Eben Alexander was convinced that there is nothing beyond this life. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1976 and received his M.D. from Duke Medical School in 1980. After he completed a fellowship in cerebrovascular neurosurgery at Newcastle-Upon Tyne, he served for fifteen years on the faculty at Harvard Medical School with specialization in neurosurgery. As a physician and a scientist, he concluded that when the brain dies all consciousness ends. The person ceases to exist.
All that changed on November 10, 2008 when he suffered a severe attack of bacterial meningitis that left him on life support and, by every measurement, brain dead. After existing in this comatose condition for a week, Eben Alexander miraculously woke up. When he did, all his preconceived scientific assumptions about life and death were changed. The dramatic Near Death Experience (NDE) left him convinced that life beyond this physical existence is not only real, it is the greater reality.
He documented his experience in his book, Proof of Heaven, which, as of this week is number 31 on the Amazon e-book sales list. He writes, “We need to accept – at least hypothetically and for the moment – that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. That it is, instead, a kind of reducing valve or filter, sifting the larger, nonphysical consciousness that we possess in the nonphysical worlds down into a more limited capacity for the duration of our mortal lives.” … “The physical side of the universe is as a speck of dust compared to the invisible and spiritual part. In my past view, spiritual wasn’t a word that I would have employed during a scientific conversation. Now I believe it is a word that we cannot afford to leave out.”
This week, the world will recognize an even greater proof of life beyond the grave than Dr. Alexander’s experience. As impressive as his near death experience may be, it pales in comparison to the historic death and resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, it was not a “near death experience.” A Roman soldier thrust a spear through his side releasing a final gush of blood and water to confirm that Jesus was truly dead. His lifeless body was buried in a borrowed grave, and, on the third day, to the shock and surprise of his closest followers, God raised him from the dead.
Luke, a first century physician, after conducting exhaustive research and extensive interviews wrote, “He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3). Paul, arguably one of the greatest minds in history, stated, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Every other event in history, including Dr. Alexander’s NDE in 2008, is dated by that singular life that gave the world its greatest “proof of heaven.”