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Hell and the Near-Death Experience

As with heaven, near-death experiencers have witnessed numerous variations of hell realms. These hell realms are not for judgment nor punishment, nor are they eternal. They are states of mind which acts as a “time out” condition for reflection, education and purification of negative thought patterns. We can also witness numerous manifestations of these hell realms right here on earth. You can see people rotting away in prison; alcoholics passed out on Skid Row; addicts out of their minds in crack houses; people killing each other out of hatred; unsatisfied people living in luxury; all kinds of hellish conditions involving unnecessary suffering. While hell realms can be seen on earth, they are merely a reflection of the inner hell within people. Hell realms in the spirit world are the perfect outward manifestation of the inner hellish condition within people. This is because when we die, we “step into” the inner spirit realm we have cultivated within us our entire life. And because time does not exist in the spirit realms, a person’s stay in these realms can seem like an eternity or a second. People in these hellish spirit realms remain in this condition for however long best serves their spiritual development. The way out of these hellish realms is to have a willingness to see the light and seek love. Eventually, like prodigal sons, every suffering soul in these hellish realms will see the light and heaven.

Between the earth realm and the heavenly realms, there exists two hellish realms known as (1) the earthbound realm (which this article is about) and (2) the Void. Both of these realms can be considered hell because they are the two darker levels. This web page will focus only on the earthbound realm. The earthbound realm is a hellish dimension that overlaps the physical realm. It is a dimension where souls who are bound by some strong earthly fixation, may remain indefinitely until they are able to extract themselves from this fixation. After death, most souls expand very quickly through the dark hellish realms of the earthbound realm and the Void, by means of the tunnel and on to higher realms.

The following are highlights concerning the earthbound hell which will be described. It is a state of mind where earthly, physical desires cannot be satisfied and is due to a lack of spiritual development. This hellish state of mind is the result of living a hellish life. The ways to escape from the earthbound realm will be discussed and the reasons why negativity must be removed in order to enter heaven. NDE examples of the earthbound realm, including traditional hell, fire and brimstone NDEs, will be presented. Religious descriptions of the earthbound realm and scriptures suggesting universal salvation will be provided here. Even more Biblical and NDE evidence of universal salvation can be found at the link provided here.

Table of Contents

  1. Hell is a state of mind
  2. Hell is having earthly desires that can’t be satisfied
  3. Hell is caused by a lack of spiritual development
  4. Hell is caused by living a hellish life
  5. Hell is neither condemnation nor judgment
  6. How to escape from the earthbound realm of hell
  7. Negativity must be removed to enter heaven
  8. NDE examples of the earthbound realm
  9. NDE examples of traditional hellfire and brimstone
  10. Various religious descriptions of the earthbound realm
  11. Hell is for temporary purification (like purgatory) not eternal damnation
  12. NDE support for universal salvation
  13. Biblical support for universal salvation

1. Hell is a state of mind

“Hell is a state of mind. When we die, we are bound by what we think.” (Angie Fenimore)

“Hell is a psychological condition which represents the hellish inner thoughts and desires within some souls. In hell, souls become uninhibited and their hellish condition is fully manifested. No demons are there to inflict punishment. Each soul acts out their own anger and hatred by warring and tormenting others.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)

“The hell of hells is knowing you were your own devil.” (Arthur Yensen)

“It is your mind which creates hell.” (Dr. Timothy Leary)

“Hell refers to levels of negative thought-forms that reside in close proximity to the earth realm. It is where we go to work out, or remain within, our hang-ups, addictions, fears, guilt, angers, rage, regrets, self-pity, arrogance, or whatever else blocks us from the power of our own light.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Hell is a level of consciousness which can be experienced in or out of the body.” (Arthur Yensen)

2. Hell is having earthly desires that can’t be satisfied

“Hell is a place where everyone retains the physical desires they were fixated on without a way to satisfy them. Hell is real hell for anyone who lives only to satisfy their selfish desires.” (Arthur Yensen)

“One level of hell exists right here on earth where an earthly desire is craved but cannot be satisfied.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

“Hell contains people who have been alcoholics or drug addicts, who find these cravings still with them after death. They stay near the earth to be near alcoholics or drug addicts who are still in the physical body, in order to participate vicariously in the sensations which alcohol and drugs give. They can be helped in the world beyond to clear their soul bodies of these cravings so that they, too, may go on and progress. However, this is a long and tedious process.” (Margaret Tweddell)

There is no geographic hell. We build our hells right here in our own lives. (Harry Hone)

“The quality of life after death for a suicide is determined by their motive for killing themselves. Those who kill themselves in order to hurt someone, get revenge, or who kill themselves out of hatred for someone else, will haunt the living by being aware of every horrible consequence their suicide had on others. Those who, because of mental illness, confusion, or a terminal illness, take their own life, are allowed many opportunities from God to grow in love just as any other person would who had not committed suicide.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

Earthbound souls linger around the living, usually to try to satisfy a physical desire. (Betty Bethards)

If an addiction isn’t conquered before death, it could keep your soul earthbound. (Ruth Montgomery)

Your personality – your likes and dislikes, your hopes, your fears-are still attached to you, although in a more nebulous form that when you are on earth in a physical body. (Margaret Tweddell)

3. Hell is caused by a lack of spiritual development

“Hell is a lack of wisdom and not moving forward to progress. Hell is not a place.” (Cecil)

“Hell is a spiritual condition we create by being away from God until we choose to return to God. Hell is a spiritual condition that is totally devoid of love.” (Sandra Rogers)

“Hell is the pain, anguish, hurt and anger that you have caused others or who suffered as a result of your actions/words to others. Hell is what you have created for yourself within your soul by turning your back on unconditional love, compassion and peace.” (Tina)

“What people call hell is really a spiritual time-out condition in which souls reflect and work out the things that blocked them from the power of their own light.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Concerning hell, heat is molecules in motion, while cold is their lack of motion. Likewise, love is a fast vibration of the soul, while hate is a slower vibration. Complete love would be God, while complete hate would be death, leaving the soul extinct.” (Arthur Yensen)

“Heaven and hell are spiritual states of being. They are not static states but are states in which there can be growth and progress toward ultimate wholeness of being.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“The difference between life on earth and life in the spirit is that your spirit world corresponds to your inner nature.” (Nora Spurgin)

“As there are degrees of heaven or hell on earth, so there are degrees of heaven or hell in the spiritual world.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“After death people gravitate into homogeneous groups according to the rate of their soul’s vibrations much like throwing a small pebble into a threshing machine. It goes into the box that fits its proper size and weight. After death, we are sorted by the high or low vibrations of our soul. Everyone goes where they fit in! High vibrations indicate love and spiritual development, while low vibrations indicate debasement and evil. All one has to do is to love so unselfishly that their soul-vibrations rise high enough to fit into heaven.” (Arthur Yensen)

“An extreme neglect of spiritual matters on earth can result in an earthbound condition. This is the condition people often associate with ghosts.” (Dr. Michael Newton)

“People who have an orientation of hate, for instance, find themselves unable to appreciate a realm of love and harmony. Therefore, they continue in their state of bitterness and are ‘closed’ to the glory which exists around them.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“Those who have stunted their spiritual growth through an undeveloped or misdirected lifestyle, have led a purely self-centered life or have hurt other people, their spiritual environment will reflect something of these realities. A self-centered life on earth places one in an area of the spirit world with like-minded people who have yet to learn the value of unselfishness for the advancement of the soul.” (Nora Spurgin)

“The spiritual state of being you have on earth is the spiritual state you take with you to the world beyond when you die. There is no sudden metamorphosis from an idle person into an active person, from a nonreligious person into a religious person, from a money-centered person into a God-centered person. This is not an automatic thing.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“Environments distant from God are said to be dark, cold and inhospitable. Indeed, they reflect the spirits of those dwelling there.” (Nora Spurgin)

“We create our own hell within us while we live on earth. After death, we step into that hell.” (Kevin Williams)

4. Hell is caused by living a hellish life

“In the spirit world, everyone lives in the kind of a heaven or hell that they have prepared for themselves while on earth.” (Arthur Yensen)

“People are in hell before they die. At death, we are gathered together with those who think as we do.” (Angie Fenimore)

“The general rule of thumb is this: hellish life, hellish afterlife – heavenly life, heavenly afterlife. Death will not change a hellish life into a heavenly afterlife, nor does it change a heavenly life into a hellish afterlife.” (Dr. Melvin Morse)

