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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Bible and the Paranormal

Warning: If you do not wish to read about religious views and God, please skip reading this post.

I love the show Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International and Paranormal State just to name a few. But I am a little worried if being a Baptist and believing in the paranormal is just not right.

My parents are not particularly thrilled that I am so enthralled with the Paranormal, so I did some investigating and happened to run into someone online that really got me thinking.

Below is part of our conversation along with some scriptures that really got my brain going. I would really love some feedback from those of you who chose to read this post without passing any judgements.

Me: Are all ghosts of demonic or evil nature?

Answer: I don't think so, Biblically from the reason I put forth in this article about the Apostles on the water and their response to thinking Jesus was a "ghost". But many entities seem to be a residual phenomena much like a film being played over and over. Now many entities that investigators uncover and malicious in nature and interaction with them not only increases their strength, but can harm the person interacting with them.

Me: Is watching Ghost Hunters and/or Paranormal State sinful?

Answer: I do not think it is sinful, but I have to tell you it is deceiving. I love the original Ghost Hunters, but I have reservations about Paranormal State and other shows. They make horrid mistakes as they claim to demonic entities, and sometimes they actually call out the entities to manifest themselves in a commanding way. That borderlines on necromancy and is not good. I have not seen this done on the original Ghost Hunters, but I have heard about a few incidents on the International show. Paranormal State seems very staged. We have to be very careful when dealing with entities. Sometimes these shows seem to approach them without proper safeguards spiritually and that is very dangerous.

Me: I believe that some people are gifted such as Psychics and Mediums, am I wrong to believe that?

Answer: I prefer to call them gifted with spiritual gifts as 1 Corinthians 12-13 tells us. But some people can use these gifts for their own desires and corrupt the gift. I think the spiritual gifts are given to us by God and when we become right with Him he accentuates them with the power of his Spirit. Just a personal opinion. I know many gifted people who do not have a close relationship with God, and their gifts are evident. But I notice as they grow close to Christ in loving others and giving of themselves as Christ did the power and accuracy grows.

I have many Baptist friends and I understand where you are coming from. Your parents are only concerned for your spiritual well being. Contemporary American Christianity has purged many traditional beliefs from their world view, among them are belief in ghosts and the supernatural outside of miracles and angelic interventions (and some do not believe in that either). Much of the American Christianity today is motivated by legalism and judgementalism - both of which the Bible condemns as sinful behavior.

God made a vast and mysterious universe. We cannot fathom all the mysteries He has made. We can only use the faith, the word and true love as guides as we face a world of good and evil.

I also found a piece of info that I would like to share with you too:

The Bible does talk about Ghosts, and the spirit of the dead returning to the earth.

In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel chapter 28:7-25 we see Saul King of Israel visit a medium when God does not answer him when war approaches. The prophet Samuel has died and King Saul asks the medium to bring up Samuel from the dead. The Ghost of Samuel talks to the King and tells him his fate is sealed just as he told him while he was alive. Verses 11-15 talk about the appearance of the Ghost of Samuel:

Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, “Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!” And the king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What did you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.” So he said to her, “What is his form?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.” And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

The Bible clearly states that this is the Ghost of the prophet Samuel. Nowhere in the text does it state that he is otherwise. The spirit is the disembodied essence of the man, and he is recognizable. He is ‘brought up’ from the earth by the witch of Endor, brought from the grave to their presence.

According to the Old Testament, the concept of a Ghost or disembodies spirit of a deceased person is not only real, it is Scriptural.

What about the New Testament? A lot of Theological concepts evolve between the Testaments, such as Grace, Forgiveness and a host of others. What about the concept of a Ghost? Does this evolve as well after the teachings of Jesus?

Almost everyone has heard the story of Jesus walking on water, and if you ever went to Sunday School as a kid I am sure you additionally heard about Peter attempting to do the same and failing. This tale of trust and faith has been used for millennia to teach and encourage Christians. But just before the text talks about Peter’s attempt to come to Jesus on the water the text tells us something unusual:

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:25-27

The disciples thought Jesus was a ghost. And they were afraid. Now if ghostly apparitions are all demonic presences as some Christians report, why were the disciples afraid? Just a few chapters earlier Jesus had demonstrated how to exorcise evil spirits and then commissioned the disciples to go all over the land and do so. (Matthew 8:28-34, Matthew 10:1-4) Although not implicit in the text it would seem that they should have had some personal experience in exorcism by themselves. So why were they afraid? Because they believed in Ghosts-the disembodied spirits of the dead who still roam the earth. And not only that, Jesus did not rebuke them for thinking he was a Ghost, instead He just calmed them down and let them know it was Him. If the concept of a disembodied spirit is so unbiblical why did Jesus let his disciples believe such things exist without correction?


simpleyesa said...

The conversation awed me. I am a born-again christian and i do believe also that Ghost are not of the devil. I don't know why i say so but thanks to your post. At least, i taken the vagueness a way bit.

Anonymous said...

For more information on this topic read 'Growing Up Weird: Confessions of a closet medium' by Karen Crumley. It is available on amazon.com and it is about the gifts of prophecy and discernment and many of the things you were talking about.