Question on Purgatory


Hey Everyone,

Have to say, I just spent the last several hours reading the thread ( PURGATORY: A Fearful Thing) As a convert to the RC Faith from Baptist, (*sigh of relief…good to be home :o ) I must say it was amazing to read the pages & pages of debates on Purgatory.

Anyway, was gonna post on that thread but it was going off topic, so I thought I would make a new thread. So, here is my question…

In the bible, let’s take 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 it says:

“3.For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4. that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”

Would Jesus have been in Hell…or Purgatory??

Any thoughts would be apprecaited :wink:


…can’t spell tonight…appreciated :slight_smile:


Hi Rogue,

Hell (at this time) and Purgatory are states and not places.Jesus,being sinless could not have been in these states.

We say that Jesus descended into Hell. Hell (sheol in Hebrew) is “the abode of the dead”. What this means is that Jesus really died and so His resurrection is really a great miracle, which he predicted.

What was Jesus doing during those three days? Well, the bible says that he “preached” to the just. On the other hand, we know that in the “other world” there is no time as such. So we must conclude that Jesus died, revealed to the just the full mystery of redemption, then resurrected. All this was happening in a timeless dimension.



Hi Verbum,

I was hoping you could clarify some things. First, while I also think of Purgatory as a state, rather than a place, I’m certain it has never been defined as such. In fact, the Church has not defined it as either a state or a place, and we are at liberty to believe either. As I said, I personally believe it to be a state (actually, a process would be a better word for my perception), but your post seems to indicate that it is officially not a place.

In addition, I’ve never heard the explanation that Hell is just a “state” at this time. I happen to believe it to be an actual place right now, and the Catechism seems to affirm this: “Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’”(CCC 1035).

As to where Jesus actually was, I agree that he descended, not into Hell (or Purgatory), but into Sheol, but my understanding is that this was an actual place where the just who died before Christ resided until his redemptive death opened Heaven for them. I’m not sure the issue of the timelessness of the other world pertain to the OP’s question, but I could be wrong, which is why I was hoping you could clarify or point me to resources where I could do addiitonal study.



Jesus could not go to hell nor purgatory for He is without sin; Hell is for the damned in mortal sin, purgatory is for those not fully sanctified yet die in God’s kindness (with sanctifying grace upon their souls).
Purgatory isn’t defined by the Catholic Magisterium as being a place or a state but necessarily both.
Sheol is Hebrew for place of the dead, Hades is the same word but in Greek for place of the dead sometimes found in Mt 16:18-19 “…and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.” In Latin Sheol, Hades is translated into “infernus” which gets translated into English as hell but its entymological roots mean place of the dead. The Apostles creed says Jesus descended into hell but Jesus couldn’t theologically nor rationally go to hell; and the word (hell) in the time it was written (1st century) meant place of the dead.

It is said that during the time after Jesus’ death and His resurrection, He went to speak to those in Abrahams bosom found in Luke 16:22 and referenced in 1 Peter 3:18-19 where Jesus went to see those “spirits in prison.”

Also, a good and practicle article to read about purgatory is at found here…

Hope that helps.


HI Awfuthings,

The reason purgatory and hell cannot be places is because they are “occupied” by souls, which are spiritual beings and therefore occupy no space.



Not wishing to be combative, what then, after the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day when all the dead will be reunited to their bodies ?


Jesus TOOK ON our sins, so He did descend into purgatory.


Thanks for all your comments. :slight_smile:

My thoughts on the this, were similar with what Sir Knight said. I was thinking that because he took on our sins, that maybe He went to Purgatory.

And if he didn’t go to Purgatory or Hell, I’m still confused as to where he was. Because he “descended to the dead”. I read what Awfulthings9 wrote - ‘As to where Jesus actually was, I agree that he descended, not into Hell (or Purgatory), but into Sheol, but my understanding is that this was an actual place where the just who died before Christ resided until his redemptive death opened Heaven for them.’ … I guess I assumed that Purgatory existed prior to the NT, 'cause I thought there were references to “prayers for the dead” in the OT.

And if Purgatory did not exist until Christ redemptive death, would Purgatory have become available at the moment’s of Jesus’ death or after His Ressurection?

Hope my question makes sense :o


The phrase “took on our sins” I think is incorrect.

Jesus died for our sins. Jesus made satisfaction for our sins, but the phrase took on our sins reminds me too much of strict substutionary atonement which has been rejected by the Church.

Maybe I am wrong:shrug: , but those words “took on” instead of died for just seem to be leaning more towards a strict substitutionary atonement.

As for the thread subject,
I looked for awhile and the papers I read, many seemed to believe that sheol and purgatory are the same thing.


You are correct.

As for the thread subject,
I looked for awhile and the papers I read, many seemed to believe that sheol and purgatory are the same thing.

That’s correct, as well, or rather, that Purgatory replaced Sheol.

It is by no means certain, of course, since we don’t have any public revelation or definitive Church teaching as to this, but it makes sense to me.


Funny you should chime in:)

It was some of your posts that I reviewed before posting:D That’s why I sounded more intelligent by using the phrase “strict substitionary atonement” instead of it “sounds Protestant” but not sure exactly why;)

Thanks for the confimation:thumbsup:


Thanks for the Info everyone :slight_smile: Greatly Appreciate it.


Hi Rogue,

This is getting rather confused but please remember one thing that will help you answer these kinds of problems. Spiritual beings are not physically anywhere… They are where they act. God is everywhere because he keeps everything in being. The Trinity is “in” us because it acts in us.

As for what happens after the Last Judgement, purgatory will no longer exist. Heaven and Hell will become places as well as states because there will be people with bodies in them. Revelation speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. Possibly the Elect will live on a new earth, with no suffering and no death. Who knows, perhaps those condemned to hell will have to continue living on earth with hard work, suffering and hatred for all eternity.




See 2 Corinthians 5:21 …
[/FONT][FONT=Arial]God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf[/FONT]


That may be so, but again, “took on” is not a phrase used by the Catholic Church, and leans towards a strict substitutionary atonement.

Respectfully, I would PM or talk to Fidelis about this. He is the one whom I referred to before answering and he agreed with my assessment.

The finer points of this are not something I can explain well:o


1 John 2:2 …

*… and He Himself is *[Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 4:10] the propitiation for our sins …
*]propitiation for our sins
*][FONT=Arial]to be sin on our behalf[/FONT]
*][FONT=Arial]took on our sins
[/FONT][/LIST]… they all sound about the same to me :shrug:


I have to say, they all sound very similar to me too. But when you start digging down a little, it becomes easier to see the implications of the phrase “took on”. I have to say, I still need to look up the info on this, I have a hard time getting a complete handle on this without references:blush: I usually refer to the postings and references posted by Fidelis:thumbsup: .

[LEFT]Took on our sins implies that Christ recieved the wrath that was due to us as if He Himself had sinned, substitionary atonement would be the word Protestants use to describe this.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]From the Catechism of the Catholic Church[/LEFT]

[LEFT]603 **Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. **But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”. [/LEFT]

[LEFT]There is a nice article on this here [/LEFT]


Maybe this is over my head but what you said here …

[LEFT] … seems to comflict with what you said here …

… That said, I will bow out of this discussion since I no longer have anything to offer to it.


Sir Knight,

You are correct. Those two DO contradict.

If you’ll reread, the first one, is discussing the term “took on” and the Protestant view of strict substitutionary atonement.

The second, is of course, the Catholic doctrine quoted from the Catechism.

God Bless,

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