Near Death Experiences

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Martin, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Martin

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    Anyone who has read anything about life after death and near death experiences has certainly read reports of people seeing a light at the end of a long tunnel and feeling like they were being pulled towards that light. Others, such as Don Piper in his book "90 Minutes in Heaven", say they never saw such a tunnel and light.

    Though Piper did not see a tunnel, he was "enveloped" by a very bright light. Others talk about seeing their body laying on the ground before seeing the tunnel and/or light. Motley Crew bassist Nikki Sixx had a near death experience following a drug overdose in the 1980s. He claims to have had such an experience.

    While there are differences in NDE accounts, there does seem to be some similarities. A bright light, a tunnel, seeing their body, hearing voices, etc. While not all NDEs contain each of these things, they are common.

    I think the question we have to ask about these experiences is: Are these experiences real? Or are they the result of some brain activity (dream, hallucination, etc)?

    Personally, I have always been much more willing to look seriously at the NDE accounts in which a person can describe, in detail, events that were going on (on earth) while they were "dead". In their book "Beyond Death", Gary Habermas and JP Moreland give several such accounts. The reason that I take these accounts more seriously is that we can verify the details and thus the experience. NDE accounts that lack these verifiable elements simply cannot be checked. We don't know if they were real. Maybe the tunnel, light, and heaven experience was just a dream? We just can't be sure about those NDEs since there is nothing verifiable about them.

    I also think the verifiable NDEs are more useful to the field of apologetics. After all if we can use such verifiable experiences to prove that the human mind can exist outside of the physical brain, life after death must be taken more seriously in the realms of science. In a sense, that would end the debate. The atheist would be silenced and silenced by the very thing they thought would help their cause, science.

    At this point I believe a word of caution is in order. Even if such verifiable NDE experiences end up proving life after death, we dare not make the mistake of putting too much trust in such experiences. After all, NDEs are by their very nature "near death" experiences. Therefore such experiences cannot be trusted to provide detailed information about things like heaven, hell, and God. For final and authoritative answers we must look to the Bible, the Word of God. Human experience, no matter how interesting, is not the final truth. The final truth is God's Word and therefore we must examine everything in light of that Word. Any NDE that contradicts God's Word must be dismissed as a dream, a lie, or a deception. So while NDEs are interesting, and while some of them may end up being an important part of the debate with the atheist, we must take each of them with a grain of salt.
     
  2. donnA

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    theres nothing in scripture about this, I once saw a movie, more of a documentary I supose, about NEDs and most of these people are not christians, and do not expereience life changes because of the expereince, some have even come back with messages from "God" about many paths to heaven, or denial of Jesus and scripture, of people going to heaven without Jesus, like somekind of universal salvation, been a long time since I've looked at this, don't remember everything.
     
    #2 donnA, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2010
  3. Peggy

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    My father had a NDE 13 years ago. He was in church, ushering, when he suddenly collapsed with a heart attack.

    He said that he rose up from his body to the roof of the church and saw people giving him CPR.

    Then he had the tunnel/light experience - that is being sucked into a tunnel and seeing a light at the end. He felt a Presence and great love coming from the light, and was somehow given the choice to go back to earth or be with the Presence (which he interpreted as being God).

    He chose to come back to earth, and the next thing he remembered was the pain of being shocked back into life by the heart paddles of the EMT's.

    I'm glad he chose to come back :)
     
  4. Martin

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    ==Those NDEs in which people's account contradicts clear Scriptural teaching must be dismissed as lies, deceptions, or dreams. Scripture contains NDE accounts (ex: 2Cor. 12:2-6, etc). Modern NDE accounts must be accepted or dismissed in light of Scripture. However I generally dismiss all NDE accounts that could be a dream. Don Piper's is a good example of this. While I don't believe him to be lying or suffering from demonic deception, I do think his "heaven" experience was the result of a dream or dreams. This is a man who spent large amounts of time under heavy medication. Anyone who has been in that situation, as I have, knows that time and reality can get very fuzzy when one is in the fog of medication. The people who see their bodies and can describe, in detail, events that were going on while they were "dead" must, in my opinion, be taken more seriously. Of course their experiences prove nothing about heaven or hell. At the most their experiences only prove that human consciousness can exist outside of the physical brain.
     
  5. Martin

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    ==These are the type of NDE experiences I like to look at. Though he was "dead" or unconscious, he was watching what was going on. That is very interesting.

    ==That is interesting. I would say, based on Scripture, that it was not his time to go. After all Scripture says that it is appointed unto man to die once and then judgment (Heb 9:27). He may very well have been given a "taste".

    Makes me wonder what Lazarus experienced in the few days he was dead.
     
  6. donnA

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    scripture does not tell us this is an NDE, to assume os is adding to the meaning what isn't there.
    Your either dead or alive, not both. Dead is dead, you don't get to come back. To absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, means you leave your body and go home, you do not return.
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    happened to Paul (he was speaking of himself in the third person) doesn't mean it can happen to anyone else.

    the Bible says those who believe will pick up serpents and not be bit, and drink poison and not be harmed.

    happened to Paul, too, but are we willing to pick up serpents and drink poison knowing it won't happen to us ?
     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    OTOH, Rasputin is said to have been loaded with enough cyanide in him to kill 20 people, yet didn't die instantly.
    perhaps he's a believer ?
     
  9. paul wassona

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    You would argue with Lazarus, the centurion's daughter, Euticus and the widow woman's son.:type:
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    these were not Near Death Experiences.
    these people were dead.
    no life, no consciousness, just plain zapped.

