Is it wrong to attempt to communicate with the dead?

“Do not turn to the spirit mediums . . . so as to become unclean by them.”Leviticus 19:31.


Understandably, people want reassurance that a dead loved one is not suffering. So they say: “Why not try to make contact with him or her by means of a spirit, or psychic, medium? Perhaps the medium can give us some sort of closure and peace of mind.”


The Bible is clear concerning attempts by the living to contact the dead—a practice that was common in ancient times. For example, Jehovah God’s Law to the nation of Israel said: “There should not be found in you anyone . . . who consults a spirit medium or . . . inquires of the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) The Bible also states that those who practice spiritism in any of its forms “will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”Galatians 5:19-21.

 Can the dead influence the living?

“The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all.”Ecclesiastes 9:5.


Many claim that the dead live on in some form. Hence, they may try to communicate with the dead, perhaps to obtain information or to appease the dead in hopes that they will leave the living in peace.


“The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all . . . Their love and their hate and their jealousy [all of which they felt while alive] have already perished.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6) Yes, the Bible teaches that the dead are just that—dead! They cannot think, act, or even worship God. “The dead do not praise [God]; nor do any who go down into the silence of death,” says Psalm 115:17.

Do not spirit mediums at times provide accurate details?

“Should [people] inquire of the dead in behalf of the living?”Isaiah 8:19.


Some claim that spirit mediums are able to disclose information that only the dead and their family or friends could possibly know.


Chapter 28 of the book of 1 Samuel relates how an unfaithful king named Saul violated God’s command not to consult spirit mediums. He appealed to a medium, a woman who seemed to communicate with a deceased man of God named Samuel! But did she actually contact Samuel? No! She was, in fact, communicating with an impostor—someone impersonating dead Samuel.

That impostor was a wicked spirit, an agent of “the father of the lie”—Satan. (John 8:44) Why do the wicked spirits, or demons, promote the view that the dead live on? Their goal is to malign God and discredit his written Word, the Bible.2 Timothy 3:16.

Does the foregoing mean that the dead have no hope? Not at all! The Bible promises a future resurrection for those who are ‘asleep,’ as it were, in the grave. * (John 11:11-13; Acts 24:15) In the meantime, we are assured that our dead loved ones are not suffering in any way.

^ par. 16 Chapter 7 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? is entitled “Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died.”