What do Near-Death Experiences tell us – Part 2
John Burke has written several books, the most famous one being Imagine Heaven. It’s a book about NDEs which he has studied for decades. Burke was interviewed by Lee Strobel who wanted to gather statistics of NDEs. The interview revealed the following:
• Even though NDEs vary a lot, they have a common core that is consistent with what the Bible says about the afterlife.
• The wide variation in NDEs is because what people report can be different from what they interpret.
• The Bible’s words are in black-and-white but NDEs tend to add color to the picture.
• 75% of NDEs involve separation of consciousness from the body. This is called an out-of-body experience.
• About 75% of people who had NDEs experience heightened senses and intense emotions.
• About 67% of people encounter a brilliant or mystical light.
• More than 50% meet deceased relatives or friends, or mystical beings.
• More than 50% describe a realm that is heavenly or unworldly.
• 25% say they undergo a life review.
• 33% report they encounter a boundary or barrier.
• More than 50% were aware of a decision to return to their physical body.
Here we dig a little deeper into a couple of sections of Lee Strobel’s book, especially the interview with John Burke.
Exposing what you did in life.
John Burke elaborates on the 25% of NDEs that said they underwent a life review. It happens in the presence of the Light Being who often asks, “What have you done with the life that I gave you?” The question is not phrased in judgement but in love to prompt reflection and learning.
Everything about your life is exposed, but the focus isn’t on your success and accomplishments but how you loved others.
People tend to judge themselves because the Light Being is communicating unconditional love. Burke points out what Jesus said in the Bible: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”
Most NDEs are positive encounters, but not all. In one study of nearly 1400 subjects, 23% reported NDEs that were disturbing or despairing or terrifying.
One example was Howard Storm, a professor of art at a university and a stated atheist. When he died he found himself following some friendly but mysterious visitors who took him on a long walk that became darker. The visitors became hostile by hitting and kicking Storm and as it became completely dark, injuring him when he fought back. They left him on the floor with one eye gouged out.
In this condition, Storm realized he had lived his life similar to his foes on the walk: a life of selfishness, ego-building, manipulation of others, and denial of God.
Storm yelled out, “Jesus, save me,” and a small bright light appeared. Arms reached out and his own semblance of roadkill began to dissolve as he came back to wholeness. He felt the most intense love ever.
When Storm recovered from his illness, he resigned his tenured position at the university and started a small church where he works today.
Missing tennis shoe.
Maria was a heart attack patient who described an out-of-body experience. While she was unconscious, she said she drifted up through the ceiling and out of the hospital, when she saw a tennis shoe on a window ledge of the third floor. She reported it was a man’s shoe, dark blue, left foot, and one shoelace tucked under the heel.
Maria later found the tennis shoe and it was exactly as she had reported.
One study of almost 100 patients who had out-of-body experiences concluded that 92% of the reports were verified as completely accurate – an amazing result.
Seeing though blind.
Vicki was blind for her 22 years. After a car wreck, she found herself in hospital looking down on the operating table as she floated through the ceiling. After entering a tunnel that led to a wondrous place, she met two schoolmates who had died years before. She then watched a spiritual video of her earlier life.
When she reported later these events, they were confirmed, although Vicki had not seen with her eyes any of them.
A study of 21 blind people who had NDEs concluded that these people had visual perceptions and some of these were validated by witnesses.
Jeffrey Long was a radiation oncologist, who has studied 5,000 NDEs over the past 25 years. He is now the founder of the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation
Long said he began to study near-death experiences or NDEs from a scientific standpoint and he realized there were some common themes.
No two NDEs are the same. But as he studied thousands of them, he saw a consistent pattern of events. About 45% of people who have an NDE report an out-of-body experience. The person can see and hear what’s happening around them.
After the out-of-body experience, people say they’re transported into another realm. Many pass through a tunnel and experience a bright light. Then, they’re greeted by deceased loved ones, including pets, who are in the prime of their lives.
Most people report an overwhelming sense of love and peace. They feel like this other realm is their real home.
“I’m a medical doctor. I’ve read brain research and considered every possible explanation for NDEs. The bottom line is that none of them hold water. There isn’t even a remotely plausible physical explanation for this phenomenon,” he shared.
Atheist turned Christian apologist Lee Strobel contends that science corroborates the Bible and that heaven is real.
“I was a skeptic about near-death experiences until I found out we have 900 scholarly articles that have been written and published in scientific and medical journals over the last 40 years,” he previously told CBN.
He pointed to a study about people who are blind who go through near-death experiences. These individuals — who have never seen more than shadows — report suddenly observing resuscitation efforts, deceased loved ones, and more. When they return to their bodies, though, they confirm once again that they are blind.
1: Lee Strobel, The Case For Heaven.
2: John Burke, Imagine Heaven.
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Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew chapter 6).