Book Review by Val Viljoen
Visits to Heaven and Back — Are They Real? by Mark Hitchcock
This book is a response by the author to the increase in what he refers to as “heavenly tourism.” Since the 1970’s, interest has grown in NDE’s (near death experiences), with increasing numbers of people chronicling their stories of visits to what they perceive to be heaven – and sometimes hell.
These books crowd the best seller lists, attesting to an avid interest in knowing more about what happens to us when we die.This is understandable, given that death is the only certainty in life. But what do these stories tell us about the afterlife and can we trust that what they depict represents any type of reality or truth? How do these various experiences compare to one another, and in particular how do what is described and the conclusions drawn compare to what the Bible tells us?
The author has to my mind done an excellent job of researching this phenomenon. He deals with several of the best known cases, looking first at what was allegedly experienced and then looking at what scripture has to say on the various points raised. His finding is that on the whole there is a great deal of discrepancy and warns that there is a danger of picking up very wrong theology unless these books are read with much discretion. There is often the implication that all go to heaven, regardless of belief. I can recommend this book as being an interesting and thought provoking read.