Around Halloween, we see plenty of depictions of ghosts in movies and decorations. Some people tell stories of experiences that they felt truly involved ghosts. Other people dismiss the possibility. In church, I have heard it said that ghosts do not exist, but we may witness angels and demons whom we mistake as ghosts. Regardless of your views about spiritual beings, I think we could probably all agree that there aren’t likely white spirits like the ones that are commonly shown in Halloween movies. While I don’t know that we can truly know whether ghosts exist, in the Halloween spirit (Get it? “Spirit?” Too much? Okay, moving on.), I thought it would be fun to look at whether the Bible supports the idea that ghosts or similar beings exist.
There are at least a couple of cases in Scripture that could be used to support the idea of the existence of ghosts. First, let’s look at the transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13. In this story, Jesus took some of his disciples to a high mountain where they saw Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah lived many years before Jesus was born. While Elijah was taken up to Heaven and may not have died in the sense that we think of it, we know that Moses died a normal death. Peter saw them and offered to pitch tents for each of them which suggests that there appearance was like a living human.
Next, we can look at Jesus’ resurrection. Romans 6:5 tells us that we will “be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Jesus made appearances on Earth for forty days after the resurrection before He ascended into Heaven. Each of the Gospels gives accounts of Jesus appearing to the disciples at various times. He ate with them; He walked with them. Now, one could easily argue that He is Jesus, and He is a special case. However, Scripture doesn’t clarify exactly what happens for the rest of us.
While I don’t know whether ghosts exist, I don’t think it is crazy to believe that they do, even as a Christian. I think these stories show that if they do exist, we don’t need to fear them. I also don’t think we should necessarily be quick to dismiss stories people have of their encounters, at least not unless they say they saw a spirit akin to a white sheet with eyes.