by Wayne Blank
Do "Ghosts" Really Exist?
The Bible plainly states that the spirit world is teeming with life. God Himself of course is Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God (called the "Holy Ghost" in earlier translations of the Bible, see The Holy Ghost and The Holy Spirit) is Spirit. God also created countless billions of angels, the good ones being the servants of Believers (e.g. "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Hebrews 1:14 KJV), but there are also angels who rebelled and sinned, known now as demons (or "devils" in older translations; see also What Makes Satan A Devil?). The chief among these is Satan himself who became a wicked rebel (see Born To Be Wild? and What Does Satan Look Like?)
But what are "ghosts"? Are they angels of some sort? Or are they spirits of humans who have died?
There is only one recorded incident in the Scriptures of the spirit of a dead human seeming to appear to someone, that of Samuel appearing to Saul. It's important to note that, if it was somehow actually the awakened spirit of Samuel, as it seems to have been, the rare incident was to deliver a Godly message, not to scare or haunt anyone:
"And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou?"
It's also very important to note that Saul used a witch (1 Samuel 28:7) to consult that spirit, something that God commanded never to do:
"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto The Lord: and because of these abominations The Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12 KJV)
Are ghosts angels then? Righteous angels did appear to humans quite often throughout Bible History, but they never did it in a "haunting" or obscure manner. They usually appeared in the form of humans, who identified themselves in a clear and dignified manner, while bringing a message or on a mission from God. There was no nonsense.
So, if "ghosts" do exist, and they're not humans (see What Happens When You Die?), or God's angels, what's left? Demons.
Demons are fallen angels who have become warped in thought and behavior. The very small number of "unexplainable" incidents (keeping in mind that most sightings are honest misperceptions, deliberate fabrications, or unhealthy delusions by the mentally ill or those impaired by alcohol or drugs) are very likely demons. And they are nothing to worry about for the converted Christian.
Fact Finder: How did the people of God cast out demons?