God’s Creativity and Near Death Experiences
Why are we considering NDEs in a book about our origins and who we truly are? This is a valid question.
Very simply, NDEs provide extraordinary insight into God’s resourceful genius by considering some of the features of the other places God has created besides our Earth and our Universe. These features help us to unravel a little regarding the deeper nature of Time, Love, Energy and Consciousness. Life on our planet, amazing though it is, does not go far enough to unpack these mysteries in any depth. We can ponder them using the reports of returnees, who assure us that each is experienced somewhat differently in the afterlife.
Modern resuscitation techniques and their success, allied to the availability of the Internet, have given rise to people reporting temporary afterlife experiences far more often than ever before in history. The similarities between their thousands of written accounts gives confidence that NDEs can augment not detract from our perception and appreciation of God’s ingenuity. Personally, I have found the subject so interesting over five decades that I have researched it extensively, and written on it comprehensively in my last book Living Beyond—Making Sense of Near Death Experiences.
The NDE begins when a person’s spirit (consciousness) floats up and out of the body and generally can see its lifeless body below. Some NDErs return quickly to their bodies and earthly life resumes, but the spirits of others proceed to new adventures in the afterlife. These occur mainly in a location for spirits termed Hades in the Bible—which predominantly comprises pleasant rural or garden sections called Paradise, as well as unpleasant Prison sections. The walls and buildings of God’s Heavenly City can often be seen in the distance from Paradise.
Many NDErs meet with God the Father or with Jesus in remarkable locations, usually in Paradise sections but sometimes in Prison ones, or more rarely within the Heavenly City itself, before returning to their bodies on Earth—often suddenly.
A significant number of these NDE reports are by Doctors and Scientists of one discipline or another, who have been trained to provide exact observations of what they have experienced. Their descriptions glove together impressively.
The remarkable gardens and countrified surroundings of the Heavenly City are a part of the Paradise to which Jesus took the thief who died on the cross beside him, having reassured him already that “TODAY you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Notice that he was to be with Jesus in Paradise that day—where departed human spirits wait for Judgement Day—and not the Heavenly City, also called “Heaven”, where God lives.
We know that Jesus’ body remained behind for burial while his spirit went to Hades, and not yet to God the Father in Heaven, so his promise to the thief must have been for them both to travel to the Paradise section of Hades.
Please note that NDEs do not happen in Heaven as a rule, but in the sections of Paradise or the Prisons in Hades. Heaven, or Hell, become destinations only after final Judgement has taken place sometime in the future.
Thousands of NDErs describe Paradise nowadays as astoundingly gorgeous; it displays the artistic side of God to us at a new and previously undreamt-of intensity. Here is a recent description by 910Barbara D of her NDE: which she had at age 13 years, but only written down by Barbara more recently:
I first looked for the sun but found nothing that provided a light source for the daylight conditions.
I then looked across the river, to see such an amazing world of mountains, trees, waterfalls, exotic flowers. Everywhere was green, green, green! It looked like our own natural world, but on steroids.
There was so much life with colors, textures, light, and smells that were all in a state of absolute perfection and abundance. I could scarcely take it in.
God’s Creativity and The Transfer Principle
A startling fact emerges as we study NDEs:
Afterlife Venues share many common
characteristics with our world.
These Venues are designed by God so that while they are very different in certain respects, there remain sufficient “tags” or similarities to our lives that we are not totally disoriented or even fearful as our spirit moves into these new realities.
In short, familiar features enable people to transfer smoothly into afterlife places and subsequently between them, and settle quickly into the new Venues—I term this process “the Transfer Principle”.
The Transfer Principle states formally that “conditions on Earth share similarities to conditions in afterlife Venues, devised by a loving God to facilitate our functioning successfully there.”
Five notable examples of this principle would be Time, consciousness, communication, relationships and light. Very briefly:
Regarding Time—NDErs in the main notice that Time exists in all afterlife Venues, including Heaven and Hades, but they say that it appears to pass differently from Time on Earth. Nevertheless, because we are familiar with Time passing on Earth, at death our transfer from this world to afterlife Time appears not to be daunting.
Regarding consciousness—NDErs say we remain ourselves and fully conscious of our existence, even though we have died! Fear usually disappears, and pain always does so immediately at death.
Regarding communication—thousands of written records by NDErs without exception recount how communication in the afterlife was by telepathy. Since this telepathy conveyed comprehensive, earthly knowledge and concepts, they adapted to it quickly and responded in kind. Nevertheless, it was extraordinary as a means of communication because thoughts and emotions were laid bare and could not be hidden, such as we often do when we associate with one another on our planet.
Regarding relationships—NDErs discover love continues after death and appears to be the coinage of relationships in the afterlife. They generally meet joyfully with parents and other family members who had pre-deceased them, including ancestors whom they had not known previously.
