In college in the 1970s, I had read Raymond Moody’s Life after Life, in which he documented Near Death Experiences (NDEs)—accounts of those who, having “died,” came back to life but with fascinating stories of what they experienced, including encounters with those whom they thought were dead relatives on “the other side.”
The book blew me away. As an atheist-agnostic (more atheist than agnostic), I was astonished by what I read, and wondered: Could there really be life after death? And, best of all, there was no Christian stuff either: no talk of hell, judgment and guilt but only of love and acceptance. I found the book incredibly comforting.
There was, however, only one thing that kind of spoiled it for me, a bit, and that was the fact that, well, these people were not dead dead, like embalming, or maggots, and rigor mortis dead, which, in the end, left me with some lingering doubt, however much I was still enthralled by it all.
A few years later, after having become a Seventh-day Adventist and taught the truth about death and the state of the dead, I saw NDEs as just a modern day “scientific” manifestation of the serpent’s first lie: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:4); that is, NDEs are merely spiritualism for the 20th and 21st century.
How grateful we should be, then, not just for knowing the truth about the state of the dead, but knowing that, thanks to Jesus, though we die and sleep peacefully and restfully in the grave—through Jesus we have the promise of eternal life. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25).