Friday, August 20, 2010

Is the account of Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16 perfectly literal?

This article is just to demonstrate that Luke 16 is not an absolutely literal account told by Jesus.  I am not denying Hell.  This is just an attempt at Scriptural exegesis.

First here is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

 First of all we can say Luke 16 in a sense is parabolic since it is a story Jesus told to teach us about what happens to the righteous and the wicked when they die.  I do believe Hell is real and eternal, however I do not believe that Luke 16 is literal in it's telling for a few reasons.

Jesus is telling a story where people die, they get buried, then are taken off to the holding place of Sheol.  The Rich man is hauled off to the bad part with fire which Jesus called "hades" and Lazarus being just is taken by angels to Abraham's bosom where he will relax until Judgement Day.  How do I know Judgment Day has not come? Because Lazarus would be in Heaven if it did, however, he is not--he is only in Abraham's bosom.  Since Judgement Day has yet to arrive they should not really have their bodies back yet--however Jesus presents them as having bodies.  The Rich man asks Lazarus to dip his finger in water, however, how does he had a finger?  And water? What do disembodied spirits do with water? And how is the rich man already tormented in the flame?  And there is a huge chasm separating them.  
What Jesus is doing is he is describing it in physical term so we can understand the spiritual joy and pain of Sheol in terms of physical joy and pain. 

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