Astrotheology: The Truth about Jesus Christ  and the New Testament

jesus christ's descent into hell as recorded in the new testament...truth...or sun myth retold?




The doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell is emphatically part of the Christian belief, although not alluded to by Christian divines excepting when unavoidable. In the first place, it is taught in the Creed of the Christian Church.

The Nicene Creed was created at the Synod at Nicea in 325 A.D. and set forth this Creed: We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion--all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them (From The Seven Ecumenical Councils, ed. H. Percival, in the Library of Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 2nd series (New York: Charles Scribners, 1990), Vol XIV, 3).

Notice if you will the "third day" portion; this is a clear reference to the New Testament doctrine of Jesus' descent into hell prior to the resurrection.

The gospels pretend to be matter of fact stories of some events in the life of the Christian God. The various "Creeds" reflect such a story. They tell what people saw or heard. They claim they saw Jesus rise to heaven, but it is difficult to know how they could have known he descended to hell, unless they simply had the risen Jesus confessing it in one of his mysterious post mortem appearances. Anyway, it was not expressly written into the gospels. Nevertheless, it became and remains a firm belief among Christians that Jesus did descend to Hell. A Christian writer explains that the early Christians were united on the doctrine of Christ's underground mission. It was too well settled to admit of dispute

The Apostles' Creed teaches the doctrine explicitly and it was once thought of as equal in authority to the gospels, being supposedly written by the apostles themselves.

The New Testament attests to this as well: Peter (1 Peter 3:18) is thought to be referring to the descent into Hell when he writes: being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. Prison must mean Hell.

In Acts 2:31 we find that his soul was not left in hell. The writer plainly considered Jesus's soul had been there. The most positive declaration that Christ did descend into hell could not make it more certainly a scriptural Christian doctrine.




Answer for yourself: Where then did such a belief arise?

You need to know that the most important event in the lives of Pagan Saviours, after their crucifixion, is that of their descent into the infernal regions. In the Hindu bible, written more than three thousand years ago, the Saviour Krishna:

…went down to hell to preach to the inmates of that dark and dreary prison, with the view of reforming them, and getting them back to heaven, and was willing himself to suffer to abridge the period of their torment.

Elsewhere we find that Krishna even descended into hell to teach souls in bondage. We have references to prison and to bondage. Hell is a prison and souls are in bondage. Souls are therefore in prison just as Peter says. The writers of the Gospel of Luke and the first epistle of Peter seem greatly indebted to the Hindu bible in these passages.

Another God who descended into hell was Quexalcoatl of Mexico (300 BC). The story will be found in the Codex Borgianus, wherein is related the account of his death, and burial after crucifixion, his descent into hell, and subsequent resurrection. After Adonis descended into hell, he rose again to life and immortality. Prometheus of Caucasus (600 BC) also suffered and descended into hell, rising again from the dead, and ascending to heaven. Horus first reigned a thousand years, then died, and was buried for three days, at the end of which time he triumphed over Typhon, the evil principle, and rose again to life evermore. And Osiris of Egypt also descended into hell and after a period of three days rose again. Homer and Virgil speak of Hercules, Ulysses and AEneas descending into Hades. The Gods became incarnate, and descended into hell to teach humility and set an example of suffering. The story of their descent into hell was doubtless invented to occupy them during their three days in the tomb.




The doctrine was also taught by the Fathers of the Church. St. Chrysostom (born 347 A.D.) asks:

“Who but an infidel would deny that Christ was in hell?” (quoted by Bonwick; Egyptian Belief, p. 46).

And St. Clement of Alexandria, who flourished at the beginning of the third century, is equally clear and emphatic as to Jesus' descent into hell. He says:

"The Lord preached the gospel to those in Hades, as well as to all in earth, In order that all might believe and be saved, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the gospel to all, or to the Hebrews only. It accordingly to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there”

Origen, who flourished during the latter part of the second, and beginning of the third centuries, also emphatically declares that Christ Jesus descended into hell (Origen, Contra Celsus, bk.ii. c. 48).

Ancient Christian works of art represent his descent into hell (Jameson, Hist. Of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. pp. 364-365).

The apocryphal gospels teach the doctrine of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, the object of which was to preach to those in bondage there, and to liberate the Saints who had died before his advent on earth.

On account of the sin committed by Adam in the Garden of Eden, all mankind were doomed, all had gone to hell excepting those who had been translated to heaven—even those persons who were "after God's own heart," and who had belonged to his "chosen people." The coming of Christ Jesus into the world, however, made a change in the affairs of man. The saints were then liberated from their prison, and all those who believe in the efficacy of his name, shall escape hereafter the tortures of hell. This is the doctrine to be found in the apocryphal gospels, and was taught by the Fathers of the Church (Jameson, Hist. Of Our Lord in Art, vol. ii. pp. 250-251).




In the Gospel of Nicodemus (apoc.) is to be found the whole story of Christ Jesus' descent into hell, and of his liberating the saints. It goes like this:

Satan, and the Prince of Hell, having heard that Jesus of Nazareth was almost to descend to their domain, began to talk the matter over, as to what they should do, etc. While thus engaged, on a sudden, there was a voice as of thunder and the rushing of winds, saying: " Lift up your gates, O ye Princes, and be ye lifted up, O ye everlasting gates, and the King of Glory shall come in."

When the Prince of Hell heard this, he said to his impious officers: "Shut the brass gates . . . and make them fast with iron bare, and fight courageously."

The saint having heard what had been said on both sides, immediately spoke with aloud voice, saying: "Open thy gates, that the King of Glory may come in." The divine prophets, David and Isaiah, were particularly conspicuous in this protect against the intentions of the Prince of Hell.

