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Author Topic: Orthodox view of The Rich Man and Lazarus?  (Read 1138 times) Average Rating: 0
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Volnutt
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« on: July 05, 2011, 05:21:02 PM »

I'm starting this new thread here because I'd rather talk about this outside the context of Orthodoxy vs. Roman Catholicism. But if the mods want to merge them, that's ok.

elijahmaria in another thread cited this parable as proof that the dead are beyond our aid. I must say, it does rather make sense to me. Abraham did seem to tell the rich man that there was a gulf such that one could not pass from "the hot place" unto his bosom.

How do the Orthodox read this? Is this simply a feature of pre-Atonement cosmology, for example?
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 06:43:32 PM »

I've wondered about this too.
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JamesRottnek
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2011, 06:51:38 PM »

I've been under the impression that that was the case until Christ stormed the gates of Hell and preached to the dead there.
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2011, 08:01:41 PM »

I've been told that the parabale of Lazarus and the Rich Man is, in fact, not a parable about what the afterlife looks like. However, I've not yet had it explained to me why this is so in a way that I can fully grasp.
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Volnutt
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 08:06:30 PM »

I've been told that the parabale of Lazarus and the Rich Man is, in fact, not a parable about what the afterlife looks like. However, I've not yet had it explained to me why this is so in a way that I can fully grasp.
I've heard this too. I don't get it. Nowhere else does Jesus use peoples' false beliefs or fantasy situations to make a point.
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John Ward
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2011, 08:15:29 PM »

From the footnotes in the OSB:


Quote
The rich man's appeal to Abraham as a spiritual father is not rejected. Rather, Abraham accepts this role, calling the rich man son and showing himself to be compassionate even towards the most wretched of men. The great gulf is not a geographical divide, but the complete separation between virtue and wickedness, a separation that cannot be overcome after death. Note that torments have not changed the rich man's heart, as he still sees Lazarus as a servant existing for the sake of his own comfort. Finally, this account by Christ reveals the communion of the saints: a man, not even a believer, calls out from Hades and converses with Saint Abraham!

When I read that, it made me think about the fact that we decide where we are. That God is always compassionate and loves us, but it is we that decide if we want to be closer to Him, or if we'd rather worship ourselves. It points out that he wanted Lazarus to do something for him. He didn't repent and try to get closer, he just wanted comfort.

It is we who decide. I don't think it's something against praying for the dead. When we pray for the dead, not only asking God to have mercy on them but also that they embrace God. I recall a sermon about how heaven and hell are the same thing and it is our relationship with God that determines if it is a warm, loving feeling or a painful fire. Praying for them is, I think, the idea that it is the warm, loving feeling, and not the pain of tormenting fire.

The problem with the rich man is he was unrepentant...he still just wanted what would make him feel better.

Let me add: this is just the way I understand the footnote and the explanation from Blessed Theophylact and I may be way off-course. Forgive me, if I am.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2011, 08:16:13 PM by John Ward » Logged
Volnutt
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2011, 08:37:20 PM »

So we are to take the take the statement that the barrier cannot be overcome more "softly?" I'm here mostly thinking of the traditions of Saints who prayed people out of Hell.
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John Ward
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 08:43:09 PM »

So we are to take the take the statement that the barrier cannot be overcome more "softly?" I'm here mostly thinking of the traditions of Saints who prayed people out of Hell.

Well, since with God nothing is impossible, I would say correct. But, one thing we have to remember is that the person has to want to be with God. The issue here seems to be that the rich man didn't want to be with Abraham, he just wanted to feel better. He was thinking of comfort and not of having a full communion with the righteous. Since He desires not the death of a sinner, we rely on the fact that He is a merciful God while at the same time understanding that if a person doesn't want to be with God, He won't force His love on that person.
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Volnutt
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2011, 08:51:39 PM »

Right.
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Tags: Hell  Abraham's Bosom  Lazarus  Dives  Rich Man  parable  Dead  prayer 
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