Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Jesus in Hell?: Part 4b

Now for the last part of your post:
#2 Theological- What is it that "saved" the Old Testament saints? Faith in the promise of God (Romans 4 & Galatians 3). Abraham was not in some holding facility till he could except the message of Jesus. He was counted righteous because he believed that God would keep his covenant and deal with sin and evil once and for all. Jesus tells the pharisees that they do not have Abraham as their father because they do not rejoice to see him as Abraham did.
I have no doubt that Abraham was righteous, and I know that this was because of his faith. That's why he does not suffer torment in Hades like the rich man does (cf. Lk 16:19-31). Abraham could not have gone to heaven as soon as he died because the gates of heaven were closed until Jesus overcame death and Hades through his Resurrection.
This whole idea that there were godly men and women waiting to hear a sermon from Jesus so that they could go to heaven is pure speculation and not at all biblical. They were justified by faith in the promise of God. By looking forward to the cross they were accepted as we are who look back to the cross, the work of Jesus...the fullfilment of the promise of God to Abraham (Gen. 12, 15,17)!!
I agree with you that they were justified by faith in the promise of God. But, like I've said already, no soul--not matter how righteous--could enter heaven until Jesus fulfilled his mission. Thankfully, their faith counted them among those Jesus would save when he descended among the dead, when he "entered the abyss" (Rom 10:17).

Also, after all the evidence I've given, I was really disappointed to see that you consider my position to be "pure speculation."
I have already demonstrated that Ephesians 4 is not referring to Jesus going to hell, but to the earth. Perhaps you are thinking of I Peter when you mention that Jesus preached to those imprisoned in order for them to have the objective redemption applied to them. If so know that this passage is about baptism and that Jesus was the one preaching to the sinners through Noah. As Noah was saved through water so we are saved through Christ.
Actually, what I have in mind are all of the Scripture passages I provided here (and others I have yet to mention) as well as the consistent Christian teaching from the very beginning. Reconstructing one of the articles of the Creed is a bold task, my friend! You should trust that the Church has not been in error for 2,000 years and assent to the clear meaning of the Creed.

As for the passage from 1 Peter, I know that the main point is to show a prefiguration of baptism, but Jesus' descent into Hades is also referred to here. Look at the passage again:

1 Pet 3:18-22 For Christ also died for sins once for all, 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; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

First of all, Peter refers to a separation of Jesus flesh and spirit in vs. 18. His flesh died but his spirit persevered. This can only describe his death on the cross and his three days in the tomb. Secondly, it was as a spirit that he went and preached: "alive in the spirit, in which he went and preached..." (vs. 18-19). Finally, he preached to spirits (vs. 19). So, we have Jesus, as a spirit, preaching to other spirits, and these spirits were of those who "formerly did not obey...in the days of Noah" (vs. 20). This can only describe the descent into Hades that I have been defending. There is nothing here about Jesus preaching to people through Moses.
I do appreciate you vigor for our Lord and his word and respectfully disagree with your interpretation of these scriptures and with your theology related to what Jesus did between his death and resurrection.
If he did not descend into Hades, what did he do between his death and resurrection? You have 3 days that are entirely unaccounted for!

Thank you for your diligence and your respect. I know that this is a lot to digest.

Pax Christi,


Bryan said...

It seems like you're talking past each other. He has a picture of the afterlife as being either Hell (in the fire and pitchfork sense) or Heaven. Where as you are considering the afterlife to have several different "places;" ie. Sheol, Hell, Pergatory, Heaven, Canada, etc.
Perhaps it would help to move the discussion forward to have him define what exactly he thinks is in the afterlife?

Bryan @ THEOdyssey

phatcatholic said...

Well, the next move is his, so we'll see what he says.

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