Reason #20 The Evidence from Near Death Experiences for a Soul-Mind Beyond the Body
The existence of a soul that continues to function even after death is indicated by credible reports of Near Death Experiences
Recent medical science has made resuscitation from cardiac death quite common, and there are even a number of well documented cases on record for full or partial recoveries from brain death. These advances in medicine have resulted in a growing body of reports from people who have “experienced death” and are alive today to tell about it. A number of these reports involve patients who claim to feel somehow removed from their bodies—having out of the body experiences—sometimes even looking down at their own bodies from another nearby location. This naturally suggests the idea of a soul—the “real person” of a human being—which is somehow distinct from the human body and brain. Of course, we would expect a medicated and oxygen deprived brain to be subject to hallucination and confusion, but these expectations do not seem to fully account for the evidence now at our disposal.
One well-known case, for example, involves a seven-year-old girl who was found face down in a YMCA pool. Young Katie had no pulse for 19 minutes, and was profoundly comatose for three days. When she awakened from her coma, she addressed the doctor standing next to her bed: “You’re the guy that saved me. Thank you. Where is the other doctor, the tall doctor without the beard?”
In utter surprise, the presiding doctor answered, “I’ll go get him for you.” In her unconscious state, with no apparent upper brain activity, Katie should not have been able to describe the appearance of her doctors.
Katie also reported that an angel allowed her to view her family while she was in her coma, and she correctly reported what her mother was cooking for dinner on that occasion (roast chicken and rice), where her dad, sister, and brother were sitting in the house, the toys her brother was playing with, and the song her sister was listening to at the time.
Hypoxia and medication cannot easily account for Katie’s knowledge of these details, and her experience is not an isolated case.
Another near death case involves a young man who was diagnosed as clinically dead from anaphylactic shock. After Dan’s heartbeat ceased, he was resuscitated and reported that he saw himself lying on the floor while the doctors and nurses were resuscitating him. He also reported that he saw Jesus, and heard a voice say, “You have not lived as I intended. Go back and glorify me.” Dr. Bernard J. Klamecki followed up on Dan’s experience and found that Dan was so impacted by his Near Death Experience that he left his homosexual lifestyle and became devoted to a Christian lifestyle.
Gary Habermas recalls the Near Death Experience of a woman who viewed herself from a vantage point above the scene of her emergency. She reported that she saw herself being carried to the ambulance on a stretcher, and she noticed (correctly) the ambulance number that was printed on the rooftop of the vehicle.
We might all wish for more conclusive evidence that would either substantiate or refute reports such as these, but until that kind of evidence is available, the evidence we do possess favors the existence of the human soul beyond the mortal body and brain.
The existence of a soul that continues to function even after death is indicated by credible reports of Near Death Experiences.