A SCIENTIST’S CASE FOR THE AFTERLIFE
Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people.
A highly trained neurosurgeon who had operated on thousands of brains in the course of his career, Alexander knew that what people of faith call the “soul” is really a product of brain chemistry. NDEs, he would have been the first to explain, might feel real to the people having them, but in truth they are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.
Then came the day when Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human— shut down completely. For seven days Alexander lay in a hospital bed in a deep coma. Then, as his doctors weighed the possibility of stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.
Alexander’s recovery is by all accounts a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.
This story sounds like the wild and wonderful imaginings of a skilled fantasy writer. But it is not fantasy. Before Alexander underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. That difficulty with belief created an empty space that no professional triumph could erase. Today he is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.
This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . disappointing to Christian reader
Posted December 04, 2012 by Dennis Garvin , Roanoke, VirginiaI admire the premise, the writing style, and the obvious credentials of the author. I, too, am a physician and I feel Dr Alexander has simplified a complex medical issue without depleting it. I also enjoyed the clear conclusion that the human spirit is not a compilation of neural synapses firing in a unique pattern. A person's spirit is guiding or using the brain, and it is that activity that we are measuring with EEGs and PET scans. All most enjoyable.
However, as a committed Christian, I was disappointed. There was no mention of Jesus Christ. The words spoken by his heavenly companion, that you 'can't do anything wrong' tends to cozy up to a New World concept of heaven where there is no need of God's grace, the atoning blood of Christ, or an acceptable pattern of right behavior. I suspect Dr Alexander's heaven is one where people go who think they are good according to their own standard of goodness, instead of according to the unambiguous standard of scripture. I also think the designation of the heavenly authority as a being with an asexual name (one which we were once advised to murmur when we were contemplating our navels back in the old transcendental meditation days) completes the New Age construct of Dr. Alexander's heaven.
In fact, it is the author's credentials and writing expertise that cause me the most concern. One could almost be persuaded that the heaven of Dr Alexander is more inviting and less demanding of preceding grace than the Heaven of the Bible. For a Christian to modify his concepts to accept the amorphous, no-fault heaven of this book would be to place the entire fabric of his biblical faith at hazard.
I could go to a toxic waste dump and put a sign over it saying 'Heaven is right here' and the dump becomes heaven by designation. My sign does not make it true. While I cannot state that Dr. Alexander's heaven does not exist, I can confidently state that it is not the Heaven of scripture.
Simon & Schuster
October 22, 2012
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