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Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences and the Skeptics

They are called out-of-body or near-death experiences (NDE). These events are often described as a personís soul leaving his or her body on a death-bed, for instance, and the departing soul/spirit being able to view people and events in the room where the body remains. After being resuscitated, the person recalls events they should not know. Many individuals who have been pronounced dead and have come back to life recount events, images, and conversations they could not have known.
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Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences and the Skeptics

Article#: 1402

In this world, full of uncertainty and confusion, deception and inequities of all sorts, God has given forth His Word--found in the Holy Bible--as the standard of inerrant truth by which we can measure all things, by which we can discover the foundation of all goodness. 

Are you confused and disillusioned?  Are you full of questions and uncertainty?  Would you like to know absolute truth?  Would you like to be free of sin and its bondage?  Why not become born-again—born a second time--this time of the Spirit of God?  Answers to your questions will begin to unfold at Light-speed.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY'S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Matthew 22:36-38:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

GOD SAID, Mark 12:30:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

GOD SAID, (the Apostle Paul writes) II Corinthians 12:2-4:

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

GOD SAID, Luke 16:19-28:

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man''s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham''s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father''s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Man Said:  There is no afterlife.  The thousands of out-of-body and near-death experiences are simply hallucinations. 

Now THE RECORD.  Welcome to GodSaidManSaid.  This is feature article 638, which once again confirms the full inerrancy of God’s Word.  All of these features are archived on this site in text and streaming audio and offered up for the edification of the saints and as a platform of reason to convince the gainsayers.  Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one. 

They are called out-of-body or near-death experiences (NDE).  These events are often described as a person’s soul leaving his or her body on a death-bed, for instance, and the departing soul being able to view people and events in the room where the body remains.  After being resuscitated, the person recalls events they should not know.  These experiences often come with descriptions of the proverbial tunnel with a light at its end, or a feeling of peace and love, or an actual, visual heavenly experience.  Many individuals who have been pronounced dead and have come back to life recount events, images, and conversations they could not have known, even ones apart from the hospital environment itself. 

One particular out-of-body or NDE that has God’s critics concerned is that of Dr. Eben Alexander.  One of their own, one with extensive medical credentials, is off the reservation and is very vocal about it.  Dr. Alexander, in 2012, published a book that became a number one New York Times bestseller titled Proof of Heaven: a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.  When you review the doctor’s credentials, you can understand the concern of God’s detractors.  Dr. Alexander writes:

I’m a neurosurgeon.

I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1976 with a major in chemistry and earned my M.D. at Duke University Medical School in 1980.  During my eleven years of medical school and residency training at Duke as well as Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard, I focused on neuroendocrinology, the study of the interactions between the nervous system and the endocrine system—the series of glands that release the hormones that direct most of your body’s activities.   I also spent two of those eleven years investigating how blood vessels in one area of the brain react pathologically when there is bleeding into it from an aneurysm—a syndrome known as cerebral vasospasm.

After completing a fellowship in cerebrovascular neurosurgery in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, I spent fifteen years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School as an associate professor of surgery, with a specialization in neurosurgery.  During those years, I operated on countless patients, many of them with severe, life-threatening brain conditions. 

Most of my research work involved the development of advanced technical procedures like stereotactic radiosurgery, a technique that allows surgeons to precisely guide beams of radiation to specific targets deep in the brain without affecting adjacent areas.  I also helped develop magnetic resonance image-guided neurosurgical procedures instrumental in repairing hard-to-treat brain conditions like tumors and vascular disorders.  During those years, I also authored or coauthored more than 150 chapters and papers for peer-reviewed medical journals and presented my findings at more than two hundred medical conferences around the world. [End of quote]

“Life after death?  The God of the Bible?  Judgment Day? If there is, we’ve got Hell to pay,”  cried the skeptics!  The Darwinians needed a naturalistic explanation to dispatch these ideas. 

As with many, if not all, Dr. Alexander’s near-death experience changed his life entirely—from a skeptic to a very vocal believer—but it didn’t start that way.  Of himself, the doctor writes:

Quite simply, I’d never held myself open to the idea that there might be anything genuine to the idea that something of us survives the death of the body.  I was the quintessential good-natured, albeit skeptical, doctor.  And as such, I can tell you that most skeptics aren’t really skeptics at all.  To be truly skeptical, one must actually examine something and take it seriously.  And I, like many doctors, had never taken the time to explore NDEs.  I had simply “known” they were impossible.  [End of quote]

Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine and feature writer for Scientific American, comments on Dr. Alexander’s experience in the April 2013 issue under the title “Proof of Hallucination,” with the sub-head, “Did a neurosurgeon go to heaven?”  According to Shermer, the following was posed to Dr. Alexander:

I asked him how, if his brain was really nonfunctional, he could have any memory of these experiences, given that memories are a product of neural activity?  He responded that he believes the mind can exist separately from the brain.  How, where, I inquired?  [End of quote]

Why do they always end up here?  Why such mental gymnastics to discredit the obvious?  Jesus declares the answer to carnaldom’s resistance in John 3:19-20:

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

They always end up here, knocking on Heaven’s door—God’s Holy Word.  The world’s science, the world’s historians, archaeologists, psychologists, and philosophers finally end up here, but rarely is one admitted--because only those who humble their ears and approach in childlike faith can enter.  I Corinthians 1:18-28:

18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

The tens of thousands of NDEs the world over testify of the other side that awaits all of us.  The Word of God clearly teaches a knowledge that transcends and operates outside the neurological network of the body, and that knowledge that transcends, we know as the soul.  It is man’s soul that Christ came to save (I Peter 1:9). 

Genesis 2:7:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

A soul can bless, a soul can experience desire, love, bitterness, hatred, vexation, and more, and when one dies, the soul leaves the body.  Genesis 35:18 referring to death says “…and it came to pass, as her soul was in departing…” I Kings 17:17-22:

17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.

18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?

19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.

20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?

21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child''s soul come into him again.

22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

The soul has knowledge that functions outside the body’s brain.  Many examples of this reality have been published in the Bible.  The example noted in the GodSaid section above, in Luke, chapter 16, defines this well.  In this chapter, the rich man dies and his body and his brain are buried in the grave, yet in Hell, he has eyes to see and the knowledge to translate what his eyes see.  The rich man has a tongue and experiences thirst and complains of being in torment in the flames of Hell.  He knows Abraham and addresses him by name.  Abraham was dead to this world for approximately 2,000 years when Jesus Christ gives this account.  Abraham’s body and brain was buried in the cave of Machpelah, yet he knows of the rich man’s situation and has a conversation with him. 

Again, Mr. Shermer writes:

I asked him how, if his brain was really nonfunctional, he could have any memory of these experiences, given that memories are a product of neural activity?  He responded that he believes the mind can exist separately from the brain.  How, where, I inquired?  [End of quote]

The answer to Mr. Shermer’s question is that the soul has full knowledge outside the neurological network of the body and when the body dies, the soul goes on to its eternal destiny.  You and I choose whether that destiny is heaven or Hell. 

They always end up here. 

GOD SAID, Matthew 22:36-38:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

GOD SAID, Mark 12:30:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

GOD SAID, (the Apostle Paul writes) II Corinthians 12:2-4:

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

GOD SAID, Luke 16:19-28:

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man''s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham''s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father''s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Man Said:  There is no afterlife.  The thousands of out-of-body and near-death experiences are simply hallucinations. 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Alexander, E., Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, Simon & Schuster Publishing, New York, NY, 2012

Shermer, M., “Proof of Hallucination,” Scientific American, April 2013

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