Hades in Christianity

Hades in Christianity

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According to various Christian faiths, Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 is "the place or state of departed spirits".

Hades in the Old Testament


In the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 into Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

), the Greek term "ᾅδης" (Hades) is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" (Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

) in, for example, . This use refers the term hades to the abode of the dead in general, rather than the abode of the wicked.

Hades in the Intertestamental Period

See entry for Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

 concerning use of Hades in Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 Judaism, and in the Christian Intertestamental period
Intertestamental period
The intertestamental period is a term used to refer to a period of time between the writings of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament texts. Traditionally, it is considered to be a roughly four hundred year period, spanning the ministry of Malachi The intertestamental period is a term...

, such as Apocrypha
Apocrypha
The term apocrypha is used with various meanings, including "hidden", "esoteric", "spurious", "of questionable authenticity", ancient Chinese "revealed texts and objects" and "Christian texts that are not canonical"....

, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

, and also Hellenistic Jewish authors such as Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

 and Philo
Philo
Philo , known also as Philo of Alexandria , Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew, was a Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria....

.

Hades in the New Testament


Thus too, in New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 Greek, the Hebrew phrase "לא־תעזב נפשׁי לשׁאול" (you will not abandon my soul to Sheol) in is quoted in as "οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψεις τὴν ψυχήν μου εἰς ᾅδου" (you will not abandon my soul to Hades).

In the textus receptus
Textus Receptus
Textus Receptus is the name subsequently given to the succession of printed Greek texts of the New Testament which constituted the translation base for the original German Luther Bible, the translation of the New Testament into English by William Tyndale, the King James Version, and for most other...

 version of the New Testament, on which the English King James Version is based, the word "ᾅδης" (Hades), appears 11 times; but critical editions of the text of have "θάνατος" (death) in place of "ᾅδης". While the King James Version translated "ᾅδης" as "hell", except in this very verse of 1 Corinthians, where it uses "grave", modern translations, for which, of course, there are only 10 instances of the word "ᾅδης" in the New Testament, generally simply transliterate the word, as "Hades".

In all appearances but one, "ᾅδης" has little if any relation to afterlife rewards or punishments. The one exception is Luke's parable of Lazarus and the rich man
Lazarus and Dives
The Parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a well known parable of Jesus which appears in one of the Four Gospels of the New Testament....

, in which the rich man finds himself, after death, in Hades, and "in anguish in this flame", while in contrast the angels take Lazarus to "the bosom of Abraham
Bosom of Abraham
"Bosom of Abraham" refers to the place of comfort in sheol where the Jews said the righteous dead awaited Judgment Day.-Origin of the phrase:The word found in the Greek text for "bosom" is , meaning "lap" "bay"...

", described as a state of comfort.

Death and Hades are repeatedly associated in the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

. The word "Hades" appears in Jesus' promise to Peter: "And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it", and in the warning to Capernaum: "And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? thou shalt go down unto Hades."

The word "Hades" in Christian usage in English


In English usage the word "Hades" first appears around 1600, as a term used to explain the article in the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

, "He descended into hell", where the place of waiting (the place of "the spirits in prison" ) into which Jesus is there affirmed to have gone after the Crucifixion
Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the 1st century AD. Jesus, who Christians believe is the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross...

 needed to be distinguished from what had come to be more usually called "hell", i.e. the place or state of those finally damned.

This development whereby "hell" came to be used to mean only the "hell of the damned" affected also the Latin word "infernum" and the corresponding words in Latin-derived languages, as in the name "Inferno" given to the first part of Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

's Divina Commedia. Greek, on the other hand, has kept the original meaning of "ᾅδης" (Hades) and uses the word "" (kolasis – literally, "punishment"; cf. , which speaks of "everlasting kolasis") to refer to what nowadays is usually meant by "hell" in English.

Eastern Orthodox


The teaching of the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 is that, "after the soul leaves the body, it journeys to the abode of the dead (Hades). There are exceptions, such as the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, who was borne by the angels directly into heaven
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

. As for the rest, we must remain in this condition of waiting. Because some have a prevision of the glory to come and others foretaste their suffering, the state of waiting is called "Particular Judgment
Particular judgment
Particular judgment, according to Christian eschatology, is the judgment given by God that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment of all people at the end of the world....

". When Christ returns, the soul rejoins its risen body
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 to be judged by Him in the Last judgment
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

. The 'good and faithful servant' will inherit eternal life
Eternal life (Christianity)
In Christianity the term eternal life traditionally refers to continued life after death, rather than immortality. While scholars such as John H. Leith assert that...

, the unfaithful with the unbeliever will spend eternity in hell. Their sins and their unbelief will torture them as fire."

The Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

, the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, hold that a final Universal Judgment will be pronounced on all human beings when soul and body are reunited in the resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

. They also believe that the fate of those in the abode of the dead differs, even while awaiting resurrection: "The souls of the righteous are in light and rest, with a foretaste of eternal happiness; but the souls of the wicked are in a state the reverse of this."

