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90 Minutes In Heaven


Javelin
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I was recently given the book, Ninety minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. The book indicates it can be factually established that the author, Don Piper, was killed instantly in an automobile accident. His small compact car was hit head on by a tractor trail rig at approximately 50 miles per hour. His car was demolished on impact. Paramedics pronounced him dead and covered his lifeless body with a tarp.

 

His book tells about his experience with death. He relates that he remembers nothing of the accident. One second he was driving his car in a rainstorm and the next instant he found himself in heaven.

 

I found his description of heaven similar to Paul’s third person rendition found in II Corinthians. I believe Paul was stoned to death at Lystra, in Acts 14:19, and went to heaven. but God restored his life so that he could complete his mission. I acknowledge that my belief is open to other interpretations.

 

Returning to the book. The author indicates the accident happened on a narrow bridge. Traffic was stopped in both directions for the next couple of hours while police and rescue units worked the accident. I will note that the author, Don Piper, is also a Baptist Preacher.

 

It so happens that another preacher, and his wife, was caught in the resulting traffic jam. He eventually made his way to the scene of the accident to see if he could offer spiritual assistant and prayer to anyone. The paramedics informed him there was one fatality but, other than that, only minor injuries. The preacher said he was drawn by the Holy Spirit to the demolished car with the corpse wedged solidly into the twisted wreckage. He crawled into the wreckage through the trunk and put his hand on the shoulder of the bloody corpse. He says the Spirit lead him to pray fervently for the deceased driver. He states that he began to cry and also sing hymns as he prayed more intensely than he had ever prayed before in his life.

 

The driver had been clinically dead for a full ninety minutes. The body had been crushed by the truck that had rolled over the car. Suddenly, the corpse began to sing a hymn too. Don Piper had returned from heaven. The book relates Don’s experience during his ninety minutes in heaven. Whatever ones chooses to believe about the author’s rendition of his experience, it a compelling read.

 

The author indicates he had no memory of those he left behind while in heaven. Upon his arrival into heaven he was greeted by long dead believing relatives and friends. He writes about the amazing music, singing, and colors. He writes about seeing colors he had never seen or even imaged before. He could not describe them because there are no such colors on earth. He indicates vast multitudes were singing different praises to God, but he could understand the words to each song individually. Don eventually returned to life and is still alive today after numerous operations.

 

Lots of people have had Near Death Experiences. Skeptics can find any number of valid logical and medical reasons to explain this phenomena. I must admit I’m skeptical about the validity of these types of experiences too. In this case, the man was certifiably dead for ninety minutes. He was crushed by a semi truck tractor, but the doctors could detect no internal injuries or permanent brain damage later when they examined him. How is that possible if his heart wasn’t pumping blood to his brain for over ninety minutes? Additionally, they had to cut him out of the car. He received no advanced medical treatment until several hours after the accident, but he survived. Does this qualify as a miracle? Did he really go to heaven?

 

It seems to me if you believe in God then you must also believe in the supernatural and paranormal. If there is a spiritual realm doesn’t that necessitate the existence of the supernatural?

 

Scripture says that Jesus ascended back to the Father (heaven). If that is true, then it stands to reason that heaven is a real place. If that is true, then where is it? I am personally quite interested in astronomy and the related topic of theoretical physics. Let me quickly add that I’m a novice in this field. My knowledge does not go beyond the history channel and reading elementary summaries of such things as quantum mechanics, string & m theories. Theoretical physicists hypothesize about the potential existence of duel universes and other dimensions.

 

That leads me to one of the author’s observations about his experience in heaven. He said he felt like he had traveled to another dimension. Do God and heaven exist in another dimension? Physicists hypothesize that time and space would be irrelevant in another dimension. Many of the things we attribute to God and heaven appear to be plausible “IF” other dimensions actually exist. If God and heaven are real then them must exist in some form and in some place. Another dimension seems more plausible to me then out there in space somewhere. These are the kind of things that keep me awake a night.

 

I do recommend the book though. It’s a good read if you're an open minded person.

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Does this qualify as a miracle? Did he really go to heaven?

 

It seems to me if you believe in God then you must also believe in the supernatural and paranormal. If there is a spiritual realm doesn’t that necessitate the existence of the supernatural?

