The saying there are two guarantees in life - death and taxes has an interesting after-thought with it which is: why do we find it easy to talk about taxes and money-related issues, yet talk so little about death, and life afterwards?
It’s tricky because most of us have not died yet and for most of us, it’s really an unknown domain to discuss with any kind of meaning. Furthermore, many religious people seem to have simplistic sounding responses that don’t include much on what this next life is actually meant to be like.
Death is a guarantee we all have, yet if we want to live on, then we need to overcome death as our common enemy. Why be so focused on a few decades here on earth, yet so dismissive of our ability to live for millions of years or more in an amazing tangible future together?
For the purposes of this article, death is the moment we leave and become separated from our skin-and-bones, organ-sustained bodies, and become free of our limited-senses, bodily pain and aggravations, and constraints of this world as it stands today. It is the moment our quite eternally deficient bodies cease to function, and we go to move into our new bodies.
We have eternity (eternal life) placed in our hearts - and many echoes of our original design permeating our world today. Our creativity, ingenuity, intelligence, love, compassion, hope and all of our abilities and faculties exist because we are made in the image of our Creator - all these things actually reflect Him. Even though they are a faded image, they still remind us that there must be something more.
What I have become convinced of, is that if anything, the life we experience here and now on earth, is at best, a vague and hazy, limited-dimension existence compared to what is ahead after death. We are more conscious, and life is more real, the moment we “die” (i.e. stop living in our earthly body, and transfer).
In our earthly life, improper use of our built-in ability to make individual choices, has led to the infiltration of evil throughout our world and so we have a problem. These choices, made and continued over many generations have paved the way for all of us to be born and live in the polluted, cursed and evil environment that we hear about in the news every night. We all face the payment for this which is death.
Whether we admit it or not, we have all come under the same pollution and curse - commonly called sin. Used in an archery setting, sin means missing the mark. You might say that because each of us has missed the bullseye just once in our lives, we have been sentenced to death. This is because perfection is what we are designed for, and to enter perfection (more on that later - it’s not as boring as it might sound at first glance as we study those who’ve been there and returned to tell us what it’s like), there cannot be a single blemish of imperfection. It’s like having a pure glass of water, yet a small drop of ink makes that water permanently polluted with that ink and discolours it. Imperfection allowed to continue, develops into the kind of evil and imperfection we see in the world today. Imagine imperfection continuing for millions and billions of years? It’s unsustainable and disasterous.
In reality, the consequences of our missing the mark collectively and personally are grave. It means permanent separation from life and is a universally-applied legal result of our actions. We are all born into sin and we can’t get out of it by ourselves. Sin must be eradicated because eternity is too long for any kind of evil to live, grow and develop. It will destroy eternity and destroy us - creating an eventual hell, just as it is destroying the (relatively) few generations we have all had so far on earth under our own sin-directed lives.
If we take a realistic look at this time-constrained world (time being one our dimensions we inhabit (and are constrained by) this side of eternity), we have to look at the development of this. Famine, war, political turmoil, financial fragility, polarising and intense world-views (often argued from the relative “safety” of “social media”), depression, anxiety, hopelessness, stress and economic hardship, fear, fake news and deception, control of people through the use of technology, unhealthy distractions (such as realistic gaming, rampant pornography, nutritionally-deficient food), the rise of pride, arrogance, cruelty and harsh interactions between people, isolation, confusion, unprecedented natural disasters….and of course many more things…hell on earth… and somehow you and I are supposed to live some kind of “successful” life and work out the whole eternity thing in our favour in just a few decades at most? You’ve got to be kidding!
All of the trouble on earth must happen though, and as our Creator has often said in His love letter to us, human beings are not only given ability to choose at our core, this choice is protected by Him. We are allowed to carry on as we wish - because only then, if we should discover and realise the truth of His love, and the much bigger and better plan He has for us with new bodies and living in a new world - better than we could ever have even with all our striving, then the relational side of that decision towards Him has complete integrity. Genuine love has choice and freedom at its core.
This task is too big for us, and even so, we created the problem, we are the problem, and we are not going to solve it ourselves. Our Creator knew all this, and while leaving us with our in-built choice-ability, He’s made a way for us to overcome it. The key was it had to be “unstuffuppable” - a made-up word meaning there must be no chance it could fail, yet still maintain the integrity of our ability to choose.
So the solution had to be a gift where all the work was done on our behalf, yet could be accepted by us and be effective, simply as a result of our choice to accept it. Choose to accept a gift. That’s it.
