Have Those Who Experienced Near Death Returned With A Landscape Of Heaven?
By Michael H. Brown
You hear about it countless times, how those who have supposedly glimpsed the "other side," experienced brushes with eternity -- most of them revived through modern medical techniques -- describe an environment that sails far beyond human words.
In the light of Heaven, say these people -- hundreds of them, thousands -- the most resplendent vistas on earth are but a dim gray shadow. It's a remarkable consistency: the description of meadows that are beyond verdant and plants beyond what we know of as lush and trees that move as if swaying with ethereal music.
One of the most detailed descriptions has come from a woman named Rebecca Springer, who allegedly saw the afterlife during her long stretch as an invalid in Kentville, Nova Scotia, where she said she was taken to the other side on a number of occasions.
"Even in that first moment, I observed how perfect each plant and flower was," wrote Springer. "For instance, the heliotrope -- which on earth often runs into long, ragged sprays -- there grew upon short, smooth stems. Each leaf was perfect and smooth and glossy, instead of being rough and coarse-looking. The flowers peeped up from the deep grass, so like velvet, with sweet, happy faces. What a scene I beheld as I rested upon this soft, fragrant cushion.
"Away, away -- far beyond the limit of my vision -- stretched this wonderful field of perfect grass and flowers. Out of it grew equally wonderful trees, whose drooping branches were laden with exquisite blossoms and fruits of many kinds. I found myself thinking of John's vision in the isle of Patmos and the 'tree of life' that grew in the midst of the garden, bearing 'twelve manner of fruits... and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.' [Revelation 22:2]"
Wishful thinking? An overactive imagination? Or an actual description?
This would all seem fanciful if others were not to pen nearly identical accounts of Heaven's exquisite nature -- or should we say, supernature. In case after case, those who have near-death experiences recount the lush nature of the landscape and the way it seems to radiate its own light, exuding colors we have never known, colors that go beyond our three primary colors, that sparkle with life itself.
"I was told by the Savior that the spirit creation could be compared to one of our photographic prints," said another woman from the state of Washington who had such an experience. "The spirit creation would be like a sharp, brilliant print, and the earth would be like its dark negative. This earth is only a shadow of the beauty and glory of its spiritual creation." This near-death witness further said that the grass on the other side "felt alive under my feet, crisp, cool, and brilliant green" -- another description that one finds in many such accounts.
"When light strikes an object here," she said, "the light reflects off the object in a certain color. Thousands of shades are possible. Light in the spirit world doesn't necessarily reflect off anything. It comes from within and appears to be a living essence. A million, a billion colors are possible. The flowers are so vivid and luminescent with color that they don't seem to be solid."
As Scripture says: the rest of our eyes have not seen the glories that await us -- and not just the vegetation. Those who "come back" frequently describe incredible mountains and, perhaps most consistently, "living waters" that are like crystal and exude health. "I caught glimpses of sparkling fountains in many directions, and close to me a placid river flowed with water clear as crystal," claimed Springer. "In some places I saw the flowers blooming placidly down in the depths, among the many-colored pebbles with which the entire bed of the River was lined.
"The one thought that fastened itself upon me as I looked, breathless and speechless, upon this scene was, 'purity, purity!' There was no shadow of dust, no taint of decay on fruit or flower. Everything was perfect; everything was pure. The grass and flowers looked as though they were freshly washed by summer showers, and not a single blade was any color but the brightest green."
It was a place where there could be no mishaps, no accidents, no injury, she emphasized. It was impossible to drown in the River -- which caught light "in the most marvelous manner." The waters transmitted music and invigorated those who bathed and breathed in it -- lined with the heavenly fruit and swathed in what is another consistently described attribute of Heaven: the incredible roseate light.
"It was like a sea," said Springer, "of molten gold. "Delightful surprises met me at every turn. The air was soft and balmy, though invigorating. Instead of sunlight there was a golden and rosy glory everywhere. It resembled the afterglow of a southern sunset in midsummer."
If it's the imagination it's incredible how so many -- from housewives to medical doctors who themselves have had this experience -- describe virtually the exact same glorious place, and how they emphasize that it is a place for those who have earned it, a place prepared by Christ for those who love each other and most of all love God.
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