According to Protestants, can those who have died in this world and gone to be with God/Christ (i.e. those who were saved) interact with this world in any fashion?

Answers should, if possible, include their scriptural basis.

See also (Catholicism) Can the dead in Christ affect this world?.

2 Answers 2


Hebrews 9:27 says “…Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” If a person dies in Christ, he goes to heaven to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-9). On this I think we agree, whether Protestant or Catholic. What, though, does the Bible say about the dead in Christ who await the resurrection? Here is one biblical reference that might shed light on the question.

With regard to the last days which commenced after the resurrection of Christ Jesus and end with his return, Revelation 6:9-11 describes a scene in heaven where the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained called out in a loud voice:

How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?

Does this specific petition of the dead in Christ influence what goes on in this world? All we know from the book of Revelation is that their cries were heard, and they were answered. They were told to wait. Note that their prayers are in harmony with what God wills and they are content to leave events up to the Lord God. They do not presume to interfere.

In Revelation 8:1 Jesus breaks the seventh seal. After this seal was broken “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” The silence suggests the importance and impressiveness of the seventh and final seal. It might also be an opportunity for the prayers of God’s people to ascend into heaven before the great tribulation commences (but that is my personal view).

There is no doubt that the prayers of the living saints on earth are heard in heaven, as are the cries of the dead in Christ whose souls are under the altar. Protestants do not believe that the dead in Christ affect this world other than their prayers and petitions are added to ours on earth when we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

It is the Holy Spirit who affects events in this world and who interacts with humanity to bring sinners to repentance. The angels, who are heavenly messengers, are sent to minister to the needs of the living saints (Hebrews 1:14).

Here is one Protestant view as to whether or not the saints in heaven can interact with this world:

There is no biblical evidence that any created being in heaven can pray or intercede for humans on earth. Only Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit can do that. However the living can intercede for other living people: “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

The only dead person in Scripture who made any plea for the living on earth was the rich man in Luke 16 who pled that a gospel witness be sent to his family on earth. We note that he made his “intercession” for his brothers while he was in hell and that his petition was denied (Luke 16:27–31).

The Bible prohibits communicating with the dead: “When the people [instead of trusting God] say to you, ‘Consult the mediums [who try to talk to the dead] . . .,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19, AMP). Asking people in heaven to pray for us here on earth is a form of communication with the dead. https://www.gotquestions.org/can-people-in-heaven-pray-for-us.html

If God forbids the living to attempt any communication with the dead, why would God then allow the dead in Christ to communicate with the living? I can’t think of any biblical reference to suggest that the dead in Christ can affect or interact with this world. To conclude:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe (Hebrews 1:1).

I am of the Reformed Protestant persuasion.


The OP asks both about Protestantism and Protestants. My answer pertains only to the latter: A Pew Research Center survey implies that the answer would be yes, at least as far as US Protestants are concerned:

About seven-in-ten Americans say it is possible to feel “the presence of someone who has died,” while roughly half say that living people can be helped by those who have passed (51%) or communicate with them in some way (47%). When asked about their personal experiences with the deceased, 44% of U.S. adults say that they have felt the presence of someone who has died, while smaller shares say that they have received help from (20%) or communicated with (14%) someone who has died.

Catholics are more likely to believe it is possible to get help from the departed (68% vs. 49% of Protestants) and communicate with them (57% vs. 46%). Interesting, Evangelical Protestants are no more likely than religiously unaffiliated Americans to report believing in or experiencing interactions with the deceased.

It should be noted that the above survey does not necessarily reflect the official theological position of the respondents' denomination. I am not prepared to provide scriptural proof-texts for the various denominational positions on this issue. However, the above-mentioned survey should be useful in the context of the main question, even though it deals with American Protestants as people, rather than Protestantism as a particular form of Christianity.

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