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Can Near Death Experiences Be Trusted?

“Why would anyone lie about something like this? These people are so sincere.” Great question.

For a possible answer, let’s look to a man named Joe. He’s a bit of a nobody. He hasn’t achieved much in life, and he doesn’t have much money—nor many friends.

One day he wakes up after an operation and is told by the doctors that they had to revive him on the operating table. He had been clinically “dead” for seven long minutes.

As he lay in recovery, he wondered how he was going to pay for his medical expenses.

Suddenly, he has an idea. He’s always been a convincing liar, to a point of even being able to fake tears.  If he can make a near death experience sound convincing, he could make a lot of money—through speaking engagements, talk shows, and maybe even a book deal.

After a little research, Joe is convinced that he can make his story sound convincing. It just has to line up with other testimonials of near death experiences. That will make it more convincing.

He needs to talk about:

    1. Leaving his body
    2. Seeing a very bright light
    3. Feeling overwhelmed by love
    4. Seeing his childhood pets
    5. Seeing loved ones he hadn’t seen for years
    6. Hearing a voice saying, “It’s not your time yet. You’ve got to go back.”

And, of course, he has to mention Jesus to pull in the naive religious folks.

It’s just a matter of going over and over the story in his mind until it becomes as real as if it did happen.

There are two big pluses for Joe:

    1. No one can refute anything he says because it is his subjective experience.
    2. People desperately want to believe there’s life after death, so they will swallow almost anything.

So how can we rightly judge as to whether or not near death testimonials are genuine?

The answer is simple. Does what they say line up with the Word of God?

Here’s what the Scriptures say happens after death: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27).

This is what Job says of meeting God:

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5-6)

When Isaiah was in the presence of God, he was also made aware of his sins: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5).

The Apostle Paul said that his experience of Heaven was “not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4).

Here’s another important question to ask: Are these people with near death experiences speaking of the Jesus revealed in Scripture, or is it “another Jesus”?

Do their testimonies exalt the cross?

Do they speak of a consciousness of sin, of God’s righteousness, and of judgment to come?

Again, is what they’re saying lining up with the Scriptures? If not, we should move on and spend our precious time on something more productive.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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