“Occasionally, the encounter with light is perceived as a reflection of the fires of hell.” (IANDS FAQ)

“Physical desires can be carried over into the afterlife but physical desires cannot be satisfied there. This can create a hellish condition for those who have them.” (Nora Spurgin)

5. Hell is neither condemnation nor judgment

“There is no condemnation in hell, only the outworking of our own misjudgments, mistakes, misalignments, or misappropriations.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Those with too many negative thought patterns might flee the light of God after death because they are too ashamed or too afraid to have their inner thoughts and negative natures revealed to everyone.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

“After his death, Jesus descended into the lower afterlife regions to ‘unlock’ the gates of hell. But souls still remaining there – for them – the gates are locked from the inside. Nevertheless, NDE evidence reveals Jesus continues to rescue souls from hell during a near-death experience.” (Kevin Williams)

“I saw the reasons for all of my actions and understood why I did what I had done. There was a place for all of my positive and negative actions. There was no action that was necessarily wrong, but there were actions I took that did not enhance positive growth.” (David Oakford)

“In hell, we have the opportunity to either revel in our folly or come to grips with the reality of consequences — that every action has a reaction, what is inflicted on another can be returned in kind. This is not a punishment for our sins but a confrontation with any distortion of our sense of values and priorities.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Just knowing the bad mistakes you made through your carelessness or your selfishness is a hell. You don’t need a devil prodding you with a fork.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“God does not condemn anyone to hell and there is no eternal damnation. We have the ability to condemn ourselves to the hell we create within ourselves.” (Kevin Williams)

“The God of love suffers for those in darkness, ignorance and misery.” (Nora Spurgin)

“Many people believe that those who don’t give verbal assent to Jesus are cast headlong into eternal fire to burn forever. It should be common sense to anyone that a God of love would never treat people this way. As Jesus said, even an evil father knows how to give good things to children.” (Kevin Williams)

6. How to escape from the earthbound realm of hell

While Mellen-Thomas Benedict was in hell, he called out to the light and the light opened up and formed a tunnel that insulated him from all that fear and pain. (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

“The way out of these hellish realms is to have a willingness to see the light and seek love for others and God.” (Angie Fenimore)

To escape the darkness, you must cry out to God. Then the light will appear. (Howard Storm)

“From what may anyone be saved? Only from themselves! That is, their individual hell. They dig it with their own desires.” (Edgar Cayce)

“The gates of hell are open. Those in hell will eventually join up, link hands, and walk out of hell together.” (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

“We stay in hell for however long best serves our development. We do not leave until we have changed our attitudes and perceptions.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

“Souls in the hellish realms do not have the same powers to progress and achieve joy that others with more light in the higher afterlife realms have. Their progress is limited – a result of divine justice. However, these souls can choose to grow if they wish.” (RaNelle Wallace)

“The living have auras of light surrounding their bodies. If the aura becomes distorted through alcohol or drugs, an earthbound soul can temporarily possess the body.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

“There are no permanent sinners. Even the saddest example of humanity can become the greatest.” (Harry Hone)

“Accept the greater power around you and let go of the earth and its desires.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“Based on a soul’s desire and willingness, those in hell are given an opportunity for an upward journey.” (Nora Spurgin)

“To appreciate heaven well it is good for a man to have some fifteen minutes of hell.” (Will Carleton)

7. Negativity must be removed to enter heaven

“At this point, I could feel this group of beings eliminate or pull from me the negative energy of my life in the physical world and fill me with love beyond what I can describe.” (Sherry Gideon)

“After death, if a soul has been too bad, they go to a realm of lower vibrations where their kind of thoughts can live. If they entered heaven, they would be annihilated by the Master-Vibration of God. This is because souls gravitate into groups according to the rate of their soul’s vibrations. If the percent of discord in a soul is small, it can be eliminated by God; then the remaining good can live on in heaven. However, if the percentage of bad were too high, this couldn’t be done, and the person would have to gravitate to a lower level and live with people of his own kind. Birds of a feather, flock together.” (Arthur Yensen)

“Since I had lived such a totally self-serving existence, I was in a hellish state of indescribable agony and sorrow. I was in shear agony. I still remember being on my knees while this blinding light broke and crushed my false-ego. This breaking process was extremely painful.” (Daniel Rosenblit)

“Negative thoughts cannot be expressed in the heavenly realms – only positive ones.” (Ned Dougherty)

“God is the Master-Vibration who neutralizes all negative thoughts so that you think only the good thoughts, such as love, freedom and happiness.” (Arthur Yensen)

“God’s love looks at all of us throughout the eyes of eternity. God’s overriding desire is to purify the darkness of our souls, irrespective of the suffering God has to put us through to achieve that end. However, it will greatly minimize our suffering if we learn to accept instead of fighting against our situation in life.” (Daniel Rosenblit)

“There are earthbound spirits of low vibrations, whom we may regard as devils because they annoy us through mental telepathy. These demons tune in on us through our low vibrations of hate, fear and greed. They can be tuned out with unselfish love, or if necessary be chased away by the stronger spirit of Jesus Christ.” (Arthur Yensen)

“The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won’t let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they’re not punishing you, they’re freeing your soul.” (Meister Eckhart)

“The purpose of religion is not so much to get us into heaven, or to keep us out of hell, but to put a little bit of heaven into us, and take the hell out of us.” (E. Stanley Jones)

8. NDE examples of the earthbound realm

The following are summaries of the NDE accounts of those who experienced this earthbound region for themselves.

George Ritchie’s tour of the Earthbound Realm: Jesus took Ritchie to a large city on earth where he observed earthbound souls stalking the living for one reason or another. One earthbound soul begged in vain for a cigarette. A young man who committed suicide begged his parents in vain for forgiveness. In a house, Ritchie was shown the soul of a boy following a living teenage girl and begging for forgiveness despite the fact that the girl was completely unaware of the boy’s presence. Jesus told Ritchie that the boy committed suicide and was chained to every consequence of his act. Then Ritchie saw group of drunken sailors in a bar with earthbound alcoholics trying in vain to get a drink. Ritchie is horrified when he witnessed a sailor pass out and an earthbound alcoholic quickly possess his body. Jesus and Ritchie then viewed a realm that was jammed with hordes of angry, frustrated, and miserable earthbound souls who were locked in fights to the death. Yet, nobody could be injured. Ritchie realized that this was hell where souls are enslaved to habits of destructive thought-patterns. He also witnessed frustrated souls attempting to perform sexual acts. He saw souls arguing over religion or politics and trying to kill those who disagreed with them. Whatever anyone thought was instantly apparent to everyone there. Most of the thoughts he heard were thoughts such as, “I told you so!” and “I always knew!” and “Didn’t I warn you!” Ritchie became aware that Jesus did not condemn them and that he had only love for them. The only thing that kept each soul from leaving this realm was that they all shared the same kind of thoughts. This created a bond where soul of similar feathers can flock together. Ritchie wonders if these souls had fled the light that showed up the darkness of their souls. Jesus then takes Ritchie away from there. (Dr. George Ritchie)

Howard Pittman’s NDE: While in the earthbound realm, Howard Pittman watched living people going about their daily pursuit and completely unaware that they were being stalked by beings from the spirit world. Pittman refers to this earthbound realm as the first heaven. He was totally flabbergasted as he watched in horror demons in all shapes and forms moving at will among the humans. Pittman was shown an employee’s lounge on earth where a young man and young woman were talking and laughing. Between them was a grotesque demon who was unseen by the two. Pittman learned that this was a demon of lust. Pittman watched in astonishment as the demon entered the body of the young man. Pittman was told that the demon made himself desirable to the young man and he accepted by his own free will to violate his space. (Rev. Howard Pittman)

David Oakford saw dark souls who were earthbound and who refused to go to the light. They prey on the energies of the living in an attempt to prevent the evolution of their spirit. David learned that we are protected from these dark ones as long as we chose to focus on the love within us. David noticed that the dark ones did not even try to affect him. They just gave him nasty looks and went away. David was told that whenever he sees one, he was to tell them to go to the light. The light is a porthole to the place all souls go if they choose to go. David learned that higher beings know where to go and what to do to help an earthbound soul so they may advance themselves if they so choose to do so. (David Oakford)

