I'm a bit skeptical when someone says that they've been to Heaven and back.
But, then, I've often wondered what happens to a person's soul if, say, they were in a car wreck and their heart stopped pumping for a couple of minutes. This means they're dead! Just because the paramedics can jumpstart their heart into working again doesn't mean they never died!
Maybe people really do go to Heaven in those seconds or minutes. What I find to be kind of bizzare are the different stories that emerge from these experiences. I don't want to take anything away from a person's experience, but when it doesn't line up with God's Word, then I would say that it was just that: an experience.
The writer of To Heaven and Back tells one such story. Dr. Mary Neal experienced death in a kayak accident in southern Chile. It was during this time that she saw her body on the shore (this was obviously after the rescuers pulled her out of the water). She said she was with some spiritual beings who were there to guide her to eternity. While they were guiding her, she heard her earthly friends calling out to her and began begging to be allowed to return to them. She re-entered her body to have one last gasping breath and it was after this that she rejoined her spiritual friends and made her way to Heaven.
The Bible doesn't teach anywhere that we can just choose to return to our bodies, but what is about to occur is even more bizarre. Dr. Neal enters a beautiful great hall. "I knew with a profound certainty that it [this hall] represented the last branch point of life, the gate through which each human being must pass. It was clear that this hall is the place where each of us is given the opportunity to review our lives and our choices, and where we are each given a final opportunity to choose God or turn away-for eternity." 1
What?! "Where we are each given a final opportunity to choose God or turn away?" Let's talk first about logic. Who in their right mind would get to this point and then reject God? They know their life is over, they see the glorious splendor, and then decide they don't want God. It's just ludicrous.
But setting aside logic, there is no where in Scripture where this is taught. Which kind of confuses me, because she quotes Scripture passages throughout the book. That just tells me that it is much easier to put more stock into an experience than what the Bible says.
The Bible is the final authority. Plain and simple.
- To Heaven and Back, by Dr. Marcy C. Neal, MD, p. 73