I threw the pastor off during Maundy Thursday service by saying that loud enough to hear during the Creed, though our denomination as switched to "Hades."* In my ignorance I considered this mere wimping out, prettifying the reality. A day later I learned differently, as my second son's podcast at First Methodist Houston tackled the sent-in question "Why Don't We Say 'He Descended Into Hell' in the Apostle's Creed Anymore?" Teaser: Methodists have a different answer than everyone else for this. They have gone back and forth.
I was wrong in my understanding of why the Evangelical Covenant Church made the switch (though I still maintain not entirely wrong - there is translation justification, but we are still too deeply immersed in the Gospel of Nice in our originally Swedish denomination). As with many simple-looking questions of the faith, a wealth of fascinating material cascades upon you when you look at the creeds and what we have fought over. When things hit this level of complexity, however, I rejoice rather than despair.
We depend almost entirely on artistic and poetic statements about heaven and hell. If you have read CS Lewis on why metaphorical language is inevitable in nearly everything of importance that is not strictly sensory, you will see why this could not be any other way. Not only do other religions, and even secular philosophies that purport to be foundationally neutral rely on such things, but sciences do as well. Physics is used to the charge because it is most obviously subject to it and has provided some defenses against it, but even things that are all equations are not really...all equations. Biologists pretends otherwise but keep slipping into intentional and even teleological explanations of evolution, the web of life, ecology, the definitions of life...everything. I don't fault them for it. We all try to remove as much of that from our language about Big Ideas as much as we can, but...we can't. Or rather, we can, sometimes easily, but then don't sustain it for long.
So art, poetry, metaphor will always be there in discussions of heaven and hell. The actual scriptural references are few and point many directions in three-dimensional space. Most of those are from Hebrew, though some of those come from even earlier Semitic precursor languages, and there are uncomfortable hints that some of the Sheol, Abaddon, Gehenna, Hades language come from God-knows-where, long before writing. And for Christians it rapidly becomes worse. If we have descriptions of Jesus preaching to the spirits in bondage, or of making some sort of descent, where would we have heard those? Hmm, they would have to come from the mouth of Jesus himself, our only witness to those events. (See also our account of the temptations in the wilderness. Unless you have one of those words-as-magic concepts of God dictating in a particular language to the authors of scripture, so that they were strictly copyists with no understanding of what they were setting on the page, we are left with "that's what Jesus told us. In a different language.")
So he would have described these events in Aramaic, a language related to Hebrew. His followers likely discussed them in the same language. But when they came to write them down, well gee, no one wrote things in Aramaic much, that was just a local language. Important stuff went into Greek. Or one of the Greeks that was around. By the time the creeds were being debated, Latin had come in as more important, at least in Rome. So we're talking about what the land of the dead/condemned/separated is like in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. We want it to be simple. We want it to be "Textus Receptus is in Greek, so we're calling that the real word of god and digging into that obsessively. Yes, yes, we are deeply influenced by Dante and Milton, but we're pretending we aren't and this is the declared KJV reality. Deal with it."
As I said, I rejoice whenever I see these things. God is telling us that we can only come at this from many angles independently, because he wants us to puzzle over it and wrestle with it, not summarise it in a few sentences and go back to our regularly scheduled programming. It's why we wrestle with angels, why there is no "private interpretation," why Jews require a minyan, it's why we need two or three gathered, it's why we have a tribe at all rather than a one-page document dropped off at the Temple by Jesus who then says "Okay, I'm going off to die now as a sacrifice. Follow the rules. See you in heaven."
*I go 50/50 on whether I say Catholic or Christian Church a few seconds later. I don't think about it, I just roll into one or the other. The Covenant Church says "Christian," but a lot of the music I used to memorise it by used "Catholic."