The first, Artie, said, “I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man.” The next, Eugene, commented, “I would like them to say I was a wonderful teacher and servant of God who make a huge difference in people’s lives.” It was then the last one's, Al’s, turn; and he said simply, “I’d like them to say, ‘Look, he’s moving!’”
Those of us who follow Jesus Christ know that the Bible affirms that the dead shall indeed live again. And by this, I mean, not simply that they will stir in their casket, but that, as the Bible repeatedly affirms, they shall inherit a full and wonderful life in a world beyond this one.
Of course, non-believers have always been skeptical of such beliefs. From the world’s perspective, this world is the only world there is. Therefore, living for this world is encouraged. All else is considered foolish.
And yet, from time to time, even the world stumbles upon evidence that the Bible (and those of us who believe its teachings) may just be right. Consider an article in the news this week that underscores what many of us who are believers have been affirming all along.
In a piece titled “Consciousness May Occur After Heart, Brain Flatline” and sub-titled “Brain Signals Support Idea of Near-Death Experiences Amid Cardiac Arrest: Study”, Arden Dier over at Newser.com reports on Sep 15, 2023 that consciousness may indeed occur after both the human heart and the human brain flatline.
According to Dier:
Their hearts and brains had flatlined. Yet as doctors tried to revive their "technically dead" patients, some of those patients were aware of what was going on. One patient recalled people placing electrodes on their chest and feeling the subsequent shock, per the National Post. Others "were able to report what doctors were doing to them in a 360-degree way," Dr. Sam Parnia, an intensive care physician, tells CNN. Their accounts are included in a new study on near-death experiences, which Parnia and his team tout as the "first report of biomarkers of consciousness during CPR." Trained personnel in 25 hospitals in the US, UK, and Bulgaria attached devices used to measure oxygen and electrical activity in the brain to a dying person's head while doctors administered CPR for up to an hour.
"Nobody's ever done this before, but our independent research teams were successful in carrying out the procedures without interfering in the medical care of patients," says Parnia, senior author of the study published Thursday in the journal Resuscitation. "Interestingly, even up to an hour into the resuscitation, we saw spikes" in gamma, delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves—in other words, "the emergence of brain electrical activity, the same as I have when talking or deeply concentrating," says Parnia. He concludes these are markers of "lucid, recalled experiences of death," widely reported to include a separation from the body, a recognition of death, a sense of continued consciousness, a review of one's life, and a sense of "going home" only to be returned to their body, per Scientific American. Critics aren't so sure.
Only 53 of 567 patients survived to be discharged from the hospital and just 28 were fit enough to be interviewed, per the Post. Of those, 11 reported being aware during CPR and six reported having a near-death experience. None of those six registered brain activity during resuscitation, which critics see as a failure to link brain activity with conscious activity. But "absence of record doesn't mean there's an absence of consciousness," says Parnia. "Of those that did live and had readable electroencephalograms, 40% of them showed that their brain waves went from flatline to showing normal signs of lucidity" indicating "electrical signals are not being produced as a trick of a dying brain." He also polled 126 cardiac arrest survivors, finding 40% had awareness of the event and 20% had a recalled experience of death.
Did you catch it? A “recognition of death,” a “sense of continued consciousness”, and also of “going home”! Oh, my friend, if the dead could but speak?! What all would they tell us?!
At the very least, those who were believers would surely affirm our Lord’s teachings in the Bible on life after death. And what were those teachings?
In John 3:16, He said: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
In John 5:24, He said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
In John 11:25, He said: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…”
And in John 14:1-31, He said: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also…”
Years ago, I heard an old evangelist say “Born Once, Die Twice; Born Twice, Die Once”. By that he meant that if a person is only born physically in this world, then he or she will one day die both physically and spiritually. But if that person is born both physically and spiritually in this world, then he or she will only die physically and not spiritually.
I would posit a slight twist on that by saying: “Live Once, Die Twice. Die Once, Live Twice!” By this I mean that those who live only for themselves in this world will die twice, once in this world and again in the next. But those who die to themselves in this world (and live for Christ), will not only live in this world, but will one day live in the world to come!
Do you plan on living beyond the grave? I know I do! And I hope you do as well. After all, the same Bible that tells us about the life to come also tells us that whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved - and given eternal life as a result. In light of this, my friend, I encourage you to “get a life”!
Life after death is within your grasp!
https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/66830.pdf, p. 73.