Near-death Experiences: Should We Learn Anything from Them?

No, the secret things belong to the Lord and it is wrong to even read about these experiences
18% (3 votes)
We cannot depend upon anything we learn from them, but they are worth knowing about
47% (8 votes)
Yes, we can learn a lot from some of them, although they are fallible
0% (0 votes)
35% (6 votes)
Total votes: 17
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There are 6 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

Perhaps you have known someone who has been resuscitated after a heart attack and has a story to tell about what he saw and felt. How do we interpret such events?
What is your take?

"The Midrash Detective"

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I chose other. I don't think it is necessarily wrong to know about them, but I don't think they are real or have any value. I think they can be wrong. as in demonic in origins, but I do not think this is the case very often. Mostly, I think it is just the mind at work.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Aaron Blumer's picture


Tried to avoid "other" but ... just as previous post: not wrong but no value. Kind of goes in the category of entertainment.
The lives of the people involved can certainly be worth reading but the "while I was dead" component specifically--can't think of any reason to attach meaning to what folks remember experiencing during that.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Mike Durning's picture

In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul shares his "near-death" experience -- which some commentators presume to be in relation to his stoning at Lystra. Since it occurs within Scripture, we take is as an accurate recounting of Paul's memory of the experience. But beyond that, since he bases teaching on it, we can safely assume that it is an accurate recounting of what Paul actually saw and heard during this experience (think of John 16:13 as a promise to the Apostles).

Thus we conclude that a). near-death experiences can be accurately perceived and recounted in at least some cases (though an Apostle's experience may not be representative of all cases). b). Anyone who is a believer and who experiences something like the Apostle Paul's story MAY be experiencing heaven.

It is also important to note that experience is not itself normative.
a). People who are unbelievers experience memories of Heaven.
b). People who are believers experience memories of other phenomenon that are inexeplicable.
c). People from other religious heritages sometimes experience memories of their own faith's version of the afterlife.

I would suggest that following is probably true: As a person approaches death, their brain, becoming starved for oxygen, may imagine that which they entirely expect the afterlife to be like for them. At some point, when the brain is truly dead, their experiences will be real, but their is no return from that state.
Anybody who experiences a near-death experience should humbly admit that they are uncertain as to the reality of their experience/memories.
Any preacher who uses old stories of people crying out that their feet are "slipping into Hell" should remember the above principles as well.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Mike Durning wrote:

Any preacher who uses old stories of people crying out that their feet are "slipping into Hell" should remember the above principles as well.

From the little bit of research I have done on the internet, I tend to agree with your post, except for this last line quoted above. Near Death Experiences are classified as positive, seeing dead relatives, the figure in light, maybe a tunnel (which seems to be the majority), emptiness, and negative experiences (slipping into a pit, sometimes being pulled down by demons).

From a theological viewpoint, this is hard to correlate, particularly in light of what you mentioned, that people of all religious or non-religious stripes testify to being in heaven. The idea of the mind playing tricks like a dream seems unlikely in that so many people (who have sometimes never heard of Near Death Experiences) have such similar experiences that it seems more than coincidental.

I do not have an answer, other than John 14:6 still holds true. We have to accept God's Word over experiences of men.

"The Midrash Detective"