But I’m not one of them… and I don’t recommend this movie to anyone who wants an accurate understanding of what heaven is really like. They won’t find it in this movie.
“Heaven is for Real” is about a four year old boy who reportedly slipped out of consciousness during an emergency surgery and saw glimpses of heaven full of graphic details.
The little boy’s dad is a pastor in Nebraska, so the book and movie have a number of biblical references and seem to go along with many basic evangelical truths.
Both this book and movie (like the Noah movie) have become very popular inside and outside of Christian circles. But are such accounts and depictions correct?
Is this movie a legitimate report of heaven? And the biblical answer is, no.
I can’t give a point-by-point treatment of each assertion or even a general review but, allow me to address the whole subject of personal experience books about heaven with some observations from Scripture.
With the exception of the resurrection of Jesus and the dead saints who came back to life after the resurrection mentioned in Matthew 27:52-53, there are only six people mentioned in the New Testament who died and then returned to the earth.
They are (1) the daughter of Jairus; (2) the son of the widow at Nain; (3) Lazarus; (4) Tabitha (a.k.a “Dorcas”); (5) Eutychus; and (6) the Apostle Paul.
These six are the only people mentioned in the New Testament who went to heaven and then came back, other than Jesus and the saints mentioned in Matthew 27.
The profound point to notice in this observation is that with the exception of the Apostle Paul and Christ Himself, not one of these people is ever quoted in the New Testament.
Now Paul is quoted and he even tells us that he went to the third heaven, but he never talks about anything he saw there (2 Cor. 12:2).
In fact, Paul specifically says in 2 Corinthians 12:4 that “he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.”
This is the apostolic teaching about reporting on things in heaven. Think about this!
The others who were raised from the dead are not even quoted once in the entire New Testament!
That’s especially noteworthy in the case of Lazarus, who was a close friend of Jesus. His sisters, Mary and Martha are both quoted, but Lazarus himself is never quoted. He isn’t quoted after he was raised from the dead… nor was he ever quoted BEFORE he died.
The same is true of each of the other four resurrected persons mentioned in the New Testament. They are never quoted. And there’s a reason for this emphasis.
As far as the New Testament is concerned, the only One who has ever gone to heaven and then returned to earth who has authority to speak about heaven is Jesus Himself.
No other Person is authorized by God to speak about life after death, or about heaven, or things to come, regardless of how sympathetic its author may be to Christian theology.
As a pastor, I know that many people are hurting from the loss of loved ones who have died. These individuals want to absorb every detail they can find about life after death and about heaven in particular.
Others are just curious and desire to know any details that aren’t given to us in Scripture. People are hungry for extra-biblical revelation about heaven and the afterlife.
Yet there’s also a particular danger for some who read these popular books who forget they’re reading extra-biblical experiences and may begin to hold the author’s presentation as if it had the weight of Scripture, when it doesn’t.
These subjective books may even become a replacement for what the Bible actually teaches about heaven.
Many times it seems the enemy will use the credibility of the Bible to market his lies and deceptions about life after death to our gullible culture. But don’t be deceived.
For these reasons, I won’t be reading the latest personal experience “I-died-and-went-to-heaven” books. Nor will I be recommending the movies based on such books.
These authors, regardless of their intent, are not authorized to speak on heaven. So their personal experiences are just that.
But the greater danger is that their reports of heaven are actually leading many people away from the truth about heaven revealed only in Scripture.
Therefore, let the reader (and moviegoer) beware!
Yours in the Truth,