Truth Matters July 2013

5 08 2013

‘Proof’ of Heaven
Exposed

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Monday morning before work I was watching Fox News© when they announced that Eben Alexander, M.D. would be sharing his amazing experience of going to heaven! This Heresy-hunter went out immediately to his local Meijer and purchased a paperback copy and came home and read the book cover to cover. Let’s begin this short examination with the following text:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

What happens beyond death is the biggest mystery and foremost question on the minds of virtually everybody. It is no mystery that we all will die because the wages for our sin is death (Rom 6:23) and humanity does all it can to stave off that final moment before our bodies assume room temperature. The question is where does the “life” of that now deceased person go? Did it cease all existence at the point of physical death or did the life-force vacate the dead physical body and go to some other realm?

One would have thought that after two thousand years of Christian preaching and teaching regarding the life, death burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and what the scriptures plainly teach about the life to come that there is no need for any of these books. Yet almost annually there is at least one #1 N.Y. Times bestseller about someone’s visit to heaven. Obviously the true Christian message is not being shared adequately enough or is simply being rejected by the public in favor of these more recent and more detailed accounts of the afterlife.

Why Write This Article

I have begun to notice something about all of the accounts I have been researching. Each one of them has been a false non-biblical account and while some aspects are formulaic in nature other experiences are emphasized. Each version is crafted towards a specific audience. For example Mary K. Baxter’s visions of heaven and hell are written to a mainline Pentecostal audience. Whereas Jesse Duplantis wrote his novel about heaven to a distinctly Word of Faith oriented audience. The Hordes of Hell Are Marching vision of Rick Joyner appeals to those in the Prophetic and Apostolic branches of sign-gift enthusiasm. While each of these visions are spurious, it behooves us to have some understanding of them so we can wisely and lovingly correct those who are in error.

 

Proof of Heaven
A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife

Unlike many of the previous books I have read and debunked Dr. Alexander’s fits into its own category, that of the “skeptic.” His religious skepticism is what makes this book in some ways more seductive than those written by professing Christians. After all, this author has no “axe to grind” theologically speaking so his insights will have appeal of everyone who is not a Christian and possibly to those who are CINO’s (Christians In Name Only).

Eben was a practicing neurosurgeon at the time of his illness. He is a married and family man, successful surgeon who occasionally did attend the local Episcopalian Church with his wife and children (p.34).

As much as I’d grown up wanting to believe in God and Heaven and an afterlife, my decades in the rigorous scientific world of academic neurosurgery had profoundly called into question how such things could exist. Modern neuroscience dictates that the brain gives rise to consciousness – to the mind, to the soul, to the spirit, to whatever you choose to call that invisible, intangible part of us that truly makes us who we are — and I had little doubt that it was correct. (p. 34)

Like an ocean wearing away a beach, over the years my scientific worldview gently but steadily undermined my ability to believe in something larger. (p.35)

Eben appears to be an agnostic; he does not really believe there could be a God and seems to have strongly immersed himself in raw materialism:

When the machine breaks down, consciousness stops. As vastly complicated and mysterious as the actual mechanics of brain processes are, in essence the matter is as simple as that. Pull the plug and the TV goes dead. The show is over, no matter how much you might have been enjoying it. (pp 8-9)

What Happened to Eben

Contrasting Mary Baxter; who was fasting and praying in ecstatic speech when the angel of light came into her room. Also in contrast to Mr. Duplantis who also was actively praying to his ceiling in other tongues. Dr. Alexander was stricken with some bizarre form of E-coli/meningitis that inflamed his brain filling it with pus (p. 22). As a neurosurgeon he spends a great deal of time explaining all the medical ramifications of what was taking place to his brain and body. Without getting bogged down in medical jargon the bottom line is that all the parts of his brain that constitute “us” as unique individuals became infected and shut down. He was as near to flat lining as anyone can be. Here is a glimpse of what he experienced in the Prologue of his story:

I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitations of my physical brain. . .Those implications are tremendous beyond description. My experience showed me that the death of the body and the brain are not the end of consciousness that human experience continues beyond the grave. More important, it continues under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe itself and all the beings within it are ultimately going. (p.35)

The implications of life after death are tremendous beyond description? I have news for him, in case he has not realized it, what you believe in this life has an eternal implication which is either tremendously good news or an unending horror of agony and regret.

Bravo! He has come to realize that we all will live on beyond this life, which ought to make him think that what we believe, teach and confess in this life is of paramount importance.

What Eben Experienced

Eben goes into a deep coma for seven days and is totally unresponsive to any outside stimuli, brainwave patterns, etc.