Roman Catholic


The Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word infernus or "infernum" (underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

) indicated the abode of the dead and so was used as the equivalent of the Greek word "ᾅδης" (hades). It appears in both the documents quoted above, and pointed more obviously than the Greek word to an existence beneath the earth. Later, the transliteration "hades" of the Greek word ceased to be used in Latin and "infernum" became the normal way of expressing the idea of Hades. Though "infernus" is usually translated into English as "hell", it did not have the narrow sense that the English word has now acquired. It continued to have the generic meaning of "abode of the dead". For the modern narrow sense the term "infernum damnatorum" (hell of the damned) was used, as in question 69, article 7 of the Supplement of the Summa Theologica
Summa Theologica
The Summa Theologiæ is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas , and although unfinished, "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as a manual for beginners in theology and a compendium of all of the main...

 of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

, which distinguishes five states or abodes of the dead: paradise, hell of the damned, limbo of children, purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

, and limbo of the Fathers: "The soul separated from the body is in the state of receiving good or evil for its merits; so that after death it is either in the state of receiving its final reward, or in the state of being hindered from receiving it. If it is in the state of receiving its final retribution, this happens in two ways: either in the respect of good, and then it is paradise; or in respect of evil, and thus as regards actual sin it is hell, and as regards original sin it is the limbo of children. On the other hand, if it be in the state where it is hindered from receiving its final reward, this is either on account of a defect of the person, and thus we have purgatory where souls are detained from receiving their reward at once on account of the sins they have committed, or else it is on account of a defect of nature, and thus we have the limbo of the Fathers, where the Fathers were detained from obtaining glory on account of the guilt of human nature which could not yet be expiated."

Lutheran and Anglican


The views of Lutherans and Anglicans vary. Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 considered Hades to be a place of sleep:
"It is enough for us to know that souls do not leave their bodies to be threatened by the torments and punishments of hell, but enter a prepared bedchamber in which they sleep in peace".

Calvinists


Jean Calvin held that the intermediate state
Intermediate state
In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and one's resurrection from the dead...

 is conscious and that the wicked suffer in hell.

Mortalist denominations


The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 has a variety of views on the death state
Intermediate state
In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and one's resurrection from the dead...

. Some, such as N. T. Wright have proposed a view of the grave which considers Hades to be a place where the dead sleep. Other denominations which are mortalist include early Unitarians, Christadelphians
Christadelphians
Christadelphians is a Christian group that developed in the United Kingdom and North America in the 19th century...

, Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

. These churches also believe that Christ too was dead, unconscious and "asleep" during his three days in the grave.

Jehovah's Witnesses


Like their predecessor Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell
Charles Taze Russell , or Pastor Russell, was a prominent early 20th century Christian restorationist minister from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and founder of what is now known as the Bible Student movement, from which Jehovah's Witnesses and numerous independent Bible Student groups emerged...

 modern Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 hold that, until the resurrection, the dead "sleep" and that the dead are conscious of nothing.

Views of some early third-century writers


Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 (c. 160 – c. 225), making an exception only for the martyr
Martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

s, argued that the souls of the dead go down beneath the earth, and will go up to the sky (heaven
Heaven (Christianity)
Traditionally, Christianity has taught Heaven as a place of eternal life and the dwelling place of Angels and the Throne of God, and a kingdom to which all the elect will be admitted...

) only at the end of the world
End of the world
End of the world may refer to:* End time, in religion* List of places described as the end of land or the world* Expected tidal destruction of Earth when Sun becomes red-giant star-Albums:* End of the World , 1968 work by Aphrodite's Child...

: "You must suppose Hades to be a subterranean region, and keep at arm's length those who are too proud to believe that the souls of the faithful deserve a place in the lower regions … How, indeed, shall the soul mount up to heaven, where Christ is already sitting at the Father's right hand, when as yet the archangel's trumpet has not been heard by the command of God, when as yet those whom the coming of the Lord is to find on the earth, have not been caught up into the air to meet Him at His coming, in company with the dead in Christ, who shall be the first to arise? … The sole key to unlock Paradise is your own life's blood.".

The variously titled fragment "Against Plato" or "De Universo", attributed to Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170 – c. 236), has the following: "And this is the passage regarding demons. But now we must speak of Hades, in which the souls both of the righteous and the unrighteous are detained. Hades is a place in the created system, rude, a locality beneath the earth, in which the light of the world does not shine; and as the sun does not shine in this locality, there must necessarily be perpetual darkness there. This locality has been destined to be as it were a guard-house for souls, at which the angels are stationed as guards, distributing according to each one's deeds the temporary punishments for characters.And in this locality there is a certain place set apart by itself, a lake of unquenchable fire, into which we suppose no one has ever yet been cast; for it is prepared against the day determined by God, in which one sentence of righteous judgment shall be justly applied to all. And the unrighteous, and those who believed not God, who have honoured as God the vain works of the hands of men, idols fashioned, shall be sentenced to this endless punishment. But the righteous shall obtain the incorruptible and un-fading kingdom, who indeed are at present detained in Hades, but not in the same place with the unrighteous."

In his study, "Hades of Hippolytus or Tartarus of Tertullian? The Authorship of the Fragment De Universo", C. E. Hill argues that the depiction of the intermediate state
Intermediate state
In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and one's resurrection from the dead...

of the righteous expounded in this text is radically opposed to that found in the authentic works of Hippolytus and must have been written by Tertullian.

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