Josiane Antonette saw faces rushing toward her with incredible speed. They would race toward her face, expanding and then dissolving. Face after face washed over her and she is terrified. She drifted along and was unable to keep her eyes open. She wondered who these people were. She recognized some of them as people she knew who had died. The whole room was filled with spirits and they would hover near her and look into her eyes. She tried to push them away and she fought them. This experience seemed to go on forever. She identified these people as restless spirits. Their faces were twisted with pain and they seemed lost. She was frightened to see them around her. Suddenly, spirits with glowing faces appeared to her. They reflect a gentle and powerful light which reminded her of pictures of beautiful angels. (Josiane Antonette)

Emanuel Swedenborg’s description of the first state after death is a remarkable description of the earthbound realm: After death, there are various states that souls must pass through before arriving in heaven or hell. The first state involves their more outward aspects and the second [the Void] involves their more inward aspects. The first state after death is very much like their state in the physical world, since at that point they are similarly involved in outward matters. This is why some souls are unaware that they are dead. (Emanuel Swedenborg)

Ruth Montgomery wrote: This is an example of a person who is so sure that there is no God and no hereafter that he treats others badly while on earth and he feels no moral obligation to lend a helping hand or to be a decent citizen. When he makes the transition he is angry and tempestuous as he finds himself in a situation of his own making, surrounded by other greedy souls who, because they are in like situation, welcome him gleefully to the hell that they have created for themselves. He tries to break out of the fiendish group, but they surround him. He is utterly miserable, for he now begins to see the folly of his ways but does not know how to avert his fate. He is left there until his own remorse for sinful ways begins to penetrate his being and he acknowledges to himself that he wasted a lifetime, a rare privilege, by thinking only of himself. After he reaches full repentance he is then able to free himself of the unrepentant creatures around him, and for a long time thereafter he searches his own soul to review the past mistakes. This is sometimes a long, drawn-out process because he will have to make his way alone. Only he is able to assess his wrongs and seek forgiveness, although there are many here willing to lend a hand whenever he reaches out to them for it. (Ruth Montgomery)

Ruth Montgomery continues: People who die as an alcoholic may hover around people on earth who drink too much, lusting after the pleasures of alcoholism yet unable to break the bond of habit which bound them to their physical bodies. The same with heavy smokers or drug users, there or here, or the sex maniacs who take advantage of others to appease the bodily craving for intercourse. This is a very important lesson which we learn on this side. To escape the perpetual cycle of rebirth into physical form, we must erase the ties, the shackles which bind us to satiation of the physical body. So try to lick the bad habits while on earth. It is easier by far than to come unloose from them on earth. Those who neither drink nor smoke nor use drugs nor lust after sex will be free of those shackles on the other side. It is easier while in physical form to break those shackles than it is to undo them on the other side, where no temptations are put in our way. Thus, there is no reward for behaving correctly here in spirit, because there is nothing to tempt us otherwise. The hard school is in the physical one, and there it is there that we must meet and overcome the temptations. (Ruth Montgomery)

George Anderson states: “A friend of mine who had recently taken his life came through and did not know how to go into the light. I kept telling him to go forward to the light, but he was afraid of judgment. He couldn’t forgive himself. Also, he was having a problem with the fact that after he had taken his own life, his spirit obviously lingered around the scene of the act. He could not overcome the memory of his father’s discovering him, and that was haunting him emotionally to a tremendous degree in the next dimension. What he and many of us don’t understand is that there is judgment there, but it is not done by God on a throne. Judgment rests basically with yourself. It can take eons of time as we understand it before they go into the light. It depends on the person.” (George Anderson)

9. NDE examples of traditional hellfire and brimstone

Kevin Williams wrote: “Why do some people have NDEs that resembles the fire and brimstone hell of the Bible while other people describe a different kind of hell? The quick answer is that there are many kinds of hells and many kinds of heavens. A person’s situation in life and after death is based upon many factors including: perception, perspective, cultural and religious background, spirituality or lack thereof, and education. If you examine enough hellish NDEs that resemble the traditional hellfire and brimstone, you will notice that they mostly occur to fundamentalist Christians. Life after death often means “getting what you expect”, that is, if you believe heaven is a place where you float on a cloud and play a harp, you just might get that when you die. And only when you realize that this kind of heaven is a fantasy-to-be-abandoned will you find reality different. In other words, reality is what you make it. This applies on earth as it is in heaven. If we believe that such a hell exists, it actually does exist – in our own minds. And since the afterlife is the realm of the mind and spirit, these hellish conditions actually exist merely by creating them in our own mind. This is why it is critical that we be careful what we put in our minds and what we build there. For more information about the differences between NDEs visit my NDE Differences page.” (Kevin Williams)

Rev. Kenneth Hagin descended into a pit until a darkness totally surrounded him. The farther down he went, the darker and hotter it became until he could see the fingers of flames playing on the dark walls of the pit. In front of him, beyond the entrance into hell, he saw giant, orange flames. He was pulled toward hell like a magnet pulls metal. He was aware of some kind of creature at his right side, which he didn’t dare look at, that escorted him toward the entrance to hell. When he did, a powerful voice spoke which caused everything to shake. Kenneth then floated back up through the darkness to the top of the pit. (Rev. Kenneth Hagin)

Don Brubaker traveled through a tunnel while a large, eerie red eye peers at him which he realizes to be his own. While in the tunnel, he is stricken with panic and believes he is in hell. A voice, which he identifies to be God’s, tells him not to fear. He has been chosen to write about what he is experiencing. He is told he must testify about the reality of hell. Afterward, he is drawn into a vast, flaming oven filled with other people. They laugh as they realize the flames are not painful. Suddenly, he is alone in the dark with God communicating to him. In an instant, he is aware of everyone in his life whom he was ever angry with. Afterward, he floats in a glorious deep blue sky. Christ appears shining a tremendous amount of light. Christ gives Don a choice of staying or returning to the physical world. Thoughts of his family cause him to choose to return. Before he returns, Don is taken back in time to witness the crucifixion of Christ. (Don Brubaker)

10. Various religious descriptions of the earthbound realm

Buddhism: The deceased eventually enters a realm of hungry ghosts were the deceased have huge stomachs and throats the size of pinholes. Because of this, they wander around in a constant state of unsatisfied ravenous desire. Eventually, the unliberated deceased encounters the Lord of Death for judgment. The Lord of Death holds up before him the Mirror of Karma where every good and evil act is vividly reflected. Now demons approach and begin to inflict torments and punishments upon the deceased for their evil deeds. Even here the deceased can attain liberation by recognizing this. The deceased who is still not liberated after the Judgment will now be drawn remorselessly toward reincarnation. At some point, liberation is no longer possible and the deceased are instructed on how to choose the best womb for a favorable reincarnation. (Buddhism)

“Be not fond of the dull smoke-colored light from hell.” (Tibetan Book of the Dead)

Hinduism: Each of the dimensions of the Great Mandala of the Cosmos represents a quality of energy, or light. Each dimension of this Mandala, which moves out from the central Whiteness, are infinite numbers of possible worlds and various kinds of embodiment. The dimension which we live in now is on the outskirts of this Great Mandala. Dimensions even farther away from the center may be called “hells” where there is less awareness, less possibilities, than the dimension we live in now. (Hinduism)

Islam: Muslim theologians, particularly those of the Asharite school, believed that if a believer entered hell, God could forgive his sins or nonconformities and remove him, either immediately or after a certain period during which imperfections had been burned away. The basis for this doctrine is the Hadith: “He shall make men come out of hell after they have been burned and reduced to cinders.” In addition to this purgatory of suffering, there is another Muslim limbo – al-A’raf (the “heights” or “ramparts”), described in a chapter of the Quran by that name – in which those souls reside that do not merit damnation yet are unable to enter paradise. (Islam)

Judaism: In rabbinical thought, the model for heaven was Eden. The rabbinic word for hell, Gehenna, is taken from the name of a valley of fire where children were said to be sacrificed as burnt offerings to Baal and Moloch (Semitic deities). Jewish legend paints hell with all of the vividness that medieval Christians did, even associating particular tortures with particular sins. (Judaism)

Hebrew scriptures showing God does not punish people forever:

a. Bible: “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:31-33)

b. Bible: “I will not accuse them forever, nor will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me — the very people I have created. I was enraged by their sinful greed; I punished them, and hid my face in anger, yet they kept on in their willful ways. I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners.” (Isaiah 57:16-18)

c. Bible: “The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)

d. Bible: “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” (Micah 7:18)

