You may have heard about palm reading and wondered – is it just harmless fun, or is it something Christians should avoid? As followers of Jesus, we want to be discerning about spiritual matters and test everything against God’s word (1 Thessalonians 5:21). In this post, we’ll take a biblical look at palm reading and consider whether or not it’s compatible with Christian faith.
Palm reading, also known as palmistry or chiromancy, is the practice of looking at the palm of someone’s hand to gain insight into their personality, relationships, and future events. Professional palm readers claim to be able to decipher the meaning behind the lines, shapes, colors, and patterns on the palm. Some say palm reading originated in India thousands of years ago, while others trace its roots to ancient China. In modern times, palm reading remains popular at carnivals, psychic fairs, and New Age events. But what does the Bible say about this practice? As Christians seeking to honor God, we need to examine palm reading in light of scriptural principles.
- Palm reading involves divination, the practice of gaining hidden knowledge by supernatural means. The Bible prohibits divination.
- Palm readers claim to gain information through a supernatural power other than God. The Bible warns against false spiritual powers.
- Predicting the future is an ability belonging to God alone. Palm readers who claim to know the future are false prophets.
- There is no scientific evidence that palm reading works. The practice relies on superstition and deception.
- Consulting palm readers shows a lack of trust in God’s wisdom and plan for our lives. Christians are called to seek God rather than psychics.
What Does the Bible Say About Divination?
The most fundamental problem with palm reading from a biblical perspective is that it falls into the category of divination. What exactly is divination and why does the Bible condemn it?
Divination refers to any practice that seeks to gain hidden knowledge, predict the future, or influence events through occult (supernatural) powers. This includes things like fortune telling, astrology, seances, tarot cards, and so on. People turn to such practices when they desire to control their destiny or gain insight about their lives apart from God.
- “Do not practice divination or sorcery” (Leviticus 19:26). This shows God’s people should have nothing to do with occult practices.
- “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). God considers divination from supernatural sources wicked.
- The prophet Micah condemned economic exploitation and fraud, saying “I will bring an end to…witchcraft, and there will be no more fortune-tellers” (Micah 5:12). Divination is linked to deceit.
- Jesus refused to listen to demons who identified him as the Son of God, showing that supernatural knowledge from occult forces is illegitimate (Mark 1:34).
The overall testimony of scripture is that God hates divination because it involves fellowship with false spirits and rebellion against Him. He wants His people to rely on Him alone as the source of wisdom and knowledge about their lives. Divination seeks to shortcut that process and gain insight or control apart from God. So at its core, palm reading is a form of divination Christians should avoid.
Palm Readers Invoke Supernatural Powers Other Than God
Closely tied to divination is the problem that palm readers claim to gain knowledge through supernatural powers other than the true God. Let’s think about what’s going on spiritually in a palm reading:
- The palm reader believes he or she is tapping into mystical energy forces, psychic perception, supernatural intuition, or guidance from spirit guides.
- This enables them to interpret the meanings of palm lines and glean information not naturally available about a person’s life, personality, relationships and destiny.
- The reader ascribes this psychic ability to some supernatural power, force or universal energy – something beyond the physical world.
No matter how they describe it, what palm readers claim they’re doing goes beyond the natural realm into the supernatural. But as Christians, we know there are only two supernatural spiritual forces – God’s power and Satan’s counterfeits (see 1 John 4:1-3). There is no cosmic universal energy, impersonal fate or “gifts” from the universe at large. Everything results from either God’s hand or demonic deception.
Since palm readers do not attribute their abilities to the God of the Bible or the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that leaves only one possible spiritual source – demonic spirits and forces opposed to God. The Bible strongly warns against any involvement with false spiritual powers:
- “What pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God” (1 Corinthians 10:20). Pagan practices displease God because they involve fellowship with demons.
- “The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons” (1 Corinthians 10:20). Even observing pagan supernatural practices is dangerous.
- “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Behind pagan spirituality like palm reading is the demonic realm.