The solution was to send a human being with the power of our Creator living inside him, to live a life that never missed the mark once. He succeeded. He lived in a way that is completely sympathetic to our fallen and hopeless condition, yet with the power of a multi-dimensional and loving Creator. He lived amongst us - growing up in the Middle-East, trained and working as a tradesman in the family business, and living his powerful yet compassionate life (with people on both sides of the religious fence getting offended) and he walked straight down the line of a perfect life. He confused proud people, bringing them to their intellectual knees, and elevated the down-trodden, eating and spending time with them in their homes - a great honour in middle-eastern culture. His public execution, and publicly witnessed resurrected life, demonstrated the power of what he achieved. Death could not hold him down, because he did not fall under the legal category of having any sin - not one tiny pocket of missing the mark in his thoughts, words or actions. Sin=death penalty did not apply.
Those who were humble, came to see him as he was - the God-man. The great embracer of heaven and earth - the re-connector of fallen humanity with the perfection of flawless design and eternal future which is the domain of our Creator. He left earth to prepare a place for each of us, and in the meantime shared his spirit of life (the defeater of death) universally for every human being to also be as he was. Accepting his spirit literally brings us to be “born again” - having another go at being born (this time not under the curse or pollution of sin) means the legal judgement passes over us - we fly under the radar if you like - and come out completely free of judgement from the moment we accept the gift.
In this next update, we’re going to look at how real death, life after death, heaven, hell, and the experience of a personal loving Creator, and His Son Jesus, really are.
A VISION OF HEAVEN
Take a step back for a minute - just imagine… what if you didn’t have to get everything done in this life? Or what about having no pressure about getting anything done - at least not in the laborious way we are told we should? Imagine if you had all eternity to pursue your dreams, explore the full expression of your soul with greater abilities and consciousness than you do today, and do this in perfect peace, energy, with a diversity of people all in harmony yet so uniquely themselves… forever and ever?
Imagine living in a world so tangible, beautiful and expansive, with breathtaking natural beauty alongside the most exquisite architectural masterpieces and buildings imaginable.
Imagine having a stable government that truly ensures freedom from pain, evil and all associations of those things, and freedom to pursue, explore, create and really live? Imagine having endless resources at your disposal and being able to use these to do good? Imagine having super-human abilities including the ability to travel and communicate as instantaneously as you think it?
Or have a light, energetic age-less body that can enjoy things such as socialising, walking, working or creating, smelling fragrances, listening to or creating music, enjoying food, enjoying rest, yet also being able to travel distances, experience and travel in and out of time or space without need for technology, wealth, or machines?
Imagine having a soul completely free of fear, anxiety, death, evil, impending doom, worry, or any kind of negative or debilitating emotion of any kind - ever? Imagine having no financial commitments or debts ever yet having everything you could possibly imagine you need?
Imagine being able to truly trust others, relate with them forever or just for a moment, live in a great community yet enjoy time “alone”, live in an incredible mansion, live in a city or countryside or both, enjoy amazing food and sit by waterfalls - and all with a life that spans multi-dimensions and senses and in complete safety… so that the life we are living on earth today seems like a vague dream with limited abilities and consciousness?
These are the kind of amazing (yet still incomplete) experiences those who have had Near Death Experiences report - and some of which we will discuss below.
NEAR-DEATH-EXPERIENCES and LIFE AFTER LIFE
There are literally millions of people who have had NDE’s. In fact, one study found approximately 1 in 25 people in the US have had an NDE.
This is a fascinating field of study, championed by many doctors and clinical professionals that have encountered stories by those who have returned from a state of death or near-death, that have been declared deceased, brain dead or have been in a coma for some time and in the ensuing time prior to showing signs of life, often have common experiences of life outside their bodies.
Medical professionals are often at the receiving end of initial reports of NDE-like experiences. Patients who, in a hospital, are revived, tell of their experience whilst showing no signs of life. Or later on, psychologists or counsellors who are told of these experiences by people working through the implications of what has happened to them.
This has caused what has now become thousands of collated reports and studies by professionals from around the world who were often skeptical of life after our life here on earth, and have become convinced by the evidence, that there is in fact “life after life” - which happens to be the title of the international best-selling book written by Dr Raymond Moody in 1975 where he coined the term “Near Death Experience” or NDE. You can see this book on Amazon here.
Since that time, there have been hundreds and thousands of studies, interviews, scientific data, and published articles in prestigious journals from around the world, about NDE’s. I find this compelling, and very hard to ignore. In fact, it is the most exciting thing I have discovered recently, as it very much aligns with the future I knew we had for many years - the future spoken of in the Bible.
One researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Long, has collated and scientifically studied thousands of accounts from around the world on NDE’s, leading him to conclude that “NDE’s provide such powerful scientific evidence that it is reasonable to accept the existence of an afterlife.” (Long and Perry, Evidence of the Afterlife - the Science of Near Death Experiences, P44). Since this publication, Dr. Long has published a further book involving 3,000 people in the largest near-death experience study in history - God and the Afterlife - The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience
People who have experienced drowning, heart attacks, vehicle accidents, illnesses and anything that has caused them to die - and subsequently “come back from the dead” have a high degree of correlating experiences that are not dependent on race, age, cultural background or gender or many other distinguishing characteristics.
Some of the things that have struck me are how some of those experiencing an NDE don’t immediately realise they are dead. In fact they feel more alive and alert than ever. They can sometimes, for a while, hear and see everything in this world - including their own body which they have just departed from - and sometimes try and talk to loved ones who are visibly upset over their dead body, to tell them that they are ok - in fact often more than ok!
In Dr. Long’s exhaustive study of 1,300 NDE’s in his original study, he found that around 75 people out of every 100, had an out of body experience (separation of consciousness from the physical body), heightened senses (i.e. more conscious and alert than normal); and intense and generally positive emotions or feelings (eg incredible peace). 50-60 out of every 100 encountered a mystical or brilliant light, encountered other beings such as mystical beings or other deceased relatives or friends; altered sense of time or space; encountering other worldly (heavenly) realms; encountering or learning special knowledge; and being aware of a decision to return. (Long and Perry, Evidence of the Afterlife, P6-7).
Notice the emphasis on being even more ourselves than we are today? Having greater consciousness than today? And what about the amazing relational implications of all of this - the decision to return - something given to many NDE’er’s who, in greater consciousness than ever - consider loved ones and children who will miss them, or to whom they have responsibility for - and wish to return for those reasons - delaying and forgoing the immediate incredible environment of peace and knowledge they are experiencing to return to earth and into their body… does this not show us of the deep respect and validation our Creator-Father has for each one of us uniquely according to our designed-ability to make choices? I love this - that our Creator would care so much about what matters to us - that He will allow to to choose to stay in Heaven or go back to earth to continue living with loved ones - all the while knowing eventually for eternity - we will all be together if we have trusted Him?
I find these statistics amazing. Yet it all makes complete sense. If we take a step back, and take the burden away from trying to fix this world - imagine all that work being done for us… by a hugely capable Father - a true Father? Yes there are innumerable problems today…. even if everything was ok on the social, political and financial fronts, what about our environment? Mass animal deaths are occurring; irreversible damage to ecology is taking place; pollution to our oceans, rivers, and waterways are increasing. Just consider the damage to our oceans from the radiation after the Fukushima disaster in Japan? There is so much that could be studied about our environment alone. Yet we have all these other issues that are compounding. We must stop and realise - things are not going to get better under our own steam - humanity is doomed because our actions show we are born with a natural aversion to living according to the design and laws of the Universe no matter what we profess to know.
In my discussions with people, there is a common sense of hope that those who do not yet believe in our Creator allude to as evidence that we can make it as human beings if we just keep going, try harder, and keep… hoping. Having this hope though, is actually evidence of our Creator, whilst the hope in ourselves and the future of our world is misdirected. We are Created in the image of our Creator - so to have hope is actually evidence of our design as we are told that Faith, Hope, and Love endure forever - 1 Cor 13.
I feel that much of the aversion to accepting what Christ has done - has to do with what we believe in the core of our being about our Creator. Is He loving, or judgemental? What kind of love does he have (is it conditional?); Can I really trust him with my soul? Is Heaven even a place I would like to be? Is there evidence for Christ, and life after death? So many deeply held beliefs about love, family, and “religion” prevent us from seeing clearly what all this is about. I understand this. For many years, even though I was brought up in a religious home, I experienced much conditional love, feelings of judgement, rejection, and I transposed much of my experience onto wider uses of the terms “love”; “God” and “Father” which in turn prevented me from seeing the true, loving, unconditional nature of Him and His amazing love.
It’s only since understanding at the core of my being how truly loving, caring, powerful and amazing our Creator Father is - that I have so much joy about my life and future based on what He has said He is doing (as evidenced by world events) and other reports such as those who have had NDE’s.
The theme of NDE experiences is love. Many of the NDE’ers also make sure to point out that judgement is not part of the NDE experience - even when being given a “life review” - which is another common NDE experience. This is where the person’s life is replayed in detail, including all thoughts, actions, and also the butterfly effect this had on the people around us including being able to see and feel the thoughts and feelings of others based on what we’ve thought, said and done. Much of the message is not about what accolades or achievements we’ve had - it’s about how we’ve loved, forgiven, and shown compassion to others. If there’s any sense of judgement - it’s more from the individual NDE’ers towards themselves as they’ve realised what their lives have really been about - pursing money, knowledge, fame, glory, recognition - things that have little or no eternal consequence.
