This has been bothering me as of late. We are told by the gospels that Jesus’ spirit left his body, and the creeds say he descended into hell. But, if this were true, it would seem that either God died on Calvary( a heresy), that Jesus is not God(also a heresy), or that he, the Logos, shed his flesh for three days to save the departed. So which is it?
Christ has two natures, a human nature and a divine nature. His human nature is the body and the soul, including the intellect and will. His divine nature is His Personhood and the elements that includes (will, intellect, relationship with the other Persons, etc.).
The human nature died. The soul left the body. Make sense?
Per St. Thomas Aquinas the human person is composed an immortal soul and mortal body. When the body dies, what remains is not properly called a person but the soul of the person. Reunited with the body in resurrection the human person is reconstituted. This pertains to the human part of the Son of God.
As a human being, he died, the same way human beings die.
This page of the** Summa** is really worth a look, as it treats specifically the Death of Christ-
Among several notable elements in this section, is St. Thomas Aquinas’ positing recurringly that although the soul of Christ separated from His body at death ,* the Godhead remained united with the flesh of Christ after death, and similarly, neither in His death was there any severance between the Godhead and His soul.
Several excerpts (but they’re better in context at the linked page):
Summa Theologica, Third Part, Question 50
". . . And yet we see that the grace of adoption is never lost without fault. Since, then there was no sin in Christ, it was impossible for the union of the Godhead with the flesh to be dissolved. Consequently, as before death Christ’s flesh was united personally and hypostatically with the Word of God, it remained so after His death, so that the hypostasis of the Word of God was not different from that of Christ’s flesh after death, as Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii).
Reply to Objection 2. The Word of God is said to be united with the flesh through the medium of the soul, inasmuch as it is through the soul that the flesh belongs to human nature, which the Son of God intended to assume; but not as though the soul were the medium linking them together. But it is due to the soul that the flesh is human even after the soul has been separated from it–namely, inasmuch as by God’s ordinance there remains in the dead flesh a certain relation to the resurrection. And therefore the union of the Godhead with the flesh is not taken away.
Reply to Objection 3. The soul formally possesses the life-giving energy, and therefore, while it is present, and united formally, the body must necessarily be a living one, whereas the Godhead has not the life-giving energy formally, but effectively; because It cannot be the form of the body: and therefore it is not necessary for the flesh to be living while the union of the Godhead with the flesh remains, since God does not act of necessity, but of His own will.
God did die on Calvary - in His human nature. We read in the Acts of the Apostles that St. Peter preached “you have killed the Author of Life” (Acts 3:15). St. Paul declares in 1 Cor. 2:8 that they would not have “crucified the Lord of Glory”. So God indeed died, but not as God.
Hence, we hold that the spirit (=soul) of Christ was separated from His body, but that Divinity was not separated from either the soul or the body.
I hope this was helpful,
Death is not the same as annihilation.
Exactly! This has always helped me! God gave us the most
wonderful example by creating us in His image and likeness!
When you die, your body will die but your eternal soul will continue to live
on. Does that help? Same with Jesus, his physical body really died, but His Divine nature
We often Jesus has a body, blood, soul and divinity. The way I see it (somebody correct me if I’m wrong), in His human nature, He died like all human beings did: His physical body died, but His soul lived on. In His divinity, meanwhile, He is God so He is immortal.
In the Divine Liturgy, there’s this brief prayer: “In the tomb with the body, in hell with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, you fill all things, O boundless Christ.”
Jesus is not a *human being *-- He is a divine being.
It depends on what you mean by a *body will die. *If you mean that “the soul will be separated from the body”, which is the condition we describe as “death”, that is probably okay. But remember: We human persons are not flesh-which-has-been-ensouled, nor are we souls-wrapped-in-meat. We are, by nature, body&soul – That is how we are born and that is the condition we expect to return to at the resurrection of the dead. It will be only for a brief time (compared to eternity) that we will experience the pain of separation of soul from body – That we will experience death.
Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Jesus is not a human being – He is a divine being.
In fact, He is both. A “human being” is the assembly of psyche and soma: “soul and body”. He was and is both. And He is also divine.
One could say that He was a “humanized divine being.” But definitely human.
Thanks all of you. So the message I’m getting is that for three days, He had no body and was technically “dead” at least until the resurrection
Not technically dead. Bodily dead. As dead as the skeleton in a classroom.
He “had a body”, but it (he) was cold, immovable and nonbreathing. His blood was all let out of Him.
His mind/psyche was gone into what we call “the afterlife” because living life via his body was no longer possible.
Human death, in any classical sense.
Human death, in any classical sense.
However… His Divinity remains united with the Body, even in death.
This comes up in one of my favorite hypothetical situations (although Bl. Anne Catherine Emerich stakes the claim it really happened, with the species of bread, FWIW)…
Suppose that after the Last Supper a bit of the two Sacred Species were preserved. This is really the Eucharist - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in each species. Our Lord then spills His Blood on Calvary, and His Body is Dead… the Soul has left. Now, what are those preserved species?
The answer is that the species of bread is Body and Divinity, the species of wine is Blood and Divinity.
Dead like we will be. His was from the afternoon of his crucifixion on the day before the Sabath until the early morning after the Sabath. It seems that is called three days which spans three days, but not literally 72 hours, maybe even only 40 hours.
Thank you so much!
Not sure what you mean about depends what you mean by a body will die? I am not well versed in apologetics. To answer when I said my “body will die” I really meant only that, in the most simple terms possible. My body is going to die, my heart is going to stop beating and they are going to bury me.
My eternal soul is going to live on however. I wrote this to highlight for the original poster that human beings have two separate natures, body and soul. This always helped me (somewhat) to understand that Jesus had two natures as well. I didn’t continue, however and discuss how they will be eventually united once again at the end of time at the resurrection of the dead perhaps I should have that would have made more sense perhaps. Thank you for pointing that out, God bless your day!