Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Archive for the ‘apologetics’ Category

Question: Hades/Sheol/Gehenna

Posted by james0235 on March 16, 2011

Are Hades/Sheol and Gehenna the same place? And if they are two different places, what happened to Hades after Christ resurrected?

Sheol/Hades, and Gahenna are all words for hell used in the Bible but they mean very different things.

Sheol is the Hebrew word for the realm of the dead used in the Old Testament. It is sometimes translated as “the netherworld” and it is the resting place of the good (Genesis 37:35) and of the evil (Numbers 16:30).

When the OT was translated from Hebrew to Greek around 200BC the word Hades was used. Today it is still common to see Hades used over Sheol in English translations of the OT because in the early Church (and really for most of Christian history) the Greek OT was the preferred version. Of the 350 OT quotes in the NT (mostly made by Jesus and Paul) around 300 of them quoted from the Greek OT and around 50 quoted from the Hebrew OT.

Sheol/Hades is the same place as the “bosom of Abraham” where both Lazarus and the rich man found themselves after death (Luke 16:19-31). By the Middle Ages it was most commonly referred to as Limbus patrum or the Limbo of the Fathers. It is where the righteous and the unrighteous alike were gathered in death until the Resurrection of Christ. Until Christ redeemed mankind heaven was not reachable. At his death Jesus entered Hades and took the righteous dead with him to heaven. This is known as the “Harrowing of Hell” and is what is meant by “He descended into hell” in the Apostle’s Creed and is likely what is referred to in 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6.

Gehenna is the Greek word used in the New Testament that corresponds to what we typically think of as hell, sometimes called perdition. It is the eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:42-48; Revelation 14:11, 20:10; etc.) of the damned.

The book of Revelation shows Hades (Sheol, the bosom of Abraham, the Limbo of the Fathers) itself being cast into hell (Gehenna) at the Final Judgement. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Posted in apologetics, creed, scripture | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Catholics Come Home

Posted by james0235 on April 20, 2008

UPDATE (4/25/08): The people at have decided to disable the ability to embed their videos in blogs or other sites. I am a little baffled by this decision as I believe that allowing people to embed the videos in a blog actually makes it easier to promote the site than by just providing a link.

I have sent them a message through YouTube asking why this was done but as of yet I have received no response. Until or unless they change their minds the 3 videos can be viewed at or they can be viewed on youtube:

Epic | Movie | Testimonials


I first noticed this website some time ago. I quickly glanced at it and decided I would give it a closer look later on. But, it slipped my mind until I saw this video on EWTN today following the Papal Mass:

“For centuries we have prayed for you and our world every hour of every day whenever we celebrate the Mass.”

“For over 2000 years we have had an unbroken line of Shepherds guiding the Catholic Church with love and truth in a confused and hurting world. And in this world filled with chaos, hardship, and pain it’s comforting to know that some things remain consistent, true and strong: our Catholic faith and the eternal love that God has for all creation.”

They have made 2 other videos was well:

Take a look at Catholics Come Home. And share it with others.

Posted in apologetics, evangelization | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Visit To The Kirtland Temple

Posted by james0235 on March 29, 2008

I returned to work this week after having taken Holy Week off. I don’t have any pictures from Holy Week. But, I did remember that I took a few pictures this past summer during a day trip that I took with my roommate when we realized that we had both randomly selected the same week for vacation.

We both have a fascination with Mormonism. And not just from an apologetics perspective. Knowledge of Mormon history and belief sure comes in handy when the missionaries knock on your door. But, it goes beyond that. We both share a love of reading about Mormonism just for the fun of it.

Anyway, when we realized that we had the opportunity we decided to head up to Kirtland, Ohio – to the site of the first Mormon Temple. The Temple was constructed in the 1830s. It is currently owned and maintained by the Community of Christ, a Mormon splinter group formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS). The Community of Christ had just opened up a brand new visitor center next to the Temple a few weeks before we visited.

It was an impressive place. There is a gift shop and even a movie theater. The tour guide plays a short movie on the history of the temple at the start of the tour. After the movie is over the screen is raised revealing a window which looks out on the Temple itself. And then the group heads over to begin the actual tour.

I took a few pictures outside of the Temple (photographs are not permitted inside). Unfortunately I did not bring a camera. So, these were taken with my phone. Click on them for larger images.