When I was initially in the Realm of the Earthworm’s-Eye View, I had no real center of consciousness. I didn’t know who or what I was, or even if I was. I was simply . . . there, a singular awareness in the midst of a soupy, dark, muddy nothingness that had no beginning and, seemingly, no end. Now, however, I knew. I understood that I was part of the Divine and that nothing—absolutely nothingcould ever take that away. The (false) suspicion that we can somehow be separated from God is the root of every form of anxiety in the universe, and the cure for it—which I received partially within the Gateway and completely within the Core—was the knowledge—that nothing can tear us from God ever. (p.77)

He begins his journey of enlightenment by finding himself in a dark murky place that smelled of feces and he heard an incessant mechanical drumming sound (p. 31). While in this dark place he sees a white-gold light spinning in the darkness.

“Then I heard a new sound: a living sound, like the richest most complex, most beautiful piece of music you’ve ever heard” (p.38) and he enters into this white-gold light and is transported from the dark murky realm into —-

The strangest, most beautiful world I’d ever seen . . . It was green, lush, and earthlike . . . You don’t know the place. Or at least you think you don’t. But as you look around, something pulls at you, and you realize that a part of yourself — a part way, deep down —- does remember the place after all, and is rejoicing at being back there again. (p. 38-39)

Words mean things, his words clearly imply the pre-existence of the soul and thus far he has begun to reveal that (1) God loves everyone and (2) we can never be separated from God and (3) eventually we all will go to heaven where we have been before.

He looks at the white-gold light that has been leading him and he realizes that someone is next to him “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” (p.40) and he learns they are in fact being moved along on/by butterfly wings beneath their feet (p. 40). Now the angel of light (see 2 Cor. 11:14) gives him a message:

Without using any words, she spoke to me. The message went through me like a wind, and I instantly understood that it was true. I knew so in the same way that I knew that the world around us was real—was not some fantasy, passing and insubstantial. The message had three parts. . . ‘You are loved and cherished, dearly forever, You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.’ (pp. 40-41)

Now we know that in the heavenly realm we will communicate telepathically, something the Apostle John failed to mention during his personal and completely reliable account of his heavenly interactions. The mode of communication matters little, the message delivered is everything! First, “You are loved and cherished, dearly forever.” It is true that God so loved the world that He sent His only Begotten Son into it, to save it from eternal SEPARATION from God. Make no mistake about it, apart from faith alone in Christ Jesus alone there will be eternal separation from a totally holy and loving God.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue hath muttered perverseness. Isaiah 59:2–3
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:23
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Matthew 25:41

A common problem that people can easily slip into is when they try to place one of God’s attributes above another in rank or importance. If they focus on the fact that God is “love” (see 1 John 4:8) people can slide into fallen humanistic sentimental fallen perspectives about love and sacrifice the holiness of God. Our God is perfectly balanced in Himself; He is as much loving as He is just as He is holy as He is merciful, etc. As fallen creatures our emotions are not so and in this life we are incapable of ever comprehending the nature of our God perfectly. Yet Eben seems to experience only a “loving” God, i.e. a love that is akin to that of a doting grandparent.

Secondly, he is told that “you have nothing to fear.” What is strange is that this message is repeated a couple of times in his book with no real explanation. What is the context of the statement? Did the angel of light mean that Eban, and by extension all of us, have nothing to fear in this life or does the entity mean we’ve nothing to fear in the next? He does not explain. Eben, here’s something to think about:

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

As Christians I can honestly preach that we do not have anything to fear because of what Jesus Christ as done FOR US (please share the June issue with others, it is vital). The worst the devil can do is kill us, death is the next best thing we have waiting for us (our redemption being the first), so devil take your best shot!

Unbelievers, such as this man have everything to fear and be concerned about. For the worldlings this is their best life now. Apart from Jesus Christ you had better strive and fight for ALL the gusto you can get now because when you die, and you surely will die, you will face the judgment (see Hebrews 9:27) and a devil’s hell. The message from this demonic creature is a lie! In this life we are to “fear” God (see Gen. 42:18; Deut. 10:12, 20; Jos. 24:14) but since no context is given to the demon’s comment it is impossible for the reader to accurately parse. I believe the comment is the standard New Age lie that can be boiled down to “don’t worry, float through life, all will be well, fear nothing, embrace everything, all is well,” spiritual advice.

Thirdly, the demon says “there is nothing you can do wrong.” Again, what is meant by this? In this life we can’t really make any mistakes or do wrong? Or does it mean that once we leave our physical bodies and enter the spiritual realm that we can do no wrong? No further light is given on the statements, other than they become life changing for Eben.

