Stump the Rector – Ghosts and Angels?

the-annunciation

A child in our parish asks if angels and ghosts really exist.

We know from Holy Scripture that angels do indeed exist. We find them from Genesis, guarding the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:24) and then all through the Bible until the Book of Revelation where they are joining in the worship of God (Rev 7:11). So yes mam, we certainly believe in them.

The word “angel” means “messenger.” We see the angel Gabriel delivering God’s message to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. When Jesus was born the angel of the Lord delivered that news to the shepherds and two angels were present at Jesus’s empty tomb to tell the men and women that Jesus was not their.

While it is not clear how it all works, the Bible indicates that we have what people call a guardian angel (Mt 18:10). (I have had days when I think I must be wearing mine out). But we must be careful about angels because also we are warned not to worship them (Col 2:18). We are to worship God alone. So while we are to be grateful to God for angels, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus.

The question about ghosts is not as easy to answer. There is a story in the Bible where a witch brings up a ghost at the request of King Saul. But the Bible also warns us against witchcraft and forbids us to try to contact the dead through such ways (Deut 18:9-12). It also refers to evil spirits as “deceiving spirits” ( I Tim 4:1) which leads me to wonder if the witch truly brought up a ghost or was it an deceiving spirit posing as a ghost?

When Jesus told a story of the afterlife He spoke of one man being in a type of heaven and the other man suffering in a type of hell. Also He told the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in paradise.” That I know of, there is no indication in the Bible that our souls roam the earth apart from our bodies after we die. So when I die I hope to go be with Jesus instead of living in my attic scarring Miss Beth. But that’s just me.

When it comes to ghosts, I think it is best that the only one we have anything to do with is the Holy Ghost. Jesus said He will lead us into all truth. Who else would we need?

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