What does the Bible say about praying to / speaking to the dead?

Question: "What does the Bible say about praying to / speaking to the dead?"

Praying to the dead is completely contradictory to what the Bible says. Consider with me the characteristics of God. God is omnipresent--everywhere at once--and is capable of hearing every prayer in the world (Psalm 139:7-12). A human being, on the other hand, does not possess this attribute. Also, God is the only one with the power to answer prayer. In this regard, God is omnipotent--all powerful (Revelation 19:6). Certainly an attribute a human being does not possess--dead of alive. Finally, God is omniscient--he knows everything (Psalm 147:4-5). Even before I pray God knows my genuine needs, and knows them better then me. Not only does he know my needs, but he answers my prayers according to his perfect will.

So in relation to the attributes of God, in order for a dead person to receive prayers the dead individual has to hear the prayer, possess the power to answer it, and know how to answer it in a way that is best for the individual praying. Only God hears and answers prayer because of His perfect essence. This perfect essence includes that what some theologians call immanence. Immanence is the belief that God is directly involved with the affairs of mankind (see 1 Timothy 6:14-15), which includes answering prayer.

Even after a person dies, God is still involved with that person and his destination. Hebrews 9:27 says so much: "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment." If a person dies in Christ, he goes to heaven to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-9, especially verse 8); if a person dies in their sin, he goes to hell, where eventually everyone in hell will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15). While in heaven or the lake of fire, both groups will be judged for what they have done on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15).

A person suffering in agony will not be able to hear or answer a prayer, nor will a person who is living in heavenly bliss with God. Think about the person and where they are spending eternity at? If I pray to someone and they are in everlasting agony, should I expect them to be able to hear and answer my prayer? Likewise, a person in heaven has no concern for that which is on earth, should I expect him to be concerned for my temporal and earth-oriented problems? God has provided his son Jesus Christ to be the mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). Since Jesus Christ is the mediator between the two parties I can go through Jesus to God. Why else is Jesus called the great high priest in Hebrews 4:14-16? Since I can go through the Son of God, why would anyone think we can go through a sinful dead individual?

See also the following Scriptures which forbid talking with the dead: Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; Isaiah 8:19.

Recommended Resource: The Truth Behind Ghosts, Mediums, and Psychic Phenomena by Ron Rhodes.

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What does the Bible say about praying to / speaking to the dead?