A New Age person reading this book will interpret the above message to mean that evil is merely an illusion, the masses of the unenlightened see “evil” and “sin” all around them. The enlightened understand that it is all really just the laws of karma playing out in this realm. Wrong is simply another “false” perception, just as false as the wrong belief that we can somehow be separated from The Divine, how silly a notion once you realize you are one with The Divine (p. 76). It does not take a neurosurgeon to apprehend that there is PLENTY of “wrong” in this world, as a surgeon I would imagine he has seen plenty go wrong with people medically speaking. Then again, perhaps the message was for him alone, maybe Eben is the one among us who can do no wrong?

Remember in the beginning he stresses how he had lost all conscious memory of himself and now he reveals to us WHY this makes his book so much more important than the others:

And because I so completely forgot my mortal identity, I was granted full access to the true cosmic being I really am (and we all are). . . At the risk of oversimplifying, I was allowed to die harder, and travel deeper, than almost all NDE subjects before me. (p. 78)

Wow, he is special folks. He was granted FULL ACCESS to his true cosmic being, unlike others who must have only been granted some partial access to their cosmic being. Eben, like Bruce Willis was able to “die harder” and like Capt. Kirk “travel deeper” alleging to have gone where no Near-Death-Experiencer (NDE) had gone before!

. . .from reading other NDE literature, that the penetration of the higher worlds tends to be a gradual process and requires that the individual release his or her attachments to whatever level he or she is on before going higher or deeper. That was not a problem for me, because throughout my experience I had no earthly memories whatsoever. (pp. 78-79)

Now that he has given us his cosmic bona fides we know we can rely on what he has to reveal. We also know from Eben, that there are all sorts of cosmic “levels” and our advancement into the higher realms depends on our attachments to the current lower spiritual levels being occupied (i.e. you will have to do spiritual works, releasing attachments is a work) after this life.

Eben writes a lot about his time in what he calls “The Core” which I can only interpret as being the center of all that “is.” When he reached this level he puts forth some curious revelations:

Even on earth there is much more good than evil, but earth is a place where evil is allowed to gain influence in a way that would be entirely impossible at higher level of existence. That evil could occasionally have the upper hand was known and allowed by the Creator as a necessary consequence of giving the gift of free will to beings like us. Small particles of evil were scattered throughout the universe, but the sum total of all that evil was as a grain of sand on a vast beach compared to the goodness, abundance, hope and unconditional love in which the universe was literally awash. (p. 83)

Dr. Alexander never mentions the word sin one time. Evil is impersonal, no mention of a devil, no demons, just some sort of amorphous “evil” particles floating about the universe! We are given no explanation as to its origin, only that is seems never to be vanquished. According to Eben we really have free will but our world conspires against us to make us feel that we are not free. Thus any thoughts of being in “bondage to sin” (see Rom. 8:15) or being a “slave to sin” (John 8:34) are simply illusory in nature. Actually we are free as birds to choose how we live and react. Free will it seems has a lot more to do with our advancement, or not, in the spiritual realm.

But it is also hugely important, for our role here is to grow toward the Divine, and that growth is closely watched by the beings in the worlds above—the souls and lucent orbs (those beings I saw originally far above me in the Gateway, and which I believe are the origin of our culture’s concept of angels. (p. 84)

While in his altered state of being he reveals whom this ‘Divine’ personage is and how we are to fulfill our “role” on earth by growing toward the Divine.

God to Eben Is

This Being was so close that there seemed to be no distance at all between God and myself. Yet at the same time, I could sense the infinite vastness of the Creator, could see how completely minuscule I was by comparison. I will occasionally use Om as the pronoun for God because I originally used that name in my writings after my coma. “Om” was the sound I remembered hearing associated with that omniscient, omnipotent, and unconditionally loving God, but any descriptive word falls short. (p. 47)

We again read the language of all mystics “union with God” the feeling of “oneness” or merging with the infinite are commonly described. What amazes me is that Eben uses the ancient Hindu word “Om” which is defined below:

A mantric word thought to be a complete expression of Brahman and interpreted as having three sounds representing Brahma or creation, Vishnu or preservation, and Siva or destruction, or as consisting of the same three sounds, representing waking, dreams, and deep sleep, along with the following silence, which is fulfillment.

Eben previously shared that when he had a question the answer was immediately given to him. He never asks the name of the “god” speaking to him? Encounters between the human beings and the divine in the Bible usually include the desire on the part of humans to know the NAME of God or the being speaking to them (see Gen. 32:29; Ex. 3:13; Judges 13:17, etc.)