Regarding light—Paradise and the Heavenly City are suffused in a brilliant light, similar but superior to light in our world because it connects directly into the soul—for example feelings of love, compassion and acceptance seem conveyed through it to the NDEr. New arrivals find it welcoming and comforting. Fiona M10 recently described it in these words: “I did experience a most exquisite light. It was not hard to the eyes and it was a very special light unlike what we see here on Earth. It was vastly peaceful and gracious. The peacefulness is what I remember most.”
However, light has not been experienced in the same way for those unfortunate NDErs who have been relegated to one of the Prison sections of Hades. These are characterised by dim lighting or, in the case of the Void, little or no lighting at all.
These similarities to Earth involving Time, consciousness, communication, relationships and light facilitate the NDEr absorbing the important fresh lessons that have been prepared for them in the afterlife.
Prevalence of NDEs
Most NDErs are initially hesitant to speak about what happened to them. There are various reasons for this: concerns expressed by family or friends are common, as are social and professional reasons, and even rejection by their religions. Nevertheless, more and more NDErs are giving their accounts—the NDERF website for example has copied more than 4500 first-hand descriptions that are available to us over the internet. While there are obvious individual differences, returnees from the afterlife nevertheless record startling similarities in their descriptions.
After lengthy consideration over many years I have concluded that each NDE was planned ingeniously by God as a learning experience for that particular returnee.
Thereby, NDEs illustrate intriguing facets of God’s ingenuity, including details of how he treats and cares for us individually.
What are we to make about the views of some who have experienced clinical death and revival with nothing to report about the interim? 11Kerry Packer, the richest man in Australia at the time, had a heart attack in 1990 and was clinically dead for several minutes. Afterwards he would famously and emphatically tell those around him that there was “nothing out there”.
Remembering that researchers have found that conservatively speaking only around one in ten who die and return to life report having had an NDE, or at least one that they remember—might we suggest that Kerry Packer was not in that group? For a gambler, he would surely have understood those odds.
NDEs—Beneficial or Not?
Looking at the effect on those who have had them, NDEs seem to be a divine gift from which to benefit. Many agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Christians, Hindus etc have found them to be life-changing, for the better. Follow-up studies conducted over some years have confirmed this.
Sadly, though, some returnees seem quite disorientated as they continue their lives, and become emotionally tangled. Too often they suffer rejection from family, friends, work colleagues, church leadership or congregations—resulting in stress and depression. They may suffer trauma similar to PTSD; some even resort to suicide. I know of such tragic cases. Others who have returned after suicide attempts, such as Angie Fenimore, generally report unpleasant afterlife experiences best avoided.
In some instances, the NDE may be primarily for the sake of others who will be helped by the transformed NDEr; a common example being mothers who return for the benefit of their children.
But unless God tells a particular NDEr the specific reasons for their return to the world, as a significant number have claimed has happened to them, we can only conjecture—because it is God alone who determines who will and who won’t be granted an NDE, and for what purposes.
Accepting Insights Gained From NDEs
Here is a question to ponder: why have many people who would have not expected an afterlife experience or an encounter with God, returned to our world assuring us that they have had both, to their own amazement? What could have so radically changed their belief and their subsequent behaviour—some unanticipated hallucination maybe? This possibility has been discounted as ludicrous by Psychiatrists and Psychologists, some of whom have themselves experienced an NDE.
Might we expect Scientists to come up with something more objective and convincing regarding the afterlife than reports by revived patients?
The AWARE study is international, longitudinal and statistically relevant, led by highly regarded critical-care physician Sam Parnia. He leads a multidisciplinary collaboration of international Scientists and Physicians conducting AWARE across many hospitals. It involves a clinical investigation of the brain and consciousness during cardiac arrest, including testing the validity of perceptions during the out-of-body part of near death experiences.
AWARE published some interim findings in August 2016.
Their analysis of the data available to that August led them to declare that consciousness survives clinical death, and logically must be independent of the brain, which is left behind in the lifeless body.
At last Scientists can accept (even if some refuse to, and some do so tentatively) that death may not be the end, and still remain true to Science!
The way Science works, many further experiments must be devised and conducted before a definite scientific conclusion can be declared. This experimentation is growing apace.
Science and Medicine in all disciplines will never be quite the same again once Parnia’s findings have been verified independently, as they surely will be in time. There is a massive amount of confirmatory material, including thousands of written accounts, to investigate and quantify, and it all points in the same direction.
Robert Lanza11, voted in the New York Times as the third most important Scientist alive, supports absolutely that consciousness is not seated in the brain and that it survives physical death.
