Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Questions and Answers 210 - 214

Question 210: I saw this new video ( by Fr. Maggos from Annunciation Church in Rochester where he discusses the topic "Are There Ghosts in the Bible?" He emphatically says no, ghosts do not exist. What is your take on this?

Answer: I know nothing of the priest, but the video does a really horrible job treating the subject. In fact, it all comes off as very Protestant. I will treat this subject in a much more in-depth fashion hopefully in the near future, so I won't get into all the details here, but this subject is a much bigger subject than what is presented here, and only shows me that he has done extremely little to no research on the subject. First of all, ghosts are mentioned in the Bible in one way or another in more places than what he covers here, so he conveniently or ignorantly has skipped most of the best references, but only touched on the more well known passages of the Witch of Endor and the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Second, in the Orthodox Church, we have a rich tradition of 2,000 years that has addressed this subject in various ways, so to skip over that and dismiss it while making a conclusion by only concentrating on a few select Scripture passages comes off as very Protestant to me and he barely touches the surface of the issue. Lastly, I will say that even the two examples he brings up show how much ignorance he has of the subject. Regarding the Witch of Endor, there have been various interpretations of that story, and while some Church Fathers dismiss that the ghost of Samuel appeared, not all do, and he doesn't mention that. But even worse, in his interpretation of the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, he completely misquotes what Jesus said. As opposed to what Fr. Maggos teaches, Jesus never said that there is a gulf between this life and the afterlife. I know many people misread this parable to say this, but it shows their unfamiliarity with the parable when they do it. In fact, what Jesus teaches is that there is a gulf between Abraham's Bosom (Paradise) where Lazarus is and Hades where the Rich Man is, so that Lazarus cannot cross over and grant relief to the Rich Man who is asking for it. When the Rich Man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his relatives to warn them of their fate after death, Jesus denies the request not because it can't be done or because there is a gulf, but because people in Hades have lost all privileges of having their prayers answered, so instead of sending Lazarus, Abraham leaves the relatives of the Rich Man to their own fate. For these and other reasons, I find nothing good about this video, except the background spookiness, which is a plus for at least getting into the "spirit" of Halloween.

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