NDEs, Shadow Theory, and Transfer Principle
“For now we see through a glass darkly…” (1Corinthians 13:12a KJV)
How do you experience Time on Earth, and how will you experience Time differently when you die and pass into the afterlife?
Thousands of reports from NDErs help us see more clearly answers to these interlinked questions, and so does scripture.
I propose two principles to facilitate our understanding of Time both in this life and that to come. One I have called Shadow Theory, which I will describe before leading into the second, the Transfer Principle. They share similarities except that while Shadow Theory functions for us during life on Earth, the Transfer Principle functions after death, during a Near Death Experience and beyond.
Heaven existed first before our solar system. In certain respects, Earth copies or “shadows” pre-existing realities found in Heaven.
Genesis 1:26 reads “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’. The word translated “image” carries in biblical Hebrew the root picture of “a shadow” of God. Is there a deep purpose at work here?
There certainly is. At our best, mankind only projects a shadow of who God is in Heaven.
One problem with shadows generally is that they provide an indistinct, flat 2D resemblance of a 3D object or scene in full colour. The shadow of a friend carries his outline and may even allow you to recognise him, but is dull compared with a face-to-face encounter. Likewise, the “shadows” of God and his Heaven that we may conceptualise on Earth lack their true brilliance and depth. We cannot even imagine their splendour. The Apostle Paul confirmed this when writing his first letter of advice to the Corinthian church (1Corinthians 2:9):
As it is written (Isaiah 64:4):
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived
are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
This process of thought became what I have called “Shadow Theory”. It has helped me to comprehend better the relationship between Heaven and Earth, and how and why God creates things.
Simply expressed, Shadow Theory states that it is because we are made in the image and likeness of God, that the world is designed to be like Heaven in the first place, but only in certain simplified respects.
To express this similarity, the Bible employs the words “copy”, “image” and “shadow”. All three words mean different things but all are a “representation of something real”, and I am using the term Shadow Theory as a composite to encompass them all. The verses below illustrate this principle:
Hebrews 10:1, “The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves”.
Colossians 2:16,17, “Do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things to come, the reality is found in Christ”.
Hebrews 8:5, “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in Heaven”.
Hebrews 9:24, “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one, he entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence”.
Each of the earthly things above is a shadow or copy of something already in existence in Heaven.
The Greek word translated as “shadow” carries the perception of a “rough sketch”. It was used of an artist who produced preliminary sketches on which his final composition was developed. The sketches in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, while very good, pale beside his final masterpieces.
Shadow Theory underlines that we must never make the mistake of according life on Earth too much importance. The design and formation of our world is just a part of a higher plan, and we should see it as simply another piece in a stunning jigsaw, or a further thread in a beautiful tapestry. Otherwise it becomes impossible to perceive our lives in context, or even to explore more precisely than before the underpinning nature of God.
Shadow Theory highlights fundamental similarities between humans and Father God, producing helpful links in our comprehension of Earth and Heaven. These “shadows” enable lessons learnt here to transfer into our future. Similar lessons will continue after Judgement and into the New Heaven and New Earth.
God’s Creativity and Near Death Experiences
Why are we considering NDEs in a book about our origins and who we truly are? This is a valid question.
Very simply, NDEs provide extraordinary insight into God’s resourceful genius by considering some of the features of the other places God has created besides our Earth and our Universe. These features help us to unravel a little regarding the deeper nature of Time, Love, Energy and Consciousness. Life on our planet, amazing though it is, does not go far enough to unpack these mysteries in any depth. We can ponder them using the reports of returnees, who assure us that each is experienced somewhat differently in the afterlife.
Modern resuscitation techniques and their success, allied to the availability of the Internet, have given rise to people reporting temporary afterlife experiences far more often than ever before in history. The similarities between their thousands of written accounts gives confidence that NDEs can augment not detract from our perception and appreciation of God’s ingenuity. Personally, I have found the subject so interesting over five decades that I have researched it extensively, and written on it comprehensively in my last book Living Beyond—Making Sense of Near Death Experiences.
The NDE begins when a person’s spirit (consciousness) floats up and out of the body and generally can see its lifeless body below. Some NDErs return quickly to their bodies and earthly life resumes, but the spirits of others proceed to new adventures in the afterlife. These occur mainly in a location for spirits termed Hades in the Bible—which predominantly comprises pleasant rural or garden sections called Paradise, as well as unpleasant Prison sections. The walls and buildings of God’s Heavenly City can often be seen in the distance from Paradise.
