No Matter How Deep the Darkness, He Descends Deeper Still: The Descent of Jesus into Hades – Anthony M. Coniaris
All the ancient creeds contain the line: He [Jesus] descended into hell. Many Christians do not know what to do with this obscure line. Coniaris helps us to see the significance of this divine movement. God has entered into the deepest darkness – into death itself – in order to deliver us from sin and death. God has not remained aloof. God entered hades, the realm of the dead and of the grave (not hell, which hades is often confused with), in order to rob death of its power. By descending into our deepest darkness, and transforming it through his divine light, Jesus has made it so that there is no longer any “accursed” place. “The tomb is no longer a prison but an anteroom to heaven where the bride rests, anxiously anticipating the arrival of the Bridegroom” (83). Truly, God “pursues us into… the deepest pits of human suffering and death” (96). This is the good news of the Christian gospel. Coniaris’ book focuses on the positive harrowing of hades that Jesus accomplished on Holy Saturday. I am currently reading another book that teaches about how God is present in the midst of our hopelessness and how this is best understood with a theology of Holy Saturday. The book is titled Between Cross and Resurrection. I will comment on this once I’ve finished all 477 pages of it!