Splendor of Truth - What We Believe


Why did Jesus become man? (CCC 456-460)

There are four primary reasons why God became man.

1.  He can to save us from our sins. Without Him, we are doomed to eternity in hell. He chose to become man in order than we might again have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.

2.  He came so that we might know God’s love. He wanted to show the extent and depth to which He was willing to go in order to love us.

3.   He came to be our model of holiness. Due to man’s fallen nature, he did not know anymore what it meant to be truly human as God had originally intended. To remedy this, God Himself took on humanity in order to show us who we were created to be and how we should act.

4.   He became man in order that we could share in His divine nature. As quoted by St. Athanasius, For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."

Was Jesus fully human, or did He just appear to be human? (CCC 464-478)

The early Church dealt with many heresies concerning the nature of Christ, His humanity and divinity.  As we profess in the Nicene Creed, Jesus is fully human and fully divine. He is as human as us, and this humanity is not merely an appearance, but a reality.

How was Jesus conceived? Is St. Joseph His biological Father? (CCC 484-486)

Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in Mary. Mary is his biological mother and God is His Father. Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the foster father of Jesus, but had no biological relationship to Him.

Did Jesus really die? (CCC 619)

Yes. He did not just appear to die, nor did he die in a figurative way.  Jesus really died a full human death. Remember, human death does not include death of our spiritual nature. The spirit (our souls) is naturally immortal and will never die. In this way, the divine nature of Christ never ceased to exist upon His bodily death.

Why did God send Jesus to suffer and die? (CCC 599-618)

In simple language, “Jesus paid a debt He didn’t owe because we had a debt we couldn’t pay.” The punishment for sin is death; therefore, because we have all sinned, we deserve eternal punishment. Human beings are not able to pay the debt of sin. Therefore, God made Himself a man and took the punishment of sin for us. He “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). He had to do this as a man because it was man who owed the debt of sin. He substituted our disobedience for His obedience. In this act He shows His incredible love for us. He, while we were stilled sinners rebelling against Him, initiated the greatest act of love by sending Himself to be killed by us in order that we might later choose to accept His gift of salvation and spend eternity with Him. This is an unfathomable and undeserved gift for which we owe our entire lives.

Who killed Jesus? (CCC 597-598)

Throughout history and even in current times, many people have tried to make the Jews culpable for the death of Jesus. However, this is not now nor has been the standpoint of the Church. The personal sins of the many people directly involved of the death of the Jesus are known to only God alone (Judas, Pilate, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish bystanders, the Romans, the soldiers). Jesus himself, while on the cross, pardoned those involved with His plea of “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The direct death of Jesus can be attributed to a significant amount of ignorance on the part of those involved. That is why the Church does not hesitate to inflict the greater blame on Christians throughout the ages. She clearly understands that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured” (Roman Catechism I, 5, 11). The greatest sufferings of Jesus on the Cross were (and are) caused by Christians who have professed to know Him (and therefore are not ignorant) and yet deny Him by their deeds, by continuing with and delighting in their sins.

What does it mean when we say that “Christ descended into hell”? (632-635)

In this case (the Apostles Creed), hell refers to the abode of the dead, which is also referred to as Hades (Greek) or Sheol (Hebrew). These are the terms people of the Old Testament used for those who had died, evil or righteous, for all were deprived of the vision of God before the coming of the Redeemer. This does not mean that while they waited for the Redeemer, the lot of the evil and the righteous was identical. When Jesus died, He also went to the abode of the dead to minister to all the spirits there who were waiting for the gates of Heaven to be opened to them. He did not go to deliver those that would be condemned to hell, but to free the just that were awaiting salvation. This was the final phase of his mission to preach to both the living and the dead.

Did Jesus rise from the dead? (CCC 638-644, 648-655)

Yes. The Apostles did not steal His body, and His death was not faked. He really died, and He really rose. If not, as St. Paul said, “our faith is in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). For if He did not raise Himself, we will not be raised either on the last day. The cornerstone of our faith rests on the Resurrection.

Was His body after the Resurrection different than it was before He died? (CCC 645-646)

Yes. It is the same body, in that it is not a ghost and still bears the traces of His Passion (the wounds in His hands, feet, and side). However, this real and authentic risen body has new properties, that of a glorified body. It is no longer limited by time and space, and He can present Himself when and how He wills. It is not a return to earthly life and bodies as we know them on earth, but He now belongs to a glorified life in Heaven with His new risen and glorified body. We too, in Heaven, will enjoy our bodies in a glorified and risen state.

What did Jesus do after He rose from the dead? Where is Jesus now? (CCC 659-664)

For 40 days He appeared to His disciples on earth. After 40 days, He ascended into Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father. In Heaven He is eternally offering Himself to the Father on our behalf.

Does Jesus have a body in Heaven?

Yes, He is present in Heaven, body and soul, and it will always be such.




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