Where are the dead? This is my question when grandfather died. During his
funeral, I’d feel that the world will soon end to me. He was the only person that understands my feelings and sympathize with my sorrows. But when I learned the words of God, I decided to rest my case before Him.
My question regarding the place where the dead goes after death was already an old question in the Bible. Job, in the midst of his affliction, asked God;
But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? (Job 14:10)
There are many beliefs regarding to where the deceased went after their death. Catholics believe that there are three places beyond this life; wicked person goes to hell, good to heaven, and others to purgatory. This belief was identical with non-Christian beliefs, particularly with those of ancient Greeks and Romans. Even Muslims believe with almost the same teachings. But actually, this kind of belief acts as door in order for necromancy and different types of divination find their way within Christianity. Necromancy is a form of magic in which the practitioner seeks to summon the spirit of a deceased person, either as an apparition or ghost, or to raise them bodily, for the purpose of divination. Because of the belief that the dead has an immortal entity that survives from their dead body and this entity has the ability to cross the mortal and the immortal world, the living are trying to seek different means to communicate with them by divination or rituals recognized by the Church. Yes, the Church. Because theologians believe that if the spirits of the dead are hovering about their friends on earth, why should they not be permitted to communicate with them, to warn them against evil, or to comfort them in sorrow?
In Catholic Church, necromancy was Christianized in form and gave rise to the doctrines of Communion of Saints, Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead. These doctrines became the foundation of veneration of saints and apparitions, specially of Mary. Protestant denominations were also seriously influenced by this “Christianized” necromancy. In fact, natural immortality or the immortality of the soul was regarded as one of the fundamental teachings of those Churches who openly attacked the Catholic Church for venerating Mary and the saints.
Where are the dead? How true that they know what happened to their loved ones who are still alive? Should we seek them for guidance? The Bible gave us clear views regarding the matters of the dead, and it says,
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6)
“The dead know not anything“, this is a clear statement that the deceased have no ability to know the conditions of their loved ones in earth, neither do they have the ability to express their thoughts in the world of the living. The belief that the dead can return to their family for a certain purpose was truly opposed by the Sacred Scripture.
“As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.” (Job 7:9,10)
“His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalms 146:4)
As believers in the words of God, we shouldn’t have in mind that the dead have another life beyond this earthly life. They were unconscious even to the things that happened to them. Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, all perished as smoke. Thus, from this day, let us rest all our concerns for our love ones to God, and let the will of God decide for their cases in the great day of His Judgment.