Bible Q&A: Can People Die and Come Back?

Many people talk about having experienced death and returning to life. How can this be coincided with the Bible?

The Bible teaches that physical death occurs when the spirit leaves the body (James 2:26), and that death happens only once to human beings (Heb. 9:27).  That by all indications is the natural law God set in place at the beginning.

Miracles by definition are anything that God does through man which goes against the natural laws he set in place at the beginning.  The Bible teaches that the purpose of miracles was to confirm the word of God which was being preached and had not yet been completed (Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3-4) and that the age of miracles ceased with the completion of God’s Word (1 Cor. 13:8-10; cf. Rom. 12:2; James 1:25).  During the age of miracles there were a few instances in which a person died and was brought back to life, but statistically such cases were rare.  Since the age of miracles has ceased because God’s Word has been confirmed and completed, actual resurrections of people who have actually died no longer take place.

Medical science shows that physical death occurs when the heart stops beating and all brain activity has ceased.  Thus, those who speak of having experienced death only to return to life are those who in actuality had not experienced physical death.  In some cases the person might have come very close to death and thus in their mind experienced death, but in actuality did not meet all the physical requirements of death.  In other cases the person claiming to have died and come back has made up the entire story purposefully for whatever reason, or has suffered a mental or emotional delusion.

Since the Bible says that death only occurs once and defines death as the spirit leaving the body, then someone who has medically experienced death due to their heart ceasing to beat and all brain activity ceasing to function will not come back to life until the last day (1 Thess. 4:13-18; John 5:28-29).

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