Many NDErs meet with God the Father or with Jesus in remarkable locations, usually in Paradise sections but sometimes in Prison ones, or more rarely within the Heavenly City itself, before returning to their bodies on Earth—often suddenly.
A significant number of these NDE reports are by Doctors and Scientists of one discipline or another, who have been trained to provide exact observations of what they have experienced. Their descriptions glove together impressively.
The remarkable gardens and countrified surroundings of the Heavenly City are a part of the Paradise to which Jesus took the thief who died on the cross beside him, having reassured him already that “TODAY you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Notice that he was to be with Jesus in Paradise that day—where departed human spirits wait for Judgement Day—and not the Heavenly City, also called “Heaven”, where God lives.
We know that Jesus’ body remained behind for burial while his spirit went to Hades, and not yet to God the Father in Heaven, so his promise to the thief must have been for them both to travel to the Paradise section of Hades.
Please note that NDEs do not happen in Heaven as a rule, but in the sections of Paradise or the Prisons in Hades. Heaven, or Hell, become destinations only after final Judgement has taken place sometime in the future.
Thousands of NDErs describe Paradise nowadays as astoundingly gorgeous; it displays the artistic side of God to us at a new and previously undreamt-of intensity. Here is a recent description by 910Barbara D of her NDE: which she had at age 13 years, but only written down by Barbara more recently:
I first looked for the sun but found nothing that provided a light source for the daylight conditions.
I then looked across the river, to see such an amazing world of mountains, trees, waterfalls, exotic flowers. Everywhere was green, green, green! It looked like our own natural world, but on steroids.
There was so much life with colors, textures, light, and smells that were all in a state of absolute perfection and abundance. I could scarcely take it in.
God’s Creativity and The Transfer Principle
A startling fact emerges as we study NDEs:
Afterlife Venues share many common
characteristics with our world.
These Venues are designed by God so that while they are very different in certain respects, there remain sufficient “tags” or similarities to our lives that we are not totally disoriented or even fearful as our spirit moves into these new realities.
In short, familiar features enable people to transfer smoothly into afterlife places and subsequently between them, and settle quickly into the new Venues—I term this process “the Transfer Principle”.
The Transfer Principle states formally that “conditions on Earth share similarities to conditions in afterlife Venues, devised by a loving God to facilitate our functioning successfully there.”
Five notable examples of this principle would be Time, consciousness, communication, relationships and light. Very briefly:
Regarding Time—NDErs in the main notice that Time exists in all afterlife Venues, including Heaven and Hades, but they say that it appears to pass differently from Time on Earth. Nevertheless, because we are familiar with Time passing on Earth, at death our transfer from this world to afterlife Time appears not to be daunting.
Regarding consciousness—NDErs say we remain ourselves and fully conscious of our existence, even though we have died! Fear usually disappears, and pain always does so immediately at death.
Regarding communication—thousands of written records by NDErs without exception recount how communication in the afterlife was by telepathy. Since this telepathy conveyed comprehensive, earthly knowledge and concepts, they adapted to it quickly and responded in kind. Nevertheless, it was extraordinary as a means of communication because thoughts and emotions were laid bare and could not be hidden, such as we often do when we associate with one another on our planet.
Regarding relationships—NDErs discover love continues after death and appears to be the coinage of relationships in the afterlife. They generally meet joyfully with parents and other family members who had pre-deceased them, including ancestors whom they had not known previously.
Regarding light—Paradise and the Heavenly City are suffused in a brilliant light, similar but superior to light in our world because it connects directly into the soul—for example feelings of love, compassion and acceptance seem conveyed through it to the NDEr. New arrivals find it welcoming and comforting. Fiona M10 recently described it in these words: “I did experience a most exquisite light. It was not hard to the eyes and it was a very special light unlike what we see here on Earth. It was vastly peaceful and gracious. The peacefulness is what I remember most.”
However, light has not been experienced in the same way for those unfortunate NDErs who have been relegated to one of the Prison sections of Hades. These are characterised by dim lighting or, in the case of the Void, little or no lighting at all.
These similarities to Earth involving Time, consciousness, communication, relationships and light facilitate the NDEr absorbing the important fresh lessons that have been prepared for them in the afterlife.
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