Near-Death Experiences: How Should Christians Relate to Them?

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People are fascinated with Near-Death Experiences (NDE's) these days. Books like Heaven is For Real, To Heaven and Back, 90 Minutes in Heaven, and 23 Minutes in Hell tell the story of people who died and crossed over to the other side before they were sent back to earth to tell their stories. Many Christians find in these stories evidence of the traditional doctrine of the immortal soul. For them, the teaching that the soul goes directly to heaven or hell upon death has been placed, due to the common occurrences of NDE's, beyond question. In this article I don't wish to argue for or against the doctrine of immortal soul. I must, of course, freely admit my bias against the immortal soul theory. However, for the sake of this article I am not going to debate whether or not the doctrine of the immortal soul is biblically sound. Instead, I will simply show that NDE's cannot be proof of that doctrine.

First of all, NDE's contradict each other. I am not saying that NDE's should be identical. What I am saying is that while I would expect diversity from one NDE to another what I don't expect is contradiction. For example, Christians who have NDE's report an experience consistent with their biblical beliefs. Likewise, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims report NDE's consistent with their beliefs. However, all of these beliefs contradict one another. Christians believe that there is only one God manifested in three - God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. So how does a Christian respond to a Buddhist who has an NDE and sees Buddha  or a Hindu who has an NDE in which he talks with Hindu gods which the Bible declares false gods? One Hindu claimed to go to heaven on the back of a cow, others report seeing Krishna in heaven. 

Another contradiction in these NDE's is that they often contradict basic Bible teaching. In some instances the person who has the NDE is not even a follower of Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the only way to heaven and yet just last year I read an account of a man who had an NDE and went to heaven even though he was not a follower of Jesus. While there he rode on the wing of a butterfly and spoke to spirits. On his way back to earth he was told by the spirit that he could "do no wrong." This is contrary to scripture which declares that "all have sinned (past tense) and fall short of the glory of God (present tense)" (Rom. 3:23). Mormons report going to heaven and participating in a self-judgment even though the Bible says that we are judged by God not ourselves. Others are often told that there has been a mistake and that it is not yet their time to die so they must return to earth. However, the Bible tells us that God doesn't make mistakes. Perhaps the scariest aspect of NDE's that contradict scripture is the New Age NDE's in which those who experience it come back to push the idea that truth is relative and that all paths lead to "the light" when Jesus said that he alone is the door of heaven. 


The final problem I would like to propose is the absence of NDE's in scripture. The Bible reports many instances in which people were resurrected. The New Testament alone records more than 5 instances of Resurrection from the dead. In most of these instances the dead person had been dead for more than just a few minutes. In fact, Lazarus had been dead for 3 days! However, not one of these report anything even remotely related to NDE's. Lazarus, who would have spent 3 days in heaven, is strangely silent while those who have NDE's today can't stop talking about it. 


In conclusion, I propose that NDE's do not in any way prove the doctrine of the immortal soul. If we accept NDE's as true afterlife experiences we must do so whether the person is Hindu, Christian or whatever. We must also be willing to embrace the plethora of contradictions they propose. While NDE's are real experiences I see no ground to believe that they are genuine afterlife experiences. At best they are merely psychological and at worst they are Satanic deceptions. Sound too far fetched? Not as far fetched as riding on the wing of a butterfly I hope. Adam and Eve were deceived by Satan and opened the gates of sin into our world. To this day Satan has not changed his tactic. He continues to deceive and, as his time runs short, will do so with even more intensity. Were I not grounded in the Bible, how easily could an NDE, in which a "spirit" points me away from Jesus and the Bible, lead me down the path of perdition? Our only safeguard is the word of God. I'm sticking to that. I pray you do the same.


Note: All of the information in this article regarding NDE experiences of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Atheists etc. can be accessed through Google searches on these topics.

Comments

  1. You may have a point there. However, what about NDEs that led to Jesus Christ as the saviour of the world? If all NDEs are faked stories, then the devil is also a missionary because he leads to believing in the Bible. Take me for example. I used to be an agnostic and now I am a strong believer in the Bible and what it teaches thanks to my NDE.

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    1. Hi Anonymus!

      Great question man. A lot of it is actually answered in this article so I want to encourage you to re-read it with that question in mind. However, I will take a stab at it here.