The name he associates with the being speaking to him is none less than one of Hinduism most revered titles/concepts/chants of their perversion of the Holy Trinity of the one true God. Here are a few insights from Om:

Om told me that there is not one universe but many—in fact, more than I could conceive—but that love lay at the center of them all. Evil was present in all the other universes as well, but only in the tiniest trace amounts. Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth—no forward movement, no chance for us to become what God longed for us to be. . . (p. 48)

Now we are faced with more new data that there are also multiple universes, many much more developed than our own. Sadly, evil is also present in all these universes but it does serve a purpose.

In Eben’s dualistic worldview he cannot conceive of existence apart from evil. The fact that he cannot escape his false dualism alone is more than enough proof that he in fact was trapped within his fallen flesh. Our fallen nature simply cannot conceptualize a non-dual existence. All we see and experience are cycles of birth and death, growth and decay, love and hate, mercy and vindictiveness etc. We cannot understand how there can be a life that is only and altogether truly good and truly loving. All I will say about this is that prior to their fall Adam and Eve knew only good. It sounds exactly like something a demon would say “there is a little evil throughout everything.”

I saw the abundance of life throughout the countless universes, including some whose intelligence was advanced far beyond that of humanity. I saw that there are countless higher, dimensions, but that the only way to know these dimensions is to enter and experience them directly. . . From those higher worlds one could access any time or place in our world. (pp 48-49)

Life on other planets is no longer speculation. There are countless universes filled with life on various developmental levels. On the cosmic side of reality there are again countless dimensions, some higher some lower. This is exactly the nonsense that the Gnostic’s taught and they were soundly rebuked by New Testament authors but also early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, the patron “saint” of Heresy-hunters in his excellent book “Against Heresies.”

What Is Man?

Our truest, deeper self is completely free. It is not crippled or compromised by past actions or concerned with identity or status. . . This is the true spiritual self that all of us are destined someday to recover. . . This is the being living within all of us right now and that is, in fact, the being that God truly intends us to be. How do we get closer to this genuine spiritual self? By manifesting love and compassion. . . In order to return to that realm, we must once again become like that realm, even while we are stuck in, and plodding through, this one. (p. 85)

This is a lie from the deepest pits of Satan’s fetid demented mind, our truest nature prior to conversion is that of one who hates God (Luke 16:13), hates the light (John 3:20), is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) as well as being alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:18).

The exact opposite of his CONcept is our reality. At our core we are sinful and unclean (Zac. 13:1) and we are not only crippled by our falleness to a ‘degree’; no we are much worse off than that. We are spiritually dead, cut off from our Creator. Mankind cannot in any way
shape or form transcend what his sordid reality is, that of a sinner under the just wrath of a holy God. No amount of attempted moral reformation will change our flesh; it cannot be trained or tamed. No good thing dwells in our flesh (Rom. 7:18). The flesh cannot become like heaven, sorry Eben any attempts to “once again become like that realm” leads only to despair or worse yet the delusion that one has conquered their flesh in this life!

How are we to get “closer” to this marvelous inner-sinner? Begin to do mercy works of love and compassion! Keep this FACT in mind: the more people turn into themselves, the closer they grow to their heart. What they will discover is that at the core of their being is pumping station spewing out filth continually? Of the human core or heart the Bible says:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34

Those who counsel us to follow our hearts are counseling us straight to hell. Our hearts are not our guides nor are they the source of pure ANYTHING.

The readers and followers of Eben’s beliefs have a really big problem in following his pop-psychology directive. Their purpose in being loving and compassionate is simply a tool to gain self-knowledge. This will, like ALL other works-righteous endeavors, end in either pride or despair. One will feel proud if and when he does something he perceives as spiritual, say giving alms to a charity. Yet despair follows swiftly on the heels of all such works; that voice in his head says “you did not give as much as you could have, you should cut off the cable and give to the monks, yada yada yada.”

Not only do they have a problem with why they are to be loving and compassionate but they face the additional problem of not knowing what true love and compassion is apart from Jesus Christ. Essentially, Dr. Alexander is urging people to do the impossible and is so self-deceived that he thinks he is now walking in this exalted “Gandhi/Dali Lama” ocean of enlightenment.

As he is returning to his body (he never really left it) after the week long coma he gives us some more novel insights:

We are all in the position I was, in that we have other family: beings who are watching and looking out for us—beings we have momentarily forgotten, but who, if we open ourselves to their presence, are waiting to help us navigate our time here on earth. . . Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator. . .That knowledge must no longer remain a secret. (pp 95-96)

He is advising his readers to “open” themselves up to their presence. He does not tell anyone how to do this, which means [to me] that anyway that works for the individual is the “right” way. I have been writing about today’s mystics and their practices, any of these will open one up to familiar spirits (Lev. 19:31) and/or unclean spirits (Zac. 13:2; Matt. 12:43). You can fast for days; speak to yourself in tongues for hours, float in a sensory deprivation tank, use a Ouija board, crystals, yoga, have an experience imparted to one from someone else, etc.

The Bible never tells anyone to seek out power-encounters with angels or any spiritual beings, this includes Almighty God Himself. We are to walk by faith and not by what we see or feel (2 Cor. 5:7). God’s people are to be led by the Holy Spirit period (Rom. 8:14) and the manner in which He genuinely leads us is never separated from the Word of God.

Eben seems to stress the importance of these beings of light to help us and guide us. In his return to consciousness of the normal variety he says —

Then I realized that countless beings were surrounding me, kneeling in arcs that spread into the distance. Looking back on it now, I realize what these half-seen, half-sensed hierarchies of being, stretching out into the dark above and below, were doing. They were praying for me. . . These prayers gave me energy. . . These beings knew I was undergoing a transition, and they were singing and praying to help me keep my spirits up. (p. 103)

Now we know, angels are praying for us! This takes the role of the mediator from Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5) and relegates it to these intermediary beings, again error and Gnosticism. We have no one but our great High Priest to intercede on our behalf (Heb. 4:14).

In his direct communication with God he says

Instead, I felt like I was doing what every soul is able to do when they leave their bodies, and what we can all do right now through various methods of prayer or deep meditation. Communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time it’s the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times. . . We are all connected as One through our divine link with God. (p.161)

He is not talking about prayer, but direct give-and-take talking between us and God. How does one know if it is indeed “God” who is speaking while in some deep altered state of mind? He ends chapter 33 with the basic New Age lie “God is present IN US at all times” (remember you can’t do anything wrong, so no need to worry about offending a holy God).

In returning from his NDE Alexander has come back with more good news—

Another aspect of the good news is that you don’t have to almost die to glimpse behind the veil—but you must do the work. . . but at the end of the day, we each have to go deep into our own consciousness, through prayer or meditation, to access these truths. (p.158)

Not only has he encouraged people to seek out “spiritual” beings (aka, ‘spirit guides’ in New Age parlance) for guidance and help; now he says we all can tap into the spiritual realm where God dwells through “deep” prayer and meditation. He also reveals that this is work on the part of the mystic seeker.

What utter drivel. Biblical prayer is never used as a tool to take one within, it is our hearts cry expressed towards our Father in the name of His Son empowered by the Holy Spirit. Biblical meditation is the exact opposite of empty-headed navel gazing! On the contrary it is actively engaging our minds on one of our God’s precepts to gain a proper understanding of our God, our relationship to Him and our neighbors.

The very title of his book is a deception. He gave no “proof” of heaven, not that I expected him to. His book offered nothing of any legitimate spiritual benefit. In fact, every insight he alleges to have gained while in the cosmic realm is nothing more than a restatement of Gnostic concepts, Hinduism, theosophy and New Age beliefs.

Eben Alexander did not mention anything about our Lord Jesus Christ, he cited no scriptures at all to attempt to buttress his experience and nothing he experienced agrees at all with the core doctrines of the Bible. His experience cemented in his mind that: (1) everybody goes to his heaven; (2) we’ve somehow been there before {reincarnation}; (3) we can do no wrong; (4) we have totally free and sovereign wills; (5) ‘God’ is in us all, He is also “in” all the universe {Panentheism}; (5) we can all experience the cosmic realm {astral projection}; (6) there is evil, but no personal sin; (7) to reach the true pure self, which is God’s desire, we must work at being loving and compassionate. Dr. Alexander is no longer a practicing surgeon due to his brain illness but his experience has led him to start a Foundation called The Eterna Foundation “The Convergence of Science and Spirituality” (http://www.eternea.org/ ). Their goal is to bring together various people who’ve had a NDE and work together via prayer, meditation and applied science to tap into the unseen heavenly realms!

It is obvious that due to his delusional experience and the age old demonic concepts revealed to him he is in desperate need of prayer because only God Himself can free him. Until Eben understands that he is thoroughly sinful and totally unacceptable to the True and Living God can he receive the blessed consolation offered only in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God.”
— Martin Luther —

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