NDEs and the Bible affirm Universal Salvation
by Kevin R. Williams
(from Nothing Better Than Death by Kevin R. Williams, 2002, Philadelphia:
Xlibris, pp 206-225 and is reproduced with permission)
Universal salvation is the concept that everyone will eventually attain salvation and go to heaven. This is a foreign concept to most Christians today, although it was not to many early Christians. Many Christians today cannot accept the NDE because it generally affirms universal salvation. While it is true universal salvation is generally affirmed in NDEs, it is not true this means everyone enters heaven immediately upon death. It is well documented in NDEs people going to a hell upon death. However, NDEs show hell to be a temporary spiritual condition, much like Catholic purgatory, not eternal damnation.
The NDES of Dr. George Ritchie and Howard Storm are among the best NDEs I have read that proves this point. Howard Storm is rescued from hell the moment he asks God for help. This demonstrates even the hardened sinner can be rescued from hell as long as they turn to God for help. Common sense tells you this is the case with a God of infinite love and mercy.
Many experiencers, such as Howard Storm, went to hell and were able to escape from it. Some experiencers have witnessed other people escape from hell. These people verify hell not to be a place of literal flames but a spiritual condition of separation from everything pleasant such as
love, joy and peace. Those experiencers who have escaped from hell know first-hand there is a way out for those who are repentant. Such NDEs are convincing evidence that hell is not a place of eternal punishment, but a temporary spiritual condition of purification for the purpose of attaining heaven. The NDE suggests hell to be a kind of spiritual time-out where people reflect on their spiritual condition.
Another convincing argument for universal salvation comes from the nature of Christ's death itself. If it is true as Christians claim that Christ died for the wrongs of the whole world, and if Christ has forgiven the whole world of their wrongs, then the logical conclusion is that the world stands redeemed, forgiven, justified and saved. If this is true, the NDE reveals people are still going to hell despite being redeemed. But this may merely be demonstrating the concept of God not forcing anyone to heaven or hell. A person may be forgiven and redeemed, but there is no assurance of God forcing the person to heaven. If all wrongs have been forgiven, then why are people seen in hell during NDEs? They can't be in hell to pay for their own wrongs because according to Christian doctrine, Christ paid for them all. In other words, if Christ paid for all sins, how can God require anyone to pay for them also? The only logical conclusion is that hell is not a place for punishment, but of correction. This is exactly what the NDE reveals about the nature of hell.
Christians in general affirm Jesus provided universal redemption by paying for the wrongs of every human being. Universal redemption implies universal salvation and here is the scriptural evidence supporting it:
"When he has done this [God putting everything under Christ's feet], then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be ALL in ALL." (1 Corinthians 15:28)
The above verse suggests God will someday be in all.
"This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
There is no doubt about it; God wills the salvation of everyone.
"I know that you [God] can do all things; NO PLAN of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)
The above verse suggests the will of God cannot be thwarted. If God wills everyone to go to heaven and nobody can thwart the will of God, then the logical conclusion is everyone will eventually go to heaven.
"He [God] is patient with you, not wanting ANYONE to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
God does not will anyone to perish in hell; therefore, everyone will eventually go to heaven. There is no escaping this logic.
"But I, when I am
lifted up from the
Earth, will draw
ALL men to myself."
The above verse shows
"For as in Adam all die,
so in Christ ALL will
be made alive."
(1 Corinthians 15:22)
If everyone is made alive in God, then everyone is on the road to heaven.
"For God so loved THE WORLD..." (John 3:16)
God's love extends to every member of the human race.
"He [Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins OF THE WHOLE WORLD." (1 John 2:2)
If Christ paid for the sins of the world, the logical conclusion is the whole world has been redeemed.
These above verses show God providing salvation for everyone. The NDE, the Bible and common sense tells us it is futile to go against God's will. One experiencer, Arthur Yensen, gave some insight in the nature of God when asked if he believed in the Devil. His reply was:
No, but if there is one, he would have to be an insane angel who was crazy enough to fight with God, which would be as futile as for us to try to stop the sunrise. (94)
His NDE revealed to him a God so powerful, it would be crazy to think you can stop God.
"He [God] does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the Earth. No one
can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'" (Daniel 4:35)
If God wills everyone saved and it is impossible to go against the will of God and God has provided a plan of salvation for him or her, then the only logical conclusion is everyone will be saved. Some Christians have the view of God being willing but unable to save everyone. Is God not able to do as God wills? Isn't it a dishonor to view God in such a helpless way?
"It [salvation] does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." (Romans 9:16)
This verse flat out says salvation is determined by the will of God. Since we have already proven God wills all to be saved, then we can conclude from this all will be saved.
Now the question is this: Has God, before the beginning of time, predestined a multitude of his children to be tortured forever in hell? Isn't it dishonoring to God to believe so? Didn't God provide for the salvation of those in hell also? Is God's plan of salvation so weak it cannot save those it was intended to save? The only logical and reasonable answer is this: Yes, God provided for the salvation of those in hell. No, those in hell are not tortured forever. Yes, God provides a way of escape from hell.
"And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The above verse applies to temptation, but it could equally apply to hell.
"To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy..." (Jude 1:24)
The above verse also applies to temptation, but could equally apply to God having the ability to save people in hell.
"And he [the man whose faith is weak] will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." (Romans 14:2-4)
The above verse applies to God keeping someone from falling away completely, but could equally apply to God keeping people from falling away forever.