      Quite honestly, I don't want to answer your question for two reasons. First of all, its your story and the most uncomfortable thing for me to do is to disagree with someones story. Secondly, I don't relate to you because I have never had an NDE. Therefore, even if I wanted to I cant empathize with such an experience which in your case was life altering. So while I will answer your question please understand that this is a bit awkward for me.

      In order to lower the "awkwardness" I will share with you a story from a man who could sympathize with you. His name is Clifford Goldstein. Here is his story:

      "Before my new birth in 1979, I ricocheted into the occult, The most dramatic manifestation being one afternoon when, having lain down for a nap, I sensed myself careening through a loud tunnel before being ejected from my body and hurled through the ceiling into a gray, crackling mist in the air outside the second-floor apartment of two friends who were trying to convert me to Guru Maharaji."

      Now, if Cliff asked you, "Anonymous you disagree with NDEs. But what about the fact that this NDE led me to the wonderful teachings of Guru Maharaji and my life has never been the same? I used to be a miserable atheist with no belief in the supernatural. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol but today I am a different man thanks to my NDE." How would you answer that question? Pretty uncomfortable right?

      And yet that is the best answer that I can give. The NDE led you to Jesus. The NDE led him to Guru Maharaji. Both are subjective experiences. Both are real and powerful. But both cannot be true. So what do we do? Do we simply say, "Well only the Christian ones are true?" I am sure you can sense the intellectual dishonesty of such a cop out. So what do we say? I don't know. All I can say is that while NDEs seem to be real experiences they certainly don't seem to be real "death" experiences. Cliff, who is now a Christian pastor who does not believe in NDEs, goes on to say:

      "For starters, this phenomenon is called near-death experiences. Near death isn’t the same as death. None who came back were dead dead, as in rigor mortis dead. And if you wouldn’t eat a cut of beef deemed near free from mad cow disease, why help build a case for what happens after death based on what’s deemed near death?"

      Please excuse his sarcasm. He tends to be a bit edgy. But I think he makes a point. Since the two of you have shared this experience the best I can do is point you to him. After all, he can empathize a lot more than I can.

      In close allow me to clarify. I don't think all NDEs are Satanic delusions. Some could be. Others could simply be psychological. It may even be true that God gives certain people dreams that they interpret as NDEs. But the point I am making is that whatever they are they cannot be used to defend the theory of the immortal soul.

      Allow me to leave you with a challenging question: If you discovered one day that your NDE was indeed false would you lose faith in God and the Bible? I sure hope not. I want to encourage you to build your faith on the objective truths of Gods word. While subjective experiences are wonderful and desired (I love them) they cannot replace faith built on the rock which is Jesus Christ.

      Here is a link to the article Cliff wrote: http://www.adventistreview.org/article/4158/archives/issue-2011-1505/near-death-delusions

      Blessings,
      Marcos

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  2. Hi Marcos,
    I do not think your view or that of Cliff or anyone else`s is objective and non-psychological. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." There are no such things as objective truths of God that any mortal soul can comprehend. See? You may only say as doubting Thomas did : MY Lord and MY God. MY, MY, MY. We all will be judged by our deeds.
    As for Guru Maharaji, it is not uncomfortable at all. If a man`s deeds are good, false teachings can be easily corrected either in this or in the after life, because a man is what his love is. If he loves good and truth his deeds are good. And if your deeds are good your false views on NDEs can be easily corrected as well. And if you do not believe me, never mind, with God nothing is impossible.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Good to hear from you! I agree to a certain extent. I do not think that my view or anyone else's is 100% objective because we are not there to see the facts in perfect clarity. However, I do believe we can approximate the biblical picture with a great degree of certainty. In other words, God has revealed things in his word and while he has not revealed everything we can certainly build our faith on what he has revealed. The subject of the human soul, immortality, death, and life after death is one the Bible is far from silent on. When we study it we can come to a pretty clear picture.

      The full biblical picture of death and all of its variables does not validate NDE's at all. Coupled with the incessant theological and experiential contradictions inherent in this phenomenon I conclude that while they may be real experiences they cannot be real death experiences. As I stated before, "whatever they are they cannot be used to defend the theory of the immortal soul."

