John Burke, a pastor and author who has studied and examined over 1,000 accounts of near-death experiences, has been on a mission to help people better understand these claims.
Burke, author of the bestselling book, “Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You,” recently told “The Pure Flix Podcast” he’s a firm devotee of evidence and reason and believes accounts of near-death experiences have credibility.
“I’ve been to seminary, I’ve studied the Bible, I’ve taught it for 30 plus years and, at the same time, I’ve always been curious,” Burke said. “So, I have collected and studied over 1,000 of these near-death experiences, and I’ve always been trying to put it together — ‘How does it fit with the heaven of the Bible and the God of the Bible?'”
The preacher said he wrote “Imagine Heaven” to explore the correlations and commonalities seen in near-death experience cases across the globe.
“These people are having an experience that I’ve come to believe is truly beyond our four dimensions of time and space,” Burke said.
He added that those who go through near-death experiences often find themselves struggling to explain something that transcends our current world, all while being restricted to the experiences and semantics of this realm.
Watch Burke share his investigation into near-death experiences:
He compared our current existence to a flat, two-dimensional, black-and-white photo. Those who have a near-death experience, Burke said, are “ripped off that two-dimensional plane and brought out into three dimensions of color.”
Suddenly, these individuals are trying to explain the newfound dimension to people who have only experienced the two-dimensional realm.
“They have to interpret their experience, and they always do in their own worldview, and that’s very important to understand because not every interpretation aligns with the Bible,” he said. “But I’ve found, incredibly, the commonalities are pointing to the God of the Bible and no one else.”
Burke believes near-death experiences are essentially a “new apologetic” and a “gift from God” in an age when modern medical resuscitation can now allow people to come back from the brink of death.
“This is modern, medical, scientific evidence that the God of the Bible is real,” he said.
Burke said hundreds of scholarly articles have been written about near-death experiences in medical journals, with researchers looking at those who have detailed their ventures.
“[Researchers recorded] all the observations [among those with near-death experiences] claim to have outside their bodies and then a control group that did not claim to have a near-death experience and what they imagined might have been happening in the room of their resuscitation,” Burke said. “The control group got almost none of them right.”
While the control group got 10% to 15% of their proclamations correct, the near-death experience group was reportedly 92% correct, with an additional 6% being at least somewhat accurate with their details.
“That’s uncanny,” he said. “This is what has convinced so many skeptical doctors.”
In “Imagine Heaven,” Burke also covers three people who are blind who, despite never seeing beauty with their own eyes, report observing incredible sights during near-death experiences.
“They’ve never ever seen, and yet they’re describing … this beautiful place just like everyone else,” he said.
Burke said he’s hoping to use the stories told in “Imagine Heaven” to point people to Christ.
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