by Gregory John Monroe
2/14/2016 / Education
Every now and then someone nearly dies and brings back from "the other side" a story of heaven or hell. One of the most recent occurrences was that of a little boy. His celestial journey was chronicled by his father in a book. I can't remember the title right now. I also recall some guy, featured on a Christian TV program, who claimed to have visited hell.
Up front, I have to say that we can learn from people whom God has spoken to. Such communication can happen outside of the Bible in dreams and visions.
But we have to be careful that we don't ignore the Bible when someone claims their revelations as having come from God or "the other side." The smartest thing to do is to measure these kinds of proclamations by the Bible.
We've got to be like the Bereans and biblically test what's being said. It doesn't matter how sincere the person appears to be. And most of them probably are. I will not be surprised if they actually believe in what they are saying.
I say this because sometimes during extreme heart trauma, the brain doesn't get enough oxygen. In those cases, the person can hallucinate and have visions. Scuba divers who have experienced a lack of oxygen will attest to this.
Therefore, we should never build our theology on these near-death stories. That's because the hallucinations and/or dreams usually reflect the pre-conceived beliefs of the person. Sometimes our beliefs are erroneous. Oftentimes, the differences in these stories contradict each other.
Again, the Bible has got to be our measuring stick. It will do us well to remember the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah. He says, "If they speak not according to this word (scripture), it is because there is no light in them."
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