      Blessings,
      Marcos

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  3. Lazarus was dead and raised from death before Jesus was resurrected. Hence hard to conclude if there was such experience or not before Jesus' victory over the sting of death. What do you have to say about that? There are also atheists who had hellish experience and became believers. What about them? There is also a story of the rich man and Lazarus told by Jesus. What do you make of that? Even if their fate was sealed and couldn't give us an account of their experience, Jesus told the story. The rich man wanted to be raised so that he warns his brothers but he was told prophets and teachers are there to give the warnings. He said nobody believes them but if he was raised from the dead they would believe him. God's final say on the matter was 'if they don't believe the prophets and teachers, they will not believe you even if you were raised'. I know there are some deceiving spirits and people out there with a new age stuff but I've an open mind especially to those who once used to be atheists and became believers.

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    1. Hi anonymous! Super good questions man. I love it. Allow me to answer to the best of my ability.

      As to your first question, I may need you to explain it a little more. Are you suggesting that no one went to heaven after death before Jesus resurrection? But ever since his resurrection now they do?

      What about atheist converted by NDE’s? That’s an excellent question. I share my thoughts carefully here because I never want to belittle anyone’s personal experience but my biggest challenge with NDEs is that atheists are not the only ones having them and becoming Christians. Other people are having them with much different results. In the article above I said:

      “Christians who have NDE's report an experience consistent with their biblical beliefs. Likewise, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims report NDE's consistent with their beliefs. However, all of these beliefs contradict one another. Christians believe that there is only one God manifested in three - God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. So how does a Christian respond to a Buddhist who has an NDE and sees Buddha or a Hindu who has an NDE in which he talks with Hindu gods which the Bible declares false gods? One Hindu claimed to go to heaven on the back of a cow, others report seeing Krishna in heaven.”

      Now please understand, this post has nothing to do with whether people go to heaven when they die or not. That’s a totally separate issue. What I am suggesting is that NDE’s alone are not evidence of that. NDE’s contradict each other on multiple levels and they are entirely absent from scripture. Again, I am not saying that the dead don’t go to heaven or hell here, all I am saying is that NDE’s are not proof of either. If they were, what about the NDE’s that Mormons have reported of going to heaven and participating in a work of self judgment (not a biblical teaching). Or the Hindu that sees Krishna? Or the atheist who talks to an angelic being who teaches him New Age doctrine which contradicts the Bible? Whose NDE am I meant to believe? As awesome as an NDE may be and as thankful as I am for those who come to Jesus through them we still have to go back to the Bible and build our faith on its objective truths not on the subjective experiences of life.

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    2. I responded to the Rich Man and Lazarus question in another comment stating, “one has to be really careful in using parables to prove theological points that they are not explicitly teaching. The purpose of this parable has nothing to do with the state of the dead. In fact its main focus is the state of the living. Jesus is using a parable to illustrate a specific truth - that if you ignore the scriptures even if someone came back from the dead to convert you; it would be of no use. The parable was meant to be a rebuke to the Pharisees whom had rejected the prophets of the Old Testament. In addition, the immortal soul theory would presuppose that both Lazarus and the rich man would be spirits. Do spirits have fingers? Do they have tongues? Do they drink water? [other questions are Can people in heaven talk to people in hell? And, Does Abraham make all the decisions in heaven? Contrary to what you said, it is not God who tells the rich man he cant go back to the living, its Abraham. In actuality, Abraham calls all of the shots in this story not God. He doesn’t even consult God.] It’s obvious that Jesus is using figurative language of the day to teach a specific spiritual truth which I have already mentioned. If this parable is to be taken literally then I suppose that before Jesus comes there will be 10 literal virgins somewhere on planet earth with oil lamps waiting for him and 5 of them will run out of oil and have to go buy some. Unfortunately, while they are at the antique store buying oil for their Middle Eastern genie lamps, Jesus comes and they are not allowed to go to heaven because they hadn't put enough kerosene oil in their back packs. I'm not trying to be sarcastic here; I am however using sarcasm to illustrate how silly such a literal interpretation of the Parable of the 10 Virgins would be. I suggest, such a literal interpretation of the Rich Man and Lazarus is likewise erroneous.”