Gnosticism: Christian Gnostics viewed living on earth as a kind of hell. Gnosticism saw human beings as trapped in a cycle of reincarnation and believed that even suicide could not release one from bondage to the flesh. In marked contrast with orthodox Christian belief, bodily resurrection was not viewed as part of the scheme of redemption. Rather, only the destruction of the body and of all Satan‘s visible creation – which is hell – was adequate to ensure salvation of the soul and its ascent to heaven. (Gnosticism)

Christianity: Scriptures showing souls do not stay in hell forever:

a. Bible: “[Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” (1 Peter 3:18-20) Also, “For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6) See also “The Harrowing of Hell.”

b. Bible: “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.” (Luke 12:47-48)

c. Bible: “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:22-26)

d. Bible: It should be difficult for any Christian to honestly conceive of a God of infinite love and mercy to permit even one soul to be tortured forever in hell. It is common sense that a few minutes in hell is enough for even the hardest of sinners to change their mind and repent. And what kind of God would create someone knowing that he will ultimately throw that person in hell to be tortured forever? It should be obvious that it would be better for God to not even create such a person. If an evil father treats his children better than this, how much more so God? Jesus stated: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

11. Hell is for temporary purification (like purgatory) not eternal damnation

The early Church developed the concept of purgatory based on particular passages of scripture.

a. According to St. Isidore of Seville the Church taught that in the next life: “Some sins will be forgiven and purged away by a certain purifying fire.” (Deord. creatur., c. xiv, n. 6)

b. St. Augustine also argued: “Some sinners are not forgiven either in this world or in the next, would not be truly said unless there were other [sinners] who, though not forgiven in this world, are forgiven in the world to come” (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xxiv).

c. The same interpretation is given by Gregory the Great (Dial., IV, xxxix); St. Bede (commentary on this text); St. Bernard (Sermo lxvi in Cantic., n.11) and other eminent theological writers.

d. Origen, the first great Church father, taught that purgatory is the true description of hell. He believed if people depart this life with lighter faults, they are condemned to fire which burns away the lighter materials, preparing their souls for the kingdom of God, where nothing defiled may enter. He wrote: “For if on the foundation of Christ you have built not only gold and silver and precious stones; but also wood and hay and stubble, what do you expect when the soul shall be separated from the body? Would you enter into heaven with your wood and hay and stubble and thus defile the kingdom of God; or on account of these hindrances would you remain without and receive no reward for your gold and silver and precious stones? Neither is this just. It remains then that you be committed to the fire which will burn the light materials; for our God to those who can comprehend heavenly things is called a cleansing fire. But this fire consumes not the creature, but what the creature has himself built, wood, and hay and stubble. It is manifest that the fire destroys the wood of our transgressions and then returns to us the reward of our great works.” (P. G., XIII, col. 445, 448).

Origen based this statement on the following Bible verse: “It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

e. “In the Council of Lyons, in 1274 A.D., it was stated that after death the soul goes promptly either to heaven or to hell. On the Day of Judgment, all will stand before the tribunal of Christ with their bodies to render account of what they have done.

There is abundant evidence from NDEs and the Bible that affirm hell is a temporary place for purification.

12. NDE support for universal salvation

Mellen-Thomas Benedicts’ NDE: “What all people seek, what sustains them, is love, the light told me. What distorts people is a lack of love. The revelations coming from the light seemed to go on and on, then I asked the light, “Does this mean that humankind will be saved?” Then, like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Great Light spoke, saying, “Remember this and never forget; you save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have. You always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world. In that instant I realized even more. I realized that WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAVED, and we saved ourselves because we were designed to self-correct like the rest of God’s universe.” (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

“Life is a cycle of improvements and humans are not perfect yet. Most people have this secret revealed to them when they die.” (Dr. Frank Oski)

“All souls were created in the beginning and are finding their way back to God.” (Edgar Cayce)

“We are immortal and indestructible. We have always been alive, we always will be, and there is no way in this world that we can ever be lost. It is impossible for anyone to fall into a crack in the universe somewhere and never be heard from again. We are utterly safe and we have always been forever and ever.” (Jayne Smith)

“From the light we have come, and to the light we all shall return.” (Josiane Antonette)

“It is God’s love for us that sends us on our journey and it is our love for God that allows us to return to God’s loving arms again.” (David Goines)

“A central aspect of our eternal existence is continued spiritual growth through love and service. We can spend what seems like an eternity before incarnating in the flesh. During that period in the spirit world, soul growth can be attained there as well.” (Nora Spurgin)

“It [reincarnation] is a universal process, and prevails not only in the human kingdom but also throughout the whole of nature. Whenever we find a living form, the consciousness of that form is also evolving, using temporarily for that purpose the physical form in order that it may gain physical experience. In each incarnation we have a different physical body, a different name, and may have different souls acting as parents, but these changes do not in the slightest imperil our individuality … Reincarnation is not an endless process, and when we have learned the lessons taught in the World-School we return no more to physical incarnation unless we come back of our own accord to act as Teachers of humanity or as Helpers in the glorious plan of evolution.” (Amber Wells)

“Without physical bodies, feelings of hate and fear are intensified as souls [in hell] vainly try to hide from their enemies. Their only hope is to reincarnate. Then unfortunately when they do, they may forget all about their torment in hell and again lead lives of greed and tyranny. This miserable cycle can continue forever unless they find salvation in one of their lifetimes. Such people really need a savior, since they are not able to help themselves. I’m sure Christ incarnated to help them because he said, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'” (Arthur Yensen)

13. Biblical Support for Universal Salvation

See the Hebrew scriptures and New Testament scriptures above about people not being punished by God forever in hell.

SUMMARY: Nobody can thwart God’s will, who wills all men to be saved, not wanting anyone to perish, to have mercy on everyone, to save the whole world by Jesus atoning for the sins of the whole world.

Scriptural Evidence:

a. Bible: “Then Job replied to the Lord: ‘I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted.'” (Job 42:1-2)

b. Bible: “God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

c. Bible: “[God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

d. Bible: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32)

e. Bible: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

f. Bible: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)

g. Bible: “[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)

SUMMARY: All who die will be made alive in Christ, so that God will be all in all, because he gave his life as a ransom for all men, as the Savior of all men, he died for all, to draw all men to himself, so that all people will see God’s salvation which has appeared to all men. Just as Adam’s sin brought condemnation to all, so Christ act brought justification for all, to bring everything under his control and to bring all things in heaven and earth together under him.

Scriptural Evidence:

a. Bible: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)

b. Bible: “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)

c. Bible: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, which is the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men, to be that testimony in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

d. Bible: “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10-11)

e. Bible: “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

f. Bible: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32)

g. Bible: “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.’” (Luke 3:5-6)

h. Bible: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” (Titus 2:11)

i. Bible: “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” (Romans 5:18)

j. Bible: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

k. Bible: “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment — to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9-10)

SUMMARY: God reconciles his enemies to himself because he loves even his enemies and reconciles all things to himself. When God reconciles all his enemies, even death itself, it will be the “universal restoration” first prophesized by Elijah, then by his reincarnation John the Baptist, then by his future reincarnation as one of the “two witnesses” in the Book of Revelation. Then the end will come and the Kingdom of the Lord will be established on earth.

Scriptural Evidence:

a. Bible: “If, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10)

b. Bible: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)

c. Bible: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20)

d. Bible: “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, 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 15:24-28)

e. Bible: [Peter addressed the Israelites;] “But God had foretold through all his prophets that his Christ must suffer and this was how his words came true. Now you must repent and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that time after time your souls may know the refreshment that comes from the presence of God. Then he will send you Jesus, your long-heralded Christ, although for the time he must remain in Heaven until that universal restoration of which God spoke in ancient times through all his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:18-23)

SUMMARY: The “time of universal restoration” is the time heralded by Elijah when the promised Jewish Messiah comes to rule the Kingdom of God on earth to restore all things and creatures to God. But because John the Baptist (as the reincarnation of Elijah) and Jesus were killed, the time of universal restoration was postponed. After Jesus was killed, the Church age began when Gentiles were being brought to God. According to the Book of Revelation, another time will come when both Elijah and Moses will reincarnate again heralding the return of Jesus. Afterward, the universal restoration will occur and the Kingdom of God will be established on earth.

