Belief in spirits
In study: ‘Death and the state of the dead’ we see that the dead are not aware of anything. The dead are unconscious, asleep in the dust of the earth, where they remain until the resurrection, either of the just or of the unjust (see study: ‘Resurrection’,3).
This has implications for the almost universal belief that the dead survive death. In this study we address the various forms of belief in soul survival.
Satan, through his agencies, perpetuates his original lie: ‘you will not surely die’ (Ge 2:17, 3:4). Satan has always sought to deceive mankind by masquerading as the dead.
For instance, in 1Sa 28:3,7,14 we see (supposedly) the dead prophet Samuel called up by a woman who has a familiar spirit (a spirit medium in today’s reckoning).
As we have seen, the Bible’s teaching on the state of the dead makes clear that it cannot have been Samuel himself - it was thus a satanic agency masquerading as Samuel.
2.1 Modern spiritualism
Modern spiritualism began in 1848 in New York (USA) when two sisters (the Fox sisters) began to experience mysterious rapping noises, which they recognized were of supernatural origin (see ‘Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism’ by Barbara Weisberg).
From this experience grew a new religion: Spiritualism. In its numerous forms, Spiritualism is accepted by almost the whole world - it appeals to the human desire to escape death.
2.2 Warning against claiming to contact the dead
Claiming to contact the dead is known as necromancy (see the Oxford English Dictionary).
The bible is very clear - necromancy is an abomination to God:
De 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD…
Any who attempt to contact the dead are necromancers - they perpetuate Satan’s original lie, and thus are an abomination to God.
3. Belief in spirits of the dead
There are many of all religions (including Christianity) whose lives are governed by erroneous beliefs in spirits of the dead. These beliefs range from terror of evil spirits, to believing in the appearance of dead loved ones who supposedly give comfort.
All beliefs based on survival after death are deceptions of Satan.
All who believe in soul survival after death have no defence against Satan’s deceptions, which are so all-encompassing that almost the whole world is under Satan’s control.
3.1 The range of Satan’s deceptions
The terror of the dead experienced by those who are trapped in pagan religions is at one extreme. The lives of such poor souls are governed every moment by having to appease the spirits, otherwise, they believe, some dire calamity will befall them. However, in the eyes of Heaven, because of their unfavourable circumstances they are not held culpable, unless they are exposed to the truth and reject it.
The other extreme: the ‘Christian’ belief in soul survival, encompassing belief in the intervention by dead saints in human affairs, and especially belief in the doctrine of the virgin Mary as co-redemtrix with Christ, is far more insidious because it is seen as good.
Those who hold such beliefs are more culpable in the sight of Heaven because they have ready access to Scripture, but choose to ignore the truth - the truth, for instance, that Mary is asleep in the dust of the earth and awaiting the resurrection to eternal life (there is no record in Scripture that Mary ascended to Heaven).
Nevertheless, many Christians are terrorized into such beliefs by apostate leaders who threaten loss of salvation to those who question their doctrines.
Such is Satan’s skill, Christians who believe in soul survival cannot see that they are under the same deception as, for instance, the Voodoo priest.
Satan has a deception prepared for every shade of spirit belief, but the underlying deception is the same in every case.
Christ pities all who are trapped in Satan’s deceptions, and longs to set them free.
4. Freedom in Christ
As in all things, the only defence against Satan is a plain statement of scripture. We have seen that the dead are asleep in the dust of the earth. Thus all spirit manifestations are false and therefore originate with Satan.
However, Christ has prepared His Word to set free all who are trapped in Satan’s deception of soul survival:
Jn 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
All who choose to be set free in Christ are released from Satan’s captivity and experience ultimate freedom:
Jn 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
It has always been Satan’s intent to perpetuate his original lie: ‘you will not surely die’ - in this Satan has been enormously successful.
Those who believe mistakenly that the dead survive death are Satan’s captives. Those who claim to contact the dead support Satan in his lie, and are thus an abomination to God.
Scripture is our only safeguard against Satan’s lie. Christ longs to free all who are caught in Satan’s wiles.