The inscription is a little difficult to make out in these pictures. It reads:


Pictures of the inside of the Temple are available on the Kirtland Temple Historic Center website and a short video featuring images of the Temple is available on the Community of Christ website.

It is an impressive building with an impressive history. I would like to tour it again some day. But, the Temple itself isn’t really the reason I am writing this. It just serves as a backdrop to the events of that day.

Our tour guide that day was a young woman, a member of the Community of Christ, who had a great deal of knowledge about the history of the Temple and the people who built it. Her passion for the topic was quite obvious. On the tour the religious affiliation of everyone there came up. I think there were a couple of people who were members of the Community of Christ, A Catholic (myself), a lapsed Lutheran, (my roommate), and a dozen or more people who belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). But, she did not ask our religious affiliation in order to try and convert anyone that day. It was in order to help her to explain the services that were conducted in the Temple in terms we could understand. She compared and contrasted the Temple services to modern day Catholic, Protestant, LDS, and Community of Christ services. It was all very non-confrontational and I believe that it helped each of us better understand what happened in the Temple.

But, then we left the Temple itself and things changed.

We drove just a couple of miles away to the Historic Kirtland Village. Here, the Mormons (and it must be emphasized here that they are LDS and not Community of Christ) have recreated many of the buildings as they existed in Kirtland at the time of the construction of the Temple. There is a short movie (much like before the Temple tour) and then a guided tour of the buildings.

We ended up on a tour with an LDS family that had met on the Temple tour. Our tour guide was a young LDS woman who was full of enthusiasm and little knowledge. After asking the religious affiliation of everyone on the tour, proceeded to use the information in an attempt to evangelize my roommate and I. Every single bit of actual useful information that she gave us seemed to be followed with something along the lines of “and I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith is a prophet and…” It got annoying very quickly.

Towards the end of the tour I was walking alone with the tour guide. Everyone else was a short distance behind us. She asked me for my opinion of Joseph Smith. I politely declined to share it as I did not wish to offend her. She kept pressing the issue. So, I finally told her that I believe that he is one of the greatest frauds this world has ever seen. She, of course, wanted to know why I felt that way. And so I shared my reasons.

She seemed stunned for a few moments. When she finally spoke she said “I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the Book of Mormon is true, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true Church of God on earth”.

You should have seen the look on her face when I responded I testify to you that I know in my heart that Joseph Smith was a fraud, the Book of Mormon is false but is an interesting read, and the Catholic Church is the true Church of God founded by Jesus Christ on the Rock of Peter.”

She stuttered for a few moments, searching for something to say. And then, before she could respond, I explained to her that my testimony about the truth of something doesn’t make that thing true any more than her testimony does. What you need are facts. She agreed with that and then said that it is “a fact the book of Mormon is true.” I told her that I disagreed and then proceeded to ask her a few questions about the origin of the Book.

When she could not answer any of these questions she waved over a few Mormon missionaries who were standing around talking. I now repeated my questions about the origins of the Book of Mormon – this time to 5 missionaries instead of one. I received no answers other than “I testify to you that…”

Eventually, rather than answer my questions they decided to turn the tables around and ask me questions about Catholic doctrine and history. But, when it became apparent to them that I actually had answers to their questions they very quickly ended the conversation and went inside.

My experience with the LDS missionaries that day could not have been more different than my experience with the Community of Christ missionary. They were pushy, rude, and ignorant whereas the woman with the Community of Christ was helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. My experience at the Temple was the kind of experience that makes you want to go back. I can’t say that about my experience at the Historic Kirtland Village – although I will most likely return there when visiting the Temple again just because I found the recreated village to be fascinating.

And a note to any Mormon missionaries who might be reading:

In my experience this seems to be the way all Mormon missionaries operate. And that is not the way to “win converts”. I am not saying that there is any chance that I will ever convert to Mormonism. But, my experiences have left me with a great deal of respect for the way the members of the Community of Christ handle themselves in religious discussions and with absolutely no respect for the way LDS missionaries handle themselves. The experiences of others may, of course, be different but from my perspective I think that maybe you should consider taking a page or two on evangelization from the Community of Christ.

Posted in apologetics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Nicean Blues

Posted by james0235 on March 10, 2008

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

Posted in apologetics, creed, music | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »