Dr. Mary Neal was kayaking with friends in Chile. Forced over the wrong side of a waterfall, her kayak lodged between two boulders, pinning her several feet under the waterfall.
“I repeatedly and forcefully tried to reach the grab loop of my spray skirt, but the power of the water forcing my arms downstream was too great and my attempts were laughable.”
Realizing none of her attempts were working, she cried out to God for His will to be done.
“At the very moment I turned to Him, I was overcome with an absolute feeling of calm, peace, and of the very physical sensation of being held in someone’s arms…I knew with absolute certainty that I was being held and comforted by Jesus, which was initially surprising, to say the least, as I am just an ordinary person—one of billions on the planet. I do not currently have the words to explain how it happens, but at the time I understood perfectly how Jesus could be there holding and comforting me and would similarly be present for any other person who called for His help at the same time… I really wasn’t feeling any pain. I felt curiously blissful. This is quite a remarkable statement considering I had always been terrified of drowning.”
After many minutes underwater, Mary’s body released from the kayak. At the same moment Mary recalls,
“I felt a ‘pop.’ It felt as if I had finally shaken off my heavy outer layer, freeing my soul. I rose up and out of the river, and when my soul broke through the surface of the water, I encountered a group of fifteen to twenty souls (human spirits sent by God), who greeted me with the most overwhelming joy I have ever experienced and could ever imagine. It was joy at an unadulterated core level. They were sort of like a large welcoming committee or a great cloud of witnesses as described in Hebrews 12:1.”
Dr. Neal goes on to describe how she temporarily straddled two worlds, experiencing this welcoming committee while also observing her friends rescue attempt, performing CPR on her body below. “I looked at Tom and his sons, and they seemed so terribly sad and vulnerable. I heard them call to me and beg me to take a breath.” After fifteen minutes “dead,” Mary miraculously revived to describe what she saw out of her body.
Skeptical Doctors and the Afterlife
In Imagine Heaven, I discuss many cases that convinced skeptical doctors that life continues after our brain function and heart function ceases. Cardiologist Michael Sabom went from skeptical to convinced after interviewing patients claiming they had left their physical body and observed their own resuscitation. Sabom says, “I didn’t believe there was such a thing as a near-death experience. . . . These people, like Pete Morton, saw details of their resuscitation that they could not otherwise have seen. One patient noticed the physician who failed to wear scuffs over his white, patent-leather shoes during open-heart surgery. In many cases I was able to confirm the patient’s testimony with medical records and with hospital staff.” Dr. Sabom published his research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, published a case where a comatose man was found in a park and brought to the coronary unit comatose. There a nurse removed the man’s dentures and put them in a crash cart. After about ninety minutes, his blood pressure and heart rhythm stabilized, but he remained comatose and was transferred to intensive care. Over a week later, he came out of his coma and was transferred back to the coronary care unit, where he spotted the nurse and said, “… you know where my dentures are.” He described the crash cart, with bottles on top of it, and the sliding drawer underneath, where his dentures had been placed. He said that he watched the entire scene from above, outside his body. Further, he accurately described the room and those who were present, though he could not possibly have “seen” this in a physical sense.
Some skeptics claim we do not have a spirit that departs, but these patients are picking up sounds or clues somehow. That does not explain those who accurately observed people and places in rooms beyond where their body lie, or cases like that of Pam Reynolds.
Pam Reynolds, a thirty-five-year-old mother, underwent a complex surgery to repair a giant aneurysm in a cerebral artery. As reported by cardiologist Michael Sabom and Neurosurgeon Robert Spetzler, in preparation for the surgery they lowered her body temperature to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit and drained all the blood from her head, so that her brain had ceased functioning by all clinical tests. Additionally, her eyes were taped shut, she was put under deep anesthesia, brain stem activity was monitored with “100-decible clicks emitted by small molded speakers inserted into her ears” (she couldn’t possibly hear or see).
During this time, Reynolds experienced a vivid NDE where she watched part of the surgery and reported back to the doctors what she saw – describing in minute detail the specialized instruments they used for the surgery. She described the saw as looking “a lot more like a drill than a saw. It even had little bits that were kept in this case…And I distinctly remember a female voice saying: ‘We have a problem. Her arteries are too small.’ And then a male voice: ‘Try the other side.’” Doctors Sabom and Spetzler confirmed the accuracy of what she both heard and saw in the operating room.
A Spiritual Body
The Bible tells us we should expect exactly what NDErs reveal. We will be ourselves with an upgraded body with all the abilities of our earthly body and more. The apostle Paul was stoned to death, dragged out of the city and left for dead, yet later revived (Acts 14:19-20). In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul says of himself, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.” He felt alive, fully himself just like we do in our bodies now. In other places, Paul describes that “The body that is sown [in the ground and dies] is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:42-44).
NDEs confirm so much of what we should expect from a biblical view of what’s to come. For more, read the free chapter, “Skeptical Doctors and the Afterlife” at ImagineHeaven.net. I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions along the way.