Is There Life After Death?

After life

With recent events in the world from children being bombed to gunned down in schools.  Many question if there is a God, but before we get to that question… is there life after this life?

I didn’t have to look far for the answer to this one.  When I was 16 my brother died suddenly.  It was incredibly difficult to have my life long closest friend gone.  My brother and I talked about everything and shared deep thoughts with each other including thoughts on heaven and the life hereafter.  One day we were talking about how great the next life would be without pain and suffering.  We agreed that whoever went first would visit the other one.  In the old Jewish tradition they say the spirit stays near the body for 3 days.

My brother was taken from me due to an accidental gun shot.  The recent shootings remind me of my brother and his accident.  He was taken from me all at once.  I had questions.  Why!?? Why was he taken so young.  He was only 12.  The police investigation told us what we knew… he was happy and loved life.

I believe in visions and dreams.  A couple of verses, one from the book of Joel from the prophets in the Old Testament or Bible, and another from the New Testament or Acts of the Apostles.

Joel 2:28. “And it will come to pass afterwards, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, and your young men see visions.

The Veil

Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

About 3 days after his death I had a very vivid dream where my brother came to me as if in the flesh.  Over the course of the next few weeks he would visit me three times.  He was really there.  This wasn’t like other dreams.  This was real.  At each visit he would talk with me, and in some of these, my brothers and sisters were around.  In each of these I had a full recollection that he was gone.  I asked him as came to me, how he was.  He said he missed me, but he was busy.  He was busy he even showed me a list whereon was our family name.  He already had a calling and work to do.  On this list as well were other names of other people he was visiting or watching over.

I read every book I could find on the topic of life after death.  Life after Life.  I read about out of body experiences – OOBs.  I have learned when the body dies the spirit lives on and goes back to the Creator.

Ancient Grave stones

There are some Christians that believe we wait until the resurrection neither Dead nor Alive.  Others believe we go to heaven or hell after judgment.

Others yet still believe without the proper sacraments we are in some sort of purgatory and the prayers of the faithful can help them get to heaven.

Without baptism are else damned?  We’ll save that for another post.

I have found in my life answers to many of these questions.  Those that died are nearby and close, in experience.  I can at times feel the presence of my brother.  I feel very blessed for these experience and more which whisper… there is more.

Job 19:26

Geneva Study Bible

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet {r} in my flesh shall I see God:

(r) In this Job declares plainly that he had a full hope, that both the soul and body would enjoy the presence of God in the last resurrection.

 

The Prophet Alma of the Book of Mormon offers a lot on the subject of Life after Death.

Alma 40: The Spirit World and the Resurrection

“Alma 40: 11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.”

So depending on the experiences in your life you can be taken to paradise or prison.  Heaven or hell.  This spirit paradise or heaven is simply an immediate judgment based on the light and knowledge we have received in this life.  I think other ways of explaining it…  do you follow those choices that you know are right or do you fight against them?

Alma continues on Resurrection as to how it will happen and the fact that all things will be restored.

21 But whether it be at his resurrection or after, I do not say; but this much I say, that there is a space between death and the resurrection of the body, and a state of the soul in happiness or in misery until the time which is appointed of God that the dead shall come forth, and be reunited, both soul and body, and bebrought to stand before God, and be judged according to their works.

22 Yea, this bringeth about the restoration of those things of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets.

23 The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame.

Even if your body was disfigured in life, it will be fully restored.  What a comforting and beautiful message.

 

When I was at 4-H camp, I met a kid who was on hard drugs.  We didn’t have much in common, but I was fascinated with his life experiences and he was very open about sharing his thoughts.  While on the bus home the two of us were talking about life and death.  I told him to visit me if he ever died, he was going through a really depressing time and thought he might die any time.

About a year later I had an incredible dream where this same young man was holding a hand gun and laughing.  I shared the strange dream with some friends at school the next morning.  I was in shock when later that day I ran into some kids from 4-H camp who shared the news… my friend from camp I had seen the night before was dead with a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head that he did right in front of his mom.  Incredibly sad.

In the scriptures and throughout the gospels we find dreams and visions, being the usual ways of conveying knowledge from God.  My experiences are my own, and I don’t necessarily share these as prophecies for others, but to share how I came to a knowledge of this life after life.

In my thirst for knowledge I read a series of books titled “Beyond the Veil” by Lee Nelson.  It’s a collection of real people’s experiences with near death experiences.  There are now 4 volumes, and each experience to me was that much more comforting and enlightening to hear how these people had a glimpse of life after going through tragic experiences and being sent back to earth.  Many recall a most wonderful place that they now know exists.

