The Apostles Creed: placed in time and space
by Mark Grilus
Looking at the forth article in the creed we notice a rather strange addition.
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell;
Why does the author include Pontius Pilate? This very important addition puts a seal on the creed placing it in time and space. The liberal is no longer able to say the creed is story or myth, like many of the beliefs of the surrounding cultures of the day.
This statement ends the argument that there were many religions who believed in risen gods, that the Christian narrative is nothing new and was an adaptation of earlier pagan myths.
Perhaps you have been made aware of the film Zeitgeist, by a friend or co-worker whom you have tried to evangelize. An excellent article on this topic can be found at www.biblicalcatholic.com/apologetics/JesusEvidenceCrucifiedSaviors.
As the Apostle Peter stated, “for we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16. The early church even during the time of the Apostles struggled against heresies that spiritualized the life of Jesus Christ. Some denied that Jesus the man was the Christ, others that He was like an apparition whose feet did not make footprints on the ground. These gnostic sects believed that the material creation was evil. That the truly spiritual life was to be freed from the physical and material. That special knowledge would enable them to finally ascend to the highest plane. That to suffer and die an excruciating and shameful death on a cross, ran counter to everything they believed.
Yet Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man did exactly that. He suffered not only under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, as Dr. J. G. Machen notes, “that Christ’s passive obedience consists of his suffering all the just penalties due to His chosen for their sins. He humbly endured all the punishment that we deserved, drinking the cup of God’s judgment down to the dregs, draining it to the last bitter drop.”
In the next issue we will examine the rest of this fourth article of the Christian faith.