The incredible relational implications of our lives for eternity is hard to overstate. Every encounter we have with a person today, has an eternal consequence and effects that can be felt 50-times removed, and for generations to come. It's that simple yet that profound. Consider the implications of this. Our thoughts, actions and motives are all visible by a loving Creator Father - yet how are we responding to this? Nothing is hidden - and it’s not about performing - just realising how transparent our lives really are. Each moment in our hearts and minds is allowed to be met by Love if we allow it - remember how much choice we have as part of our created design. So if we allow Love (being the essence of our Creator Father - 1 Jn 4:8) to meet each part of our being, how amazing would that experience be - even in this moment today? How much could we use that to benefit others? That’s why we are encouraged to meditate and think on things such as these - because it heals and soothes our souls - all the way from this life into eternity. And we can encourage and help others to do the same.
Our Creator-Father is more loving and forgiving that you can possibly imagine - and this is the common NDE experience.
Heaven is more real and more beautiful than our present experience of earth. Everything is more tangible than we see on earth today. Our senses are not just 5, more like 50. Our ability to transcend time at will, travel immediately upon thinking it, see for miles away in detail, and close up at the same time, have defined individual bodies that are not dependent upon sleep or food, or subject to gravity, illness or pain, yet can be used to walk, eat, talk, and rest if desired… there are incomparable things about heaven compared to earth which NDE’ers have reported.
And what about hell? Yes, there are hellish NDE’s that are detailed in the book reference below. I have said in other articles that in life today, we experience a little of heaven and and little of earth. If you magnify the hellish experiences on earth, that’s where those who have chosen hell will live forever. Hell is a real place, and going there is a choice made by rejecting the gift of life through Christ. If life, light and love is not chosen, then death, darkness and hate is the result. NDE’ers that have not subconsciously suppressed their hell experience and can remember to tell it, report that hell is the ultimate place of like-spirited people progressing on their path of selfishness together for eternity. Deceit, hate, cruelty, rejection, extreme heat and cold, hunger, thirst, taunts, being out of control, in chains and prison, dark, falling into an abyss… it is too horrible to describe and I would recommend reading the book referenced below for more information - and also reading Matthew’s gospel and the words of Jesus as he describes it.
If we have a vision of the life to come, and how real and available it is for us, it largely removes the fear of death and pain today. It has helped me to have a great perspective on this life - including that fact that so much of what we are told matters by culture such as financial, organisational and personal success - really doesn’t. We can live instead in great freedom - freedom from fear, and freedom to love others and to find the joy in doing that - knowing that not a single thing we do goes unnoticed by our Creator Father. In a loving, non-judgemental way, He loves when we do something as simple as give a glass of water to someone thirsty. They are after all - one of His amazing and beautiful creations - even if they don’t realise it. Nothing is about competition or glory - it’s all about love.
Jesus (Yeshua) is the way, and the truth and the life - the words of Jesus about Himself. All of this is about love - love is the way.
life after life according to those who’ve had an NDE
I would encourage any person who has an interest in the incredible alignment of what NDE’ers report and what the Bible talks about in terms of the character of our Creator Father, and what the place He is preparing for us to live forever in is like, to get a copy of a book called Imagine Heaven by John Burke. This can be used as a launchpad for study including those by Dr. Long (books referenced and linked above in this article).
A physical book, E-book or Audiobook download are available and I cannot recommend this publication enough to get us excited about the life to come, and to alleviate the pain and pressure of today, the stress or striving to get “everything” done in the “race of life” - which is only a few decades at best!
A FINAL THOUGHT
I have said elsewhere, that we have been very close to an NDE experiencer - a small child we parented after she contracted a serious infection and was in a coma as part of a 6-week intensive-care visit to the hospital (a stay that lasted 9 months in total). When she awoke from her coma, she reported that she had seen Jesus who held her in his arms. He told her she would be coming back to earth to tell her family and relatives to accept his gift of life, and that he was coming back soon. In later years, I remember laying down looking at the clouds with her one day, and she pointed up and said “I died up there”. This is very consistent with many NDE’ers accounts of what can happen when we leave our bodies. We see the world more clearly than we do now, and can travel in (but not interact) with this life before we ascend to heaven (or hell as some have also experienced).
I hope and pray you come to find the amazing love your Creator Father has towards you today.
May He bless you, keep you and I do look forward to meeting you one day, should you decide to accept His love.