Scriptural Evidence:

Bible: “Jesus chose Peter, James and his brother John, to accompany him high up on the hillside where [Jesus transformed into a being of light]… Then Moses and Elijah were seen talking to Jesus… On their way down the hillside Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about what they had seen until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. Then the disciples demanded, ‘Why is it, then, that the scribes always say Elijah must come first?’ ‘Yes, Elijah does come first,’ replied Jesus, ‘and begins the world’s reformation. But I tell you that Elijah has come already and men did not recognize him. They did what they liked with him, and they will do the same to the Son of Man. Then they realized that he had been referring to John the Baptist.” (Matthew 17:1-13)

Read about all the scriptural evidence proving John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah the prophet. Here more some examples:

(1) “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5)

(2) “For all the Prophets and the Law have prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:13-14)

SUMMARY: In the Book of Revelation, the prophets Elijah and Moses appear again before Jesus appears. This time the result is the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Bible: “‘And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.’ They are ‘the two olive trees‘ and the two lampstands, and ‘they stand before the Lord of the earth.’ If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power [of Elijah] to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power [of Moses] to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want … The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth … Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, ‘Come up here.’ And they went up to heaven in a cloud … The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.'” (Revelation 11:3-15)

Categories
Research Conclusions Science

Afterlife Realms and the Near-Death Experience

If you want to know what the afterlife is like, pay close attention to your dreams. There is a wealth of evidence suggesting a connection to the levels of consciousness with the afterlife realms as described in near-death testimonies. The dream realm and the afterlife realms both are realms of the mind, soul, and spirit. In the realms of the mind, all thoughts and things are possible. Death is merely a process of freeing your true essence from all physical limitations and fully inhabiting the realms of thought and spirit. In the afterlife realms, what one thinks is what matters most; because thoughts are deeds in those realms. There, we are what we think and there is no hiding from who we really are. One NDE experiencer, St. Teresa of Avila, described it perfectly, “After you die, you wear what you are.” And if a person reads enough NDE testimonies, it becomes possible to create a “map” describing the soul’s journey after death — at least from the NDE perspective. This article will attempt to give the reader such a map based upon the numerous NDE testimonies on this website.

Table of Contents

  1. The case for ten or more afterlife realms
  2. The nature of the afterlife realms
  3. The six major afterlife realms
  4. The many NDE pathways through the afterlife realms
  5. NDE insights concerning the various afterlife realms

1. The case for ten or more afterlife realms

The following is a list from science and religion which makes the case for ten or more dimensions of reality.

(1) Quantum physicists, using Superstring Theory, theorize a cosmology consisting of 10 dimensions. The goal of theoretical physics is to find the “holy grail” of physics– the so-called “Theory of Everything” (TOE) — a theory that explains all phenomena of reality. Superstring Theory is widely believed to be the closest TOE candidate. M-Theory is a unification of all consistent versions of Superstring Theory and adds one more dimension — a “Membrane” or “Matrix” dimension — for a total of 11 dimensions. Surprisingly, neuroscientists have recently discovered the human brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions.

(2) Pythagoras, perhaps the first great mathematician, believed the cosmos is divided into 10 heavens based on the perfect number 10.

(3) In Jewish mysticism, God’s entire creation is composed of 10 emanations of Light from the 10 utterances of God “Let there be” to create the world by the perfect order of 10 along with a hierarchy of 10 angelic realms and the law of the 10 commandments.

(4) In Buddhism, there are 10 levels of realization toward enlightenment and 10 directions of the Buddha’s light to 10 Buddha-realms.

(5) Christian Gnostics believed in a cosmology of 10 heavens which they based on information from the death experience of the Apostle Paul which they recorded in their scriptures (Apocalypse of Paul).

(6) In Islam, a legend exists where Muhammad journeyed through 10 heavens which was probably a near-death experience.

(7) The Biblical prophet Enoch in his writings (2 Enoch) mentions he ascended through the 10 heavens.

(8) The Bible describes an angelic hierarchy of 10 celestial powers [1] [2].

(9) Edgar Cayce learned from his out-of-body travels how our solar system’s 10 major spheres (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are three-dimensional physical representations of the invisible 10 afterlife realms. Cayce also revealed how the human body is a microcosm of the solar system. This cosmology was also taught by Plato and Aristotle, and was included in the doctrines of Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and all cosmologies where astrology was dominate.[1]

(10) The Apostle Paul equated the different degrees of glory of resurrected bodies with the sun, moon and stars. Throughout the Bible, there are references to multiple realms: third heaven, the highest heavens, heavens, and many dwelling places.

(11) During Lynnclaire Dennis‘ NDE, she entered into the light and saw the Universal Pattern and Source of all life which was in a shape that resembles an atom with electrons revolving around it. Her pattern eventually caught the eye of scientists because of its compatibility with the knotted pattern of 10-dimensional space in physics.

(12) Other experiencers, such as George Ritchie and Betty Eadie, as well as the Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg, each observed multiple levels in the hereafter. Howard Storm had an extensive experience in which he also observed multiple levels in the afterlife. Dr. PMH Atwater describes these multiple dimensions as existing here within the same space much like boxes within a box. Metaphysical sources also describe a multi-dimensional reality.

There are several conclusions to make here:

a. Heaven is not up and hell is not below. The various afterlife realms are like various frequencies on the light spectrum – most of which is invisible to the naked eye.

b. We are already living in the “afterlife” right now. This is because our experience in this physical, three-dimensional universe is just one of many realms we have experienced.

c. We do not have to die to experience the afterlife and eternity. Eternity is not something that begins after death. We are already in eternity now – the “eternal now.”

2. The nature of the afterlife realms

P.M.H. Atwater uses a good analogy when describing death and the various afterlife realms: “There is a step-up of energy at the moment of death, an increase in speed as if you are suddenly vibrating faster than before. Using radio as an analogy, this speed-up is comparable to having lived all your life at a certain radio frequency when all of a sudden someone or something comes along and flips the dial. That flip shifts you to different frequency. The original frequency where you once existed is still there. It did not change. Everything is still just the same as it was. Only you changed, only you speeded up to allow entry into the next radio frequency on the dial. You fit your particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist forever where you do not belong. You shift frequencies in dying. You switch over to life on another wavelength. You are still a spot on the dial but you move up or down a notch or two. You don’t die when you die. You shift your consciousness and speed of vibration. That’s all death is … a shift.” (P.M.H. Atwater)

3. The six major afterlife realms

The graph below represents a map through the major afterlife realms which experiencers have encountered during their near-death experiences. No experiencer that I am aware of has encountered every afterlife realm depicted on the graph. Most experiencers have experienced three or four realms. Looking at the graph, one can see how the afterlife journey begins with the death of the physical body in the physical realm (Realm 1) which is the physical universe — planet Earth for humans. After death, humans travel through various afterlife realms with the ultimate goal of becoming a permanent citizen of the God Realm (Realm 6). This is accomplished through the process of reincarnation — “trial and error” — through multiple lifetimes in which we gradually become “perfected”. A good analogy of humanity’s journey through the afterlife realms, as represented by the graph below, is to think of the afterlife realms as God’s “Corporate Ladder” of success. We begin employment at the ground level (Realm 1) the physical universe. Through hard work and on-the-job education, humanity is gradually climbing God’s corporate ladder with the goal of becoming a “full partner” with the “Boss” — God — at the “corporate level” (Realm 6). However, this analogy only works from our current life’s point-of-view and gives the erroneous suggestion that the earth realm in Physical Realm 1 is an inferior realm. The fact is we are soul/spirit beings who have had a multitude of past life experiences on earth and perhaps even in the Soul and Spirit Realms — through the process of reincarnation.

According to the previous Case for Ten or More Afterlife Realms, the planets of our solar system are three-dimensional physical representations of invisible other-dimensional afterlife realms inhabiting the same space. As a whole, these afterlife realms represent the dimensions of consciousness of our solar system as part of the vast system of Universal Mind. Each solar system is analogous to a “university” and a single expression of the divine with its planets and planes of consciousness acting as integral parts each at a different vibratory level. The planet Earth is the third planet from the sun and is where three-dimensional life is represented in the solar system. There are other intelligent three-dimensional life forms living in other solar systems experiencing their own soul evolution. Each solar system in the universe is also analogous to an atom in a universe of atoms. Each solar system represents an opportunity for development, advancement, and growth toward the ideal of complete companionship with God — the position of co-creator. The idea of the soul existing as a “speck” in a seemingly endless universe is only an illusion. After death, the soul expands and transcends the physical universe. Also, the human body is a microcosm of the solar system with the endocrine glands acting as energy centers (chakras) with each planetary afterlife realm having some astrological influence over a particular energy center. After death, the soul travels through the various dimensions of the Soul Realms associated with the solar system. If the soul has learned all the lessons necessary to progress further, the soul meets with spirit guides and enters the Spirit Realms as spirit. The soul, which is the subconscious mind, is no longer needed, and the individual enters the Spirit Realms as pure superconsciousness — spirit.

