It’s Halloween, and shops and houses are adorned with images of ghosts and spirits. Children regard it as a time of great fun.
The origin of this celebration is an ancient Celtic festival, Samhain. People believed that the souls of dead people returned to their homes. People dressed up and lit bonfires to frighten spirits away.
But there is a serious question: can the dead really come back?
Most certainly they can! The fundamental teaching of Christianity is that Jesus died, but came alive again. And he was changed so that now he lives for ever:
Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time… (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him (Romans 6:9).
Moreover, faithful believers who belong to Jesus will also be raised to everlasting life when Jesus comes back.
…in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).
But Jesus was not like a ghost. After his resurrection he said:
See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have (Luke 24:39).
So, what about souls of dead people? Do they come back? Do we need to be scared of ghosts or evil spirits?
No! The Bible teaches that dead people are unconscious and know nothing at all:
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
But the dead can live again, and some will – just like Jesus. We can have that wonderful hope if we follow Jesus now.
Image credit: Toby Ord, CC BY-SA 2.5