Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

"Do you believe in ghosts?"

That was the question I was asked during an interview a long time ago. I remember that situation quite vividly. There I was sitting down in front of a panel which comprised of four interviewers. My hands were clasped together feeling quite clammy, and my legs quivered as if they had their own built-in motor. While waiting for my turn, I had prepared myself to answer factual questions, questions that would test my knowledge and logical thinking, questions that would enable the panel to make precise decisions based on the organisation of my ideas, the maturity of my answer, and the depth of my analysis.

But this?

"Err, no. I don't believe in them," I blurted out. "But, I do believe in spirits."

As soon as those words left my mouth I knew I had to think quickly of what exactly was the difference between those two. I don't remember now what my exact answers were but that question has stuck with me because of some recent events. So, is there such a thing as ghosts?

Popular culture would seem to confirm that there is such a thing as a ghost. You are told about it on the tv, in the cinema, in magazines, in books; you sometimes hear ghost stories from friends as well, events that seemed to have affected people closer to you.

But, if you asked me, then I'd have to answer the question with another question: what's your understanding of the word 'ghost'? Does it refer to the spirit of someone who's died? Or is a ghost, a spirit being?

If you're Christian (or even if you're not), consider this passage from the Bible:

Hebrews 9:27
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment...

The Bible declares that man dies only once, and after that he is judged. There is no mention of an in-between state. You die, then you're judged. But at the same time, the Bible also teaches about spirit beings who can somehow manifest themselves in our world and connect with it. Of these there are two: angels and demons. Angels are servants of God, faithfully serving Him. Demons on the other hand are evil, deceptive and destructive. Their primary modus operandi is that of trickery: disguising themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15). And while such spirits can sometimes seem to do good (as in giving some useful information or a warning), it is their nature to deceive. Their intent is only one: to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

That's why Christians are called to test the spirits to see if they are from God (1 John 4:1). And how do you know whether a spirit is of God or not? Read 1 John 4:2.

So, after all that lengthy explanation, do I believe in ghosts?

No, I don't believe in them. But I do believe there are spirits.


Miss Mathew said...


maslight said...

I believe in spiritual beings

Roslyn said...

Ghost, spirit, ectoplasm...call a spade a spade, will you?

They're all God' creations, anyway.

Perry R. Lim said...

Roslyn: Sure, call a spade a spade. But there is a fine line between what we usually understand as ghost - the spirit of a dead person. But, my understanding is there is no such thing as a spirit of a dead person, hence no such thing as a ghost. What there is though are spiritual beings, i.e. either an angel or a demon.

Perry R. Lim said...

Miss Matthew and maslight: We're on the same wavelength then!

Roslyn said...

Therein lies the dilemma of having too little info about something... we don't really know for sure, do we? But it makes for some mighty interesting discussions..:)

For the record, I don't know what ghosts are but I believe in angels and demons too...

Nick Phillips said...

I'm a firm believer of things that go bump in the night and I've had many experiences to justify it :D