A neuroscientist discovers heaven?

I just finished reading an article on the Internet in which a neuroscientist claims that he had experienced a medical miracle providing him with “proof of heaven.”

(His interview was on ABC’s “Nightline” (Oct. 24, 2012).

Four years ago, Dr. Eben Alexander came close to death from E. coli meningitis that had put him into a coma and shut down his entire brain cortex. Only his most primitive brain parts were still functioning. His prognosis was not good.

A week after being in the hospital, he awoke. But the most amazing part of his survival story is that he claimed to have experienced an ontologically real journey to Heaven while seemingly brain dead!

I do not doubt his story. After all, I am a student of the unique ideas of scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg who not only was the first researcher to formulate a neuron theory (brain cells) but he offered the most complete description of Heaven we have today.

Whereas Dr. Alexander experienced heaven during his weeklong coma, Swedenborg experienced Heaven for almost thirty years—and wrote volumes about it! So I made some comparisons between the supra-sensory experiences of these two legitimate scientists.

Dr. Alexander states that during his coma, he was first in a kind of murky darkness then was “rescued” by a spinning orb of light, which opened up into a beautiful valley with blossoming flowers. It was a realm of indescribable beauty and complexity. (Swedenborg gave additional input on the origins of this light and said that it was non-physical and the sacred source by which God enlightened human minds to see beyond mere material or spacetime ideas.)

My biggest problem is that this short adventure into Heaven provided only a small sliver of heavenly life in which Dr. Alexander was told (by his dead sister) that he was “loved,” that he was “cherished” and that “he could do no wrong.”

This is exactly what people imagine heaven to be—a place of profound self-affirmation. A brief visit to heaven could easily leave one with this impression of the afterlife. But Swedenborg insisted that goodness and wisdom came only from the Lord God, and that heaven’s biosphere reflected precisely the extent to which we allowed divine love and wisdom to enter into our hearts and minds—from the principle of humility, not self-importance.

According to Swedenborg, heaven reflects one’s inner reality and our orientation to the Creator. He also observed that all new people entering the spiritual world first had a positive experience, especially meeting old friends and family members. But as the inner qualities of a person’s spirit became manifest, a man or woman would gravitate to the spiritual reality that best harmonized with that person’s deepest thoughts and intentions. “Heaven” is not a guarantee.

I guess that God’s providence saw it as useful to give humans hope of an afterlife through Dr. Alexander’s brief experience of heaven. But for those who are interested in learning more, Swedenborg offers a lot more relevant details about our spiritual eventuality.

http://www.ProvingGod.com or http://www.Swedenborg.com


About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to A neuroscientist discovers heaven?

  1. Debbie Huntze says:

    I am surprised, Ed, how you did not get it! There is no contradiction between Dr. Alexander’s experience and Swedenborg’s writings. The spiritual world – heaven or hell – are places/states of profound self-affirmation, where one affirms the choices one made in the physical realm and in the world of spirits. Both Swedenborg and C.S.Lewis would assert that hell is hell for those outside hell. For those within a specific hell, that hell is heaven because it is fine-tuned to their own lifestyle choices. Where is the contradiction?

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Debbie,

      What contradiction are you talking about? I simply stated that Dr. Alexander provided a “sliver” of what heaven was like compared to Swedenborg. Dr. Alexander talked about heaven in a way that left God (and God’s central importance) completely out of the picture. Heck, Heaven is God’s Kingdom! If one only read Dr. Alexander’s account of the afterlife they would be convinced that there was no Hell to worry about. You are also using the term “self-affirmation” differently than I am. I use it to express one’s egoistic need for self-importance rather than embracing humility and God’s central importance.

      While those who gravitate to a specific hell may find that it represents their view of “heaven” they are eternally frustrated and never happy. Thank you for your comment!

      Spiritually yours,

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