There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.(Luke 16:19-31) KJV
Jesus told this story. People today don’t believe that it could be real and they think that Abraham and Lazarus were in heaven; the rich man was in a metaphorical hell; and the great gulf pictures spiritual separation from the presence of God.
It is difficult to parse this with reality because of scientific theories of the internal structure of the earth. Here is part of the Wikipedia entry:
The interior structure of the Earth is layered in spherical shells: an outer silicate solid crust, a highly viscous mantle, a liquid outer core that is much less viscous than the mantle, and a solid inner core. ( Wikipedia )
Is Jesus lying, teaching a parable, or telling the truth?
Since Jesus is the one telling the story, then this takes place before the crucifixion. Abraham and Lazarus can’t be in heaven, the sacrifice has not been made that pays for their redemption.
They are in sheol, the underworld realm of the dead. This is a vast chamber in the lower mantle which overlooks hell. The great gulf is open space in the region which science calls the liquid outer core. Hell is the molten core of the earth, the inner core.
Is this be physically possible?
The short answer is, yes. If we eliminate the assumed causal relationship between matter, space, time (spacetime) and gravity.
It is now possible to show that the scientific rationale, which makes it appear that a great gulf of open space inside the earth is impossible, is false.
Modern science is built on a foundation of believing that gravity is a property of spacetime.
The basic idea is at the heart of Newtonian Physics, even though Newton didn’t understand it as fully as it is developed in Einstein’s Relativity. One simple assumption remains the same throughout: In science, gravity doesn’t have a cause, it just is, because of everything else.
The Bible has a different explanation.
The Genesis account of creation has matter, space and time existing before gravity was created. Let that sink in.
Matter, space and time existed before gravity was created. This means that there is no inherent link between gravity and spacetime. The observed relationship between matter, space, time and gravity is circumstantial evidence, it is not the cause of gravity.
Gravity was created on the 2nd day to bring about the permanent physical separation of light from dark, good from evil.
This doctrine is extensively developed in the Bible, and there are at least two Hebrew words for the concept of gravity in the context of the sequence of creation.
This affects everything that science thinks it knows about the earth and the universe.
Supposedly there is a clever way to prove that there is no open space inside the earth. It is derived from the assumption that gravity is a property of spacetime.
It uses the field value for acceleration due to gravity, small g, the radius of the earth and the gravitational constant, big G, to calculate the mass of the earth.
This value is calculated to be 5.972E+24 kg
The idea is that it’s possible to prove that the earth is a combination of solid/liquid layers, which have an average density, by doing a ball drop experiment. The rationale is that the gravitational constant, big G, combined with the mass of the earth is what causes acceleration due to gravity, small g, to be the value that we measure.
This is inductive reasoning. The premise is being used to supply evidence for the conclusion. The decision to regard gravity as a property of spacetime is arbitrary, given that we don’t know the cause of gravity. It’s circumstantial evidence.
We can choose to believe that gravity is a property of spacetime and calculate a value for the mass of the earth, but since we have never weighed the earth we have nothing to compare it to.
The only thing we have are the results of tests like the Cavendish Experiment. The problem with this is that it requires assuming the causal link between gravity and spacetime.
That means its circular reasoning.
We can’t use gravitational interactions with other planetary bodies to confirm our value because the values we have for the mass of the planets is derived from the mass of the sun. The mass of the sun is derived from the value we contrived for the mass of the earth.
This is also circular reasoning
Calculating the mass and density of the Earth requires circular reasoning and an assumption based on circumstantial evidence.
It goes something like this:
- IF the outer core is actually a great gulf of open space,
- AND this is about 26% of the mass of the earth,
- THEN that amount of mass must be subtracted from the mass of the earth.
- IF the mass of the earth is 26% less because of empty space,
- THEN that would affect the gravitational force of the earth, such that a free fall experiment at the surface of the earth would return a value for the standard acceleration due to gravity of about 25% less than what we measure.
So here’s the problem: the earth’s mass has never been measured. In which case the following logic applies:
- IF the earth’s mass is calculated by assuming that the earth is solid/liquid,
- AND this causes the value of small g that we measure,
- THEN the value of small g cannot be used as proof that the earth is solid/liquid
- – that’s circular reasoning.
On the other hand, the description given us by Jesus, not bound by the erroneous assumption that gravity is a property of spacetime, gives us a model for the internal structure of the earth which is compatible with seismological data.
Let’s interpret the same data by using the Biblical model of the interior of the earth:
- IF there is open space, a great gulf, between the surface of hell and the inner surface of the lower mantle,
- AND yet acceleration due to gravity, small g, is what we measure,
- THEN then there is no causal relationship between spacetime and gravity.
Do we trust in Jesus Christ as our savior? Are we willing to take him at his Word? Are we willing believe in Jesus Christ, AND believe what he says?
Jesus tells us in our passage today that there is open space inside the earth and, as a result, science is wrong about the causal relationship between spacetime and gravity.
Not Matty. Jesus.
Because of this, we do not have absolute values for the mass of the earth, the sun or any of the planetary bodies. We only have relative values.