Proof Of Heaven - a Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, MD
Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander had no time for the near death stories of his patients. He listened as they told him about seeing a bright light and beautiful beings, feeling peace and love in a way they never had before, and being reunited with family members long deceased. He would smile and nod then dismiss the stories as the turbulent dreams of a fevered or malfunctioning brain.
This is Dr. Alexander's account of where his spirit went while his body was in the coma. It's fascinating, but it's a bit disappointing that he tells us more about what happened at the hospital with his family and his comatose body than about what he was experiencing in his spirit. I expect he wanted to document thoroughly the seriousness of his illness so his colleagues would be convinced to believe his story, but I ended the book wanting more.
I don't quite know what to think of his "Heaven" experience. As a Christian I believe the Bible to be God's word, the truth. It's my compass and some of what the authour says, and doesn't say, sets the needle spinning. These are some of the questions/concerns I have:
1. He talks about a "vast, inky-black core that was the home of the Divine itself" and quotes a17th century Christian poet who wrote: "There is, some say, in God a deep but dazzling darkness...". The Bible says in 1 John "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."
2. It's implied that Heaven is where we are all going after death. The Bible teaches that before there can be forgiveness, redemption and the promise of Heaven, there must be confession and repentance, and that this can only happen through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved." I don't think there's any mention of sin, the Bible or Jesus in this book. (He may have mentioned seeing a painting of Jesus in a church he visited.)
3. Dr. Alexander says, quite beautifully: "None of us is ever unloved. Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator who cherishes us beyond any ability we have to comprehend." I believe that to be the truth and essentially the hope of every human being. But then he says: "That knowledge must no longer remain a secret." In fact, God has not kept His love for us a secret. Jesus lived and died to show us how much God loves us and the Bible reassures us of it over and over again.
I'm not suggesting there is nothing of truth in Dr. A's story. God has given us only brief glimpses of a more vast and wondrous Heaven than our human minds could ever comprehend and maybe the Doctor was experiencing a part or aspect or dimension of Heaven that we don't know about. I don't have answers for all these things, just questions.
Another thing I'm curious about is the authour's statement that he is "proof" of the existence of life after death. I don't question the fact of it, just the idea that he is proof of it. He was always able to dismiss other near death experiences as the wild imaginings of a sick brain and says his story is different because his brain was not functioning while he was in the coma and can therefore not be the cause of his experience. My question is this: if that's proof enough for him as a scientist, why isn't it proof enough for other scientists? He tells us that people "with medical degrees" were not all that anxious to hear his story. Why not? If the medical circumstances were scientific evidence enough to "prove" his claims, then why aren't other scientists satisfied?
It's definitely interesting reading and I haven't come away from it with only questions. It reminded me that my concept of God is often far too small and helped me regain a larger perspective. It reminded me, too, that love is the whole point. It is God's character, His motivation and His goal, and as such must be mine as well. For me this book was worth reading. It's made a positive difference even though it leaves me with questions. I'd like to hear other opinions on this so if you read it, please do come back and let me know what you think.