A Brief Description of the Six Major Afterlife Realms

(a) Realm 1: The Physical Realm — In the universe, the planet Earth is where humanity experiences birth, life, and death. Religion, science, and war play dominant roles here. This is the realm of “cause and effect” (karma) where we come to be tested in ways only a physical experience can. The universe is inhabited by other intelligent beings according to a combination of the Drake Equation and the multitude of credible UFO sightings which have been documented [1] [2] [3] [4].

(b) Realm 2: The Earthbound Realm — After death, a person may immediately find themself out-of-body and inhabiting a soul/spirit body while observing their physical body from below. Some people have observed a silver cord connecting their physical body to their spirit body. This is the earthbound realm because it exists in the same dimension as the physical realm except that its inhabitants are invisible to those living in the physical realm. However, psychics living in the physical realm are able to contact inhabitants of the earthbound realm through mental telepathy. The earthbound realm is also known by other names such as the astral plane, the dream realm, the world of “hungry ghosts,” and hell.

(c) Realm 3: The Void — This is a timeless realm of complete and profound darkness – empty of everything except for the thought and emotional patterns of those who enter it. It is a perfect place for its inhabitants to examine themselves, contemplate their recent earth experience, and decide where to go next. For some people, the Void is a heavenly experience because, in the absence of everything else, they are able to see perfectly the love and light within themselves. For others, the Void can be terrifying or confusing because of an inability or unwillingness to see the love and light within. There is no judgment by God in the Void. There is only the possibility of self-judgment – a harsher form of self-understanding. The Void is where people undergo “ego death” where the “mask” of the personality is dissolved to allow the individuality of the soul to be experienced in relation to the Whole which is God. Many NDE experiencers find themselves immediately in the Void upon clinical death; and for many, the Void is as far as they go in their NDE as well.

(d) Portal: The Tunnel — Near-death experiencers report being drawn into and through a “tunnel” at an extremely high speed toward a radiant light. Some experiencers have seen other souls with them in the tunnel in the form of orbs. Some experiencers have seen other souls around the edges of the tunnel calling out to them or trying to grab the experiencer.

(e) The Receiving Station — This temporary transit area is a kind of heavenly sorting area where the destination of souls is decided. It has been described as a kind of heavenly way station, a heavenly amphitheater, or a heavenly airport terminal. Here is where the experiencer may have a homecoming with deceased loved ones, meet with spirit guides, meet a religious leader they admired such as Jesus, have a life review, and receive forgotten knowledge of both the past and the future. The NDE experiencer is then sent back to life on earth — usually after being told they are not ready to die. Examples of the Receiving Station in NDEs can be found here: [1] [2] [3] [4].

(f ) Realm 4: The Soul Realms — The Soul Realms are composed of seven invisible planetary afterlife realms associated with seven planets in our solar system not including earth – which is itself a living organism called “Gaia“. Our three-dimensional sun, in another-dimensional afterlife realm, is a itself a Being of Light. After death, souls usually incarnate to a number of Soul Realms between earth lifetimes until the soul has attained its proper level of soul growth and is ready for advancement to the Spirit Realms. When a soul incarnates into an earth life from a number of Soul Realms, the soul will manifest the influences of those realms from which it came. In each realm we deal mostly with our choices made in our most recent earth incarnation. We do this by focusing mostly on a single aspect of our soul development associated with that realm. For example, in one particular Soul Realm we deal mostly with our unfinished emotional business left over from our past incarnation. In another realm, a mental realm, we deal mostly with karmic memories. In another realm, we deal mostly with our desires and passions. Souls live in communities with those whom share a like sympathy such as with family and friends. Souls occasionally take trips into other realms and return again to use those experiences in their soul communities — just as people on earth do during dreams and NDEs. This is accomplished under the guidance and protection of souls and spirits who have taken this as their ministry. The only difference is that after death, souls do not sleep and they vividly recall the experience of having traveled to another realm.

(g) Realm 5: The Spirit Realms — After all the Soul Realms associated with our solar system have been fully experienced and all the lessons have been fully learned and the proper level of soul growth has been attained, the soul can move on to Spirit Realms associated with constellations and star systems around the spiritual universe. Some NDE experiencers have met their “Higher Self” in this realm. Some experiencers have described seeing a City of Light or a “galaxy” of light.

(h) Realm 6: The God Realm — The highest realm is completely outside of the universe. This is the “God Realm” and it is the ultimate destination of every spirit. NDE experiencers have described becoming completely absorbed into — or at-one-with — God — in this Realm. The God Realm is also known by various religious traditions as “Vaikuntha” (Hinduism), “Tian” (Taoism and Confucianism), “Akanishtha” (Buddhism), “Shamayim” (Judaism), the “Kingdom of God” (Christianity), and “Jannah” (Islam). It is possible that there are a multitude of these realms as well.

4. The many NDE pathways through the afterlife realms

There is one particular aspect to near-death testimonies that varies greatly from each other and it is the path by which experiencers travel to reach various afterlife realms. By analyzing the various NDE testimonies on this website, a diagram of the numerous pathways to these various afterlife realms has been created.

There are very likely other paths but these are the ones I have encountered most often. Lets go through each path one at a time.

a. Path A: Earth to Earthbound Realm

The Earthbound Realm (ER) consists of hell realms located in the same space as the Physical Realm (PR) except the ER and its inhabitants are invisible to those inhabiting the PR except, of course, by those who are psychic enough to sense them. The transition to the ER after death is so subtle that many souls who travel there are not even aware they have died. Several cases in point are Dr. George Ritchie and Dr. Dianne Morrissey. Both of these experiencers dwelt in the ER for extended periods of time until they saw their dead body and realized they were dead. Any NDE where the experiencer is out-of-body and can observe their dead body from a distance is an experience in the ER. The ER is a temporary state of mind and soul after death of having earthly, physical desires that can no longer be satisfied. It is also a condition resulting from living a hellish lifetime with little or no soul growth. The condition is neither condemnation, judgment, nor punishment. It is the natural consequences (karma) of living such a life. It is a painful condition similar to “withdrawal symptoms.” It is a purification process much like the Catholic concept of purgatory. It ends when those in such a condition are willing to see the light and love within themselves and others which is God.

Other great ER experiences can be found in the NDEs of Howard Storm, Howard Pittman, Josiane Antonette, David Oakford, Don Brubaker, Angie Fenimore, Lorraine Tutmarc, and Mellen-Thomas Benedict.

Other earthbound descriptions are from: Dr. Dianne Morrissey (the complete account in her book), Josiane Antonette, Howard Pittman, Emanuel Swedenborg and Ruth Montgomery.” (Kevin Williams)

b. Path B: Earth to Void

“Some people report entering the void immediately after death without having to go through the tunnel. Others do report entering the void through the tunnel. Some people, such as Dr. George Ritchie, do not go through a tunnel but are led from one realm to the other by a Being of Light.” (Kevin Williams)

“One of the best descriptions of the void comes from the near-death account of Mellen-Thomas Benedict. It is also one of the best and profound near-death accounts you will read. Other excellent void descriptions can be found in the NDEs of: Guenter Wagner, Dr. George Ritchie, Howard Storm, Angie Fenimore, RaNelle Wallace, and Don Brubaker.” (Kevin Williams)

c. Path C: Earth to Void to Heaven

“Some people describe entering the Void either through the tunnel or not through the tunnel. Once in the void, some people immediately return to their body and their NDE is over. Other people, such as Guenter Wagner, have an extended experience in the void and then return to their bodies. But in the map above, you can see that some people leave the void then enter heaven. Once in the void, the only way out of it is through the love you have cultivated within you during life. In the void, once a person begins to think, remember, feel and realize love, the tunnel opens and you enter toward the light. Some people, such as Linda Stewart, leave the void with the help of a Being of Light. The void is totally devoid of love and light and the only way you can be attracted to the light is by realizing the love within you.

