In Saturday’s edition of the El Dorado NEWS-TIMES Michael McManus penned an article entitled “Doctor Offers ‘Proof of Heaven.’ As the title suggests, McManus’ piece discussed how an atheistic doctor started believing in God after an ‘experience’ in heaven while enduring a 7 day coma.
Because of the article, I received this email later on Saturday:
“Just like McManus’s column in today’s News Times, and in the bookstores, we are offered numerous books and reports of people visiting heaven, usually during a time of extreme physical infirmary, and returning to tell about it.
Is it for real?”
Now THAT’s a good question! Seriously, it is. A GREAT question, actually.
More and more and more literature continues to flood shelves with very similar circumstances. A simple Amazon search will take you here, here, here, and here. Or, if you like, you can read about experiences at the other end of the spectrum here. Most of ’em are New York Times bestsellers.
Do I think these experiences are real?
Yes, but. . .
Yes. I do. But there is a very big ‘BUT’ (ha!) I want to add. Let me explain.
Yes, I believe – for the most part – the ‘heavenly’ experiences we read about actually happened . . . in their minds. Ultimately, I cannot say whether or not the encounter these authors talk about actually happened ‘in the heavenlies.’ I have to take their word for it. I am more than willing to say, “sure, that happened. . . awesome.” I have little doubt that – for them – it was real.
BUT – and this ‘BUT’ is so big, it actually has two points!
(1). Injuries and Medicine Cause Crazy Reactions
I have sat in hospital rooms, watching normal people say and do some very bizarre things due to medication. I’ve seen monkeys be chased by a man (we were at the hospital – not the zoo . . . and no, I didn’t see the monkeys – but he did). Was it real to him? You bet. To him, there were monkeys running around in his hospital room.
(2). The Bible is Enough
At the end of the day, the question I have is: “We have the Bible. What else do we need for proof that there is a heaven?” God has already made it VERY clear that there is actually a real heaven. What other proof do we need? God allowed John to have a vision while on the Island of Patmos so we could get a taste. If we need an extra book to help us ‘really’ believe, then we need to seriously question our belief in the validity and authority of the Word.
Read these books and articles – if you must – with caution. If you want to read about what happened to these people, great. Go for it. Some of it is riveting stuff. But please be careful. One, don’t put it on the same level as Scripture. We don’t know what kind of medicine these people were on before they fell asleep. And two, don’t say, “well now I can know for sure there is a heaven.” God has already told us. We don’t need anything else.
Can God use books and articles like these? Sure He can. He often uses bizarre circumstances to get our attention. But so can the enemy. . . to refocus our attention. He would love nothing more than to get our mind and hearts and affections and attention off of Jesus on onto ‘Heaven’s Reality.’
In McManus’ article there wasn’t one mention of Jesus.
If He ain’t there – I don’t wanna go.
Please, please, please be careful.