Two views of Heaven grab attention

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webmaster | 02/25/13
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For Heaven’s sake. Two books on the best-seller lists this week are nonfiction works on Heaven. One is “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” and the other is “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.”

“Proof of Heaven” is written by Eben Alexander, M.D., of Lynchburg, Va., where he is staff neurosurgeon of Lynchburg General Hospital. He was a professor of neurosurgery at Harvard University for 15 years. He helped develop the world’s first intraoperative MRI system. He is not a goofball.

One day, he died, due to a disease. His book is about what happened to him during the days he was no longer with us. He writes:

“My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness, that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going.”

If that doesn’t get your attention, not much will. Many of us, perhaps the majority, have a sense that life continues after death. We seek to explore this through religion — hardly ever through science. But here is a scientist telling us through his own experience of Heaven and what it is like.

“Heaven is for Real” is written by Todd Burpo, a small-town Nebraska pastor whose son, Colton, almost died during emergency surgery for a burst appendix at age 4. Colton said he was flown to Heaven by angels. “I was in the firmament of God,” he told his astonished dad. He was able to look down and see his dad praying and the doctor working to save his life.

He also met relatives who had died, but of whom he never had known. When he was conscious again, he knew their names.

Near-death experiences aren’t rare. Colton’s is unusual, however, because it is a 4-year-old’s experience with an adult frame of reference.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” Shakespeare had Hamlet say.

He very well may have been right.

 

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