“One of the best descriptions concerning the transition from the earth to void to heaven is the near-death account of Howard Storm. Another near-death account involving a trip through the void on the way to heaven is the near-death account of Linda Stewart. (Kevin Williams)

d. Path D: Earth to Heaven

“Some people do not report an experience with the earthbound realm or the Void. The travel to heaven directly my means of the tunnel. For example, Edgar Cayce traveled through the tunnel literally thousands of times and during each time, he would be able to see all the levels of the afterlife passing by him as he went straight to heaven to get his information. Why some people enter heaven by different methods is anyone’s guess. Perhaps people travel to afterlife realms according to how much they have earned it in life and in past lives. This would explain how some children have experiences in heaven without having to earn it in their current life and this suggests to me that they have earned it in a previous life. That is just my 2 cents worth.” (Kevin Williams)

“One of the best descriptions concerning the transition from the earth directly to heaven is the near-death account of Betty Eadie. Other NDEs involving a direct trip to heaven are from: Dannion Brinkley, Jayne Smith, David Goines, Jan Price, May Eulitt, Carl Jung, Edgar Cayce, and John Star.” (Kevin Williams)

e. Path E: Earth to Earthbound Realm to Void to Heaven

“An interesting aspect of near-death accounts is that if one reads enough of them, one begins to understand the various transitions from the earth to heaven. The map above represents near-death accounts that involve all the first three levels (earthbound, void, heaven). Some of these reports, such as Dr. George Ritchie‘s, are virtually guided tours by a Being of Light. Often, these kind of experiences are the most transcendental.” (Kevin Williams)

“Those cases who came closest to death, or were clinically dead, just as Moody’s cases reported, told of being outside of their bodies, of moving through a Void or dark tunnel toward a luminous light, of meeting with departed relatives and friends, of having a feeling of great comfort and bliss and of being surrounded by compassionate love, a feeling so beautiful they longed to remain, and when they returned to the earthly realm, they were affected by this feeling the rest of their lives.” (Dr. Kenneth Ring)

Edgar Cayce would leave his body and become oppressed by the darkness. He would then experience a tremendous feeling of loneliness. He would then see a white beam of light and know that he must follow it or be lost. Whenever he would move through the tunnel toward the light, he would travel through various afterlife levels where unusual beings dwelled. On the first afterlife level, there were vague, horrible, grotesque forms such as one would see in a nightmare. Moving on, he would see on either side of the tunnel, misshapen forms of human beings with some part of the body magnified. He would also see people on both sides of the tunnel calling out to him for help and trying to get his attention. But Cayce knew that any deviation from the tunnel would mean that he wouldn’t be able to return to his body. As he moved farther up the tunnel, the darkness would become lighter and the realm more colorful. At the end of the tunnel, he would then enter the Hall of Records, the heavenly source for the information he obtains. (Edgar Cayce)

Howard Pittman entered the second realm (the Void) where no love existed and where “demons” (earthbound human souls) there were participating in their area of expertise in tormenting souls. Pittman was then taken to the first realm (the earthbound realm) which he learned was in a spirit realm near the earth where demons stalk the living. It was in this realm that he saw demons in all shapes and forms. He was then led back to the second realm and to the entrance to a tunnel where angels were leading souls to the third realm (identified as one of the heavenly realms). (Howard Pittman)

Jan Price saw the skyline of a great city with three different dimensions. The first had a dinginess pervading the atmosphere. There was a gloominess, and everything was gray, even the inhabitants, but she sensed that somewhere beneath the discoloration pulsed life and beauty. It brought to her mind the lowest levels of existence in the world from which she came. Evil walked the squalid streets with malevolent bearing. No one there was up to, or expected, any good. From that dark dimension, each succeeding higher dimension became more colorful and more light. (Jan Price)

According to psychic George Anderson, after death we work our way up through the various levels of consciousness. We go through the tunnel and are able to go through the darker levels, which can represent a form of hell or purgatory, because these are the two negative levels, or the darker ones. But if we’ve been a good person, we generally just seem to pass through them very quickly and then we go on through the third and fourth levels of consciousness. When we go through these levels we meet our relatives and friends greeting us at the end of the tunnel where they’re waiting and lead us into the light.” (George Anderson)

As Mellen-Thomas Benedict passed into the second light [the Void], he expanded beyond the first light. He found himself in a profound stillness, beyond all silence. He could see or perceive FOREVER, beyond Infinity. He realized that he was in the Void. He realized he was in pre-creation, before the Big Bang. He had crossed over the beginning of time and into the Eye of Creation. He felt as if he was touching the Face of God and was at one with Absolute Life and Consciousness. Mellen-Thomas described the void this way:

“The void is less than nothing, yet more than everything that is! The void is absolute zero; chaos forming all possibilities. It is much more than even Universal Intelligence. The void is inside and outside everything. You, right now even while you live, are always inside and outside the void simultaneously. You don’t have to go anywhere or die to get there. The void is the vacuum or nothingness between all physical manifestations. The SPACE between atoms and their components. Modern science calls it zero-point. The Void is completely out of time and space as we know it. The Void itself is devoid of experience. It is pre-life, before the first vibration. While Mellen-Thomas was in the Void, he was aware of everything that had ever been created. It was like he was looking through the eyes of God. Suddenly he wasn’t him anymore; he had become God.” (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

f. Path F: Earth to Void to Receiving Station to Heaven

“Some people on the way to heaven first enter a heavenly receiving station where other souls are seen entering into as well. This receiving station is a place where people can meet deceased relatives and friends, have a life review, and/or move on to other structures within heaven. Some of these other structures that have been seen is a heavenly temple, a heavenly library, or a temple of knowledge. At this point, there are other higher heavens to go and it is my opinion that these are beyond the reach of people having an NDE. Often, it is in this first heavenly realm where people are told they must return. The following are experiences with this heavenly receiving stations.” (Kevin Williams)

Diego Valencia entered a dim, colorless, train station-like realm where grayish entities were being helped by guides from a foggy realm near earth. He was then given the decision to either return to his body or stay. (Diego Valencia)

George Ritchie entered the earthbound realm where he observed souls stalking the living because of some earthly desire. In the second realm (the Void), he observed angry spirits locked into hand to hand combat, trying in vain to hurt each other. In the third realm, he observed souls being led into a heavenly weigh station. After visiting a heavenly library, he is shown a distant city made of brilliant light. Its description resembled the city described in the Book of Revelation. (Dr. George Ritchie)

Dr. Michael Newton‘s research of afterlife experiencers yielded the following conclusions: All souls, regardless of experience, eventually arrive at a central port in the spirit world that is like a staging area for orientation. Once past this station there seems to be no further detour. A large number of returning souls are transported in a kind of spiritual form of mass transit. Souls are brought in, collected, and then projected out to their proper final destinations similar to a central terminal of a metropolitan airport that has the capacity to fly people out in any direction. The most outstanding characteristic of this place is a continuous feeling of a powerful mental force directing everything in uncanny harmony. Some have said that this is a realm of pure thought. (Dr. Michael Newton)

David Oakford was taken to a great city in the shadow and clouds above earth which he discovered was heaven. He observed the souls of humans and animals flying to and from the great city and back to the earth. He observed many souls coming to the city with guides. Some of the souls were sad, beaten and scared. In the city, David entered a large building where he had a life review. (David Oakford)

Ned Dougherty was in the deepest void of space feeling comfortable and at home. Ned then entered into a magnificent ethereal structure. This heavenly structure resembled an amphitheater made of a brilliant, crystal-like substance. The amphitheater was suspended in the void of space in the same fashion that a space station might hover in space. The amphitheater was similar in size to a sports stadium and conveyed a great majesty. It was here that Ned experienced a life review. (Ned Dougherty)

One woman, Pamela Anderson, went through a black tunnel and entered a black void of absolute nothingness. She discovered that the darkness existed in every direction. She sensed an entity in the darkness with her and she asked it, “What happened?” Through telepathy, the entity replied, “You’re dead.” The entities reply was as if it enjoyed telling her this. As soon as she realized this, a clear white bright light brought her into a huge, wonderful, stadium or amphitheater where love and music emanated from it. (Pamela Anderson)

