The Evangelical Universalist Forum

ADCs and NDEs: Their Evidential Value for Apologetics


I posted a Topic (Listening to Angels) about two weeks ago which described a NDE/OBE experience I had in the late 1970s. It has been responded to by the magnificent three. I placed it in the Essays category since that was what it was. I guess nobody loves me… sob. So, I’ll never know if my experience will ever have any evidential value for Apologetics.

It’s OK, I’ll try and handle it.


I have just read your essay and have 2 reactions:
(1) A well written piece of work to which I have one disagreement: you claim that only God knows the exact day of our death. My Dad’s friend Helmut always said he would die on his 90th birthday. When the day came, he had breakfast, lay down again, and died peaceably, ust as he always predicted! Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg was invited to a meeting with Methodist founder John Wesley after Wesley’s extended tour of America. Swedenborg expressed regret because he foreknew that exact day of his death and that day would come before Wesley’s return to England.

(2) I’m deeply hurt that you exclude me from “the magnificent three.” Now I know how the other 9 disciples felt about Jesus’ special attention to “the inner circle”–Peter, James, and John! :frowning:


OTOH, the Topic was viewed 59 times; not small potatoes by any means!


(9) I shared with my friend Kathy Mike the skeptic’s report of seeing a stranger die and then watching his spirit ascend from his body, including Mike’s inexplicable awareness of details of the stranger’s life that were later confirmed. Kathy was reminded of her analogous experience during her father’s death. Her Dad was terrified by the prospect of dying; So Kathy’s deathbed vigil was painful for both of them. Then something happened that she identified as a pivotal moment of her spiritual journey: she heard an audible voice calling her father by name and then saw his spirit ascent, ostensibly to join the caller in his takeaway mission. But then she saw her Dad’s spirit dive back into his body to escape death. But this return was only momentary; shortly thereafter she saw his spirit ascend from his body again, this time permanently, and her father was now dead.


“Near Death Experiences” are exactly that—near death experiences. They are not after death experiences. And there are no after death communications, since no one has yet been raised from death except Jesus.

My maternal grandparents were both Christians; they believed Christians went directly to heaven after death. When Grandfather was about to die, he said to Grandmother, “I will try to contact you after I die—if I am allowed to do so.” Grandmother lived 26 years after Grandfather’s death, and never received any communication from him during all those years.

Either he wasn’t “allowed to do so” or else he couldn’t because he was dead and had not yet been raised from death.


PIaidion: “Near Death Experiences” are exactly that—near death experiences. They are not after death experiences."

Well, the precise moment when one physically dies is scientifically elusive, but there are many cases in which the heart has stopped beating and the brain displays no activity. In those cases, the NDE elements still resemble the standard form.

Paidion: “And there are no after death communications, since no one has yet been raised from death except Jesus.”

First, the issue is not bodily resurrection, but postmortem survival. Indeed, NT scholars widely reject the bodily resurrection of Jesus on the grounds that the Romans likely followed their standard practice of removing Jesus’ corpse (on Saturday night) to dump it in a common pit with the other 2 crucified victims. Remember, no follower of Jesus monitored the tomb after Jesus’ burial was completed until early Easter Sunday morning. The historicity of the Matthean account of Roman guards at the tomb is widely dismissed as a later apologetic lengend because (1) it is unlikely that the Romans would be aware of claims that Jesus would arise from the dead, (2) the Romans would more likely simply dump the corpse in a common pit with the other 2 crucified corpses, and, (3) in any case, none of the other 3 Gospels is aware of this legend. Indeed, Christians would have no way of knowing the details of the conversation between the supposed guards and Roman authorities.

My point is not to side with the modern scholarly consensus, but rather to point out that the rational basis for resurrection claims encounters a rat’s nest of academic hurdles.

Second, the evidence for postmortem survival from ADCs and NDEs is superior to that for Jesus’ bodily resurrection, but precisely for that reason, this modern evidence lends credibility to the Gospel resurrection appearance narratives. There are many apparent inconsistencies in the Gospel resurrection narratives and none of our 4 Gospels can confidently be credited to an eyewitness of any of those appearances. For many reasons, the modern scholarly consensus rejects the claim that Matthew or John the son of Zebedee wrote the Gospels that now apparently bear their names.

Paidion: “My maternal grandparents were both Christians; they believed Christians went directly to heaven after death. When Grandfather was about to die, he said to Grandmother, “I will try to contact you after I die—if I am allowed to do so.” Grandmother lived 26 years after Grandfather’s death, and never received any communication from him during all those years.” Either he wasn’t “allowed to do so” or else he couldn’t because he was dead and had not yet been raised from death."

