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Christ and the Interim State

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In this talk I will consider an apparent tension that results from traditional Christological teachings. One traditional teaching, found in the Definition of the faith from the Council of Chalcedon and elsewhere, is that the two natures in the hypostatic union, the divine and human natures, are inseparable. Not only did the hypostatic union not end at Christ’s death, but it will not end at any time in the future. Another traditional teaching, found in the Apostle’s and Athanasian Creeds, is that Christ descended into Hell after his death, in the interim state prior to the resurrection of his body. These claims together lead to a difficulty. In this talk I first discuss the traditional teachings and their support. I next provide a valid argument that proceeds from these traditional claims to a contradiction. I finally consider six ways of avoiding the contradiction, along with their costs.

This talk is part of the Faculty of Divinity series.

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