 

Javelin,

 

Don Piper experienced a "Christ experience" or a vision and I honor those experiences until I can't. What I mean is that until I find evidence that he is dishonest and doesn't really believe that it happened and is selling books only, or only trying to get attention it is truth that he speaks. And is part of his testament, his holy words.

 

But I don't think you can build theology on that. It sets in your heart and anchors you and anything you say about it must always be in the words of how you understood at the time even if it was 20 years ago. My story is that old and explaining now in today's word would seriously undermine the emotional and faith truths or make them disappear.

 

For me, believing in God does not require belief in the supernatural or paranormal.

 

More than one of the reviews I quickly scanned to see if there was reason to be skeptical said that the real testimony is what happened afterward: the 30 something surgeries, the pain, the depression.

 

Honor the gift of these stories and don't try to make something of them - that's not a commandment :)

 

Dutch

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My mind isn't as deep as yours Dutch. Relatively simple things intrigue me.

 

My take on Don and his experience. I believe that Don believes his experience was real. Others have claimed similar experiences as well. I also acknowledge that medical science can produce logical reasons for these “experiences” that have nothing to do with God or theology.

 

I found Don’s experience unique in several ways. He was clinically dead for more than ninety minutes. He was in a critically injured state, with his life hanging in the balance, for hours before he even began to receive adequate medial attention. And His vision, or experience, was similar in many ways to those recorded in scripture.

 

My religious skepticism is limited in scope. I rejected fundamentalism because of the baggage & dogma that comes with it. I don’t, however, believe life and the universe are the result of a cosmic accident. I believe there is a Devine intelligence behind it. The focal point of my skepticism is directed primarily towards religious dogma, doctrines, and traditions rather than the possiblity of God & heavens existence.

 

I must admit, after reading several other topics & posts, that I’m intrigued by a number of thoughts and concepts that other posters have introduced on this site. Most religious dialog boards focus on the interpretation of scripture, which bores my socks off. This site delves into a wide variety of interesting topics with an equally wide variety of viewpoints & responses.

 

The supernatural and paranormal interest me. Don’s experience leads me to wonder, if heaven exist, where is it? Additionally, if heaven exist then there is a rational explanation for its existence. Quantum mechanics provides me with some interesting and plausible theories. Reading Don’s book got me to thinking about those aspects of his experience. I tend to have a rather shallow mind. I also tend to view deep theological issues as being part of the dark abyss, which is a place I only ventures into with great caution.

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Hi Javelin,

 

Have been enjoying your posts. I find this one very interesting. Those kind of books and questions do indeed seem to stimulate the curiosity of men (and woman) . In my personal experience, the answer to each question only seems to generate multiple additional questions which will perish in a short time (relatively speaking) along with the thinking mind. I however, can unequivocally answer your question. " if heaven exist, where is it? " Yes heaven exists and it is without locale.

 

Having received that with agreement, disagreement or neither, see if that doesn't create a number of other questions in your mind to which there is no end? My point being that in my experience, one can spend a lifetime of reading, studying and educating oneself seeking the answers to questions and 'know about' any particular subject without really 'knowing'. In my view, one can only truly 'know' by virtue of being one with.

 

Now I have NOT written this to say what you should or shouldn't pursue or to negate your post that is interesting to many. However, since you have placed the post in the debate and dialog section, it provides me with an opportunity for me to share what I have realized concerning the things you mention that peradventure might at some level speak to you or someone else. If not, nothing is lost and it can be appropriately filed in any trash bin without the slightest offence taken on my part. smile.gif

 

It seems to me, the end goal of a spiritual journey is NOT to find the answers to a never ending list of questions about God, heaven, hell, the supernatural, death, the afterlife, and a myriad of other spiritual things that stimulate curiosity but rather to find the source or substrate of ones being which already possesses all knowledge and understanding. In my view, in Christianity that is to find Christ. In my experience, it is not in theology, religion, beliefs or words but rather so subtle and close that it is missed by the obscuration of an abundance of theology, beliefs , and words that were originally meant to point to rather than generate questions and answers to that which is beyond the capabilities of such things as words, beliefs and theologies.

