In the last post, I mentioned human experiences of the physical world which are not limited to the five physical senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Before proceeding with a discussion of science and religion, we will examine some documented extrasensory experiences. I will begin with my Mother’s account of her own near-death experience.
Sabbath morning I did begin having occasional cramps and pain so Edgar did not go to church. I pretty much rested and walked or read through the day. By late afternoon, pains were regular and much harder so Mom called the doctor and he said to come into the hospital, which we did. Mom went with us and I was so very glad, for they would not let Edgar, or anyone, come into the Labor Room after they took me in there. At least Mom was with him, I thought. He never did well not knowing what was going on when I was not well or when our babies arrived. Maybe because of this experience.
There were other women in the Labor Room. The nurse who did my prep and examined me said I would probably deliver within an hour. The doctor would come when they called and told him that I was ready, she said. The Doctor ordered “something” put in the IV they had going in my arm. Before the nurse went off duty she had me pushing down with each contraction “to help the baby along,” she said. Women came and went and I was still there. The night passed and I slept some between pains. Pains were not regular as they had been. A nurse observed me bearing down on a pain and scolded me saying that was harmful and not helpful for sure. I stopped gladly for I was very sore from trying to bear down on contractions anyway. The morning passed and on into mid-afternoon nothing had changed. I was really thankful Mom was with Edgar to be sure he was eating meals. I had had nothing to eat all day, of course.
Mom watched for the nurse to leave and she sneaked into my room and said, “Xenia Lee, you have to bear down on each pain as if you were having a difficult bowel movement.” I said, “I cannot do that,” and she quickly and softly said, “I do not care what they tell you, you do as I say and you will have this baby,” and she was gone. By now the nurse was not paying any attention to me anyway. I did as Mom said and soon the nurse observed me and became very excited saying, “I see the head. Get her into the delivery room quick.” “You go call the doctor,” she said to another nurse. Soon I was on the table with my legs strapped together against the table and being rolled to the Delivery Room. Once in there I was put on the delivery table and again my legs were together on the sheet and strapped down awaiting the doctor. A nurse popped her head in the door saying that the doctor’s line is busy and she could not get him. Someone snapped, “Call the operator and tell her this is an emergency and have her break in to the doctor.”
My pains were almost continual now and severe. I said, “Unstrap me and I am not afraid to have this baby with your help”. More compassionate now, the nurse said, “I am really sorry but there is a rule here that no baby can be born without a doctor present.” So we waited an eternity longer. I had read articles, “war stories,” about women during the Second World War being mistreated by the “Powers that be” by strapping their legs together during labor letting the mother and baby die. Then into my mind I thought of friends of ours in college who were expecting a baby in January and the wife and mother died during delivery. The baby lived. The husband could not find out from anyone what caused her death. I wondered!
I remember seeing the doctor finally enter the Delivery Room. Suddenly I had an ether mask placed on my nose with orders to breath in it and it would ease the pain. I was aware of my legs being unstrapped and the next thing I remember was someone saying, “She is dead.” I vividly remember hovering above the table seeing people around the delivery table with heads looking down. I knew we had had a baby girl and she had died. I had to find Edgar so he was not alone finding out what had happened. I remember traveling through the hospital to a room with a water fountain. It was beautiful! I kept saying “Edgar, I have to go back and find Edgar. He needs to be told and I need to tell him. Please let me go back”. A gentle but authoritative voice said, “She wants to go back. Let her go back.”
I awakened in my room calling for Edgar but he was not there. Mom was there reassuring me all was well, but I only wanted Edgar, so she went to look for him. Soon he came into the room and I told him we had a baby girl but she is dead. He assured me she is alive and he has just seen her. “She is perfect and beautiful,” he said. I was very confused because I clearly heard them say, “She is dead.” I even had Mom see if I remembered correctly about being in that beautiful water fountain area. I explained carefully where it was and what I had seen on the way. Mom said it was the ether playing tricks on me, but to appease me she went to “look” for the water fountain anyway. She came back excited telling me it was exactly as I described it and she found it right where I told her to go look. Then she said it was in a part of the hospital she had never been in. If our baby is okay then who – were they talking about? Me? I had a strong feeling that if we had another baby I would not live to deliver it. This haunted me for we did want a large family, if we had our “wants.”
In my daily Bible readings, I came to 1 Timothy 2:15 in which God spoke clearly to my heart and I held tight to that verse. “But women shall be preserved (saved) through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self restraint.” God is good and faithful in keeping His word. I bear testimony to that.
Edgar came daily to the hospital to see me and brought Bob in with him at least once. That day the nurse brought the wrong “W…” baby to the window and Edgar insisted that was not his baby girl. Sure enough it was another “W..” girl. Edgar was so very proud of Annita and said the other baby was ugly and he knew it was not our baby girl. Bob got a laugh out of that.
I was in the hospital seven days and still not up walking about. I went home in an ambulance. Fortunately we had Health Insurance that covered all the medical and hospital bills. I had good care at home and Annita Marie did, also. We thrived with Mom and Mae’s loving, faithful care and were soon able to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
I believe my mother had the experiences she described. It was not an experience through the usual five senses. Her “view” of a place in the hospital where she had never been physically, nor viewed physically, was confirmed by her mother.
I have stated previously, and maintain, that spirit is bound up with matter, not entirely distinct from it, and that science and religion do not inherently conflict. Some have claimed that the “out-of-body experiences” or “near-death experiences” prove that there is a spiritual world apart from the physical. For example, Kevin Williams claims to have done some research concerning such events. He introduces that research and what he considers to be its implications with the following:
Imagine that you are a patient in a hospital and surgery is being performed on you. You are sound asleep. You were sound asleep long before they wheeled into the operating room. But while you are asleep something very strange happens. During the operation, you are suddenly awakened to find yourself floating near the ceiling! Down below are the doctors working on your body (as in the cartoon on the left). You see a strange sign hanging from the ceiling which says “You are dead.” You watch as the doctor puts the electric paddles on your chest. You have a wonderful peaceful feeling which you have never had before. The doctors give your body a shock and you are back in your body sound asleep again. Hours later, you awaken and tell the doctor about your out-of-body experience and the “You are dead” sign. The doctor smiles and tells you, “Your heart stopped during surgery and we had to revive you. You are part of a near-death study and you had a near-death experience. You are the first patient who has ever read that sign. That sign can only be read by someone reading it from the vantage point of the ceiling. And because you were able to read this sign and tell us about it, you have proven scientifically that the mind can function outside of the body. A great scientific discovery has just occurred. Congratulations. This is probably how researchers are going to prove scientifically that our consciousness can transcend our bodies.
That article refers to such experiences as a “consciousness expansion.” I believe that is consistent with the position that I have taken. However, he takes that experience in which the subject “sees” a specific sign, “You Are Dead” to confirm his further conclusion that it is evidence that the spirit survives the physical body after death.
Again, I do not see the “the hand of God” as violating or suspending the laws of nature. I merely suggest that the laws of nature are likely greater than those which science and common experience have heretofore recognized.
In the following posts, we will explore various scientists’ recognition of spiritual aspects of physical being, and religious leader’s recognition the physical aspects of spiritual being.
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