“Heaven is for real” was an enjoyable movie, but as far as proving the existence heaven it has some weak spots. As with most near death experience reports there were some fascinating points, and other inconsistencies that run contrary to the Bible. I have not read the book, so I don’t know if the book offers a more detailed account or not. I certainly believe that heaven is real, but this movie didn’t strengthen my belief. My belief is based on what the word God teaches about it.
Certainly the Bible doesn’t give any examples of near death experiences. Even though Lazarus experienced death and returned from the grave, we don’t have any record of what transpired during his time in the grave.
One of the most intriguing things to me about near death experiences is that most focus on people meeting Jesus, and their relatives that have passed. The other is that heaven resembles the earth. The general description of heaven is that whatever made us happy here on earth will be waiting there for us in heaven. The Bible does not give us that view of heaven, so one has to question why when someone has a near death experience heaven appears to be custom made for the individual. The few Biblical examples of what heaven is like gives us a great view of God’s glory and the fact that those there are worshipping and praising Him. There is no example of heaven being a place that is centered on us.
I would not use this film as an evangelism tool. Returning from death is not as convincing as one might think it would be. In the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus Jesus makes a statement that I think applies here; “He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:31 (ESV) Many people are not convinced that Jesus returned from the dead, why would God need to use the near death experience to convince the world that there is a place called heaven?
At best the near death experience may considered extra-biblical evidence of heaven by some, but I will trust in the Bible for the evidence. The Bible supplies everything we need.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 (ESV)
© 2014 Leo J. Woodman