There’s a new book by bestselling author Dr. Jeffrey Long of Louisiana that once more shows the potentially extremely informative nature of near-death experiences.
Why do we say “potentially”? Because like so much else, such works must be discerned.
In this case — in this work — Dr. Long’s focus is on what such experiences indicate about the Creator Himself.
Dr. Long, a medical doctor and Christian who established the International Association for Near-Death Studies, says that, in his evaluation, the database definitively confirms that: we can exist outside of the physical body; that we live on eternally (“There is no death. Simply a passing or a return to home”); and that upon death many people find themselves in a place of unexpected and indescribable magnificence — surrounded by deceased people they knew, “called with love and felt loved,” in his words.
Though there are parts of the book that can be questioned, on the basis of traditional theology, or are analytical, with passages to do with statistics, the numbers are interesting and most of the book is filled with accounts that we never tire of reading, accounts that affirm our faith and grant us transcending hope, even joy in death.
“I knew I was being held in unlimited love, and that love was forever,” said one person whose near death was due (as so many are) to a car accident.
“It was like loving the way God loves, and when that happened, my heart opened and it felt like my soul touched the unseen Creator. I knew God exists and that we are a part of everything.”
We discern and take from them only what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) — what settles correctly in the spirit — especially if anything seems “New Age” (though we must be careful not to label everything unfamiliar New Age) or tends toward concepts such as reincarnation.
Many simply report, however, what Saint Augustine said, centuries ago: “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”
“God was totally ‘beyond’ anything I had ever imagined — beyond language and thought, utterly beyond, but at the same time right there in front of me, mysteriously near and ‘accessible,'” said another. “This can seem so lame now: total love, total goodness, total knowing.”
“I was wrapped in rays of the sun and felt safe, secure, and peaceful — like I’ve never felt before,” said a woman named Sharon. “There was a beautiful garden and gorgeous music. I felt rocked and cared for like a baby.
“God was with me, holding me in His Arms. I felt this very clearly, and His Love was within every fiber of my being and every cell of my body.”
“I felt the most love that I’ve never felt before or since,” remarked another.
“On the other side,” said a subject who had a heart attack, “the arms of my loved ones welcomed me home. The feelings weren’t of this earth. The temperature was perfect — not too hot or too cold, like I was wrapped in a warm blanket. The intense love just can’t be described in words. Amazing peace and calmness engulfed me. Everyone who had passed before me… welcomed me home. I felt content and safe, like I was in the care and love of God. And that love of God felt like the first time you see your baby or the first time you fall in love — multiplied by ten thousand.”
Judgment? It depends on how we use that term.
Many who have this experience say that it’s not God Who judges, but the soul, viewing its entire life now in God’s Light, that judges itself; goes to where it belongs. “I experienced a life review, which lasted only a blink of an eye, and its lesson was that we judge ourselves,” claimed Sharon (for discernment). “Then I experienced His Voice, which seemed to be infused into me, but I also heard it. The messages were very clear: What you put into the universe, you get back. Be very careful about the words, thoughts, and actions that you put into the universe, because they will come back to you at some point in your life. He told me to take these messages back and share them with others.”