvation.
3. Jesus’ human soul descended into hades and preached triumph over
the Devil.
4. Jesus’ human soul descended into hades and he blessed the departed
saints.
5. Jesus endured hell on the cross.
6. Jesus truly died and remained under the power of death for a time.
7. Rejection: Jesus did not descend at all, but ascended to His Father.
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