Again the voice of Jesus was heard saying: " Lift up your gates, O Prince; and be ye lifted up, ye gates of hell, and the King of Glory will enter in." The Prince of Hell then cried out: " Who is the King of Glory" upon which the prophet David commenced to reply to him, but while he was speaking, the mighty Lord Jesus appeared in the form of a man, and broke asunder the fetters which before could not be broken, and crying aloud, said: " Come to me, all ye saints, who were created in my image, who were condemned by the tree of the forbidden fruit . . . live now by the word of my cross."

Then presently all the saints were joined together, hand in hand, and the Lord Jesus laid hold on Adam's hand, and ascended from hell, and all the saints of God followed him (Nicodemus; Apoc. Ch. xvi and xix).

When the saints arrived in paradise, two " very ancient men " met them, and were asked by the saints: " Who are ye, who have not been with us in hell, and have had your bodies placed in paradise?" One of these " very ancient men" answered and said: " I am Enoch, who was translated by the word of God, and this man who is with me is Elijah the Tishbite, who was translated in a fiery chariot” (Nicodemus; Apoc. Ch. xx).




The doctrine of the descent into hell may be found alluded to in the canonical books; thus, for instance, in I Peter:

"It is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also bath suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: by which he also went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (I Peter 3:17-19).

Again, in "Acts," where the writer is speaking of David as prophet, he says:

"He, seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2:31)

The reason why Christ Jesus has been made to descend into hell, is because it is a part of the universal mythos, even the three days’ duration. The Saviors of mankind had all done so, he must therefore do likewise. The Gentile redactors and writers of the New Testament only "patterned" the life of Jesus after their own pagan beliefs. Events in the life of the pagan Sun-gods and Saviors were transposed into the life of Christ.

  • Crishna, the Hindu Savior, descended into hell, for the purpose of raising the dead (the doomed), before he retired to his heavenly seat (Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 237; Bonwick, Egyptian Belief, p. 168).
  • Zoroaster, of the Persians, descended into hell (Monumental Christianity, p. 286).
  • Osiris, the Egyptian Savior, descended into hell (Dupuis, Origin of Religious Belief, p. 256; Bonwick Egyptian Belief, pp. 125).
  • Horus, the virgin-born Savior, descended into hell.
  • Adonis, the virgin-born Savior, descended into hell (Bell, Pantheon, vol. i. p. 12).
  • Bacchus, the virgin-born Savior, descended into hell (Higgins, Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 322; Dupuis, Origin of Religious belief, p. 257; Dunlap, Mysteries Adoni, p. 33).
  • Hercules, the virgin-born Savior descended into hell (Taylor, Mysteries, p. 40; Mysteries of Adoni, pp. 94-96).
  • Mercury, the Word and Messenger of God, descended into hell (Bell, Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 72).
  • Baldur, the Scandinavian god, being killed ,descended into hell (Bonwick, Egyptian Belief, p. 169).
  • Quetzalcoatle, the Mexican crucified Savior, descended into hell (Mexican Antiquities, vol. i. vi. P. 166).

All these gods, and many others that might be mentioned remained in hell for the space of three days and three nights. “They descended into hell, and on the third day rose again.”




One only need look at the stars to know the story. Also, this explains why nation after nation had the same story of the Sun-gods. They all studied the stars.

Thus the story of the three days' entombment has an astronomical explanation...the winter soltice. The sun lies still and apparently motionless, neither ascending nor descending, for nearly three days at the midwinter solstice. It was thought by primitive man that the sun was in a tomb for three days having descended to Hell, the lowest point of its annual cycle. In tracking the course of the sun man could detect the time when the sun shown least every year. For 3 days when the sun is the lowest in the horizon it appears to be motionless for 3 days then beings it northward ascent again. These 3 "shrortest" days of the year provided the least amount of light of the whole year. The sun was believed to have died. The prayer was that it would rise again and the prayer always worked, the sun was born-again each year at midwinter (raised from the dead) as it began it northward track in the sky. However the battle of light with darkness (temptation) continued until the vernal equinox and only when the days became longer than the nights were the ancient astrologer priests happy to celebrate the sun's rebirth. So, the birth of god was at the midwinter solstice but he was fully born again at the vernal equinox (spring). Hence, spring was chosen to represent this "three days' descent of the gods into hell and death because very shortly the days would get longer and spring would arrive with its new life and vegetation after the "death" of winter. The Persians had an astronomical figure representing the descent of a god into hell and returning at the time that Orsus, the goddess of spring, had conquered the god of winter. The author of Revelation describes the Lamb of God (Rev 12) as conquering the dragon, which is the Scorpion or Dragon of the first month of winter, October, being conquered by the Lamb of March or spring.




If you are a "thinking believer" then you can easily see that the above story concerning Jesus is pure fiction based upon the primitive fears and suspicions of mankind. Hopefully today we know better. But to the point.

We possess a document that is touted to be "inspired, infallible, and inerrant;" the New Testament. As you can see we have a sever problem here both in I Peter and Acts let alone the doctrines emanating from such a book as expressed in the "Creed" of the Church.

Answer for yourself: If I Peter can be shown to be in error, what other "errors" are contained within it let alone other books in the New Testament?

Answer for yourself: If the writer of I Peter got it wrong about the descent into hell, what about other doctrines within the same verse: atonement, redemption, etc? Could he be wrong about these as well?

Answer for yourself: What about the book of Acts as well as it represents the Pauline mission with its doctrines as well?

  • Bet Emet Ministries
  • Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div.
  • 902 Cardigan
  • Garland, Texas 75040
  • 972-4964238

[email protected]