Q. I’ve just read your article on The Rich Man and Lazarus and found it to be a blessing. However, a question popped up in my mind that I just can’t seem to answer. Although Lazarus could not see the rich man, apparently Abraham could. Perhaps I’m wrong, but once a believer died and went to paradise, he or she should no longer have experienced any negative emotion (worry, sorrow etc.). How could Abraham have been in such a state when he could see those in torment?
A. If you read the story carefully you’ll see that Abraham exhibited none of the negative emotions you describe, but that doesn’t mean that he was devoid of emotion. In 1 cor. 13:12 Paul said, “Now (in this life) we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, but then (in the next life) we will know fully even as we are fully known.”
To me this means we’ll fully understand that God has done everything possible to save mankind, but that every person is responsible for his or her own destiny. The rich man, not being a believer, experienced a life of luxury without giving heed to the future even though the Scriptures clearly taught otherwise. Lazarus, however, lived in faith of a coming redeemer and looked forward to the life to come and was now enjoying it. Abraham fully knew that each one had made an informed choice and was receiving the promised effect thereof. The matter was settled.