This is the only important point in your post. I recall a study in the 1970s that found that 50% of Americans and 48% of the British reported contact from their beloved deceased within the first year after their passing. But you rightly raise the question of why so many of the bereaved receive no such contact. I have spent much time researching this question and will post the results of my search in a future post.


Berserk, it sounds like you’ve made a case for not believing the resurrection story. In light of the reasons you’ve given for questioning it, what are your reasons FOR believing in the resurrection of Christ? Can you recommend any persuasive books?


Whoa! Condescending, much?

Over time, that consensus has varied wildly as to its ‘findings’ and as to who we consider to be the ‘consensus-makers’. The weight of evidence is for the bodily resurrection of the son of God.

In any case, your OP is kind of interesting.


qaz: " Berserk, it sounds like you’ve made a case for not believing the resurrection story. In light of the reasons you’ve given for questioning it, what are your reasons FOR believing in the resurrection of Christ? Can you recommend any persuasive books?"

A theology professor who got saved and went forward to respond to a church altar call told me that he now rejects the Gospel resurrection narratives because of its internal contradictions. These difficulties can’t be dismissed on the simplistic grounds that different witnesses have different perspectives that produce small inconsistences in conflicting reports. I should probably start a new thread in which my OP outlines the apparent inconsistencies and challenges the readers to produce a sequence of events that harmonizes these problems in a coherent sequence of events from the dawn of Easter Sunday to the end of the resurrection narratives in a way that can be reconciled with Paul’s own list of resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, As a believer in Jesus’ resurrection, I would of course eventually provide my own rationale for reconciling all the apparent inconsistences.

Paul’s list of resurrection appearances in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 is the earliest and most evidential report of resurrection appearances. Paul introduces these appearances with the tradition formula, “I hand down what I received,” thus raising the question, “Received from whom?” The most logical answer is that he received this list of resurrection appearances during his 2 trips to Jerusalem where his Gospel message was checked out and confirmed by Peter, James (Jesus’ brother), and John, among others (see Galatians ).19-19: 2:1-10).

In an very general way, Paul of course twice refers to his own encounters with the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 9:1; Galatians 1:12-14). But in Luke’s 2 more detailed accounts of Jesus’ appearance to Paul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-9; cp. 22:6-11) Paul’s companions hear the heavenly voice, but see no one in 9:7 and, on the contrary, see the light but don’t hear the heavenly voice in 22:9.

The bottom line is that many intelligent people are grateful for the evidence from ADCs and NDEs in favor of postmortem survival and indirectly in support of the possibility that the Gospel resurrection reports may involve more than mere hallucinations fueled by wishful thinking. In the final analysis, we all embrace our beliefs by faith rather than by proof.


Let me dedicate, a song to this!


Well said!!


Berserk, I’m a little confused… You’re a Christian, but you don’t believe the gospel accounts of the resurrection? The resurrection narrative is the climax of the Bible’s story.



I guess you didn’t bother to read my response to your last post in which I provide reasons for the connection of Paul’s list of resurrection appearances with eyewitness testimony. In my anticipated new thread on the sequence of Gospel resurrection appearances, I will also make a fresh case for connecting those appearance narratives with eyewitness testimony. So stay tuned, You are probably confused because I’m arguing for how helpful NDEs and ADCs can be for this issue and I insist on considering both sides of the question on Gospel resurrection stories.


According to the apostle Paul, wthout bodily resurrection, there is no postmortem survival. We might as well eat, drink, and be merry—enjoy this life as much a possible because there would be nothing more.

…If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. (1 Cor 15:32)

And clearly Paul was not talking about some ethereal “postmortem survival.”
For immediately afterward, he discusses the details of bodily resurrection:

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”
36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.
39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.
49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Paul teaches here that the bodily resurrection does not consist of our present perishable bodies, but will be resurrected bodies.These will be different and yet the “same” in the sense that it will be the same person. Paul compares it with a grain of wheat and the plant into which it grows. Though the plant is much different from the grain which was planted, yet in one sense it is the same wheat.


For a different interpretation of that verse i’ll suggest:


Have any cases of people being diagnosed brain dead been documented in peer reviewed medical journals?


It’s complicated.

First, there is a complicated process - to determine if someone is “brain dead”.

Secondly, there are cases of the Lazarus syndrome

But if someone has survived, the complicated process - of determining brain death. And still has a Lazarus syndrome, will take some research. Even with research folks, having both M.D. and PhD degrees.

But in the second article, they do pronounce them dead. I still have a big issue, determining if any of the zombies - form the Zombie Apocalypse - are really “brain dead” or not.