Can Science ever find Proof of Out of Body or Near Death Experiences?

A Time Magazine article on “Is there such a thing as life after death” interviews radiation oncologist Dr. Jeffrey Long says if you look at the scientific evidence, the answer is unequivocally yes.  His book Evidence of the Afterlife catalogs some 1600 experiences over the last decade.

He goes on to explain in the article, “I’m a physician who fights cancer. In spite of our best efforts, not everybody is going to be cured. My absolute understanding that there is an afterlife for all of us — and a wonderful afterlife — helps me face cancer, this terribly frightening and threatening disease, with more courage than I’ve ever faced it with before. I can be a better physician for my patients.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1955636,00.html#ixzz2FHSqVpek

AWARE.  A scientific approach to understanding Near Death Experiences

A number of recent scientific studies carried out by independent researchers have demonstrated that 10-20 per cent of people who go through cardiac arrest and clinical death report lucid, well structured thought processes, reasoning, memories, and sometimes detailed recall of events during their encounter with death.

“The remarkable point about these experiences,” according to Dr. Parnia, “is that while studies of the brain during cardiac arrest have consistently shown that there is no measurable brain activity, these subjects have reported detailed perceptions that indicate the contrary—namely, a high level of consciousness in the absence of detectable brain activity. If we can objectively verify these claims, the results would bear profound implications not only for the scientific community, but for the way in which we understand and relate to life and death as a society.”

During the AWARE study, physicians will use the latest technologies to study the brain and consciousness during cardiac arrest. At the same time, they will also be testing the validity of out of body experiences and claims of being able to see and hear during cardiac arrest through the use of randomly generated hidden images that are not visible unless viewed from specific vantage points above.

AWARE updated their site with an April 2011 update where they said they have had 1000 people through the study, but need to gather and compile the data.  More coming with their 2012 update.

I don’t need science to tell me there is life beyond this life.

There is a lot of references to various world religious in relation to Moksha with great references to life after death on Wikipedia

Life after Death in Hinduism

Hindusim – According to Hinduism, there definitely is life after death, the only difference is that we consider life and death as a continuous cycle which complement each other

Reincarnation

“Because you trust me, Arjuna, I will tell you what wisdom is, the secret of life: Know it and be free of suffering forever.”—Bhagavad Gita, chapter 9, verse 1

Pictured above: The Ganges river.  I had an incredible opportunity to visit Varanasi also known as Banaras, one of the holiest cities of the Hindus.  Lots of death and sickness in this city which as the days have continuous burning on the banks of the river with the human remains tossed in the river.

Buddhism

“In Buddhism the concept of liberation is Nirvana. It is referred to as “the highest happiness” and is the goal of the Theravada-Buddhist path”

Jainism

“In Jainism, moksa and nirvana are one and the same. When a soul (atman) achieves moksa, it is released from the cycle of births and deaths, and achieves its pure self.”

Sikhism

“The Sikh mukti is positive concept in two important ways. First it stands for the realization of the ultimate Reality, a real enlightenment (jnana). The mukta is not just free from this or that, he is the master of sense and self, fearless (nirbhai) and devoid of rancor (nirvair), upright yet humble, treating all creatures as if they were he himself, wanting nothing, clinging to nothing.”

Islam

How do Muslims View Death?

Muslims as well believe in life after death. Muslims believe that the present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of existence.

Muslim boys

And he (i.e. man) presents for Us an example (i.e. attempting to establish the finality of death) and forgets his [own] creation. He says, “Who will give life to bones while they are disintegrated?” Say, “He will give them life who produced them the first time; and He is, of all creation, Knowing.” [It is] He who made for you from the green tree, fire, and then from it you ignite. Is not He who created the heavens and the earth Able to create the likes of them? Yes, [it is so]; and He is the Knowing Creator. (Quran, 36:78-81)

It is a blessing to know that there is life after death.  Science and global acceptance with more knowledge may come for what so many religions have been saying. It’s an important step toward bringing science and religion together. The world’s top religions reinforce this knowledge.  Evidence is being gathered at a ferocious pace at Near Death Experience Research Foundation, but even with support for out of body experiences, science won’t be convinced there’s a paradise, heaven or nirvana or worse for quite some time.  I won’t be holding my breath.  There are some things better left to faith.

 

(The pictures are mine and can only be used with attribution.  In order, Temple in Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Mosquito net in Zanzibar hotel, Khor Virap Armenia grave stone, Varanasi holy Ganges river in India, and Muslim school boys in Zanzibar.)

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