      So what is the parable actually about? You hit the nail on the head when you said,
      “The rich man wanted to be raised so that he warns his brothers but he was told prophets and teachers are there to give the warnings. He said nobody believes them but if he was raised from the dead they would believe him. God's final say on the matter was 'if they don't believe the prophets and teachers, they will not believe you even if you were raised'.”

      This is exactly what happened a few chapters later when Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, and instead of repenting, the Pharisees and Saducees got together and plotted to kill Jesus. They had rejected the Bible so much that even a man rising from the dead was unable to change their hearts.

      I am a pretty open minded guy too, but not so open minded my brain will fall out. When it comes to sketchy stuff like NDE’s, the logical challenges are too great and the biblical witness is too small (non existent actually) for me to embrace them as evidence of what happens after death.

      Hope that helps a bit!

      Blessings,
      Marcos

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  4. Why would Jesus use Greek pagan theology in a story to Pharisees who were held captive in that false doctrine?

    Yes, Jesus did use a story that was well known by the Pharisees in His day. Why did Jesus use it? Simply because He wanted to correct their false views. If you notice the story carefully, while the rich man in the story (who represents the Pharisees) believed in the immortality of the soul, Abraham believed in the resurrection of the dead. This is seen clearly by the fact that the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers from among the dead. Abraham, on the other hand stated that the brothers would not believe though one rise from the dead (Luke 16:30).

    Let's see the story verse by verse:

    Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man

    A formulae for parable? Yes, “There was a man” is repeatedly used in the gospel of Luke to describe a parable (eg: Luke 15:11, a parable). Can we conclude it is what it is?

    Let's proceed....

    Before we proceed, let’s think about this now. Is the story of the rich man and Lazarus a story invented by Jesus?

    No, this was a story well known by the rabbis. But for the rabbis, Lazarus would end up burning in torments; the rich man will end up in Abraham’s bosom. So, Jesus takes this common story and gave it a twist.

    Who was this story spoken to? The Pharisees, the main audience (Luke 15:14).

    Who wrote the story? Luke was written especially for those of Greek mentality – written to the Greeks. Therefore, the parable fits well with the greek idea of the immortal soul that flies off at the moment of death. Jesus takes this story that is used in his day and age. He is not saying that the story is true. You will see...

    What did the Pharisees believe about death?

    Pharisee believed in the immortality of the soul unlike the Sadducees (Act 23:8) – Historian Josephus confirms this, who was also a Pharisee. If Jesus spoke this story to Sadducees, it would not have made sense. Even the disciples of Jesus had this idea of immortal soul according to (Mark 6:49).

    Now this is interesting, the belief system of the Pharisee at death according to:

    Discourse to the Greeks concerning Hades by Josephus, “NOW as to Hades, ….a subterraneous region,..” which had two compartments. One contained, “a lake of unquenchable fire” , and the other side was “The Bosom of Abraham”. (See: http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/hades.htm).

    So, Jesus’ explanation aligns well with the idea expressed in Josephus work. Jesus is simply speaking (rich man and Lazarus) with in their own frame of reference - Pharisees knew this idea of two part heaven and hell sort of destinations.

    Notice a few points about the traditional understanding of the Pharisees vs. the bible now:

    Josephus says angels gather the righteous to Abrahams bosom at death, the Bible says angels gather the elect at the second coming (Matt 25:31-46)

    Bosom? Represent closeness. (John 1:18 - Jesus is in the bosom of the Father – He has a special closeness to the father). Bosom is not a literal chest of Abraham, according to Josephus; it was a region where those with a close link/connection with Abraham was taken; wonder where people were taken before Abraham existed!).

    Rich man appears to be in the torments at death in the story, but all other references in the NT says the wicked are cast away into the lake of fire at the end of the age, never at the moment of death (Matt 13:40-43). Building an entire theology on this story sounds good? Hmmm. Not so! Let's continue...

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  5. Luke 16:22 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;

    Note, the Rich man was ‘buried’. Then he must be in the grave, right?

    Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    How can the rich man lift up his eyes if he is in the grave? What is he doing with all his body parts in the fire? This story doesn’t say that the rich man when he died, he immediately went to hellfire, does it? It’s an assumption that people make. If we go by the rest of the bible, the evidence indicate this event will happen at the end of the age. Evidence to the contrary?

    Luke 16:24 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.