    I wouldn't go beyond what Scripture has written.
    OTOH, the devil duplicates most everything God does.
     
  11. Marcia

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    Why would Paul get to be taken to heaven where God is and not allowed to speak about it but Don Piper is? Sorry, but I don't believe Piper's account. I agree with others here that it was probably a dream or hallucination.

    I think many NDEs may be physiological in nature. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, hallucination often results. In the case of unbelievers who have NDEs and come back with false stories about God or Jesus (such as Mormon Betty Eadie who wrote a New Age tinged account of being dead and seeing Jesus in "Embraced by the Light"), I think demonic deception is definitely a possibility.
     
  12. Amy.G

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    Yes.


    And yes.
     
  13. tinytim

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    I think Paul's was a NDE.. but I also think Piper is off his rocker.. for the same reason Marcia said.
     
  14. John Toppass

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    I think about the guy that had a heart attack at the hospital. He thought he was loosing his breath and could not breath. When he passed out (on the table) he heard them working on them. Then he realized and wondered if this was what it was like to die.

    He immediately thought " Oh cool, I know where I am going." Then he said that he did not see a bright light or hear God but he did tell God that if he was dieing that it would be so unfair to leave his wife because he had not done anything to prepare for the event of his unexpected death. He also asked God if he had a choice then he would not want to leave his wife of 30 years to go through this under these circumstances.

    He immediately could feel himself breathing and became conscious. This seemed to take about 4-5 seconds but his heart had stopped for 45 seconds according to medical records he was hit with the paddles 3 times before his body responded. He did have a collapsed stint and received a quad bypass but the Doctors were amazed that there was not a measurable amount of damage.

    I know for a fact he wishes he had been more prepared but he knows that there will be another time and until then he should make the most out of what God has added to him.
     
  15. Gina B

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    I had one many years ago.

    For a short while, I watched that part of me that remained on the operating table and saw the staff working on me. I felt sorry for that part of me, and curious about the spirit I saw in my personal nurse. There are parts of it I don't share.

    I did not REALIZE I had it for weeks, although I thought of it often. It was so natural and just WAS, so that it was quite a shock when I was one day once again recalling it in my mind and it suddenly occurred to me that it wasn't just a normal thing.

    I think the most valuable thing I got from it was an understanding of the Trinity. I just totally get how three can all function completely separate yet be one, because I sorta did it myself.

    I know many believe stuff like this is drug induced or the like. Maybe it is, but it certainly doesn't mean that what we see and do isn't real. I'm perfectly ready to say that the anesthesia was responsible, but what was it responsible for? I believe it was responsible for enabling me to go beyond what the physical is normally capable of and allowed me to function in a higher capacity...one that is in us but not tapped into by most on this earth and is not meant to be, but occasionally is when our minds are put into physically traumatizing situations.

    It seems that people fear what they don't understand. They are quick to dismiss it or state that it is evil. I find that odd among Christians, whose very lives center around being created in God's image and base their earthly actions on life after death preparation. Yet when faced with the concept of life after death, the first reaction is rejection. I don't get it. Explain that...please.
     
  16. Mexdeaf

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    Near death experiences: I am so not a fan.
     
  17. HAMel

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    I had an Aunt that was very much a dedicated Born Again Christian. She had much influence on me as a child when it came to the Lord.

    She was in the hospital and died. They brought her back almost immediately and once she regained her senses..., she told the ER Staff that if it happened again to not bring her back.

    She never discussed what she saw but it was much more glorious than here on earth. About 4 years later she did pass away.
     
  18. Martin

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    ==Paul died, went to heaven, and returned. That, by its very definition, is a near death experience (NDE). We could also look at Stephen in Acts 7 when he saw the Lord Jesus. These are what we would classify as near death experiences.

    ==The OP is talking about "near" death experiences. Once death has occured there is no reversing that unless God does it. An NDE is an experience that occurs at the moment of death or when a person is very, very close to death. This is why I cautioned, in the op, about trying to read too much into NDEs. At best, verifiable NDEs only prove that human consciousness can exist outside of the physical brain. For those of us who are believers in Christ, that is an obvious statement. However when we are dealing with atheists are secularists the statement is not so obvious to them. So there is a certain level of apologetic value to a scientific investigation into this matter. That is what men like Gary Habermas, JP Moreland, and Randy Alcorn have done (from a Christian perspective). These are men who believe the Word of God and are looking to NDEs to find whatever apologetic value can be found in them. Of course there are many non-Christians looking into this as well. I believe the University of Virginia has actually started investigating this. In many respects their results are unBiblical, but their research might be able to give us some information that we can use.
     
  19. Martin

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    ==This is why I put the caution at the end of the op. We must judge all experiences, including NDEs, by God's Word. However there are various aspects of the NDE phenomena that do not contradict or conflict with Scripture in anyway. These would include a moment where the person sees their body, a tunnel, and a light. Even though these things do not contradict Scripture we must make sure we judge each alleged NDE by Scripture. Anyone who has an NDE and claims that they were told there was no hell (etc) should be warned that they may have been deceived.
     
  20. Martin

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    ==I agree 100%. We can't base our theology on any NDE experience (even if it agrees with Scripture). Truth is determined by God's Word, not our experience. Demonic deception is certainly present in many NDE cases. However I don't think all of them can be dismissed as demonic deception. I also think that there a small element of apologetic value to certain aspects of some NDE claims (see my op).
     

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