A Question I Was Asked:

How Should a Christian Set About NDE Research?

The Question:

In the past, you have written rather positively about NDEs (near death experiences). There is obviously much within the general area of NDEs and even 'out of body' occurrences that a Christian might research, but what is the best way ahead? Any guidance?

UK Apologetics Reply:

I frankly do not know. I still say that there is something in these experiences which reveal that physical death is not the absolute end. These experiences have so much in common that it seems incredible. In my opinion, the "scientific answer" from secular "scientific" researchers is ludicrous. It seems that atheists hated finding a 'loophole' in which so many obviously not only had consciousness, but consciousness at a most supreme level, even after 2-3 minutes of being technically 'dead' (in some cases, much longer!), and just wanted to provide a "scientific explanation" to do away with any concept of God, or of possible immortality. Their typical "explanation" is that, at the point of death, people simply hallucinate due to chemical changes in the brain. That explanation offers no reason for the amazing similarity of these experiences through numerous cultures. Mostly, the existence of a literal Heaven and Hell, a world of spirits, angels and an omnipotent God is revealed. Secular-minded scientists find all of that pretty hard to handle so it was obvious that they would pretty soon come up with a "sensible scientific explanation."

One of the most incredible things I heard concerned a woman who was blind from birth who 'saw' for the first time during an NDE, but there are a number of amazing cases around the net and cited in various books. In general, these experiences clearly appear to reveal:

a. There is a spiritual world out there, just as the Bible claims.
b. Physical death is not the absolute end, a bodiless consciousness in which one may still see, feel and use one's mental processes continues.

The big problem is that many of these experiences have now been collected onto various websites with their own agendas and it seems obvious that New Age and 'psychic' ideas have been added to the testimonies. For example, one 'testimony' which I read was full of New Ageist environmentalist extremist nonsense which had obviously been tagged on to an original account which had been seriously compromised, and the original account was probably no longer even recoverable.

What has been needed has been an entirely Christian assembling of such testimonies but, unfortunately, we evangelicals have generally been so negative about these reports. We have just concluded the whole thing as being 'occultic' or 'psychic' and kept firmly away - yes, even when so many of these reports have backed up things which we teach! Occultic-type people, on the other hand, have quickly embraced these things. What can one say?

It seems as though we hear these reports and quickly decide that they must be 'demonic' or 'occultic' yet we do not consider that Paul the Apostle was being 'occultic' when he wrote,

1. I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
2. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.
3. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—
4. was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.
5. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:1-5, NIV).

Let us note that this man was 'in Christ,' Paul did not say that this possible 'out of body' experience was evil or occultic, yet most of us modern evangelicals would quickly condemn any such experience! Of course, the man who experienced this was none other than Paul himself when one takes verses 6-7 into account. For sure, we should not be so quick to condemn what we usually don't even understand.
Robin A. Brace. March 9th, 2011.

I wrote about NDEs six years ago. The article is here.