    If this is at the point of death, again, why are body parts in the hellfire (tongue, finger)? This is a valid relevant question. It should happen at the end of the age!!! Body is cast into the hellfire not at death, (Matt 5:29, and 30). So, again, the story doesn’t tell us rich man got his punishment immediately at his death, does it? Let's continue...


    Now this is important. Who did the rich man represent?

    Luke 16:24 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.

    The Pharisees - the sons of the “Father Abraham”.

    Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

    Who had Moses and the Prophets? The Jews.

    NOTICE HOW JESUS IS WORDING THE STORY:


    Luke 16:30 And he [rich man] said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

    Did the Rich man believe in immortality of the Soul? Yes, he says, send them one “from the dead”.

    Continue....


    Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

    Did Jesus believe in immortality of the soul? Jesus says, if I send someone it must be someone “risen from the dead” (see: Luke 24:26). This is KEY and settles the idea of what Jesus really believed!!!!!!!

    So, yes, the rich man represents the Jewish nation. Particularly the Pharisees. Incredible. Jesus uses their belief system (send someone from the dead), but Moses and the prophets and Jesus, speaks about resurrection from the dead.....

    What does Lazarus represent?

    One argument for some to say this is not a parable is because parables doesn’t give names. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, there is an exception. The rich man is not named, but Lazarus is. Why do we have a proper name if this was a parable? Who does this beggar Lazarus represents? Lazarus represents the gentiles. There is a reason why name Lazarus was used, “Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”. Who was raised from the dead in actually later on?

    John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

    Do you see how Jesus connects a Lazarus in a story with the real Lazarus? When Lazarus was resurrected that was the greatest sign of the Messiahship of Jesus. Will they still believe in Jesus? Moses and the prophets expounded on Jesus (John 5:39). The real Lazarus did not go to preach to the Jews from the dead but after he was resurrected from the dead. (John 12:9,10).

    Even if this story were to be real, Jesus ( did not confirm immortality of the soul. He confirmed the resurrection of the dead.

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  6. http://worldnewsdailyreport.com/german-scientists-prove-there-is-life-after-death/

    Okay ... whatever.

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    1. Hey there Huh? Do you realize that the article you quoted comes from a website that publishes fake/tabloid news? Not a very reliable source to base your beliefs on dude. But even if it were a reliable news site, I still prefer to stick to the Bible.

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  7. Thank you for your post, Faith in Jesus and Bible led by Holy Ghost is best place for instruction, doctrine, correction, etc. Salvation is in Jesus alone.

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  8. Question...if Moses died (Duet 34:5) who was Jesus talking to and who did the disciples see with Jesus if not Moses himself in Matthew 17?
    Just wondering.

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    1. Good question Anonymous! Allow me to reply.

      The exegetical theme of Mat 17 is not the mortality/immortality of the human soul but the divinity of Christ. Because of this a lot of questions remain unanswered in the text with regard to the mortality/ immortality of the human soul. What this means is that the passage in Matthew 17 becomes a passage that supports our view of the mortal/immortal soul doctrine. It, however, does not inform that doctrine.

      In other words, the way you interpret Matthew 17 really depends on your pre-conceived doctrine of the human soul. If you believe people die and go straight to heaven you will read this text as evidence of that. However, notice that Deuteronomy does not state that the soul of Moses went straight to heaven and neither does Matthew 17. So again, you will read into the text what you already believe prior to. As someone who believes in the mortal soul doctrine this text poses no problem. God resurrected Moses after his death and took him to heaven. Now an opponent of this view would argue that neither Deuteronomy nor Matthew suggest God resurrected Moses. I agree. But once again, neither of those books suggest his soul went straight to heaven either. In the end, both mortal soul theorists and immortal soul theorists interpret this passage according to their preconceived belief on what happens at death.

      The reason why we do this is because Matthew 17 is dubious when it comes to informing our understanding of what happens at death. This is because the passage is about the divinity of Christ, not the nature of the human soul. As a result, this text cannot be used to either defend or refute either view. If you believe in the immortal soul you will interpret this text as though Moses went straight to heaven at death. If you believe in the mortal soul you will interpret this text as though God resurrected Moses sometime after his death and took him to heaven. However, neither text clearly spells out either belief. So it is a text that is informed by our belief. It is not a text that informs our belief.

