SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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ACCEPTING WHAT WE CANNOT EXPLAIN

Over the years there have been many books, articles, interviews, testimonies, etc. published on people’s “Near Death” and “Post Death” experiences. The arguments for and against are voluminous and inconclusive since neither side can convince the other. Secular scientist, psychologist, and paranormal experts offer two main points of contention with such out-of-the-body experiences. One, they argue, that when the brain goes dead it is incapable of recording anything brought in by the five senses. Let me illustrate: if you had an instrument that recorded stimuli from sight, such as a camera; from sound, such as a microphone; and from touch, taste and smell and you were recording an event, if the battery goes dead this instrument would be unable to record anything because it would not be functioning.

Scientist say that the brain is very similar; if it loses power and goes dead it stops functioning and, therefore, is unable to record anything in the memory bank. In that case, such recalled experiences such as “after death” cannot be valid because the person would have no memory recorded since the brain was not functioning. The second argument is that for those who have a “Near Death” experience, what they reportedly see and hear is produced by hallucination. And since a hallucination is a perception in the absence of any real stimulus, it has the quality of being real although it is an illusion. Hallucinations can be very vivid and seemingly real, but they are without provable substance. They are, as some are prone to say, real in one’s mind, but real in the reality.

On the other hand, there are those in the church world who question such experiences because while they are real to the person experiencing them, they cannot be expected to occur to everyone under similar circumstances; that each experience is different. When all such testimonies of “Near Death” experiences are examined side by side, there are often similarities such as “white light tunnels;” “out of body awareness;” “transcending to a higher level of intense light;” “spirits or divine beings assisting them;” “a feeling of overwhelming love;” and “meeting Jesus,” etc. Theologians also have difficulty with “After Death Experiences” since they do not conform to what the Scriptures say happens after death.

Bible scholars will point to what Jesus Himself said that He was going away to prepare a place for all who believe in Him, and when He returned He would take believers to where He would be going so they could be with Him eternally. So if they are already with Christ after they die, why would He need to come back to get them? Thus the Apostle Paul clarified that on the day of resurrection, the “dead in Christ” will rise first out of their graves. So theologians ask, “If one is already in heaven dancing on the streets of gold and dipping their toes in the river of life, why should they be forced to come back to earth, reenter the grave into the skeleton of their old body, and then be resurrected?

But lost in all this seems to be the fact that in the majority of these instances, both those who were believers before their near and after death experience occurred, and those who weren’t believers, had their lives changed dramatically for the good. Who can argue with that? Why are these experiences then treated with such disdain by the scientific and psychology communities when they can witness the change these experiences caused and how lasting they are? Why quibble over what it might have been when one can clearly see the benefit it brought to an otherwise empty and disturbed life of an unbeliever? As the blind man said when the scribes and Pharisees wouldn’t believe his report, I don’t know that much about him (Jesus), but what I do know is that once I was blind but now I see. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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