Is Heaven Real?
Does Heaven Exist?
Is Heaven real? Do we have any real proof besides what we know from the Church's teachings? Also, if we do, does the proof line up with what we know about Heaven from the Church?
There are a couple of books I have read recently that offer fascinating insight into the existence of Heaven and describe it in amazing detail.
One of them is called Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. I bought this book earlier this week and read it cover to cover. Todd's four year old son, Colton, was rushed into emergency surgery to treat a ruptured appendix. He survived ok.
Over the years that followed, Colton revealed to his parents bit by bit details of Heaven where he met his great grandfather "Pop" and also a sister he didn't know he had in Heaven (a miscarriage he could not have known about). Todd who is himself a pastor became a student, learning about faith from his son. Colton was at an age where he would say things matter of factly and often blurt them out like it was no big deal. He'd talk about light around the angels without understanding the word "halo" and he mentioned that Jesus had "markers" (as in coloring markers) when trying to explain the wounds on his hands and feet.
Colton said he spent three minutes in Heaven.
4yo Colton's insights into Heaven
Colton reveals a number of fascinating observations of Heaven in the book:
- Jesus does sit at the right hand of God the Father. Who sits on the left hand side?
- Jesus is the only one without wings, moving around "like on an elevator" (in the same way his Apostles witnessed him ascending into Heaven).
- God's throne is "really, really big because God is the biggest one there is. And he really, really loves us, Dad. You can't belieeeve how much he loves us."
- Does it get dark in Heaven?
- They do have swords in Heaven - the angels have them. Do you know why?
- Satan exists and he is not yet in Hell. Colton shuts down when asked what he looked like.
- Colton explains "Well. Jesus told me he died on the cross so we could go see his Dad."
- Time in Heaven is not the same as time here on Earth.
- You get a "new body" when you go to Heaven.
- To go to Heaven "you must have Jesus in your heart".
- Colton describes the coming war. "Jesus, the angels and good people are going to fight Satan, the monsters and bad people". He also describes the weapons the men use to fight with (he saw his father Todd fighting as well). Guess who wins?
- many more things I've forgotten at this moment...
90 Minutes In Heaven - Don Piper
Don Piper's experience was a little different. His car collided with an eighteen wheeler truck on a bridge and he was pronounced dead on the scene. Dick, a pastor waiting in line in traffic waiting to get through walked over and talked to emergency personnel and was told there are 2 other people alive but one person dead. The emergency worker told him to pray for the other two victims, but Dick was compelled to pray for the one who died. Dick crawled through the wreck, put his hand on Don's shoulder and prayed harder than ever, also singing hymns. Even though Don was crushed in places, Dick prayed that there would be no brain or other internal injuries. Suddenly, 90 minutes after he was pronounced dead, God answered Dick's prayer and Don started signing with Dick. Dick ran out (scared) telling the emergency workers that the man was still alive!
In those 90 minutes, Don Piper was greeted in Heaven by many people he knew had passed away that had had a positive influence on his faith in life. He describes Heaven, the roads of gold, the Heavenly gates and how he moved in Heaven. One interesting observation was the singing of the angels that seemed to resonate through his entire being. Each song was independent and unlike playing many CDs together creating noise, each additional song of praise seemed to enhance all the others.
When Don returned to Earth his recovery was long and painful. It took him a while to see why God wanted him to return and to recognize the many miracles that led to him being back on Earth today.
Don even ponders the "why" questions and looks at research on others who have had near death experiences or similar - he is skeptical himself. Medical staff have dismissed these things as "misguided musings of oxygen starved brains" but Don knows he'd been to Heaven and to him, he has lost all fear of dying. In fact, he can't wait to return.
When he finally made it back to see the congregation of the church, Don said 4 words:"You prayed. I'm here."
Other Evidence of Heaven
You don't have to be die to go to Heaven. There have been many occurrences of people being taken in spirit to visit Heaven (and Purgatory and Hell for that matter).
- The children of Fatima.
- The six children in Medjugorje, now grown up and some still receive daily messages from the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Veronica Leuken - another visionary.
- St John (as in the Book of Revelations - he visited Heaven in spirit, while very much alive at the time)
The first of the video above is interesting, relating to near death experiences. How can you pass of a near death experience as a trick of the brain when there was no brain activity and all instruments showed the brain of the person was dead?
Whether or not you need proof to believe that Heaven really exists is up to you. But there's no denying there is evidence out there that we can't explain. I believe in Heaven (everyone has their own idea and understanding of it) and I acknowledge that I cannot convince people who don't want to believe in Heaven (and likewise the existence of Hell). Even Akiane, the child prodigy who painted the Prince of Peace (above) had a mother who was an atheist.
At the very least I'd highly recommend reading Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo - it was definitely a captivating read with information that lines up with Scripture.