(9) My friend Gord, a chaplain in British Columbia, shared this experience of Annie and her family. Gord visited Annie in her nursing home and noticed an unopened bottle of lilac cologne on a table next to her bed. He asked her is she’d like an application of the cologne and when she said Yes, he asked a nursing aide to apply it. Annie brightened noticeably at the wonderful odor, smiled, and passed away. What a way to go!

Just then, Annie’s daughter and her husband were working in their barn, when the daughter suddenly asked her husband, “Do you smell that? It smells like lilacs.” He replied, “I was just going to say that, but I thought it might make me look crazy, given the foul animal stench in the barn.” When this couple learned of Annie’s passing and went to the nursing home, Gord told them the story of how Annie died. No one knew how the lilac cologne bottle got there. The couple apparently had an ADC of Annie’s spirit after her passing. This type of ADC is quite common.


Well, it’s been going on for centuries…in the Native American world. And should I add, in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox worlds as well? Well:

  • Before my mom passed, she was in a coma - on life support. I went to a Native American Inipi (i.e. sweat lodge) ceremony. I put our my pray, for her wishes. My mom’s spirit told the person, who ran the lodge…that she wanted to move on. I then consulted with family members,… the doctor and hospital staff… and clergy from the Protestant, Catholic and hospital chapel staff. The medical and theological opinions said it was OK - to take her off life support. I didn’t share the sweat lodge stuff with them.

  • I was in a Christian grief group after my mom passed. One of the people there was an Eastern Orthodox priest. He shared two experiences… of how his mom made her presence know to him…after her passing



Leonard was a friend and a wealthy retired member of a church I pastored in western New York. He was often very worried about the health of family members, urged me to visit them. and was grateful when I did. His cousin across the highway (Rte. 37) was very depressed because he was dying of cancer. Because he refused visitors, Leonard wanted to discuss whether we should force ourselves on him in a visit to show him that someone cared. But when I visited Leonard’s home to discuss the matter, he had just left to shop in town. It suddenly occurred to me that Leonard’s turmoil about other family members didn’t seem to include his son Jeff and his family, who were all killed in a small plane crash. I made a brief comment on this to Leonard’s wife Helen and her response stunned me: “Oh, that’s because Jeff contacted Leonard after death, but Leonard doesn’t like to talk about that.” I was puzzled about what sort of postmortem contact might have occurred and took the risk of asking Leonard about this the next time I saw him. His testimony blew me away!

The day after the funeral for Jeff and his family, Leonard hopped in Jeff’s pickup truck to perform some errands in town. But as he rolled down his driveway, he noticed a tall figure rising from the culvert. It was his deceased son Jeff! Jeff approached him and asked, “Do you mind if I drive my pickup for old time’s sake?” In shock, Leonard complied and moved over. As Jeff drove north towards Rochester, NY, he assured Leonard that his wife Karen and their 2 children ware OK and together. Jeff then proceeded to outline his investments to save Leonard some time in tracking these down for legal settlement purposes. Then Jeff abruptly turned right on a less traveled highway. After driving on it for a couple of miles, he grew concerned and said, “I’m sorry, Dad, but I’m not permitted to continue driving. So this will have to be my goodbye.” I wondered who was orchestrating Jeff’s postmortem visit and imposing limits on its duration. Then Jeff got out of the truck, walked towards a clump of trees, and dematerialized. In shock, Leonard drove the truck home.

Jeff’s ADC seems too surreal to eliminate Leonard’s grief; so the next day a weeping Leonard went for a walk on a trail in the woods behind his country house. Soon overcome by grief, he sat down on a log and let the tears flow. Just then, he heard a branch crack and, to his dismay, Jeff’s late wife Karen was approaching him. She exhorted him, “Didn’t we just tell you that we are OK and together with our kids? So why are you weeping? You get back in the house with Mom and comfort her!” It was this 2nd visit that melted away Leonard’s grief. Leonard told me that he had never shared this experience with anyone but his wife Helen, not even with his daughters, because people might think he was crazy!

My incredulous expression caused him pain and I felt guilty because it was I who pressed him to share this story, despite his reluctance to do so. I apologized, adding that I believed him intellectually, but just need time to process the incredible testimony I had just heard. Years later, after Leonard passed away, I learned that his daughter had shared this ADC at his memorial service; so my prodding had the positive effect of encouraging him at last to share his experience with his other children.

(10b) Many of you will remember famed actor, Telly Savalas, who starred the TV series “Kojak” and appeared in many other TV series and movies. In this video, he testifies to his own ADC in which he gets a rid with a discarnate man and later confirms his identity:.