How do we know certain things?

How do we know Jesus went to Hell to bring his followers up to heaven? And how do we know the Coronation of Mary happened and Mary was crowned as Queen of Heaven? And how do we know all the stuff in the Genesis of the bible? :confused:

We know because the Church says so, and because we have faith.

CCC 156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.” Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.

I know there are so many mysteries of God that can’t fully be answered. I’m wondering how these things were revealed to us? I’m just trying to better understand how the church came to believe the things they do. How did anyone come to know about the creation of the earth and how Jesus brought his followers out of Hell and how do we know of the crowning of Mary? How did these beliefs come to be?

Oh I see, good question. Others may be able to answer it better, but here’s my attempt:

The short version is: we know it from oral tradition (some of which became scripture). Who learned or said it first we don’t know in every case.

  1. Some truths, e.g. that there is a Creator, we can know from natural reason alone (by looking at the order in the universe and concluding it must have an orderer).

  2. Adam & Eve had infused knowledge, but whether this extended to things supernatural I don’t know. Some of their knowledge may have been passed down by oral tradition; however, their intellects were darkened by their fall, and as far as I know, there was no divine protection of any such oral tradition. So the greater part of their knowledge was lost, and over time became corrupted (hence Paganism).

  3. God revealed certain truths to the Patriarchs and Prophets (Abraham, Moses, etc). We don’t know in every case in precisely what manner God revealed these truths (whether by an audible voice, an interior voice, or otherwise); but we believe that the oral tradition of what God revealed is divinely protected from error.

  4. Christ taught the Apostles many things (some of which are recorded in scripture). Whether he taught them all as a group, or to St. Peter or other individuals who then passed it on, I don’t think we know in every case. The Apostles handed on Christ’s teachings to the Church by oral tradition, and the Church has handed them down in the form of Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

  5. The Holy Ghost revealed certain things to the Apostles (e.g. St. Peter’s vision about eating unclean animals), and this also was handed down by oral tradition and later part of it also in scripture.

As to the specific things you mention, Christ’s descent into hell is mentioned or alluded to in the Bible in several places (e.g. Ephesians 4:9, Acts 2:24, 1 Peter 3:19). Whether Christ told the Apostles about it after his resurrection, or the Holy Ghost revealed it to St. Peter and he told the others, or whether it was revealed in some other way, I don’t think we know.

Pope Pius XII wrote about our Lady’s queenship in Ad Caeli Reginam.

I’ll let others take it from here.

You explained things great to me :thumbsup: Thank you so much! I’ll look into the references :slight_smile:

We accept Rev. 12:1-3 as also referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Just a side note regarding revelational insights. If you read various works by the Saints, many of them are privileged to particular insights on matters not mentioned in biblical texts. One such example, Saint Bridget of Sweden was given details about Jesus’ sufferings that enhance our prayerful reflections on what all transpired during that ordeal.

I believe many of the traditional stories that are relayed down the centuries are derived from these saintly people and eventually become traditional stories.

There is a passage where Christ describes hell/hades as containing two sections, torture for the wicked and paradise for the righteous in his parable about Lazarus and the rich man. In the Apostles’ Creed we say that Christ “descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead”. Christ was with the good thief in the paradise section.

Christ descended into hell (the paradise part) and set the Old Testament saints free:
Ephesians 4:8-10 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

Catechism of the Catholic Church
633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” — Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek—because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”: “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.

634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.” The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Jesus, “the Author of life,” by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades,” so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”

“Our Lord’s expression is not to be understood of the earthly corporeal paradise, but of a spiritual one, in which all are said to be who enjoy the Divine glory. Accordingly, the thief descended locally into hell with Christ, because it was said to him: “This day thou shalt be with Me in paradise”; still as to reward he was in paradise, because he enjoyed Christ’s Godhead just as the other saints did.” - St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 52
Source: newadvent.org/summa/4052.htm

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.