The Apostles' Creed says of Jesus : "...was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead..."

If Jesus descended into Hell while his body lay dead and buried, he did so in spirit. So, what rose again from the dead on the third day, was his body. My question therefore is: According to Catholic Church, why does the Apostles'Creed not mention that Jesus rose again in body ?

  • 3
    The creeds are all selective and generally focus on what were current debates when they were written. Do you have any reason to think that the writers of the creed wouldn't have understood what they wrote as meaning a bodily resurrection?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 9:47
  • If the phrase "from the dead" implies "from the company of the dead who are dead in body" , it stands to give a clear picture. Thanks. Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 11:07
  • The Biblical understanding of rising from the dead is a bodily rise. Job 19:25-29, etc. Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 11:18
  • rose again from the dead only make sense in relation to a body
    – eques
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 1:29

2 Answers 2


I think that the briefest answer might be simply that none of the creeds were formulated as catechisms: all of them were formulated in order for those who sought entry into the Church to declare publicly the basic (and often the particularly controverted) aspects of the faith, a profession made in the course of Baptism after what was often a prolonged preparation and instruction in the Christian religion; and they were formulated in order for Christians who had already been baptized to unitedly declare their faith against various errors that arose in the course of time. The creeds presume a knowledge of the Christian faith that they profess, and they fix and clarify certain essential points of it.

In this light, the Apostles' Creed does affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ, since this is the way that the Church understands her words "was buried...[and] the third day He rose again from the dead." It is instructive to note that later creeds like the Nicene Creed do not make the point of Jesus' bodily resurrection more explicit though they do make other points more explicit, like the eternal and uncreated generation of the Son from the Father, "God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father" etc. And yet we know that from the time of the New Testament onwards, the Christian confession of Jesus' resurrection is the confession of a bodily resurrection. It was not something they seemed to feel it was necessary to include in the creed, which is only intended as a brief summary statement of Christian faith.

On the other hand, one might consider that the words "I believe in...the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting" in the Apostles' Creed are plenty explicit on this point: our resurrection is not a different resurrection than Christ's, but is rather a participation in His resurrection (cf. Rom 6:1-11, 1 Cor 15).

I hope this helps!

In Christ, Dan


I agree with curiousdannii's reasoning. Also scripture implies a bodily resurrection. When the women went to the tomb, the angel said he is not here, He is risen. The tomb was empty. In Mel Gibson's movie, he shows a bodily resurrection.


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