 

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to your post.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Guest billmc

It seems to me if you believe in God then you must also believe in the supernatural and paranormal. If there is a spiritual realm doesn’t that necessitate the existence of the supernatural?

 

Near death experiences seem to be as common in our time as the visitation of angels where in biblical times. Don came and spoke at a Methodist church I was attending about a year ago and, yes, his story is very compelling and, perhaps more to the point, comforting. It reinforces the traditional Christian notions of going to heaven (a place) when you die and of being reunited with loved ones. IMO, traditional Christianity wants, more than anything else, some kind of answers or comfort about the afterlife. That is why the typical evangelical approach to witnessing starts with, "If you died today, do you know where (again, a place) you will go?" Don's answer would be an unequivocal "YES!"

 

For me, I remain an agnostic about the afterlife. I simply don't know what lies beyond death, if anything even does. Lazarus was raised from the dead and he didn't have anything to say about where he went. Jesus, according to the scriptures, came back from the dead and during his 40 days on earth after the resurrection, didn't have anything to say about "going to heaven". Instead, he taught about "the kingdom of God", quite a different thing from our notions of heaven.

 

But the main thing that I wanted to add is that, for many progressives, believing in or knowing G-O-D does not necessarily entail belief in the supernatural or paranormal. For some it does, for others (like Borg and Spong) it does not. For me, I don't believe in a "higher plane" of existence. I am more drawn to a "deeper understanding." But that is just me. For those interested in a non-supernatural view of G-O-D, the books of Borg, Spong, and Robinson are recommended.

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The story contains elements of both a human tragedy as well as the supernatural. The details of Don’s life after the accident are tragic. He has endured years of surgeries, pain, and suffering.

 

I have an interest in the paranormal and supernatural. Events occur all over the world that defy logical explanations. A rational explanation, however, can usually be found for the vast majority of these incidents. The interesting ones are those that seem to have no rational explanation.

 

The preacher who stopped to pray for Don was what caught my interest in this story more so than Don’s trip to heaven. What was it that made the man leave his wife and car to make his way to the scene of the accident? What was it that was compelling him to climb inside the wreck and pray over a dead body? Why would anyone do such a thing? Then, after intense prayer, life returns to the body and it burst into song praising God.

 

The signature of a poster on another board said, “Being skeptical is fine, but you don’t have to make a religion out of it.” Human wisdom isn’t always all its cracked up to be. There are lots of things we simply cannot explain.

 

How could similarly constructed pyramid structures be found all over the world, when these ancient civilizations supposedly lacked the ability to travel and communicate over such vast differences? How did ancient civilization build structures, using multi-ton slabs of rock, thousands of feet up in the mountains? How did they get 800 tons slabs of granite up there and then lift it up and place in on top of another similar slab of granite? And who engineered it so that all the slabs fit perfectly together without using mortar? And then add the fact that archeologist can find no evidence that such civilizations had a written language? The supernatural and paranormal is about a lot more than ghost and goblins.

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Guest billmc

The preacher who stopped to pray for Don was what caught my interest in this story more so than Dons trip to heaven. What was it that made the man leave his wife and car to make his way to the scene of the accident? What was it that was compelling him to climb inside the wreck and pray over a dead body? Why would anyone do such a thing?

 

Just in friendly debate/dialogue, Javelin, what I would want to know is: why didn't God have this preacher stop and pray BEFORE the accident so that the accident never happened in the first place?

 

Think of how much surgery, pain, and suffering could have been avoided if God had been a little quicker on the draw. Christians claim to have the omniscient God and Jesus living inside them, they claim to have "the mind of Christ". So why didn't this Divine foreseeing knowledge come into play so that the preacher could pray ahead of time and have God stop the accident from ever happening? If I had the foreknowledge and the power to stop my son or daughter from being in an auto accident, I would surely do it. So why didn't God?

 

It's fairly easy to look at tragedy after-the-fact and try to discern where God's hand is in the events. But is much more troubling to ask the question of where God's hand was before the events.

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Just in friendly debate/dialogue, Javelin, what I would want to know is: why didn't God have this preacher stop and pray BEFORE the accident so that the accident never happened in the first place?

