Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Debate with "seal" on Jesus' Descent Into Hell: Part 1

A poster by the name of "dibri" asked the following question in the HCR General Theology board about 1 Pet 3:18-20:
Those who perished in the flood, did they hear the Good News after they died?

This is an odd portion of Scripture-

Because even Messiah once suffered for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to Elohim, having been put to death indeed in flesh but made alive in the Spirit in which also He went and proclaimed unto the spirits in prison, who were disobedient at one time when the patience of Elohim waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight beings, were saved through water, -1st Peter 3:20

What exactly does this mean?
What is the signifigance of those in the Flood?
Does this have any further implications?

I gave the following answer in response:
Jesus, to show his full dominion over death and hades, descended into "hell" (as the ancient Nicene Creed states) and freed the righteous souls who sat in the bosom of Abraham waiting for their Savior to open the gates of heaven and bring them in. Note that he did not free the damned. The word "hell" in the Creed refers to "the abode of the dead" or "Hades" and both the righteous and the unrighteous went there. There is no salvation for the damned, or those in "Gehenna." Apparently, it was revealed to Peter that some of the sinners in the time of Noah had not utterly condemned themselves. Perhaps they repented before their death, or their sins were not of a mortal nature.

This elicited a rebuttal from a poster by the name of "seal", which begins our debate:
How does this make sense with the latter part of this verse and 2 Peter 2:5???

2 Pet 2:5
5 and the old world did not spare, but the eighth person, Noah, of righteousness a preacher, did keep, a flood on the world of the impious having brought,

1 Pet 3:18-22
18 because also Christ once for sin did suffer -- righteous for unrighteous -- that he might lead us to God, having been put to death indeed, in the flesh, and having been made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also to the spirits in prison having gone he did preach, 20 who sometime disbelieved, when once the long-suffering of God did wait, in days of Noah -- an ark being preparing -- in which few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water;
21 also to which an antitype doth now save us -- baptism, (not a putting away of the filth of flesh, but the question of a good conscience in regard to God,) through the rising again of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone on to heaven -- messengers, and authorities, and powers, having been subjected to him.

According to the prior and latter part of this passage from the Apostle it would seem more as though he is encouraging Baptism. Being baptised and raised with Christ as symbolic to historical sign of the New Covenant. Perhaps, there were some abuses going on with new believers not wanting to be baptized asserting that it was for the removing of filth from the flesh as Peter states. There was a lot of persecution going on towards Christians and getting Baptized out in the Open wasn't something to be all happy about like we are today.

However given the content of the verse we can see clearly that Christ came and preached to the Spirit of Men who once didn't believe vs. 18 and 19 dying for the unrighteous for righteousness given through his Grace. Vs. 20 shows a symbolism between Christ being like a Noah, but in Noah's days only 8 were saved, however the Gospel preached by Christ set many free. Also in Vs. 20-21 we see Peter comparing people being Baptized as symbolic for the Ark floating on top of water. Believer's being reflections of Christ being Baptized as Christ was raised from the Tomb. Noah Ark was God's Covenant Promise to Noah and his Family and Baptism is the Covenant Of Christ New Covenant.

Just my thoughts on the issue...
Sure, everyone else died in the flood. I realize that only eight were saved by the ark. But, Peter says in 1 Pet 3:18-20 that some of the very souls who died in the flood were freed from their prison by Jesus Christ, when he decended into "hell" (or "Hades", the abode of the dead). Thus, it must have been that at least some of them repented before their death, or their sin was not of the sort that is mortal. There is no salvation for the damned, or for those in the fires of Gehenna.
Pax Christi,

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