Ever since Dr. Raymond Moody's book came out in 1975 (Life after Life), I've been fascinated by near-death experiences. I think we all want to know details of what is on the other side of the curtain, and I believe Christians in particular want to check the living arrangements of their eternal home. It's just natural that those who believe more strongly in the afterlife would manifest greater curiosity than those who feel life is truly over with the last breath.
Carole cleaned out a closet last week and uncovered a book I had read a few years ago called Blessing in Disguise, written by an internist named Barbara Rommer. She has had a keen interest in NDE's because her father strongly hinted to her that he had experienced one; also, she lost a husband at a fairly young age. In her medical practice, she has frequently had patients who've volunteered information after an NDE. Her book, interestly enough, focuses on what she calls "LTP's", or "less than positive" NDE's.
Not every one who has a near-death experience finds it to be all glory and pleasure. A reasonable percentage find moments of difficulty and anguish. Dr. Rommer says that she has yet to interview anyone whose LTP was completely negative, however, because each LTP interviewee came away from the experience with at least some desire to make positive corrections in his or her life. Most are convinced they were allowed to resume earthly life in order to try and make amends for mistake made prior to their "near-death".
I don't buy into everything I have read about NDE's, simply because the Bible tells us that the road to heaven is rather narrow, and only a minority of folks are able to traverse this path successfully. But statistics indicate that a vast majority of NDE "experiencers" have a totally positive time when they're away from their physical body...it's all peace, joy, light, flowers, music, and banana pudding until they're told they are not quite ready for this wonderful new area and must return to earth. If nearly everyone is going to have their ticket punched, regardless of their acceptance of Christ as their savior, that kinda renders his sacrifice on the cross meaningless.
What gives veracity to these accounts, however, is the element of incredible knowledge these NDE'ers exhibit once they are revived. One gentleman interviewed by Rommer had traveled with his wife from his home in Florida to Milwaukee for open-heart surgery. He went into respiratory arrest and was clinically dead for thirty minutes - and was revived when the cardiac surgeon did an open heart massage, which was finally successful.
During this time, he found himself standing next to those who were trying to resuscitate him, and then he ascended to the top of the OR. He began wondering if his wife knew what was going on, whereupon he immediately found himself in the surgical waiting room where he found her on the phone, crying. Whatever he thought was immediately manifested, and he had sudden idea that he wanted to go home to Florida, and bingo, he was there. While there, he saw all the mail which had been taken in by the housekeeper, strewn all over the dining room table. He accurately described all of the letters, bills, junk mail, and the magazines. He was able to describe the housesitter's girlfriend in detail, a person he and wife did not even know existed prior to this incident. All he described was confirmed, of course.
And, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar stories where the "dead" person "returns" and is able to recount details which were impossible for him to know. That recurring element gives enormous validity to near-death experiences, and therein creates the conflict for the Christian I mentioned. If some of what these people report is accurate and, in fact, impossibly accurate, but then other elements of their stories don't jive with Biblical teaching, we have a conundrum. Of course, I will and must choose what God has said about the "narrow way". God has also told us that He wishes all could be saved, but that most will reject Him.
Dr. Rommel states that 9-15% of the NDE's are LTP, by the way. She interviewed over 300 "experiencers" for the book, the vast majority of which had never told anyone about their particular NDE before. I'm only about 40 pages in, so I better promise to post again after I've completed the book. Feel free to comment on this fascinating subject if you wish.