Once the continuation of consciousness is generally accepted, not only Science and Medicine, but Religion and humankind’s approach to life itself will be transformed, sending us on a pursuit to uncover the meaning of our individual lives. Some readers of this book will already be on this personal quest—please keep going!
Hopefully, generations to come may begin living with eternity in mind rather than chasing the dirty dollar and personal comforts.
One would anticipate them to be thoughtful about their lives and God—and to spend their sojourn on the planet productively living lives characterised by love, service, and involvement in community activities.
Atheists and NDEs
Some of the confusion experienced in the accounts of atheists who have died may strike us as amusing, because they did not believe their consciousness would survive death, yet suddenly here they are in this new reality, and they must deal with it as best they can! Many, but not all, report initial experiences in a dimly lit Prison section.
During their afterlife experiences, some atheists reported being drawn towards a brilliant light, like moths drawn to a flame. Most who have approached near enough were startled to see the figure of a man from whom the light was streaming. Instinctively, they have identified this figure as God, God the Creator, or Jesus.
It appears that atheism may be an unnatural overlay that dissolves immediately one comes into God’s presence—at which point some intuitive, possibly primeval, recognition kicks in.
No returnees from an NDE during which they met God are reported to remain disbelievers—confirmed amongst others by the findings of the researcher and prominent cardiologist Maurice Rawlings12. Rawlings, himself an erstwhile atheist, noted that every atheist NDEr he had interviewed had changed their viewpoint. It would be ridiculous to remain a sceptic after meeting and interacting with God. Rawlings investigated NDEs over some years and wrote extensively on his findings.
A number of atheists have become very effective Christian Ministers on return from their NDE. After all, they now know what agnostics may wonder about and atheists refute—that God is absolutely real, the source of existence, the brilliant consciousness from whose genius our Universe and ourselves derived. Prominent “atheists-subsequently-Ministers” include Howard Storm, Dr George Rodonaia, BJ McKelvie, Tim LaFond, and the “Box Jellyfish Man” Ian McCormack.
These former nonbelievers can become emotional when talking about meeting God in the afterlife: I remember Ian McCormack tearing up when telling us how compassionate and loving God was to him despite the dissolute life he had lived previously.
This discovery, even by atheists, that God appears to us as a compassionate man and not as some remote power has profound implications. One of these is that we can look forward to living where God lives, because we are more like him than we might ever have anticipated or imagined.
Church Ministry to NDErs
As for the increasing numbers of returning NDErs looking for new spiritual understanding and sympathy, will the Christian church worldwide rise up to meet this challenge, or will it leave them to the embrace of the New Age or other belief systems that already welcome NDErs warmly into their midst?
A Christian Doctor friend says that in her opinion the symptoms of disturbed returnees are very similar to PTSD. Many need love and counsel desperately, but instead feel rejected like lepers by their church families.
The first step would be for churches themselves to learn about NDErs, and to welcome them into their congregations, rather than driving them into other religions—as happens all too frequently nowadays.
All Christian denominations should aim to provide teaching materials and lectures for their Ministers, trainee Ministers, and congregations on what actually happens after death.
I received an email recently from an esteemed Professor in an American seminary who has attained several doctorates in different branches of theology. He had just read my last book “Living Beyond: Making Sense of Near Death Experiences”. He wrote that he has never once seen advertised a Christian lecture to be presented in a seminary on the topic of what to anticipate on dying. Consequently, when he died, he was absolutely surprised by the NDE that followed! He now knows why so many NDErs give up on their churches; it is because they feel let down, believing that their church should have prepared them for what happens at death. Instead, they sense disbelief and even rejection from ignorant Ministers and congregations.
This same Professor, despite currently lecturing in an American seminary, admits that he cannot share his own experiences of the afterlife with his academic colleagues because they would criticise and perhaps reject what he would tell them. It is when he preaches away from his city in rural churches and mentions his NDE that “I get my only fellowship with those who themselves have had an NDE, who invariably stay behind and want to talk with me.” Many express great relief that he knows what they are talking about, because he has been there himself.
Too many confused and even traumatised NDErs need answers and support after what has happened to them. They need acceptance, assistance, love and counsel from church leaders and other Christians. Otherwise, usually without saying anything, most will simply slip away. A significant amount of research has uncovered this alarming trend. This is despite many returnees claiming to be “more spiritually minded” following their NDE, but tragically finding that they can no longer trust the teachings found in their churches.
WAKE UP SEMINARIES! WAKE UP CHURCHES! Develop and preach a valid understanding of the afterlife to prepare your people and to help your NDErs!
NDEs Reveal God’s Other Creations
Perhaps the biggest single revelation from NDEs is that God has created other Venues outside our Universe, and conceivably further Universes. These other places reported by NDErs who have been there are essentially different from ours, although sharing some likenesses—as will the coming New Heaven and the New Earth described in the Bible.