An accountant described his account: “As we walked along together to find Jesus, I noticed there was one building larger than all the others. It looked like a football stadium with an open end to the building where a blinding light radiated from it. I tried to look up at the light but I couldn’t. It was too brilliant. Many people seemed to be bowed in front of this building in adoration and prayer. I said to my parents, ‘What is that?’ They said, ‘In there is God.'” (An accountant)

Lisa described her experience: “There was no tunnel or light. I ‘awoke’ standing upright in the back of what looked like a large auditorium-type place, without the chairs. The wall were gold and had jewels embedded in them. I was far in the back at first and couldn’t figure out where I was. There were horns playing loud classical-type music and it was a very formal-type ceremony. There were dancers with beautifully colored flags dancing in a supernatural sort of way. I felt my presence coming in closer, but I didn’t feel legs moving underneath me.” (Lisa)

Lynnclaire Dennis described her experience: “In luxuriant warmth we moved on, drawn higher into the valley, moving toward the Source of the light. I made a single turn, and the meadow suddenly became an amphitheater. On a stage that seemed to be suspended in front of me, I witnessed, with my grandmother, what seemed to be an encore performance of my life.” (Lynnclaire Dennis)

Edgar Cayce mentioned there exists a kind of weigh station in the spirit realm which is a transient place where souls decide their next destination. This transient place is the junction between various cosmic realms. It is both a usual and an unusual place related to the soul’s evolution. (Edgar Cayce)

Berkley Carter Mills was taken to a suspended platform where he met a being so powerful that he thought it was God. The angels bowed and took their places with two others at the platform’s four corners. Carter learned that the powerful being was Jesus. Carter is then led through a life review. (Berkley Carter Mills)

5. The connection between the body and afterlife realms

According to Edgar Cayce, Eastern mysticism, and NDE studies, the human body is a receiver of cosmic energy (like a radio) for which we are able to connect with spiritual realms in the afterlife. This “receiver” aspect of the human body is made up of a system of endocrine glands within our body which are points of contact to an associated system of spiritual energy centers (called “chakras” in the East) which are collectively called the “subtle” or “astral body” (or simply the “soul“). The soul body is the “vehicle” by which people have near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and lucid dreams for example. Near-death experiencers such as Edgar Cayce and Mellen-Thomas Benedict have described how our solar system is actually a physical representation of our higher spirit body. This revelation explains how planetary-astrological forces can influence us here on earth.

The soul body is also the energetic form of the physical body. The spiritual centers of the soul body are points of contact where the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the body come together. Each spiritual center associated with an endocrine gland is also a point of contact to a particular invisible afterlife realm represented physically by one of the planets of our solar system (see the chart below). Cayce identified a particular afterlife realm by giving it the same name as its corresponding planets in our solar system. For example, the planet Jupiter is the 5th planet from the sun and is the physical manifestation of an invisible afterlife realm that is 7th in the afterlife hierarchy. The pituitary gland – the “master” gland of the body – is associated with the “third eye” chakra in Eastern religions and is the point of contact connecting our physical body to 7th afterlife realm represented physically by the planet Jupiter.

Each spiritual energy center corresponds to one of the seven notes on a musical scale: C, D, E, F, G, A, B. Each spiritual center also corresponds to a color on the light spectrum of which there are seven: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet (or white). The positive and negative “vibes” a person is outwardly exposed to in life can influence the inward functioning of the endocrine glands and their corresponding spiritual center. The dominant vibration – positive or negative – within a person’s body reflects which spiritual center is dominant within a person’s life. It is the dominant vibration of a person’s life – body and spirit – which determines the level of the corresponding afterlife realm they have attained. Certain yoga meditation techniques (such as chanting mantras) have been used in the East to raise the quality of the spiritual energy vibration to help heal the mind, body and spirit.

6. NDE insights concerning the various afterlife realms

Dr. George Ritchie stated, “In the afterlife, our thoughts are no longer private, but become known to all around us. People of the same kind of thoughts are drawn to each other because it is too threatening to be with others with whom we disagree when they know it.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

Arthur Yensen stated, “After death, people gravitate into homogeneous groups according to the rate of their soul’s vibrations. If the percentage of discord in a person is small, it can be eliminated by the Master-Vibration of God; then the remaining good can live there. However, if there is more discord within a soul’s vibrations than good, this cannot be done and the person must gravitate to a lower afterlife level and live with people of their kind. Each person lives in the kind of a heaven or hell which they prepared for themselves while on earth. Nobody sends us anywhere. We are sorted by the high or low vibrations of our soul. Everyone goes where they fit in.” (Arthur Yensen)

According to Edgar Cayce, “After death, the dimension of the afterlife we travel to is determined by the level of spiritual development we have attained while on earth.” (Edgar Cayce)

Jan Price stated, “In the afterlife, everyone is free to visit the various afterlife realms and nothing is restricted. The only governor is the state of the conscious mind. Deeply held beliefs come into visible expression there. Not everyone has the same experience because everyone creates his or her own experience. Subtle energies slowly open restrictive, closed minds in order to accept greater understanding.” (Jan Price)

“We can not dwell in the higher spiritual realms until we have perfectly qualified for it by a change of heart and mind, a significant amount of preparation, and by completing our mission.” (Dr. Craig Lundahl)

“Those living in the higher realms radiate the brightest light and their glory must be cloaked when people in the lower realms look at them. It is possible for people in the lower realms to visit higher realms, but they must be prepared or covered so they can stand in the presence of greater glory.” (Dr. Craig Lundahl)

“Our earth experience determines our afterlife destiny, but no one is locked there, and each can progress to higher and higher levels of being.” (Jan Price)

“How does a person get ahead of others in the afterlife? They don’t. There is no place in heaven for discontent or personal ambition. Some people may not be able to change at all after they arrive in the afterlife. On earth, we can change ourselves quite easily and should use this life to make ourselves into the kind of people we want to be in the afterlife.” (Arthur Yensen)

“Death is merely the doorway to the next level of soul growth and evolution.” (Edgar Cayce)

“In the afterlife, death on earth is considered a graduation.” (Howard Storm)

“Infants who die are taken in spirit to a place where they are nurtured, taught and mature.” (Dr. Craig Lundahl)

“There are heavenly hospitals full of injured and crippled souls – the result of their hard faring on earth – who are nursed back to health so that they can begin their work in heaven.” (Dr. Craig Lundahl)

“To travel from one point to another in the afterlife, all one has to do is think about it.” (Dr. Dianne Morrissey)

“Those on the other side can observe what is happening on earth whenever they choose to do so.” (Jan Price)

“Each afterlife realm has a theme for learning. The physical realm exists for us to test our ideals and learn from them.” (David Oakford)

“How we lived our life on earth determines which heavenly realm we have earned and travel to after death. We choose our own pace through the afterlife realms.” (Betty Bethards)

“The afterlife realms are experiences of enjoyment and recreation. People do things they enjoy and keep company with people they enjoy in a realm of joyful activity. The skills, interests, and abilities developed on earth may be reflected in the roles chosen in eternity. We contribute uniquely toward the goodness and beauty in the realm we inhabit which is vast and of transcendent beauty. Our quality of life in spirit is directly affected by our heart and activities on earth. Opportunities for practicing love continues.” (Nora Spurgin)

“The most difficult thing for a person who has been deeply steeped in a particular religious tradition is to realize that the form alone is not what elevates a person; it is the heart. Still, those who cling to an external form of religion will be most comfortable with others who practice the same rituals, whatever they may be. In this sense, congregations may continue centered around the particular religious traditions they practiced while on earth.” (Nora Spurgin)

“Our moral obligation to help others continues after death. Death does not eliminate our obligations. We are still given opportunities in spirit realms to freely serve others.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“In heaven, we can remember our real identity and know what possibilities exist for soul growth. We do not move forward until we choose to.” (Dr. PMH Atwater)

“After death, we can choose to observe people on earth to see how they deal with situations. Our behavior on earth provides a teaching ground for those in spirit.” (Betty Bethards)

“When a soul incarnates to earth, they will be more influenced by the afterlife realm they just came from, the planet it represents, and the astrological configuration at the time of their birth. These planetary influences allow us to receive certain lessons and tests related to our karma. Our free will has absolute power over any planetary or heavenly realm – even God.” (Edgar Cayce)

“A heavenly computer exists in the spirit realm that is designed to help us choose our destiny.” (Dr. Allen Kellehear’s research)