In our Christian culture, we refer to a human being as having a physical body and a soul. At death, the soul leaves the body and travels to heaven in hopes of meeting up with Jesus, who promised to prepare a room for us in his Father’s house. Yet, what our experience on “the other side” is going to be like has remained a mystery -- the great unknown.
For instance, is the soul a disembodied spirit? Or shall the soul have a body? In the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul responds to that very question, “How foolish! … There is a physical body, and there is also a spiritual body.”
Why does Paul speak with such authority about the afterlife? Well, in his letters, he claims to have had several mystical or paranormal experiences. Here is an inter-esting story revealed in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
“I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows ... But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words.”
Did Paul have an out-of-body experience, an OBE? Or could it be that he had a near-death experience, an NDE. In either case, his retelling of the happening is not unlike the thousands of NDE’s reported in recent years
The story-line goes something like this. They rise above, noticing the doctors striving to resuscitate their physical body below. Then they travel through a dark tunnel until they see a great light. Sometimes, deceased relatives appear to greet them or they have a life-review. Some are told they must return to earth -- others get to choose whether to stay or return.