An article entitled “Heading for the Light ( Next Magazine April 1995) asked the question “When we die do we simply sink into oblivion? Or is death a doorway to some other place?” The front cover promises the reader, “Find out how heaven looks”. What followed was a series of interviews with Kiwis ( New Zealanders) who had been “beyond and back”.
One woman described how her near death experience has given her a “wonderful assurance” about death. She “knows” that death is merely a transition to some other place and “not something to be feared”.
A Muslim lady reported encountering a being “she knew was God”. She experienced an “amazing peace”. The “god being” told her helpful things about her life. She told her children that death is like going to another country and living very happily there.
Another woman said, “Death is not the tragedy we think it is and the body is not important”. She told her dying father there is “just shining happiness ahead”. (Scenes of souls in torment are relatively rare, except in a limited number of Christian examples.)
There was no mention of Christ or faith in his finished work on the cross by any of the travelers.
The article reminded me of three things:
- Secular Kiwis are still concerned to know what happens to them after death. Conditionlist Christians need to be prepared to put forward the biblical view of “Life only in Christ” in answer to the questions they are asking.
- Although most Christians would reject the validity of these experiences of “heavenly” bliss for non-believers, I can’t help thinking that Christians who hold to the belief in the immoratality of the soul are entering into the spiritual battle at best only half-armed. At worst they may be buttressing the position of the enemy. We need to put the conditionalist perspective before our brothers and sisters in Christ too.
- We are justified in rejecting experience , however real they may have seemed to the participants at the time, when they contradict God’s Word , the Bible. Are we not likewise justified in rejecting so called Christian experiences of heaven or hell when they fly in the face of the biblical evidence?