So while palm reading may seem harmless on the surface, Christians should avoid it because of the dangerous spiritual forces that ultimately fuel such practices. God wants His people to depend on the wisdom which comes from His Holy Spirit, not demonic counterfeits.
Predicting the Future Belongs to God Alone
Another serious problem with palm reading is that it involves predicting future events – something that belongs to God alone. Palm readers claim to read the lines and markings on a person’s hand to uncover information about their health, relationships, successes, life events and more. But the Bible says God does not share His ability to proclaim the future with palm readers, astrologers, psychics or anyone else.
- “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10). No one can rightly claim to foretell someone’s future apart from God.
- In rebuking fortune tellers and astrologers, God said “Let them save you! …They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame!” (Isaiah 47:12-14). Psychics have no real power over future events.
- When prophecy does come from the Lord, it always aligns with Scripture and glorifies God. Psychic predictions do neither. “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8).
Jesus also condemned fortune telling as evil and adulterous (Matthew 12:39, 16:4). Anytime palm readers claim to know clients’ futures, they are operating in the spirit of false prophets by speaking prediction that did not come from God. Christians should reject their claims and rely fully on God’s sovereign control over our destiny.
Palm Reading Lacks Scientific Basis and Enables Deception
Some people are inclined to give palm reading the benefit of the doubt, figuring it may have some natural basis even if it veers into spiritual issues at times. But the reality is palm reading has absolutely no foundation in scientific fact – it relies completely on superstition. Researchers who have studied palm reading conclude:
- There is no consistent correlation between palm features and personality traits. The connections made by readers are subjective and inconsistent from one person to the next.
- The ability to successfully predict a client’s past or future has never been demonstrated under controlled scientific conditions.
- Vague, general statements by palm readers give the illusion of insight when in reality they fit almost anyone.
- Cold reading techniques account for much of palm readers’ impact. This includes making high probability guesses and monitoring clients’ reactions.
Without any scientific basis, palm reading amounts to deception pure and simple. The techniques palm readers use do not actually give them special insight about people. Christian should reject palm reading just as they would any other unscientific, deceptive scheme.
Consulting Palm Readers Shows Distrust in God’s Plan
As Christians, we believe God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows every detail of our pasts, presents and futures. More than that, He has a loving plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Part of having faith in His sovereign care is being content not to know every twist and turn before it unfolds.
Palm reading represents a lack of trust and patience in God’s best. We show we’re unsatisfied with God’s timeline and wisdom when we seek out professed psychics. We act like unbelievers who have no heavenly Father looking out for them. But as God’s children, we can confidently walk into the unknown future He has prepared for us (Hebrews 11:8).
The Bible tells us to seek God – not palm readers – for direction and wisdom about our lives:
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). God promises wisdom to those who ask in faith.
- “Who is wise? Let them realize …the LORD gives a father’s discipline, so do not despise his rebuke…Getting wisdom is the prudent thing to do” (Proverbs 15:33, 12:15). Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.
- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Discernment comes from a renewed mind in Christ.
The book of Isaiah puts it bluntly: “Shouldn’t people consult with their gods before going to mediums? Shouldn’t they seek their gods while they’re still alive instead of dead psychics?” (Isaiah 8:19). As Christians, we have the privilege of seeking the counsel of the one true living God. We have no business indulging in palm reading.
Conclusion: Palm Reading Is Spiritually Harmful
When examined in the light of Scripture, it becomes clear palm reading is a dangerous occult practice that Christians should avoid. At the spiritual root, it involves fellowship with false deities and rebellion against the one true God. Palm readers use deceptive techniques with no scientific validity, proving themselves false prophets. No amount of fun or excitement can outweigh the spiritual hazards the Bible associates with divination practices like palm reading.
God calls His people to walk by faith in His sovereign care, not sight from palm readers. As followers of Christ, we can confidently avoid palm reading and other worldly ways of gaining secret insight. We have a loving Father who knows all and wise counsel available to us through His Spirit. Rather than consulting deceitful palm readers, we will seek the Lord and His wisdom – that’s the biblical approach that honors Him.