Are the dead conscious?
Feb 18, 2011
Recently I posted a link to a story of a boy who had a "near-death" experience. He says he went to heaven and saw Jesus and others. I have had some response from a few people who questioned the validity of the boy's experience. So I thought it would be helpful to post my response to one particular reader, because it may help to answer this question in the minds of many others.
Question: I thought when our bodies died, we went to "sleep" till the Lord resurrects everyone on the last day. This story implies that we go somewhere immediately, like Heaven or Hell; hence, this child's miscarried sister and grandfather are ALREADY somewhere, fully conscious, waiting for him. Which do you believe is true?
There is a "spiritual mind" and a "soulish mind" (usually called the "natural" mind/man). A mind means consciousness is attributed to both. So when a person has a near-death experience and comes back, reporting what he heard the doctors say and family members in the next room, it is because he heard with his spiritual mind, even though his soulish mind was unconscious ("sleeping").
In fact, the body has a mind also. It is called the "Brain," which is actually distinct from the mind. So all three parts of us have consciousness on its own level. I was taught all those same things growing up, and then in the 70's came to believe that death is a sleep, not going to heaven.
Then in the 80's I began to experience for myself two consciousnesses (minds), and then came to understand the difference between the carnal mind (or "soulish" mind, from psuchikos) and the spiritual mind.
I saw the example of Jesus on the cross. We know that His body went to the tomb (John 19:42). His soul went to hades/sheol (Acts 2:27). His spirit returned to God (Luke 23:46), when He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."
I also came to have a revelation of Timing (and Time itself), which gave me a better understanding of this. The spirit realm stands above Time and is not limited by either Time or Space (distance). That is its primary difference with the carnal mind.
For this reason, the Spirit experiences things in a timeless manner. When a person has a near-death experience (or even dies), the consciousness of the spiritual mind can experience things far into the future or even the past (as we know it). So when a Spirit sees Christ in "heaven," it is because it sees the end from the beginning.
Most people do not understand this, because they are so Time-oriented. The boy thought that his entire experience was happening in the time frame of his death. But the fact is, many could experience the equivalent of YEARS of things in just a moment of time. If they get anything that has reference to our situation on earth, it is not that they are bound to that time slot, but that the Spirit can plug into any time frame in history without restriction. In other words, what the Spirit is experiencing cannot properly be said to be happening "now" because "now" is a time word. When a Buddhist dies and comes back, reporting green pastures and pleasant, heaven-like experience, it is not because he is "saved" NOW, but that he is seeing the ultimate state of all men in the reconciliation of all things.
As I have said often, "If at any point in the future we will become the manifested sons of God, we will enter a timeless realm and immediately pre-exist our birth." Make any sense? It's difficult to think outside the Time-box, because our carnal, soulish minds are restricted and can only imagine what it must be like to live in the timeless realm of the Spirit.
Anyway, this boy apparently died and his spiritual mind continued without restriction while his soulish mind died. Then when the soulish mind was revived, some transfer of knowledge occurred, so that he remembered when he revived. We know that such a transfer of knowledge can happen, because this is what happens every time our soulish minds transmit the revelation of God that comes through our Spirit. If it did not, we would be unable to write it down or to express it to others.
Dr. Stephen Jones