The Great Ghost Debate Are Human Spirits Consistent With a Biblical Worldview?

ghost debate

Many have objected to my arguments that a biblical worldview must leave room for human ghosts by insisting that they are all demons in disguise. While it is impossible for an author to address each readers concerns one on one, a serious author will seek the opponent with the strongest counter arguments and address them in print. That is why I addressed Mark Hunneman’s work in The Supernatural Worldview. Now in the interest of seeking truth, we are taking it live. I will be debating Presbyterian Pastor Mark Hunneman author of Seeing Ghosts Through God’s Eyes on whether or not “all ghosts are demons” (Mark’s position) or if a biblical worldview allows for the appearance of human apparitions (my stance). This will be recorded and publicly podcast free to all on Beyond Extraordinary with Natalina, the first weekend in October.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.


  1. John Corcoran says:

    It has been my privilege to know a Godly man who had a reputation for so called deliverance ministry. His apt comment to me when he had prayed for a young man to be “cut off” from his mother who was troubling him from beyond the grave was, ” If necromancy was not possible God would not have needed to forbid it!” I had queried this with him having only later discovered that she was dead.
    Only those with experience in these realms can understand that it really was Samuel that came up to Saul when he went to the witch of Endor.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Thanks for your comment John. Yes there are too many such accounts to dismiss them all with a hand wave. I think the text is very clear it was really Samuel. Bottom line is that people need to decide if they believe the Bible or not. Simply copping out and saying Samuel was really a demon is just disingenuous -=- it’s not found in the Bible.

      • Chuckles says:

        Who argues that the appearance of Samuel in 1st Sam 28 was actually demonic?

  2. Dave Burton says:

    Well, there’s the parable about the rich man who went to hell, and the beggar, Lazarus, who went to heaven. The rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus (who was dead) to warn the rich man’s brothers, and Abraham said no. But Abraham did not suggest that his refusal was because it was impossible for a dead man to go back to the Earth.

    That suggests that it is at least possible that some human spirits return to Earth as “ghosts,” and with God all things are surely possible. But whether it really happens, I don’t know.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      All I argue is that it is possible… Samuel proves that biblically.

      • Chuckles says:

        The incident with Samuel might show that it is possible–when permitted by God.

        But the real question is: Does God allow it as a general rule? Do human spirits have the option to just hang around for a while and “make contact” with the living if they so choose?

        Actually, Samuel’s appearance to Saul–and the woman’s surprise at seeing Samuel himself instead of the familiar spirit (demon) she expected–implies that the appearance of human spirits is something that does not happen as a rule, and is not supposed to.

        Furthermore, I think it is a misreading of God’s intent to suppose that human spirits can appear at will to the living just because there is a prohibition in place. The prohibition against necromancy is directed at the living. It prohibits the seeking of contact with the dead. That does not necessarily imply that the dead are permitted to respond when the prohibition is violated. Necromancy is prohibited because its practice opens the living up to demonic deception and bondage, even to the point of putting the living at risk of demon possession.

        There are practical consequences to error on this issue. It is highly dangerous to suppose that departed human spirits are able to appear and/or contact the living at will. The belief that they can and do is becoming more common in today’s unbelieving world, and will quite likely be a staple of the final one-world religion, or at least the selling of it. Let’s not contribute to the deception.

        • Cris Putnam says:

          The incident with Samuel might show that it is possible–when permitted by God

          That’s the main point I am making… and no one knows for sure, so it is rather arrogant to pretend one does.

          • Chuckles says:

            It’s arrogant to put forth a biblical answer to this issue?

            So, you’re supposing that, when somebody sees a spirit apparition that claims to be the spirit of, say, Aunt Maudie–a human spirit–they should allow for the possibility that the spirit really is Aunt Maudie? Sent from God to help them with their problems, perhaps?

            As I said, the implication of the incident with Saul is that God–as a rule–does not allow departed human spirits to interact with the living of this world. It’s quite evident that the appearance of Samuel was an exception, an act of mercy on God’s part to keep Saul from being deceived by the woman’s non-human familiar spirit.

            As departed human spirits go, there are only two kinds; saved and unsaved. The saved wouldn’t want to return here if they could. (Samuel certainly seemed annoyed about having to appear.) God doesn’t need them to “help” anyone still living anyway.

            The UN-saved cannot leave Hades, as Abraham told the rich man in flames (Luke 16:26).

            So what does that leave? Deceiving, demonic spirits or worse; fallen angels.

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  4. Thomas T. says:

    I couldn’t just let that previous comment be the last stain of the thread…
    I know of a ghost, He’s called the Holy Ghost and my Bible speaks about Him enough to solidify that fact. I think, as Cris has alluded to, there is a war of definitions being waged and it seems the ignorance abounds. Now, “necromancy” is the conjuring of the spirits of the dead. How can that be outlawed by God and yet not possible?
    Furthermore, we have nephilim and their progeny…who eventually died in the flood (and other ways) which is a popular theory of where demons come from. But wait, wouldn’t they qualify as “the dead”? Consequently this is the very reason the Lord used Israel to utterly destroy the Canaanites!
    Now that’s an awful lot of fuss for a concept that is not actually possible.

    I think the big picture here is that it really does not matter. Little is revealed about it and therefore little of my attention will be drawn. God wants our hearts and time to be drawn to Him, hence His condemnation of it, only second does the potential to be deceived by demons motivate the policy.

    The Hebrew word ‘ov (medium) may refer to a spirit of the dead…i say that to say this: a modicum of research will reveal a wealth of info. Trash your preconceived notions, pray, and by all means “if you think you stand take heed unless you fall” (1Cor 10 telling you to be humbly teachable!)

  5. James says:

    Hey Cris,

    First of all, I loved The Supernatural Worldview, and plan on multiple readings, as well as recommending it to friends and family. I have also enjoyed each of your appearances on Beyind Extraordinary. Was bummed that Mark didn’t show for the debate, but it was a good show nonetheless.

    My question is in regards to the Greek word Daemon. I have felt for some time that your theory about human spirits was possible, so reading your book and seeing you confirm that at the very least I’m not crazy for my belief. One point, however, that I’m having trouble with is your comment that the Greek word daemon was understood, at least partially, to be referring to human spirits. I have been telling people this in conversations and getting some encouraging responses, but I decided to look it up so I could be more assured of the fact, but when I attempted to find corroberation for your statement I could not find any in the lexicons and Bible dictionaries I have access to. Phantasma is a different story. Anyway, could you tell me where you found that information? I promise I am not trolling! I am on your side of this issuel, but I really want the sources to show people my view (and yours) is correct.



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