 

Think of how much surgery, pain, and suffering could have been avoided if God had been a little quicker on the draw. Christians claim to have the omniscient God and Jesus living inside them, they claim to have "the mind of Christ". So why didn't this Divine foreseeing knowledge come into play so that the preacher could pray ahead of time and have God stop the accident from ever happening?

 

It's fairly easy to look at tragedy after-the-fact and try to discern where God's hand is in the events. But is much more troubling to ask the question of where God's hand was before the events.

 

 

I think Job might have asked those same questions. It appears God feels no compulsion to respond though.

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There are lots of things we simply cannot explain.

 

This is true.

 

The preacher who stopped to pray for Don was what caught my interest in this story more so than Don’s trip to heaven. What was it that made the man leave his wife and car to make his way to the scene of the accident? What was it that was compelling him to climb inside the wreck and pray over a dead body? Why would anyone do such a thing? Then, after intense prayer, life returns to the body and it burst into song praising God.

 

IMO The trap is that we then try to make meaning and explain it.

 

The Air Force did research on why pilots blacked out from hypoxia. They were able to create near-death experiences in the pilots by depriving the brain of oxygen. IMO that's the problem with insisting on meaning and explanation in these kind of situations. "90 Minutes in Heaven" should be in a separate category, a non-critical category of story where we don't insist on explanation with science or psuedo-sicence, but where we can appreciate and celebrate Don Piper's story as the gift it is.

 

 

In more humility than my words

Dutch

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Guest billmc

"90 Minutes in Heaven" should be in a separate category, a non-critical category of story where we don't insist on explanation with science or psuedo-sicence, but where we can appreciate and celebrate Don Piper's story as the gift it is.

 

That may well be a good idea, Dutch. The problem is, Don doesn't tell his story as a "gift", he tells it as proof that his (and other conservative Christian's) beliefs about going to heaven are the only correct views. When he gets to heaven, in his story, his descriptions of heaven match almost exactly with a literal, wooden interpretation of the book of Revelation, a book that most scholars, even of the conservative bent, agree is filled with metaphor and symbolism.

 

I am not at all saying that there is no mystery and no unanswerable questions in life and our universe. But I am wary when people like Don or like the apostle Paul take their private experiences and codify them into doctrine that, in their opinion, applies to all people for all time. When someone says, "This has been my experience...", I can well respect it. It may or may not speak to me. They give me freedom to explore their point-of-reference. But when they say, "This is my experience and it should be YOUR experience also", then that person is creating dogma. They are taking away freedom by insisting that "one size fit all."

 

Don certainly seems genuine. And I can't judge his heart or the validity of his experience. But I am a little troubled that what his experience comes down to is traveling around selling books. I can't help but think, is that what Jesus would do?

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Guest billmc

I think Job might have asked those same questions. It appears God feels no compulsion to respond though.

 

Exactly, Javelin. God shows up only to squash Job into the ground with a "Where were you when I formed...blah blah blah." Job backs down in repentance.

 

I, brazen soul that I am, would have replied, "Where were YOU when my wife and children died? YOU're supposed to be the Rock, the Protector, the Shelter in the Time of Storm, the Savior. So where were YOU?"

 

The disturbing thing about supernatural or divine intervention is that Christians only count the "hits" and ignor all the "misses." I'm grateful for whatever powers (or Powers) that be that rescued Don from his accident. But the sad truth of the matter is that while, according to Don's testimony, God spared his life, 37,261 people died in traffic-related accidents in 2007. Where was the supernatural or divine intervention for these people? If God is no respector of persons, and if he is truly willing that none should perish, then what can be said about all of God's other 37,261 "misses"?

 

Personally, despite Don's moving testimony, these statistics prove to me that G-O-D is not an interventionist. I can't explain what happened to Don. I wasn't there. And even if I was, I probably still couldn't explain it. But given all of God's "misses", I would be reluctant to take 1 "hit" and use it as prove of God's watch-care and intervention.

 

Just my 1 cent.

