Near-Death Experiences

Greetings RZIMc,

Q: How do followers of Jesus respond to the claims of NDEs as proof that God does (or perhaps does not) exists?

Some background … My church is broaching this subject now and it has stirred a lot of interest in the community. I have provided a few links below to what I am referring to specifically. I remember Ravi stating that we are not to base our belief in God on such supernatural experiences but rather in the person of Jesus Christ via revelation/acceptance as our Savior and certainly the truth found in the word of God/the Bible. Do people really base their belief in God on such experiences? Thoughts? Comments?

Have a blessed day!

Mark

Link to book (What’s After Life? - by John Burke):

Link to my church’s NDE website:

1 Like

Good question, @Parkeri1313. I’d side with Ravi on this for various reasons, but the one that I think outweighs them all is Jesus’ statement in Luke 16:31, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

A sufficiently determined skeptic can explain away anything to his own satisfaction - whether his rationale is reasonable to anyone else or not. And if he’s determined to reject the more sure word of prophecy (II Peter 1:19) in the first place, then rejecting any lesser light will be a given.

Furthermore - imagine if he actually did believe in “God” because of an NDE, but he still denied the Bible and what it reveals about the true God? One would have to wonder what “god” he was really believing in after all. That sounds frighteningly like the antichrist of Revelation 13:3-4.

Ultimately, his beef with the God of the Book is going to have to be dealt with anyhow - so there seems little point in substituting lesser evidences for greater.

I hope this will help you with this issue.

@Parkeri1313 Great question :slight_smile: 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.

Here are some other thoughts / resources on NDEs:

  • the resurrection is the best evidence of the afterlife
  • the Spirit of God testifies to believers and gives them assurance
  • near death experiences do not prove Heaven or Christianity, but they may pose a problem for naturalism
  • 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)

Equip Article

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.

I always believed 1Corinthians 2:9.
It tells us no one has seen Heaven.

Check on YouTube look for John Ankerberg he spoke on the subject.