Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thoughts on the Spiritual: A Conversation between The Phoneix and I (Part 4)

Continuing from previous post(s):

In regards to our "protection" from spiritual evil, we are protected from spiritual evil by the blood of Christ, but that protection does not suddenly sever us from the spiritual world. We can still be witnesses to demonic activity (Jesus and His disciples certainly were), though through Christ we (1) are shielded from it and (2) have authority over it.

Your mentioning of "the judgment" after death (as King Jimmy calls it) was going to be my "further thoughts" about ghosts, viz., the nature of the afterlife. How you view the afterlife directly affects your view of ghosts; and as you pointed out, orthodox Christianity believes that once death occurs, the soul does not linger here. It goes on to "meet its Maker".

Of course, that just makes the ghost question more complicated. If they are not lingering souls nor demonic activity, then what are they?

I propose some pseudo-heterodox speculation on the subject. It should be fun, if for no other reason then it would provide an excellent plot line for some story in the future. 8^D

I shall begin, then you can respond to mine and then offer a pseudo-heterodoxical speculation of your own.


There is a concept within the Old Testament (and one that lingers in the New) that death is actually just "sleep," i.e., that the soul remains dormant in the body until God calls it to judgment. This could be what is behind those phrases in Pauline epistles where he talks about those who "sleep in Jesus," and how when Christ returns "the dead in Christ shall rise," seeming to suggest that their souls have not yet left their bodies (I Thess. 4:14, 16; actually, the entire passage of I Thess. 4:13-18 has several mentions of "those who sleep").

If we take it that in death the soul merely "sleeps" until it is called to judgment, then we can then perhaps explain why some people say a place is haunted because some poor soul "cannot find rest". The default idea behind hauntings is that something terrible and/or unjust occurred to someone and now they can have no rest until it is rectified. Perhaps this can be connected to the whole "soul-sleep" theory, viz., at death, a soul normally sleeps until the call to judgment, but in instances of wrong (an upsurge of horrendous spiritual evil) the soul is incapable of resting until justice is met, whether in this life (by some avenger) or the next (at the throne of God).

The Fall could definitely explain how this is possible: the introduction of Sin into the world has disrupted the whole of Creation (including the spiritual side), causing all that ought to happen to be thwarted. If "soul-sleep" is the proper and natural result of death (i.e., what ought to be), then it is completely possible that Sin can (or has) disrupt it as well.

Thus, perhaps the old story (i.e., they cannot find rest) is actually the true story: Ghosts are souls that cannot sleep because of the terrible evil that happened to them, and thus are left to linger until justice is served somehow.

Thus is my first speculation. I await your response.

-Jon Vowell

1 comment:

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