Christ’s Descent Reconstitutes Hades

“From Adam until the time of Christ, Hades was the place where the devil kept all who had died, and there was no way out. With Christ’s victory and the despoiling of Hades, this function – is no longer operative. Hades now becomes simply and solely and solely the place of final punishment. Therefore, Hades is not simply abolished by Christ’s descent, but rather reconstituted; it ceases to be the place of Satan’s dominion over all the dead and becomes instead the place under Christ’s lordship where those who refuse to believe in him reach their final destiny. Curiously, Cyril continues to call this place, ‘Hades’, making no distinction in the name, even though the function of the place has changed. In a sense, ‘Hades’ has changed ownership (and purpose) by virtue of Christ’s glorious victory over death.” (Daniel Keating, “Christ’s Despoiling of Hades: According to Cyril of Alexandria,” St. Vladmir’s Theological Quarterly, pg. 260)

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

(Psalm 139:7-10)


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