Do near death experiences tell us anything about the resurrection or about life after death
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|A debate over the case for Christianity. What historical facts about Jesus’ life, agreed to by virtually all critical scholars, lead to the conclusion that Jesus actually rose from the dead? Did the disciples have hallucinations of Jesus rather than actually see Him? Was Jesus’ resurrection body merely a spiritual body (a ghost-like, wispy, see-through, non-material body) or a real physical body? Did Jesus claim to be God? What factual evidence today inclines us to believe miracles (like the resurrection) are possible?
Copyright: 2000, Number of Programs: 7, Cat. No. DJRD
Keywords: Resurrection, Jesus, Near death experiences
- Ankerberg: And Gary, what other evidence would you bring into this picture in terms of those that are naturalists that say there’s got to be a naturalistic explanation? Tony doesn’t seem to know how to explain this stuff, the evidence, the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection that you’ve presented so far. But his concern is, “Hey, just in the ordinary experience of things, it couldn’t happen.” Now, what would you say to that?
- Habermas: Yes, the other way I said, one is just overpowering evidence for the resurrection, but the other way to go after it is to say, this world admits other exceptions. Now, near-death experiences, to give an example, would not be a miracle. However, if near-death experience is evidence of afterlife, Jesus’ resurrection would still be unique. But if people are living after death, now that makes you take a whole new look at the resurrection. So, my interest in near-death experiences is not the tens of thousands, if Gallup is right, almost 8 million Americans that have had near-death experiences. My interest is not the tunnels and the lights because that could be temporal lobe; it could be lack of oxygen.
- To me, since 1972 I’ve collected almost 100 cases of near-death experiences where something evidential happens two blocks, or in some cases, two miles away. Now, if I just give one example, this is a real recent one. But the medical doctor, a cardiologist, Michael Sabom, in his 1982 book Recollections of Death: A Medical Perspective, he said, “When I wrote that book we only had near-death experiences. Now we have post-death experiences.” In his most recent book called Light and Death he gives the case of a Southern mother in her 30’s who had a brain aneurysm and they had to fly her out to Arizona for a special technique. And I’m given to believe that only one doctor in the world does this, but it took 30 doctors and technicians in the room, and what happens is, he opened up her skull and if the aneurysm is right there, you repair it. But if it goes down deep, they put into effect what they call “Operation Standstill.” And this is crazy because they basically kill their patient.
- Now, this lady went out to Arizona. He cut open her skull. Went down and found this thing was way too deep, so they had to kill her. And what they did was cool her body temperature down to 59 degrees, get all the blood out of her head. They stopped her heart; they stopped her brain. These were stopped for hours. And he’s doing his work and to make a long story short, if you’re interested in the end result, he got the vessel, he repaired it, and she is doing fine today. Okay? But what the interesting thing is when in her testimony, when she heard the saw turn on, she said she was out of her body and as it were, looking over his shoulder at the top of her head. Now, she’s getting near to this point where they’re going to kill her and she gives six points of corroboration. And one of the things she says is, she said, “I had this idea of a drill looking like a pizza cutter or something, but,” she said, “it looked like a pen with a little tiny… where did you get that?”
- And she said, “You had a socket wrench next to you.”
- And the medical doctor said, “What do you mean socket wrench?”
- And he’s wanting her to give evidence. He said, “Well, there was a box that sat open with all these interchangeable parts.” He said, “Draw me a picture of the drill.”
- She drew it.
- “Draw me a picture of the socket set.”
- She drew it. And then she tells things that went on in the room. They couldn’t find her artery. They had to go to the other side. She identified which doctor made the decision, which doctor couldn’t find the artery. It’s in her medical report. But during the experience… and then they kill her. I mean, she’s dead for three hours and she has all these points of memory and I could go on and give others.
- In one other case, real briefly, a girl who was drowned. She was under water for 19 minutes. She reported what her parents were doing at home that night, what her mom did for dinner, where her dad was sitting, a G. I. Joe that her brother played with, a doll that her sister played with. She talked about a popular song that came on the radio and she gave… she had no brain activity, comatose. She came to three days later, looked up and told the doctor, “You’re the one that resuscitated me.” Told this big long story and he checked the data from just three days earlier.
- Now, I think these are some hard cases and there’s dozens of others like them. Now, if this is true and there’s life after death, this isn’t Jesus, but if there’s life after death, it allows us to understand a model for what we call resurrection.
- Flew: Is that supposed to show life after death?
- Habermas: Well, I think it, okay, not extenuated life, not heaven/hell, but what I would argue is minimalistic life after death. By minimalistic life after death, I mean minutes, sometimes hours, minutes after cessation of heart or brain waves.
- Now, to me, if a person is recording something, if it’s in my medical report that I flat-lined at 3:02 and I had no brain wave at 3:15 and I report something that happened a few minutes after that or an hour later, and I can tell you what went on, say, a police report and it’s after the event. No, I don’t think life after death in the traditional view of heaven/hell but in the sense of having data from minutes after death, and I would think life after hours of death would be tough for a naturalist.
More Articles You Will Love
The John Ankerberg Show
Founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America.