Originally posted by 3NL1GHT3N3D1
One thing I find interesting is that Abraham is in Hades when the rich man is sent there. Isn't christianity an Abrahamic religion? Why would Abraham
be represented as the as the main figure in Hades?
The belief is that, prior to Christ's ascension forty days after the resurrection, no one entered heaven ahead of him. So where were the good people
who had died before then? They were nestled "in the bosom of Abraham", a place that wasn't heaven, but was still a good place to be. How do we
know that it was a good place to be? Remember Jesus' words to the thief on the cross - "you will be in paradise this day" - and since that
couldn't be heaven, it had to be with Abraham.
The story of Lazarus and the rich man gives some insight into what people believed that place to be. People seemed to have physical being, they were
able to speak across the gulf of the condemned and the protected, etc.
It isn't in the Bible, but it is in early Church tradition that Christ spent the time between his death and resurrection in the "Harrowing of Hell"
-- essentially preaching the good news to those who had died before him. You can find a retelling of it in
The Gospel of Nicodemus (Part 2)
(note that this document is a forgery, a non-canonical work,
and should not be read as something that the church taught from, but rather as a historical work.)
This is, attested to in some versions of the Apostles Creed. For example, the Anglican Church's "Book of Common Prayer" includes the line "He
descended into hell" here:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
Other churches, however, don't include it. My Methodist Church, for example, goes right over it:
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven
I suspect that's a bit of a reflection of Sola Scriptura - it isn't in Scripture, so it isn't a valid teaching. But there must be some wiggle
room, as both the Anglicans and Lutherans accept it.
But the issue is probably nowhere near as important as all the text I've just spewed, lol.