What does the Bible say about ghosts? Are they real? Throughout human history, the idea of ghosts has captivated our imagination and curiosity, with the idea of the dead coming back in the form of ghosts finding their way through stories, beliefs, and pop culture.

While it may be hard to tell if ghosts really exist, the Bible is clear in its teachings about them. We are hoping that by the end of this article, you will have solved the paradox surrounding the existence of ghosts.

What does the Bible say about ghosts?
Three youngsters dressed as ghosts.

Do ghosts exist in the world? What comes to your mind when the word ghost is mentioned? Do you think about the spirits of the deceased? Or do you think of beings without a physical body? If the picture in your mind is the spirit of a dead person, then the answer is, ‘No, ghosts do not exist.’

However, if the picture in your mind is of spirit beings, then the answer is, ‘Yes, ghosts exist.’ Many Christians don’t know what the word ghosts means and the paradox arises from their ignorance. From the Scriptures, we will find out that there are good and bad spirit beings, which are angels and demons.       

Read Also: What Does the Bible Say About Chakras?

What do different societies believe about ghosts in the world today? Different societies have different beliefs about spirits, the living dead, ghosts, and afterlife encounters. These beliefs are diverse and vary from community to community. Some communities believe that if their dead are not buried in a ‘correct manner/position’ then their spirits will come back to haunt their families.

In other communities, some rituals are done after a person dies. So, if these rituals are not performed, the dead come back to haunt the people who were supposed to carry out the rituals. And in some, people believe that the character of a dead person can show up in a person who is named after them. It is like the dead person resurrects and lives in the body of the person named after them.

Many Christians refuse to name their children after other people because they believe that when those people die, their spirits will live in the bodies of their children.     

There is much that I can say about the beliefs of different communities but that’s not our focus today. In this article, we will look at the teachings the Bible offers and use them as a foundation of understanding for those seeking a faith-based viewpoint on ghosts.

What does the Bible say about ghosts?
Two people in ghost costumes.

So, What Does the Bible Say About Ghosts?

The Dead Have No Part in Anything on Earth

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

The dead are clueless about the things that are happening in the world. They will never participate in anything and neither can they come back as ghosts to hate people, to love, or to express their jealousy. Once they die, they no longer retain their consciousness.

Read Also: What Does the Bible Say About Loved Ones Visiting Us in Dreams?

Therefore, the notion that the dead can come back as ghosts to haunt the living is unrealistic. We have no connection with the dead and they cannot even tell if they were part of our families since they have lost their awareness and consciousness.  

Bible Teaching on the Finality of Death

“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”

Hebrews 9:27

The Bible makes it clear that after death, there is a next stage for humanity. This stage is not to come back to the world as a ghost, but to face judgment over the things they did while still alive. Death is a one-time event and there is no in-between. There is no going back and forth between the world of the dead and the world of the living.

Read Also: What Does the Bible Say About Crystals?

The Bible Prohibits Communication with the Dead

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-11

While ghosts or spirits of the dead may appear to you because of your beliefs, God warns us against communicating with them. We are not to inquire about anything from them or have a conversation with them. King Saul consulted the spirit of Samuel through a medium and in turn angered the Lord, (1 Samuel 28:3-25).

He ended up being tormented by an evil spirit. This should prove to us that making attempts to communicate with the spirits of the dead is going against God’s will.     

What does the Bible say about ghosts?
Two people dressed in ghost costumes looking out through a window.

The Realm of Angels and Demons

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

When we talk about ghosts that exist, we are referring to angels and demons. These are the spirit beings that the Bible in Ephesians 6:12 refers to as spiritual forces at work in the heavenly realms. These spirit beings operate in the heavenly realms, distinct from the world of the living.

They can cause us harm or good depending on whether they are good or bad. Demons are bad ghosts that can take the form of a diseased person to scare, mislead, deceive, and destroy us. They are agents of the devil and we should not tolerate them even if they impersonate a diseased friend or family member.     

Read Also: 50 Powerful Bible Verses About the End of Time

Did They Appear to the People as Ghosts?

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”

Matthew 27:51-53

Matthew 27:51-53 talks of the deceased who resurrected together with Jesus. The Bible mentions that they came out of their wombs and showed themselves to the people. Now, the question is, did they appear to the people in the holy city in their physical bodies or as ghosts? The Bible does not say much about them but from other passages where Jesus raised people back to life, they appeared in their physical bodies. So, we can rule out the idea that they may have appeared to the people as ghosts. 

What does the Bible say about ghosts?
Three people in ghost costumes holding a pumpkin curved as a face.

A Dead Person Cannot Be Aroused from Their Sleep

“But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As the water of a lake dries up or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so he lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, people will not awake or be roused from their sleep.”

Job 14:12

There is no possibility of a dead person waking up from their ‘sleep’ to come and haunt or pass a message to the living. The deceased will not rise again until the day of judgment when all the dead will resurrect. As earlier mentioned, the beings we see as ghosts could be angels or demons masquerading as the deceased. They are the only ghosts that exist.  

The Dead Cannot Execute Plans in the Land of the Living

“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day, their plans come to nothing.”

Psalms 146:3-4

The notion that the dead can come back to life as ghosts to complete their unfinished businesses on earth is distorted. The plans in their minds come to an end the very moment they lose their breath. The Bible warns us against putting our trust in human beings who may die in a second and be gone forever with their unfulfilled promises. 

What does the Bible say about ghosts?
An old skeleton.

Read Also: 35 Bible Verses About Dreams

Conclusion

While cultural beliefs may vary, we as Christians believe in what the word of God says. It is our source of knowledge and wisdom and it reveals to us the things we did not know. Ghosts of the deceased do not exist but spirit beings in the heavenly realms exist. These spirits can impersonate a deceased human being for a purpose but the Scriptures warn us not to keep contact with them or communicate with them.