In June of 2007 I wrote an article entitled, What Does The Bible Say About Ghosts? It has surprised me how much feedback has come in about this article over the past three years, not only comments but emails too.
One of the comments was a series of honest questions that I answered in the comment section. The questions were pertinent and want to use that response as a post here on the blog.
Here are Jennifer’s questions and my responses. I hope this post and the first post help you if you are wondering about ghosts or if you have been asked about ghosts and need some information to get you started in studying what the Bible says.
Because of the volume of your post, I am going to divide it into sections and answer each question in order, but you will see that some of my answers are interconnected with many of your comments because so many of your questions have to do with the second coming of Christ and the state of the dead in Christ.
There are so many interpretations of scripture regarding the second coming and what happens to people after they die. I will be sharing what I believe with you in this post. But as a baby Christian, you will grow and you may develop other beliefs and understandings of scripture. Be careful that those changes do not lead you to search for an “out” so that you can believe what your heart wants to believe about ghosts instead of continuing to search out God’s Word on the subject. Our hearts are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
What I want to stress to you is that there is something more important than our beliefs about the areas of the second coming and where the dead go involved in this conversation. The main focus has to be God and His glory.
I am including a lot of Bible verses for you to read and compare with what I am telling you. I encourage you to read these verses prayerfully to get a better understanding of what the Bible says about ghosts.
In His Grace and Joy,
I still have a hard time not believing in ghosts, and I am christian.
This is an area of struggle and concern for you, I understand and I will try to shed some light or at least give you more to think about.
Why do they call the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit if there is only demonic or bad/evil ghosts or spirits? When we talk about ghosts we are talking about humans, not God.We’re talking about dead people’s spirits coming back to earth. God is a Spirit and that is our essence because we are created in His image. Our spirits are precious things. In God’s Word, spirits of dead people coming back to earth is not a good thing so that’s why we know that ghosts are not really the essences of people but evil spirits or demons trying to fool people for some reason.
Also, if people who are saved go straight to heaven when they die, then why does it say in the bible that Jesus will come to judge the living AND the dead?
Why, if the saved who are dead are already in heaven, do they get judged again, or why are they not judged before being allowed to enter into heaven?
God tells us in His Word that we will see Him in our flesh ( Job 19:26). He will restore our bodies and give us a perfect body like that of Jesus..who will always be completely God and completely human with a body (Acts 1:11).
What the Word indicates is that when someone dies who is in Christ, that person’s soul/spirit goes to be with Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8). I would say that anywhere Jesus is will be heaven, so I loosely use that term to indicate where we will be: heaven. What we do know is that we will be present with the Lord and in a desirable place.
At a later time known only to the Father (Mark 13:32) Jesus will return and at that time our bodies will rise from where they are, perfected by God, and be reunited with our spirits/souls.
The righteous will be judged at that time, not to see if they will enter heaven, that has already been settled at their death when they were found to be “in Christ”, but they will be judged according to what they have done in life (1 Corinthians 3:12-15,Mt. 12:36, Romans 2:16) and if their deeds are worthless, they will lose some of their rewards.
Those who are not in Christ at the time of their death will not be with God in death. Their spirits live on out of the presence of God. The Word tells us that the dead who are not in Christ are not here on earth but that they suffer without God’s presence from the time they die until the time of the judgment (Job 27:19-20; 2 Peter 2:4-10) when they will be cast into the lake of fire, which was actually prepared for the punishment of satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41).
Even though it is only recorded once in the bible that God allowed a spirit of a dead human return to earth, does it meant that He would not or could not have allowed it more than just that one time?
Doesn’t it say somewhere in the bible that the dead or the sleeping will awake?
What does that mean if they are already in heaven?
In one perspective, He could allow it. However, nowhere else in His Word does He indicate that He did allow it and we have to live by what we have in His Word. In doing so today He would violate the very Word that He has given us to live by. So I would have to say that He would not do that.
What is the difference if any of a soul or a spirit?
We do have souls, which are supposed to go to heaven if we are saved, but what if we don’t go to heaven, and we are here waiting for Jesus to come again to judge us before allowing us to enter into heaven?
There is a lot of different thought on the difference between the soul and the spirit of man. In scripture the two are commonly used interchangeably though there are several verses that make a distinction between the two (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I would say that the soul is the personality, intellect and will of man and that the spirit is the part that can grasp and understand the spiritual things of life.
All that you said does make sense to me, and I am no scholar when it comes to the bible, I am just a baby christian, I don’t think I have actually even read the whole bible yet, but I am hungry for as much Jesus as I can get, and this subject has confused me for a long, long time. I believe that I have had some experiences with ghosts myself, and I do like the idea that my father who passed away looks out for me, still loves me, and tries to help me, but that doesn’t make me less hungry for God’s presence in my life, it doesn’t distract me from wanting to seek more of God and from wanting to know God more and more everyday, in fact I think that knowing my dad is with God, or waiting here for Jesus to return and judge him, makes me want God and His presence in my life even more.
I don’t try to contact my dad through seances or mediums or anything like that, I don’t pray to my dad or anything, I don’t worship my dad in any kind of way, but I do like to think that we can believe that our loved ones who passed away can visit us, and we may be able to feel there presence, and they can come to comfort us, even in our dreams, but I do believe that just like there can be good spirits or souls, there are also bad/evil spirits and souls too. So why am I wrong in thinking these things?
You’re not necessarily wrong about what you are believing here. God tells us in Hebrews 1:1 that there is a great number of witnesses to our faith. Those witnesses could be some of our own loved ones whom God allows to witness certain accomplishments and struggles in our lives.
God does wipe away tears, but those tears are not wiped away until after the final judgment, so I believe that our friends and family who are with the Lord could see good times and bad when He allows it (Rev 21:4). And that can be an encouragement to us.
I do not however believe that God allows our loved ones to visit us. There is simply no scriptural support for that. In fact scripture argues against that. So as badly as I might want it, I want the truth of God’s Word and His way even more. I can see that you loved your Dad deeply. If you believe your Dad is with Jesus, then I believe that you can claim that promise that when we see Him we will be changed to be like Him. Your Dad in Jesus’ presence, is like Jesus in his character. So if you are pleasing Jesus you are pleasing your Dad. Your Dad wants nothing more than for you to love and worship Jesus with your life and actions.
I hope you can help me finally put this topic to rest in my heart and mind, I don’t want to be disobedient, but some things just are not as clear as I would like them to be in the bible. I know, there is nothing I can do about that, and I have prayed that God tell me Himself whether the way I think is wrong or not, but I still haven’t gotten a clear answer that I have recognized as an answer anyway. Right now I am doing a research paper in my college class about the existence of ghosts, so I am looking forward to your response very much. Thank you for your help. God bless you and your loved ones.
Keep searching, but always search out God’s Word, not what someone else may say about ghosts. There are a lot of things that are not clear to me, either. But God holds us responsible for whatever truth we may have. So when you search and learn, be true to it and live out out. God bless you on your way.