CAN WE SPEAK WITH THE DEAD?

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU CAN SPEAK WITH YOUR LOVED ONES WHO HAVE DIED?

The desire to talk to our loved ones who have died is a natural part of the grieving process. We ache to see them one more time, hear their voices again, or tell them something we wish we had said. We find ourselves hoping that our loved one can listen from heaven and respond.

The Bible offers no evidence to suggest that legitimate, two-way communication between the living and the dead is possible. On the contrary, Scripture strictly forbids believers from attempting to do so (see Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9–12; 1 Chronicles 10:13–14).

At least one Bible verse may suggest that our saved loved ones can see from heaven and, to some extent, know what is happening here on earth: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT). Some scholars believe this “huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” are the saints in heaven who have crossed the finish line of their race but have turned back to watch us and cheer us on to the glorious end.

The Bible does warn believers not to be deceived by lying spirits (see 1 Kings 22:22–23; 1 Timothy 4:1). Satan is a liar, and the demons can likely imitate the voice or appearance of our departed loved ones and in that way lead us astray. Purposely seeking “a message from beyond” is spiritually dangerous.

Since Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity, we should not pray to dead saints (1 Timothy 2:5). But praying to a saint and talking to a deceased loved one are two different things. Would it be okay to occasionally say something to loved ones in heaven, as long as we don’t expect to hear back from them? Nothing in the Bible indicates this is wrong or a violation of God’s will. 

We can take our hurts and heartaches to God, no matter the situation, knowing He perfectly understands how we feel. In Jesus Christ, we have a High Priest who understands our weaknesses. Because of Him, we can “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NLT).

With the loss of a loved one, the pain can be overwhelming. We may miss communicating with that person and desire to reconnect in some way. In those times, God calls us to turn to Him. He is our Comforter (John 7:38–39; 14:16–18, 26; 15:26; Romans 8:16). He heals our brokenness (Psalm 30:11; Isaiah 61:1) and brings the peace our hearts desperately need (John 14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:6–7). If we trust God with our grief, He will show us how to carry on despite the painful loss.

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