What About Ghosts?

Halloween is coming up.  You can read my obigatory Halloween rant here; I want this post to be something else.  Let’s examine the reality of witches, demons, evil spirts and ghosts.  Let’s separate literal truth from literary fiction, because in this life “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorites, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”  Eph 6: 12

In Matthew 14, Jesus comes to the disciples walking on water.  The wind is high and the seas are rough, so the they are probably already afraid.  When they see Jesus walking on the water, the think he’s a ghost!  He tells them it’s only him and to not be afraid.  I’ve had Bible students site this passage as biblical proof that ghosts exist.  I point out that this story doesn’t prove there really are ghosts, just that the disciples believe in them.  If you are already afraid – as one might be sneaking into a cemetery  in the middle of the night, or entering a supposedly “haunted” house – then one’s mind is more likely to play tricks.  Fear plus adrenaline plus imagination could equal anything.  On the other hand, one will note that Jesus doesn’t deny the existence of ghosts, only that he is not one.

I do not believe in ghosts.  Death is the separation of body and soul.  The moment your body dies your spirit will go to one of two places.  In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus both men die.  Lazarus is taken to Abraham in paradise, while the rich man opened his eyes in hell.  For a person’s spirit to remain behind, unfinished business or otherwise, then God would have to make a mistaken.  I am unwilling to concede that God could be mistaken or that the Bible is wrong.  I do not believe in ghosts, whatever you saw in Grandma’s attic notwithstanding.

But what about evil spirits, witches, wizards and demons?  Now those are things I believe in.  When Lucifer was cast from heaven, a third of the angels fell with him.  Where exactly was he expelled to?  The devil is not a bright red imp with a pointy tail, pitchfork and horns.  Nor is he in hell.  Lucifer was the most beautiful angel in heaven, and we are warned in the New Testament to not be surprised that he appears to be an angel of light.  The Ephesians passage above indicates this is the realm of the devil and his angels.  We are living behind enemy lines!  He tempted Eve to commit original sin, and has been at it ever since.

The first signs performed by Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7) could be imitated by Pharaoh’s magicians using their “secret arts.”  When Saul wanted to consult with the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 28) he found a medium.  The first thing Samuel told him was basically “I’m dead, we shouldn’t be having this conversation.”  Witches, wizards, mediums, fortune tellers, etc. do have real power.  Their power comes from an unholy source.  We are warned to have nothing to do with it, and that such will not have a part of God’s kingdom.

Speaking biblically, there are no ghosts.  But demons, demon possession, witches, wizards, evil spirits and mediums: those things are real.  There really is magic in the world, but there is no good magic.  While the people of God are not to live in fear, there really are things out there to be afraid of.

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10 thoughts on “What About Ghosts?

  1. ………………………………………………………….boo!

    Just checkin’… I think you’re dead on. But I wonder from Saul’s encounter with Samuel, does this support the legitimacy of spiritualists and palm readers and others that have attracted a fairly large following today, even though sinful, and demonic in their foundation? I don’t often ponder these things, but you got me thinking. Thanks friend

  2. LOL. Too much ghoulish humor for me.

    Was kind of interested in your take on the mediums of today… any reality or all just fraud to take people’s money?

    God bless.

  3. I think most of what we see and hear about is bogus. You’ll note that t.v. series such as Crossing Over and Ghost Hunters appear on the Sci Fi channel, after all. Halloween has pretty much been reduced to a child’s plaything. But there is a basis in reality for witchcraft and sorcery, movies and cartoons aside. My next post will be about what we really should be afraid of; can you guess what it is?

  4. Let me get this off my chest: Harry Potter is a children’s book. J.K. Rowling has introduced an entire generation to reading books again, thank goodness for it. You can no more learn about wizardry from reading Harry Potter than from watching the Wizard of Oz. I listened to whole spiel (from a personal friend) about how Potter teaches kids to work spells but Lord of the Rings does not. Hog wash, pardon my French.

  5. To be fair I can mostly agree with what has been said here and I can safely say that I do not believe in ghosts BUT I can say that I believe in spirits both good and bad roaming the earth. I do believe that most of the spirits that inhabit the earth are evil but there are also angels among us. I would not think it completely out of the realm of possibility to say that an Angel could come to a human in a form that would be more comforting like a loved one OR vice versa that a demon could come to a human in such a form. Spirits are real and they exist in this plane of existence and can be good or evil but we as humans interpret what we see as ghosts of lost love ones with much the same process that ancient tribes of more archaic times explained the moon and the stars. We don’t understand it therefore we just come up with an explanation from the top of our heads that seems to fit.

  6. Very well put, and certainly Scriptural.
    There is no doubt about the work of demons, evil spirits etc in our world today, but there is also no doubt that to all comes death, and after death the judgement. There is no in-between.

  7. The Bible certainly supports the idea that there are angels among us. Sometimes angels appear in their natural form, but we are also encouraged to show hospitality because many have entertained angels unaware. (Hebrews 13:2)

  8. So I actually have a question about Matthew 27:52 and 27:53.Did these people rise from the dead as Lazarus did or did they simply just see the spirits walking in the city of Jerusalem? I ask because Matthew 27:52 and 27:53 are the only accounts I know of where this happened. As far as to my knowledge the Gospels never mention it. I think if real saints started walking the streets of Jerusalem SOMEONE besides Matthew might have mentioned that detail. Also the Mount Of Transfiguration would be good to site as what people would commonly mistake as a “Ghost” sighting. Like I said I think people are confused by what they see so they define it as a “Ghost”. Much the same reason some call the third person in the trinity the Holy “Ghost”.

  9. Most of the events of Jesus’ life are the same or similar throughout the Gospels. There are some stories that appear in only one or another. The story of the prodigal son is only found in Luke 15, but I’ve never heard anyone make the argument that Jesus never told that parable. The story of the woman caught in the act of adultery is well known; Jesus says to hear “Repent, and sin no more.” That story is only in John 8, and not found in all of the ancient manuscripts.

    Only Matthew records the appearance of dead saints in Jerusalem, but it does say they were seen by many. Without at least some witnesses to back his claim, Matthew is going out a limb to say as a matter of fact that it happened. It does says by the way (I looked up the passage in ESV) that the bodies of the saints were raised and came out of the tombs.

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