Question: "What does the Bible say about zombies?"
Answer: A zombie is a modern-day, fictionalized plot device used in various books, films, and television shows. Zombies are imagined creatures that can be described as fully dead corpses which have been "reanimated"; that is, they act as though they are alive while continuing the natural process of decay. George A. Romero's seminal 1968 film Night of the Living Dead uses zombies to frame a satirical picture of American society, culture, and politics. Romero's zombies are mindless, flesh-eating monsters that stumble about, intent on fulfilling a craving for human brains. Zombies have been a staple of the horror genre since 1968, and a zombie craze is prevalent in American culture today.
However, the walking dead is not merely a 20th-century idea. Practitioners of Voodoo in Haiti and Africa have long believed that sorcerers are responsible for reanimating and controlling corpses. Additionally, mythologies and legends abound with references to the deceased returning to “life” while still dead. It was Bram Stoker, in Dracula, who is credited for coining the term undead. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein addresses the same concept. But these are all fictional tales. Which brings us to the question: Does the Bible, which is God's absolute truth, prove the existence or the coming of zombies in reality?
The short answer is, no. The Bible has no reference to corpses being reanimated and existing in a continuing state of decomposition. Zechariah 14:12 is often referenced as foretelling an impending zombie apocalypse: "And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples that wage war against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths." The word plague, translated from the Hebrew word maggephah, literally means "pestilence"—a sickness. Given today's war tactics, it is entirely plausible that this verse describes biological warfare, or it could be a special plague designed by God just for this circumstance. Whatever the case, a judgment that rots the living flesh from the bones and the fluid from the eyeballs is horrifying, but it does not indicate a zombie apocalypse.
Resurrection, however, is something different altogether. To be resurrected is to come fully back to life after being dead; a resurrection results in a living, functional body. Bible history tells of many people who were brought back to a normal physical life after dying from old age, sickness, or wounds. These are cases of resurrection, not reanimation. After being resurrected, these people lived on to complete their natural lives. They did not wander around attacking people in pursuit of cranial matter. God allowed these individuals to be raised from the dead in order to show His power and to glorify His Son, Jesus. Some of the resurrections recorded in Scripture are found in 1 Kings 17:12-24; Matthew 9:18-26; and John 11:38-44.
Everyone who was raised from the dead in the Bible eventually died a natural death at the end of his life—with the exception of Jesus.
Jesus was crucified on a cross and confirmed dead by a soldier who pierced His side with a spear. Joseph and Nicodemus, Jesus' close friends, took the body and placed it in a nearby tomb (John 19:34-42). Three days later, Jesus' body was found to be missing, His burial cloths neatly folded. Though most people thought the body might have been stolen, they quickly learned the truth: Jesus was alive—resurrected—after defeating death all on His own. Jesus appeared in person to many witnesses, even allowing them to touch the scars where His physical body had been pierced (John 20:26-29).
The accounts of Jesus' resurrection in the Bible are there for the purpose of helping us understand and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have life in His name. Jesus did not return as a decomposing corpse; He was and is fully alive and will be forevermore. This is not fiction. This is not Night of the Living Dead. This is truth from God's Word.
Romans 6:9 says, "We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him."
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