Those who use the parable of Lazarus and the rich man to support the immortal soul doctrine say that Jesus wouldn’t have used the story if it wasn’t based in fact. This leads them to conclude it is a literal story demonstrating believers go to the pleasures of heaven immediately after they die and the wicked go into the fires of hell. Having an immortal soul is at the heart of this belief. It is what makes it possible for humans to remain conscious after death so they can reap the rewards for how they lived out their lives on earth. Some claim this story should not even be considered a parable but seen as a factual description from the lips of Jesus giving us insights as to how the afterlife works. They draw several conclusions from this one story, adopting them as doctrine. Let’s read the parable, understand some of the beliefs that come out of it and see if other Bible scriptures agree with or contradict those beliefs. Is the Bible the true uncontradictory word of God? When scripture appears contradictory, is it, or is our understanding of it wrong? What are the essential truths of Christianity? What beliefs are the cornerstones of your salvation and personal walk with Jesus?
Luke 16:19-31 International Children’s Bible
19 Jesus said, “There was a rich man who always dressed in the finest clothes. He lived in luxury every day. 20 There was also a very poor man named Lazarus, whose body was covered with sores. Lazarus was often placed at the rich man’s gate. 21 He wanted to eat only the small pieces of food that fell from the rich man’s table. And the dogs would come and lick his sores! 22 Later, Lazarus died. The angels took Lazarus and placed him in the arms of Abraham. The rich man died, too, and was buried. 23 But he was sent to where the dead are and had much pain. The rich man saw Abraham far away with Lazarus in his arms. 24 He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to me so that he can dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am suffering in this fire!’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘My child, remember when you lived? You had all the good things in life, but all the bad things happened to Lazarus. Now Lazarus is comforted here, and you are suffering. 26 Also, there is a big pit between you and us. No one can cross over to help you. And no one can leave there and come here.’ 27 The rich man said, ‘Then please send Lazarus to my father’s house on earth! 28 I have five brothers. Lazarus could warn my brothers so that they will not come to this place of pain.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to read; let them learn from them!’ 30 The rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham! If someone came to them from the dead, they would believe and change their hearts and lives.’ 31 But Abraham said to him, ‘No! If your brothers won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, then they won’t listen to someone who comes back from death.’”