Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hell, Near Death, and Science

At this point it seems that we know that the origin of life was a random event brought about by the chance collision of various atoms, that the diversity of life is the result of evolutionary processes, and God is simply an invention by the credible and ignorant. We also know that Heaven and Hell are also inventions of man no matter how ancient the concepts and finally, we know that the resurrection of Jesus and his bodily ascent into Heaven were not only impossible but the whole idea borders on the laughable. But then Quantum Physics enters the picture and this beautiful picture so carefully constructed by scientists begins to wobble like a bobble head in a storm, as the need for a first cause manifests itself, followed by the uncertainty of atoms, photons, and other particles that make up our reality. Then there is the growing body of evidence that not only are we – Homo Sapiens – pure energy but that we – that is our ego’s – persist after clinical death.

The research into these Near-Death-Experiences (NDE’s) certainly indicate that our physical bodies are very analogous to a coat that merely houses us for a short period and that is cast off at death but the person wearing the coat survives in an energetic form. At this point, it seems certain that this survival or apparent survival is not the result of any psychological, physiological, or pharmacological process. But not unexpectedly, this conclusion raises even more perplexing questions. For example it has always been believed but not proven that consciousness and memories are localized in the brain and that thoughts or consciousness are produced by groups of neurons or neuronal networks, that is these functions are brain dependent and that these cannot exist without a brain. However, during a period of clinical death the brain function ceases and the EEG is flat, yet those people who have experienced an NDE retain memories and accurately describe events occurring around them during this period of clinical death, in effect they continue to function without an operable brain. For the moment let’s assume that recent research indicates that life does indeed continue after the death of the body but that it exists in an altered and energetic form.

Therefore, if we assume that life continues after clinical death that only answers one question while posing many others. In one study only 18% of the people in the study reported some recollection of events after clinical death and in another study only 10% reported an NDE, while 82% had no recollection of any event during clinical death. In those cases where an NDE occurs the overwhelming majority are positive but a percentage (1% to 15%) report negative experiences and within this group a small percentage report seeing demons or similar negative images. However, there does not seem to be any correlation between the person’s life experience and the positive or negative NDE and it those cases where a person has had multiple NDE’s some have been positive and others negative. In effect these people who have had an NDE experience that might be described as Heaven and Hell so what about Heaven and Hell?

Based on research mankind has had a belief in an afterlife since before written history but Heaven and Hell are relatively recent man made concepts, especially Hell with its colorful assortment of imps, devils, and demons. If these are not creations of God, and they appear to not be, then why do people experience them? More importantly, why do 82% not experience anything during clinical death? Furthermore, some comment on meeting Jesus during these experiences. Why Jesus? Why not Buddha, Mohammed, or even Zeus, why Jesus? Is this because that person expected to meet Jesus in the afterlife or is this an example of the inherent “rightness” of Christianity? And of course there is “Hell” which is even more of a human creation than Heaven. Where precisely is Heaven and why would at least some of the NDE’s experience what cannot only be described as “classic Hell”? Are these experiences based on the expectation of the person or are they reflections of the “real” afterlife? Probably we will never know although as research into NDE’s continues it is possible some patterns or correlations may emerge.

While many questions remain and not everyone who experiences clinical death has an NDE, it seems that there is growing evidence that we live in a physical world but a world of illusion. The entire universe is made up of identical protons, neutrons, and electrons, which combine to form what we perceive as our physical reality, but this reality – like the particles – is pure energy – in effect an energetic interconnected field that might be described as a thought projection. This physical reality is time driven but time itself is an illusion and is used solely as a framework for our individual and collective experience. Within this physical – mass oriented – reality we exist as physical beings but that existence is part of the illusion. We are in fact, energetic beings who exist independent of our bodies and of time – in effect we are eternal and our bodies disposable. We may visit the Earth Plane many many times, but death is really a rebirth into another plane of existence.

And this brings us back to the resurrection of Jesus. There are really two parts to this question, the first, can you die and be brought back to life and the second can you be transported physically to Heaven? I think the first question is a self-evident yes, because that is essentially what an NDE is, so yes Jesus could have died and been brought back to life in his physical body. This leaves us with the physical body of Jesus and could it be transported to Heaven? Let’s assume that Heaven is actually a different plane of existence, the one that we experience after death, then yes Jesus could have been transported there. If our bodies are pure energy then the physical body could leave by dropping its mass form and transform itself into pure energy – like light. So while the resurrection of Jesus may never be proven one way or another, it does seem possible. Furthermore, we do indeed appear to be energetic beings, with a soul and a life eternal.

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