To Hell And Back, Follow Up

Q. In response to your post entitled, “To Hell And Back”. I was wondering if you would please elaborate more on why you do not believe in NDE’s, and what other support there is in the Bible for this view. I’ve read some of the reports from both surgeons and patients on the topic of near death experiences. People have been clinically dead and have been successfully resuscitated only to tell amazing stories of heaven or horrible stories of hell. Couldn’t it be possible that the experiences people witnessed in these events are another way for God to spread his message to the world? The technological age brought methods to resuscitate people effectively even after they’re clinically dead. These could fall in the category of greater knowledge during the end times as our Lord foretold.

A. I didn’t say I don’t believe in NDE’s. I said I’m skeptical of the stories I’ve read about the experiences people claim to have had. A number of them are clearly inconsistent with Biblical teachings, such as the pastor who claimed to have seen born again Christians suffering in hell because they didn’t forgive someone while on Earth, or the Mormon writer who saw confirmation of Mormon theology on a visit to heaven. But my primary objection, as I stated in my answer, concerns the contradiction between these stories and the Lord’s account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) which is the Bible’s clearest view of the after life. It’s true the Lord’s ways are higher than ours, and He will do everything possible to reach us. But that doesn’t include contradicting what He’s already said. The “greater knowledge” idea means a more complete understanding of what He’s already said, not a contradiction of it.

Finally, I think the Lord knows when a person is dead, and knew the number of his days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). To claim that some have gone into heaven or hell when they’re not really dead is to say that modern technology can cause Him to be mistaken about their demise.

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