Secondly, the nature of existence in these other locations, including in Hades with its different levels in Paradise and Prison sections, is complex and different to that we enjoy on Earth.
On studying these afterlife locations as described by returnees, we conclude that God is by nature inventive, being not at all limited to the boundaries he has imposed on our Cosmos, nor to the relatively simple but elegant laws and principles that determine its functioning.
God is involved outside our Universe in creating what may even be a multiverse; detailed reliable descriptions of precisely what he is doing and how are not on record. Nevertheless, a number of reliable NDErs have been fortunate enough to be taken on tours hosted by angels, or more rarely by Jesus Christ. These tours occasionally included other Universes. Certain massive constructions and physical phenomena are described that are startling and unlike anything observed in ours, suggesting to the more scientific among NDErs that Laws of Physics new to us are involved.
Some returnees with scientific training have concluded that there is at least one extra spatial dimension in God’s afterlife Venues, which makes descriptions of what is seen particularly difficult. Our descriptions have been composed for a 3D world and not a 4D one (or worlds having even more spatial dimensions); consequently, how to describe what happens there is evolving only slowly. And incidentally, if God has made a 4D Venue, he must occupy at least four dimensions himself—you cannot create in more dimensions than you live in yourself, can you?
God’s ingenuity exhibits both his artistic brilliance and his scientific nature way beyond our imaginings. Why might he design and generate different Universes? We can only guess. Perhaps our own world can provide us with clues, but no more than that. Complex landscapes on Earth, for example under the sea where people have not been observers, or of previous life forms before humans even appeared on the planet, suggest he might take pleasure both in his artistry and in the myriad of interesting interactions within his Creations.
Both God the Father and Jesus have been described as displaying apparent pride at the beauties of their Paradise to newly arrived NDErs, who had expressed astonishment at the magnificence of what they were seeing.
NDEs, God and Time in The Afterlife
NDE reports are very revealing regarding Time in the afterlife.
Although most adult NDErs record experiences outside the Heavenly City, those few who have described entering it as short-term guests did not notice any accompanying change in the nature of Time, so it is likely that Time in the afterlife is alike both inside and outside the walls of the Heavenly City, although different to Time in our Universe.
Most returnees are confused when asked to explain what Time was like in whichever afterlife location they found themselves. They know that somehow its passing was not the same as on Earth, but in the main they cannot define the difference.
At death, our watches and mobile phones are left behind while it is our spirits in spirit bodies that have flown away. NDErs are consequently without their usual reference points respecting Time.
One of the reasons for their confusion is that experiences crowd in on the NDEr much more quickly than on our planet, where actions and comprehension are laborious in comparison. The transmission of information and conversation telepathically is also very rapid, and so is “seeing” the events of one’s life during the Life Review.
One further difference between Time in Heaven and on Earth is relevant. On Earth, we are used to perceiving things sequentially because our eyes and our brains are interconnected. In the afterlife, our ponderous brains and neural systems have been left behind, and so multiple images and information can be absorbed by our souls all in the same moment.
Timing and Purpose of Return
On occasion, God provides a little information about their future to an NDEr before their return to the world. I have pondered the possible significance of this. Some instances strike me as parallel to Genesis 1, or specific biblical prophecies, where God stated in Heaven a sequence of what was going to happen on Earth—and it did—in subsequent earthly Time.
The experiences of many returnees illustrate that ultimately each of our lives rest more in God’s hands than we are perhaps comfortable with. God often tells NDErs that they must return to our world because “your Time is not yet”.
This truth appears in many scriptures such as the declaration of Psalm 31:15 that “My Times are in your hands”.
An NDE is a sublime gift because it facilitates a course-correction for that NDEr on return to life. But very few in Paradise wish to take up an offer to return to Earth at all, because they are enjoying the afterlife very much and feel loved there.
To love more on return is the paramount lesson they report from their experiences. Why is this crucial?
The Bible actually reveals God’s fundamental nature, that “God is Love” (1John 4:8). Therefore, loving people in all their complex variety helps us to “put the jigsaw together” and to know and love God more closely. Consequently, loving others is part of the general “mission” given to all humankind, not only to NDErs and not only to Christians.
It is not surprising, then, that literally thousands of NDErs have returned knowing that God has instructed them to practise love toward others, but few have comprehended at a deep level why this mission is quite so vital—that God is Love.
Many debates on spiritual topics, including the Creation/Evolution debate, hinge on when and where events were assumed to have taken place.
Too regularly, we suppose certain actions to apply only within our Universe and understanding, consequently taking no account of the proceedings and timings in Heaven.
I believe my Two-Stage Theory invites a whole new approach to comprehending how God does things, from Genesis to Revelation. So let’s now apply it in more detail.
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