Two Minutes to Live
Suppose everyone had a two minute warning before they were going to die. What thoughts would flash through their minds? What things would they try to get done before that last second ticked by on their cosmic clock? Intriguing questions, but it’s obvious little could be accomplished in two minutes…or weeks.
Take the case of Christopher Weigl, a journalism graduate student at Boston University, who wrote his own obituary weeks before he was killed in a collision with a truck while riding a bicycle. It was a standard writing assignment for students, so there were no paranormal forces at work. Still, such an assignment would make one face their human mortality.
Secular scientific knowledge can tell us what happens to our body when it dies, or even in most cases what disease or circumstance brought it about. Death from cancer or any terminal illness is normally preceded by certain physical changes. However, with secular knowledge there is deafening silence as to what happens afterwards, if anything.
The question then becomes, is this life all there is? Once we check out, is that the end and nothing more? Many believe that’s the case while others find the idea illogical. What happens after death is a question mankind has struggled with for their entire existence.
Generally atheists believe, at death one ceases to exist. There’s no afterlife, no eternal soul. All there is in this world is our inevitable death. If this is true, then we have come to the same conclusion as many atheist philosophers of the past. Life is meaningless.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes a similar view after turning away from his Godly faith. He sought fulfillment in worldly pleasures, fame, money and power. He finally concluded “Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.” Eccl. 3:19-20
Pantheists hold the view one goes through cycles of reincarnation until the person becomes one with the divine. What form a person takes in the next life depends on how they lived in the previous one. Animistic religions believe souls travel to the underworld or realm of the shadows after death where they wander in darkness for eternity without joy or sorrow.
These views still leave us with many unanswered questions. The only source having any other logical explanations to these questions remains the Holy Bible. It gives a unique, contrasting perspective on the subject of death. In Hebrews 9:27, it says “…man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment. . . .”
2 Corinthians 5:8 states “We are confident, I say and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” From this we might conclude after death the soul separates from the body. Likewise, Luke 16:19-31 indicates whether in heaven or hell one’s being is fully consciousness…personality, memories and feelings still intact.
However, there are those who reject the concept of an all powerful God. On the other hand some of those doing so will eagerly embrace the idea of near death experiences or NDEs. For over 30 years, thousands have reported experiencing them. NDEs are when people being fully aware leave the body and enter another world, usually thought to be Heaven or hell then return to the world of the living. What are we to make of these accounts?
First, we need to understand NDEs come from those who have been clinically dead, not biologically dead. In clinical death, external life signs such as consciousness, pulse and breathing cease. Biological death results if the condition isn’t reversed.
NDE accounts happen at various stages of clinical death. Some occur when a person is in a coma, close to death or pronounced clinically dead. Others occur when the heart stops beating or brain ceases to register any activity.
What fascinates scientists and theologians is many who experience an NDE have strikingly similar experiences. These include leaving the body and watching as doctors hectically try to revive them, entering a tunnel, seeing light, meeting loved ones or a spirit being, experiencing an extreme sense of well being and peace, then returning to the body.
Experts having worldly views have sought to rationalize this phenomenon by offering naturalistic explanations ranging from medication induced hallucinations, chemical reactions occurring in the brain during near death situations, long forgotten memory recall and others. These explanations still fall way short.
Thousands of experiences have occurred without medication, drowning victims being one example. Many have been able to clearly describe people, what they were doing and places in exact detail while clinically dead.
NDEs may not conclusively prove there’s a Heaven or hell, or accurately reflect what lies beyond the grave. But it gives us food for thought.
Out of all the views expressed here, which is the most logical…and most preferable?