It’s only natural to wonder about the possibility of life after death and what it might be like after the body dies.
Now, as advances technology have increased the survival rate of those who have died and have been brought back to life, more scientists and doctors are recognizing the similarities of near death experiences and deathbed visions and their importance in revealing a glimpse of what may happen to people after their bodies die.
Through many case studies from personal anecdotes of near death experiences, deathbed visions, and even passages from the Bible, it’s possible to examine these pieces of evidence together to form a probable sketch of Heaven.
A Bright Light in Heaven
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
The Bright Light and Near Death Experiences
The passage from Revelation implies that no darkness exists in Heaven, and a sun is not necessary to sustain life. Instead an ubiquitous and eternal light exists, and people live forever.
Could this be possible?
In studies of people who have had near death experiences, many describe seeing a bright light so bright that’s it’s not possible to fully describe the brightness or the pure love and the feeling of unconditional acceptance inside it.
These people who had near death experiences and experience the light share many similarities. They have revealed that they saw a spec of light through some kind of tunnel. They moved through the tunnel rapidly towards a light. They have described the light as “lovely brightness,” “brilliant light full of energy,” “domed pavilion of light,” “a light full of all consuming love,” and “a light full of selflessness, love, and acceptance.”
Raymond A. Moody states in his book Life After Life that the most profound effect on people who have a near death experience is their encounter with a light. From his case studies, Moody reports that people describe the light as “an unearthly brilliance” and as if it were a personal being with its own personality. They also say it emanates love and warmth beyond words and people are “ineluctably drawn to it” after they leave their bodies.
Betty J Eadie in her book Embraced by the Light writes about her near death experience and the love she feels from the infinite light: “…home at last. I would give all in my power, all that I ever was, to be filled with that love again–to be embraced in the arms of his eternal light.”
The Bright Light and Deathbed Visions
Deathbed visions usually occur when someone near death sees a being, usually a friend or relative who has already died coming to greet him or her to help with the passing from this life to the next.
Some people who are near permanent death report seeing a bright light surrounding a being, friend, or relative who has come to greet them. In Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die, David Kessler writes about several of these occurrences. One incident he documented tells of a dying woman who just gave birth telling her obstetrician she saw “Lovely brightness” and “wonderful beings.”
A Being of Light in Heaven
The bright light is not only phenomenon than people have difficulty describing, it also has been reported to have a life and even personality of its own. The dying or those who die and are brought back sometimes say the light emits from a familiar being or presence. They are drawn to his or her love, warmth, and unconditional acceptance.
Light on Earth Compared to the Light After Death
Imagine lying on the sand on a sunny day and feeling the warmth and comfort shinning down from above. Think about the way flowers open and bloom and appear to reach for the sun. Our earth is likely just a slice of a shadow of the light in Heaven.
Home is Through the Light
Many people who experience the light say it’s like going home as if their life on earth has been a journey.
Some who return from the light also refer to their life on earth as a mission, and they come back to finish their mission even though they are not sure what their mission is once they return to their human form.
Darkness, Light, and Beliefs about Death
In many cultures, people associate darkness with death. They usually wear dark clothing to funerals. But could it be possible that those left behind covered in their dark shrouds are metaphorically left in the dark while their loved ones who passed bathe in the light and unconditional love of an all powerful and loving being in heaven?
According to studies done by life after death researchers, many who experience darkness before they move towards a light say the darkness feels comforting and they feel no fear. Perhaps the dying pass through the darkness; however, it’s through the peace of darkness that they enter into the light.
Cities in Heaven Where Everything is Surrounded by Light
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.”
Few detailed descriptions of heaven exist. One of the better glimpses of an actual city in heaven appears in an account written over 150 years ago by a young woman who fell into a trance and journeyed through heaven. The book Nine Days in Heaven: The Vision of Marietta Davis was transcribed into contemporary language by Dennis and Nolene Prince.
Reportedly, in 1848 twenty-five-year old Davis fell into a trance for nine days seven months after a revival. When she came out of the trance she described with details a description of heaven.
Outside of heaven she said, “The gate was made of jasper and diamonds. It opened and two angelic beings approached me.”
Davis rises above a city in heaven and describes it: “Spaced at regular intervals were groups of majestic trees with luxuriant clusters of fragrant flowers. Beneath them in the open spaces were garden beds filed with every variety of flower, blossoming shrubs, and vines. Fountains of dancing waters caught my eye. Some bubbled up from the green grass to flow with a low and pleasant murmur through marble channels or beds of golden sand.”
“The city was divided into one hundred and forty-four great suburbs, or divisions, arranged in increasing degrees of magnificence and beauty.”
“Each building in the city was extremely large and perfectly integrated with all the others. The entire city gave the impression of being one garden of flowers, one grove of shady trees, one gallery of sculptures, and one sea of fountains.”
The beauty and perfection of heaven is apparent in Davis’s description. Heaven’s similarity to cities on Earth is obvious in the buildings and nature surrounding them; however, the cities on Earth contrast bleakly to heaven in their lack of magnificence and symmetry.
Work in Heaven
Davis also alludes to the idea that spirits in heaven have responsibilities when she tells her readers that infants who have died on earth are brought to the Holy City are raised by spirits to learn knowledge.
In Eadie’s narrative of her afterlife visit, she writes about meeting spirits who worked with their hands to create elaborate looms that would be made into clothing for those coming to heaven from earth.
Eadie states that only spirits who want to work with their hands do so suggesting that other professions exist in heaven. It’s likely that those in heaven enjoy their work and are happy being of service to others including those on earth.
Communication in Heaven
Another interesting aspect about heaven is communication. Davis writes that words are not spoken. Instead spirits communicate “thought to thought,” and it’s not possible to hide anything.
After her visit to heaven, Davis did not live long, but her story still spread and remained popular. Seven months after her visit to heaven, she died at the exact time and manner that she predicted.
In Heaven Everything is Full of Light
“O death! We thank you for the light that you will shed upon our ignorance.” — Jacques-Benigne Bossuet
A being of living light who encompasses everything could be the main component for an accurate depiction of heaven. Even children who have near death experiences usually speak of the profound effect of the light. When they return to their bodies, their attitudes have changed and they are more mature and more concerned about living life as if they have an important purpose.
Melvin Morse author of Closer to the Light: Learning from the Near-Death Experiences of Children, was compelled to conduct a scientific study to shed light on the validity of near death experiences through children who died briefly and were brought back to life.
One case of Morse’s study included a seven-year-old boy who was in intensive care when his heart stopped for three minutes before he was brought back. Afterward the boy said, “I was in a beautiful place with flowers and rainbows, where everything was white like it had its own light.”
The Colors of Heaven
Other near death experiencers have also talked about the fullness of light in heaven. Eadie describes entering a garden with spectacular mountains, valleys, and rivers. She wrote that flowers and grass were alive with intense shades of colors that do not exist on earth.
Eadie writes of the light and colors, “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 Music of Heaven
Eadie also tells of a waterfall and river that flowed into a pond. Each drop of water had its own purpose and its own intelligence. The waterfall had a melody that filled the area and merged with other melodies from the living foliage in the garden.
Depiction of Heaven
From evidence from the Bible and from anecdotal evidence of near death experiences and deathbed visions, we can depict a possible description of heaven. It’s likely similar to our existence on Earth; however, unlike Earth, in heaven life is more real, more full of unselfish love and acceptance, and more brightly lived.