Questions about the Descent into Hell and the Resurrection

95. What do we mean when we say in the Apostles' Creed that Christ descended Into hell?

When we say that Christ descended into hell we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

(a) Heaven had been closed by the sin of Adam. The just among the dead could not enter heaven until Christ satisfied for man's sin and repaired its injuries. They awaited their redemption in limbo.

96. Why did Christ go to limbo?

Christ went to limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened heaven to mankind.

97. Where was Christ's body while His soul was in limbo?

While His soul was in limbo, Christ's body was in the holy sepulchre.

(a) Man dies when soul is separated from body. When Jesus died, His soul and His body were separated from each other but His divine Person remained united both to His body in the tomb and to His separated soul in limbo.

98. When did Christ rise from the dead?

Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

(a) In the Resurrection the soul of Jesus was reunited to His body by His own divine power.

(b) The Resurrection is the most important of Christ's miracles. He Himself chose it as the most conclusive proof of His divine mission, and the apostles appealed to it to confirm the truth of their testimony.

(c) Christ's glorified body after its Resurrection was not subject to suffering or death; it possessed a certain radiance Bowing from the supreme blessedness of His soul, it could move rapidly from place to place, it did not need food or sleep, and it could pass through other bodies.

99. Why did Christ rise from the dead?

Christ rose from the dead to show that He is true God and to teach us that we, too, shall rise from the dead.

100. Will all men rise from the dead?

All men will rise from the dead, but only those who have been faithful to Christ will share in His glory.

Taken from The Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 8.

Electronic text (c) Copyright EWTN 1996. All rights reserved.

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