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Trinity River Bridge, Texas, is a good place to be near death

 

On September 27, 2000 ... While crossing the Trinity River, on the Trinity River bridge, a drunk driver passed a car and hit me head on. ... not expected to live. ... I share this not for any reason other than a testimony to Jesus Christ that truly did what all others thought could not be done. That being to let me not only live, but to fully recover without any major disability. ... If by chance anyone has ever read the book 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper, my accident happened at the exact location as the author of this book.

http://sherrymaze.homestead.com/036_curtis_beckham.html

 

or not

 

Krystal Baker, 13-Disappeared after calling friend from Texas City convenience store on March 5, 1986. Body found on same day 25 miles north of Texas City under Trinity River Bridge but not identified for two weeks. Baker had been strangled and beaten, sexually assaulted.

 

That's the problem of trying to find meaning where there is none. A story is a story. Let it be.

 

There are also a number of conservative Christian bloggers who take Don Piper to task because his "90 minutes in heaven" description is not Biblical. I don't care if it is but others do.

 

Exactly, Javelin. God shows up only to squash Job into the ground with a "Where were you when I formed...blah blah blah." Job backs down in repentance.

 

I, brazen soul that I am, would have replied, "Where were YOU when my wife and children died? YOU're supposed to be the Rock, the Protector, the Shelter in the Time of Storm, the Savior. So where were YOU?"

 

Job, on the other hand, is a new kind of being; he offers us a new vision of maturity, and mature faith. He suffers, but he does not assume that his suffering is caused by his actions or that it says anything about God’s intentions in relationship to him.

 

The Knowledge of Good and Evil, Alan Dyer, http://tcpc.ipbhost.com/index.php?app=forums&module=post&section=post&do=reply_post&f=11&t=1601

 

Bill, you probably won't agree with Dyer's definition of Job as a new vision of mature faith but I thought it would be interesting for this conversation.

 

Dutch

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Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and nearing the end of my life, at least in this realm. I sometimes find myself asking why, when I used to simply accept without questioning. When it comes to believers and non-believers there are no new arguments from either camp. It’s all been said many times over. Ultimately, religion comes down to an issue of faith. There are no rules in the supernatural realm, assuming such a realm exist. The earthly laws of time, distance, science, and physics simply do not apply. The logical, scientific, mind is generally unable to accept the irrationalities of that which we identify as supernatural. The only logical choice is to dismiss it as a myth created from the minds of the uneducated and superstitious.

 

That said, there are still those things that elude rational, logical, and scientific explanation. Millions of people claim to have seen UFO’s. There is even documented evidence of their existence, but, at least as far as I know, no one has such a vehicle in their possession. Do they exist? There is evidence that says they do, but it’s not conclusive evidence.

 

Did Jesus exist? Did he rise from the grave? There is evidence that He did exist and that He was resurrected from death, but such evidence is not irrefutable. We are left to decide for ourselves. We can choose to believe or not to believe.

 

Was Don killed, transported to heaven, and then resurrected back to life? We are free to choose yes or no as our answer, but that is only one part of the equation. If we choose yes then we often want to explore the why that is inevitability the next question that comes to our mind, even though we know we will never find the answers we seek.

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Hi,

I read the book, and I found it very interesting! I had read another book, called Children of the Light with a church group some time back, where the author studied Near Death Experiences of children. The thought was that children hadn't been so influenced by traditional stories, so details would not be as influenced by culture. Many reported the tunnel with light at the end, and going back through scenes of their life, anyway. One had an encounter that seemed so evil, it scared him straight.

 

I have read other interesting theories of heaven, The Great Divorce and In Heaven as on Earth as part of the same church group, but I honestly am at the point right now where I don't think figuring out where heaven is or what it is like is worth spending more brain cycles on. I'm only 42, so that's maybe why. I don't think I will have any "real" answers, and I, like Bill, am an agnostic about the afterlife. I imagine it will be something better than I can think of if it was created by God.

 

But, what I took away from that book was the man's response to the near death experience. It was moving. For example: Don's experience of being in the hospital. His parishoners wanted to help, but he didn't really need anything. He learned, however, that it was helpful to the well-wishers if he would ask for something easy they could do, like get him a magazine or a shake. I have tried to apply that thinking to my own life.

 

Good questions! I'm sorry I don't have any answers..

Janet

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