Near death experience is biblical?

Becausue of advances in medicine and science, we’ve had more and more people coming back to life after being clinically dead. And during the sermon he televised different people’s testimony about near death experience. Somehow I could not find enough informations about this, but the subject did not sit well with me. Starting from the passage with Thomas: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” the whole subject seems doctrinally wrong.
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@emaleon Great question :slight_smile: Below are some thoughts / resources you may find helpful.

  • we don’t really understand NDEs - it is possible that there is a rational medical explanation
  • NDEs should not be used as evidence for Christianity or the afterlife - the resurrection of Jesus is the best evidence both for Christianity and the afterlife
  • near death experiences do not prove Heaven or Christianity, but they may pose a problem for naturalism
  • even if it is a spiritual experience, that does not mean it had its origins in God—there are also evil spirits
  • knowing there are deceiving spirits, ignorance, and misunderstandings, we must test and weigh everything (1 Thess 5:21) - anything that contradicts Scripture is not true (this is not a circular argument for the inerrancy of Scripture, but rather based on the fact that Scripture is historically reliable and verified via other means)

While it is easy to understand the appeal of NDEs to people who want evidence or knowledge about the afterlife, they can lead people astray. For example, I once was sharing Christ with a man who was working on my cable and he tried to convince me he had a vision revealing to him that all religions are the same. Similarly, NDEs can be used to make false claims about the afterlife or for profit. So we must be careful.

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If the message and experience of an NDE does not distort or conflict with biblical teachings, then we should be careful not to speak against that which resulted in salvation and may have been a genuine work of God. Nevertheless, a potential problem emerges when near-death experiences are exalted as a means of bringing people to Christ. Such endorsement could lead many to trust NDEs more than they should, accepting them as generally authentic rather than examining the merits of each case individually. Indeed, if the message of the being of light, the interpretation of the near-death experience, or the lifestyle that results from the experience contradicts the teachings of the Bible, then that particular NDE should not be accepted as valid. In addition, there are some NDE accounts that provide elaborate and fantastic details concerning heaven and hell that go far beyond Scripture. When unreservedly accepted, these reports function as extrabiblical revelation about the nature of the world beyond. This can easily weaken Scriptural authority while diluting the divinely revealed content of Christian faith with the feeble projections of human imagination. The best protection against such error, if we are to hold that some NDEs may in fact be genuine, is to maintain that only the Bible can be trusted absolutely as a revelation of heavenly realities. We must also remember that medical research is still at an early stage of exploring this phenomenon and may yet provide vital understanding on this subject. It is quite possible that physical/psychological and spiritual explanations can complement each other.

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Thank you very much for the wisdom you shared. I totally agree with your explanation and it brings me peace knowing that I am not judgmental but feather descending. God bless you!

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@emaleon Glad it helped! Christ be with you :slight_smile:

One additional thought - many such experiences tend to portray an encounter with God or angels that leaves them feeling “warm and fuzzy” - but every such encounter we see in the Bible actually left some of the holiest men in the Bible initially terrified - undermining the claim that the “angels of light” they may have seen were the same witnessed by Daniel, Ezekiel, John, etc.

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That is an excellent point, something I did not think about it. Would you actually confront your pastor about a subject like this one, or just me content that you know the truth. I am definitely happy I asked this question, because I knew it is not the way we should introduce people to Jesus. And now I have even more knowledge to sustain my argument. But do I bring it up to the pastor or not? Definitely I am going to instruct my kids about it. Thank you very much for your excellent point!

Are you saying that your own pastor was promoting near death experiences as evidence of the after-life? If so, then I would privately share the reasons you question this view, in a respectful manner, of course - and if you think this is an issue worth going into with him.

I am the pastor of my church, and I always try to be open to respectful discussions from other points of view. Of course, every pastor is different, but I would think that if any approach would succeed with him, then a respectful one in private would have the best chance - again, if you feel it is something important enough to broach with him.

If he hears your thoughts, but disagrees with them without saying anything new, then I personally would be inclined to let it go. But if he disagrees while offering new reasons in support of his view, then you might consider the additional thoughts, and decide whether to continue the discussion from there.

I agree. That is why I am questioning if I should say something or not. I do have respect for my pastor, and I do recognize the authority he has. But I will not saying anything until I will pray long enough to understand what God wants me to do… and if I do not understand then I will give it to the Lord completely! Thank you very much for your input.