First before I begin going into the content and subject matter of this post, I wanted to apologize for being away for so long and not posting in a while. My computer has had two hard drives go bad and need to be replaced and I also couldn’t seem to remember my password until today. I also have been very busy with my college schoolwork, work, and my internship. I hope to post more often though about a variety of topics I have in mind and I hope you will be on the look out.
In my study of the Catholic faith, one of the things I have learned is they have writings from the 4th century AD from early Christians and these early Christians and their writings can be read by someone if they really want to. You can purchase translations in English on Amazon. It is easily available to read. The Catholic Faith really goes into the historical side of Christianity. I grew up as a protestant, I will be confirmed into the Catholic Church after Easter this year, and these figures or even the idea of looking at historical Christian figures after the apostles was not something ever brought up or thought of. In my background, we only viewed the bible as something to be studied. However, I don’t believe the Sola Scriptura doctrine to be correct or even biblical, and therefore on my discovery of this and other doctrinal concepts leaning towards the Catholic Church I decided to become Catholic. The historical way things are explained outside the bible really helped me get a good picture of the context of what was going on at the time and how Christianity developed, mature, and grew into what it is today.
In my Christology class, we are studying the heresies of the patristic period, and why the creeds such as the Nicene creed and the Apostles’ creed are important. In itself, learning the heresies has helped me better formulate my own ideas of the Trinity and the Incarnation. In class we looked at Arianism, Orgenism, Nestorianism, and many other heresies that arose in Christianity way before the Protestant Reformation. These heresies helped the Church define what they believed by these questions coming up and conflicts happening. The Church had to take theological position on the internal conflict and debates that were arising and state who was correct in understanding the Trinity, the problem of evil, the Incarnation, and other things. There arose councils to decide on these matters. An example of this is the Nicene creed, it was made to state the church did not believe what Arius was teaching. It was made to specifically state Jesus and God the Father were equal to each other, and not what Arius claimed which was Jesus was less than the father.
The reason I bring this up is because for my Christology class I will be writing a paper on the Apostles’ Creed. The Apostle’s Creed states:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
The part I’m focusing on in the creed is the phrase “he descended into hell.” I’m already learning so much with just the few resources I have used to research the topic so far. I have found some books don’t cover the topic at all even though the book is solely on the topic of the Apostles creed and even a book by Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, from what I understand compares this phrase to God being silent or mute. He states, “the article about the Lord’s descent into hell reminds us that not only God’s speech but also his silence is part of Christian revelation (Ratzinger 225).” He also puts forward many ideas on how it can be interpreted and even mentions the traditional way it is viewed (Ratzinger 223-230). He seems to suggest in his view at the end of the section he believes in the traditional view. This view states Jesus descended to open the gates for the people who died before Christ and have them finally enter heaven.
This post I feel was very much of a ramble, but I hope you enjoyed it.
Ratzinger, J. Introduction to Christianity. New York: Herder and Herder, 1969. Print.