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Glimpse of Heaven

Counter-CutDr. Mary Neal, author of “To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels and Life Again,” was interviewed about her near-death experience recently on the Today Show.  She was pinned underwater unable to breathe for a minimum of 15 minutes, died, experienced Heaven, and came back.  Click here to enjoy the interview.


Her experience is not that unusual.  I’ve read numerous accounts of comparable experiences.  Pictures of signed official death certificates were included in some books; I recall a funeral photograph in one account!

Specificity and detail vary somewhat from account to account.  Some recount meeting relatives and friends who have passed on; others recall meeting angels; many recall magnificent landscapes and incredible natural wonders; others tell of sharpened senses and heightened physical abilities; some accounts describe buildings and structures beyond imagination.  Still others include stories of personally seeing or meeting Jesus Christ, but none recount meeting any other historically significant religious figure such as Mohammed, Buddha, Gandhi, or Moses.[1]

Lastly, many describe out of body experiences that provide precise physical particulars of earthly events and scenes such as detailed descriptions of final moment activities as would have been seen from a third party perspective or physical features of places that individual had never visited.  These physical descriptions undeniably confirm that the experience was not some hallucination, but an actual supernatural, out-of-body experience because the individual is providing physically verifiable information that could not possibly have been known except through a supernatural experience.

More importantly, all accounts have common themes:  A sense of being home; an overwhelming and awe inspiring sense of perfection, peace, and joy; and a sense of not wanting to leave and come back to this world.  All who do return feel that they have been “sent back” with a mission:  To tell the world about their experience, as did Dr. Neal.  Her experience may not be as dramatic of that of others, but nonetheless it appears to be a real supernatural event.

Without question there is more to life than death.  Without question there is one true, living God.  Without doubt Christ Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  (John 14:6)

Praise God, for all is not as it looks.

Discerning Truth

Beware!  Not every supernatural account is true.  The Bible repeatedly warns us to be on guard, for there will be many false prophets and false teachers.  We must carefully examine the evidence and seek convincing corroboration and consistency:

  1. Is reliable, independent verification provided?
  2. Are supporting documents reliable?
  3. Is the account consistent with fundamental Biblical principles and other verifiable supernatural events of a similar nature?
  4. Does the account bear The LORD’s undeniable watermark of truth – a prophecy of a future event that comes true?

Now let us examine Dr. Neal’s story in light of the four questions raised above:

  1. Independent verification is provided by her companions, but her companions could be part of a deceitful plan.  Therefore further examination is required in this regard.
  2. I didn’t seek or see supporting documents.  They may exist, but further examination is required in this regard.
  3. The account is clearly consistent with fundamental Biblical principles and other reliable near death events.
  4. The account appears to bear The LORD’s undeniable watermark of truth:  Dr. Neal recounts being told that her son will die an untimely death.  Ten years later in 2009, at the age of 19, he did die in a car accident.  If Dr. Neal made the claim of her son’s impending death prior to 2009, then such a statement would represent the LORD’s undeniable watermark.  Unfortunately the book was originally published in 2011, two years after the tragic accident, so further examination is required in this regard.[2]

Conclusion:  The answer to all four questions is a plausible “yes.”  There are no immediately apparent indicators of this story being a hoax.  Thus Dr. Neal’s story is probably true, but not irrefutably so because unanswered questions still remain.  What do you think?

Further reading

  • Heaven – Randy Alcorn
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven – Don Piper
  • The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven – Alex Malarkey
  • Heaven is for Real – Todd Burpo
  • My Time in Heaven – Richard Sigmund
  • Glimpses of Heaven – Trudy Harris
  • 23 Minutes in Hell – Bill Wiese
  • One Minute After you Die – Erwin W. Lutzer
  • Nine Days in Heaven:  The Vision of Marietta Davis – Dennis Prince

Unfortunately I don’t have access to my library at this moment, else I would provide even more titles.


[1] I actually searched for such accounts but have been unsuccessful.  I did, however, find numerous accounts of Jesus Christ appearing to Muslims in dreams; such Muslims often become Christian pastors as a result – in spite of the threat of death for apostasy from Islam.

[2] Dr. Neal claims on P. 215 of her book “I finished writing the first complete draft hours before my son’s death.”

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