Eben Alexander, M.D. writes about his near death experience from a scientific, neurosurgeon’s point-of-view in, Proof of Heaven: a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. Prior to the experience his training and education disallowed “…belief in heaven, God or the soul.” Afterward, his views on life, death, eternity and the soul would change.
His story begins at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia where he wakes to feel “…waves of pain shoot down his spine…” Recovering from a virus, he attributed the pain to the flu and thought an early morning bath might help. Despite all efforts, the pain increased and his head began to throb. Soon “grand mal” seizures violently jerked his limbs. His wife Holly dialed 911 as he slipped into unconsciousness.
The Emergency Room doctors ordered a spinal tap and CT scan. The “spinal tap was full of pus” and the CT scan showed the “…lining of his brain was dangerously swollen and inflamed.” He was diagnosed with “E. coli meningitis,” a brain infection rarely found in adults, of which only “10 percent are lucky enough to survive.” That he survived was considered a “medical miracle.”
However, Alexander doesn’t consider his survival the miracle part of his story; instead the miracle is the compelling seven day journey he writes about. Where, even though his body “…lay in a hospital bed in a deep coma” his spirit traveled to distant places, met strange beings and found love he’d never known before.
Readers learn about “…a place of pulsing, pounding darkness…” he describes as dirty “Jell-O” in appearance. It was a place of consciousness “…without memory or identity” that included “mechanical, rhythmic pounding…like a heartbeat,” a world without logic, emotion or language. (Pg. 29) Where “…grotesque animal faces bubbled out of the muck…” to groan and screech…a place of biological death.” (Pg.31)
Until “…a pure white light descended…living sounds of music began…and Alexander whooshed into a completely new…brilliant, vibrant, ecstatic, stunning world…” (Pgs. 38, 39 40)There he met “an angelic being,” a beautiful young girl dressed in peasant clothes, riding the wings of a butterfly who delivered a three-part message:
- “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever.”
- “You have nothing to fear.”
- “There is nothing you can do wrong.”
Thus begins a spiritual journey that ends abruptly when Alexander’s eyes fly open just as the doctors decide to stop treatmen fearing severe brain dysfunction. The parallel stories of his family’s daily bedside vigil attest to their love and concern for him.
Although Alexander writes about this near death experience with sincerity, his experience is unlike other near death experiences that include God, Jesus, heaven or hell. Instead, his story includes a New Age worldview where he meets “Om” who he calls god. A few things to consider:
- Jesus is mentioned once (pg. 34) in reference to a book he’s never read.
- He considers God “Om,” which is known as a Hindu, Sanskrit god.
- In an interview on Fox News: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1954941232001/doctor-who-sees-proof-of-heaven-answers-questions/ he said, “God does not punish people for being non-believers—there is no hell.” The King James Bible mentions hell over 54 times.
Before Dr. Alexander’s journey began he didn’t believe in heaven, hell, God or the soul. He believed those concepts were “simply a product of brain chemistry.” Today he is a believer, yet the spiritual experience he describes doesn’t fit the Christian worldview.
I believe Alexander had a profound, life-changing spiritual experience that taught him death was only a transition point on the highway of life. Yet I question who he had the experience with since he doesn’t include Jesus or His teachings anywhere in the book. While an interesting narrative, readers need to remember 2 Corinthians 11:14 where Paul wrote, “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”
‘Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife’ by Eben Alexander, Simon & Schuster, 2012, 208 Pages, Hardcover, 978-1451695199, $21.99
Back Cover Copy:
A SCIENTIST’S CASE FOR THE AFTERLIFE
Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people.
A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, Alexander knew that what people of faith call the “soul” is really a product of brain chemistry. NDEs, he would have the first to explain, might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then came the day when Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days Alexander lay in a hospital bed in a deep coma. Then, as his doctors weighed the possibility of stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is by all accounts a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.
This story sounds like the wild and wonderful imaginings of a skilled fantasy writer. But it is not fantasy. Before Alexander underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God or the soul. That difficulty with belief created an empty space that no professional triumph could erase.
Today he is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.
This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
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