|In Angels, Demons, and the Dead, I tell the story of a Christian woman who lived in a nursing home and had nightly conversations with her deceased husband. When sensing his presence, she told him about her day in the same way she had for their sixty-plus years together. He didn’t say much, but then he never was a talker. She felt calm during their visits, less lonely. She wanted to be with him. In fact, she preferred his company over those around her. She withdrew from people and cared less and less about talking with others. She grew more depressed and desperately sought comfort from her deceased husband.|
Mental health experts of all stripes agree that prolonged isolation contributes to mental and emotional decline. They encourage residents to socialize with people and not to spend too much time alone. Such advice is sound and sensible, but Christians have more to say.
Believers in Christ understand that the woman is a child of God. The Holy Spirit shares his life within her; she has fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit illuminates Scripture to make it possible for her to have a genuine understanding of God. God loves her and changes her to reflect the Son Jesus Christ as she loves and obeys him. God has ordained her days. There is power in the gospel.
Scripture tells us not to talk to the dead. In biblical days, the common folk believed that medium and spiritists called up the dead to communicate with the living. Deuteronomy 18:10–12 strongly condemns talking to the dead.
|In Isaiah 8:19, we read “When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?”|
|There is a strong possibility that the woman conversed with a demon masquerading as her deceased husband. Why do I say this? Jesus unmasked the demons. People in the ancient Near East believed that the dead could talk with living and that sometimes spirits of the dead harassed and even possessed the living. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ exposed their masquerades when he ordered demons, not the dead, to leave their victims. Jesus declared his authority over them and said, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt. 12:28)|
Indeed, there is power in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Scripture equips Christians to discern what is and is not of God. Jesus Christ enables believers young and old to live extraordinary lives in his grace. This is the wondrous mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ.