Thursday, April 26, 2007

Christians & Ghosts

Lots of Christians get uncomfortable when people start talking about ghosts. Well, here’s something to think about: Jesus’s disciples believed in ghosts. Once when he was walking across the water, they thought he was a ghost and when he called out to them, Peter said, “If you’re not a ghost, tell me to join you on the water!” And Jesus could have said, “You moron! There’s no such thing as ghosts!” But he didn’t. He just said, “Come on down.”

Then, after Jesus’s resurrection, they once again thought he was a ghost and he said, “Check it out, I’m not a ghost, look I have hands and feet. Does a ghost have feet?” And then he asked them if there was anything to eat. The last I checked ghosts don’t eat dinner either.

So once again he could have debunked ghosts, but he didn't. In fact, a fair reading of his words seems to indicate that ghosts are real, but are not physical entities like us.

And then of course you have the very strange story of Samuel’s spirit appearing to Saul in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 28) when a witch calls him back from the dead. Spooky.

Finally, Jesus sent the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) to his followers. And, while most Christians accept the Holy Spirit kind of ghost, when it comes to the others they typically tell me, “Ghosts are demons.”

Perhaps some are, but what about Samuel's spirit? There's no evidence that was a demon. Besides, Jesus didn't refute the existence of ghosts and as far as I can tell, neither does the rest of the Bible.

I'm not sure what I believe about all this, but I think the message woven through all of the Bible is clear: there is more to this universe than meets the eye, spiritual entities are real, and rather than fear the ones we don't know, we should trust the One we do.



Logophile said...

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies."

Not a biblical reference, but also a response to a ghost sighting.

Adastra said...

This was very interesting.
Especially when you point out, "There is more to this universe than meets the eye..."
I believe that, and I believe in ghosts. However, I don't believe much of the hype we hear about them.

And...the interesting thing is (I think)...seeing is not believing. I once honestly thought I had seen a ghost when I was jogging in a wooded area. It was enough to give me goose bumps, quite a scare, and cold chills even when I was sweating from the workout. But yet, I still believe it was the hot sun and the sweat in my eyes that caused this illusion.

This makes me think of the first paragraph in C.S. Lewis' book "Miracles"...
"In all my life I have only met one person who claims to have seen a ghost. And the interesting thing about the story is that that person disbelieved in the immortal soul before she saw the ghost and still disbelieves after seeing it.."
To me it seems that the person of the story did believe she had seen a ghost even though she disbelieved in the immortal spirit. But unlike her...I believe in the immortal soul, but do not believe I saw a real "ghost"...(although my emotions at the split second moment would have said otherwise).

But...I also believe there are many things that cannot be proven because they are not tangible. They are only known by experience. And this is a characteristic of many things of the spirit. These are the things that can only be proven within the heart and mind of each individual...the proof comes to each person individually.

It's the nature of the work of the spirit!!

Adastra said...

Oops...a correction to my above comment, the person in the story of C.S. Lewis's book, it turns out, did not believe she actually saw a ghost. Just a sentence or two later than what I quoted it says that she said thought it must have been an illusion or trick of the nerves.
...It had been a while since I read that part, and obviously didn't read ahead when I quoted it.

Pat Callahan said...

The older I get, the fewer things I'm sure/dogmatic about.