Monday, September 20, 2021

Book Review/Endorsement: DEATHBED EXPERIENCES

 The basis of my endorsement of Dr. J. Steve Miller's exceptional study, a work that seems likely to become a classic.



Author: J. Steve Miller, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA


This extraordinary book, this scholarly tome, will set the agenda for future studies of the phenomena associated with “life after death” or “deathbed experiences,” happenings that indicate what happens to us as we pass from life to death and the hereafter. Prof. Miller’s 400-plus pages of closely argued text, with nearly 800 footnotes and approximately 1000 references, set a research standard hard to match, essential to those interested in the topic.

In the future, scholars unfamiliar with this work will be identifying themselves as producing analyses warranting little serious attention.

As a semi-retired scientist, a physicist/engineer with a long history of interest in not only science but also philosophy, I was privileged to receive a nearly final Advance Review Copy from Prof. Miller, an acquaintance through internet correspondence. I spent decades as an agnostic, only recently returning to the Christian faith, as a lapsed Protestant who views the Bible as history written by fallible mortals.

Prof. Miller’s book is so well-argued that it has moved me from hoping there is a life after death to expecting that there is, being only somewhat short of certain.

Here’s the book’s outline, in brief:


Part I: Examining DBE Phenomena

Chapter One. Phenomena Before Death

Chapter Two: Phenomena at Death

Chapter Three: Phenomena After Death

Chapter Four: Phenomena Throughout the Death Experience

Chapter Five: Conclusions from the Evidence


Part II: Challenges from Science and Naturalism

Chapter Six: Charges That the Evidence Isn’t Scientific

Chapter Seven: Challenges to the Afterlife Hypothesis


Part III: Deathbed Experiences and Christianity

Chapter Eight: Comparing DBE and NDE Research to Christian Teachings





The appendices include definitions of key terms, an example of a detailed DBE report, the math behind a major British Census study, application of Bayesian statistical analysis, a tabulation of scientific journals in which related work is found, and an extensive discussion of Rev. John MacArthur’s theological criticism of NDE.

The range and depth of this work are breathtaking, beyond this reviewer’s ken in several areas. Two areas raised questions for me: first, an early anecdote about Mark Twain’s detailed vision of the funeral arrangements for his younger, distant brother before the boy’s death…how do we have the effect (the vision) before we have the cause (the death)? Second, the correct application of Bayes’s theorem to improve our estimate of the probability of the existence of an afterlife, from new information, a topic for future research.

This profound and carefully researched book will encourage all who hope for a life after death in the presence of a just and benevolent God.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

Formerly, Associate Professor of Environmental Physics

Harvard (now, Chan) Graduate School of Public Health



Available from, among others,

1 comment:

  1. Definitely need to read this, Doug. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.