      Some mortal soul theorists interpret Jude 1:9 as evidence of this: "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!'" In this passage, they say, is evidence that God sent an angel to resurrect the body of Moses as he did when he sent an angel to resurrect the body of Jesus. And this is why the Devil contended with him over the body of Moses. But while this is certainly possible it is also dubious in that it cannot be clearly proven from the text.

      So the real question is then, which soul-narrative is the Biblical one? Is it the immortal soul-narrative? Or is it the mortal soul-narrative? And the answer to that question requires a study of the entire narrative of scripture regarding this matter. I concur that the narrative of scripture undoubtedly teaches a mortal soul.

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    2. If he's been resurrected already then how do I square that with the pre advent judgement that started in 1844? Did Moses jump to the front of the line and get in early?

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    3. What an intuitive question! You have the mind of a systematic theologian there dude :D

      Your question is a good one but in order to answer it we actually have to take a step backwards. Moses' resurrection isn't simply a seeming contradiction to the judgment but to the gospel. Jesus had not died yet. His blood had not been shed. Justification was not yet available as it is after his death. Therefore, Moses wen't into heaven prior to the death of Jesus and in a sense, skipped the line on justification. Its like he got to go to heaven based on what Jesus "would" do while we have salvation based on what he "has" done.

      I once heard a preacher joke that this was the reason why Moses and Elijah were with Jesus at the mount of transfiguration. They came to encourage him to go through with his sacrifice because apart from that sacrifice they had no right to be in heaven. They were, in a sense, in heaven on layaway and they came to tell Jesus "we like it here so please go through with it". Now of course the preacher was joking but his joke does highlight the fact that Moses and others who went to heaven prior to the death of Jesus were there pending the death of Jesus.

      Because Jesus was appointed as judge over the world after his death (Acts 10:38-42; Acts 17:30-31) we can argue that Moses, Elijah, Enoc and others entered heaven ahead of his death based on the assurance that he would do it and they received either a) a special judgment based on their unique circumstance or b) their judgment begins when everyone else's judgment begin. But of course, they have nothing to fear because judgment in scripture is not an addition to the gospel, it is the application of the benefits of the gospel. So its not like Moses would have been in heaven wondering if he would get kicked out after 1844. His security was based on Jesus sacrifice and the judgment doesn't take away from that. It simply confirms it before the universe.

      Allow me to also elaborate on what I mean by "they special circumstance". Moses. Elijah, Enoc and others are clearly exceptions not the rule. And exceptions never disprove the rule. For example, the Bible says "it is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment." Now if this is true what do we say of Lazarus? He died twice. Was he judged after his first death or his second? I think we would all agree that since God intended to resurrect him his judgment clearly takes place after his second death, not his first making him - and every other resurrected being in scripture - an exception not the rule. But this doesn't change the fact that for the rest of us, the rule still applies. Same goes for Moses being resurrected and taken to heaven in the OT. He may either have received a special judgment of some sort or he simply awaited to enter into judgment when everyone else did. Scripturally speaking either position could work but that would make him an exception not the rule.

      Understanding what it means to be judged also helps to make sense of this. I have written about that here: http://www.pomopastor.com/2012/10/the-pre-advent-judgment-9-what-does-it.html

      Blessings!

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  9. Nde is not entirely absent....the lost gospel of mary magdalene and even a scripture that says that someone went up either in body or out only god knows....i cant remember which scripture...also satan can come as light....so i am studying..but the gnostic gospels fit nde. Thomas gospel says that there is no sin...but what you do or uour heart produces sin. Interesting.....yes?

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    1. I dont consider the Gnostic gospels are presenting the same story that the scriptures present. Consequently, I dont believe they are inspired sources of truth. The Gnostic gospels were just that - Gnostic and because Gnosticism and Scripture tell different stories the presence of NDE's in Gnostic writings does not compel me to reconsider my position. The scripture that you quote is 2 Corinthians 12:1-3. This text is a very peculiar and dubious text that can be interpreted in many ways meaning it is a very weak foundation to build a NDE case on. And the idea that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light is not really helpful in this topic either. So I would agree that these points are interesting but I would add that to the student of scripture they are by and large non conclusive and irrelevant.

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