I have been reading quite a bit about evidence for what we Christians believe, namely the immortality of the soul. When we see death, it looks so final, so hopeless, so irreversible. The absence of a departed loved one seems so absolute that even a believer can have doubts and echo the ideas put about by materialist atheists.
One such idea, hiding behind science, is the “near death experience” being the product of chemical and electrical reactions in the dying brain, but that once dead, that person will no longer exist. However devoutly we believe, we can all have doubts. I certainly often do coming from a highly rational and scientific background.
Here is a video of a woman who had a very special kind of operation on her brain. To do this, the surgeons needed to “flatline” her, a degree of anaesthesia far more profound than usually used for surgical operations. The patient had truly to be clinically dead whilst maintained in a state from which she could be revived. Modern medicine has made incredible advances in this field, and new ethical problems arrive when people formerly assumed to be dead are still revivable.
This lady had an operation to remove an aneurysm.The surgeons had to lower her body temperature extremely low, stop her heart, drain the blood out of her brain, a hairsbreadth short of killing her.
After the operation and her return into her body, the patient was able to describe the surgical instruments used (which she did not see before the operation) and relate things the surgeons said during the operation, including technical terms she did not understand. People under a normal anaesthetic, let alone this degree of clinical death, do not have any consciousness. Naturally, all the vital parameters were monitored during the operation.
The only explanation for this was that the patient’s soul did not depend in any way on brain activity, which was measured as totally absent. I find this reassuring, and really helpful in bolstering up our faith, trust in God and hope – both for our departed loved ones and when facing our own inevitable death.