Continuing our series into eternal life and what it looks like, I was reminded of a booklet I read as a christian back in the mid-90s. The seemingly fantastical story of 26- year-old pleasure seeker Ian McCormack who dies and goes to heaven. His account is below and we will look at it over the next few weeks as

Diving for lobster on the island of Mauritius one evening, adventurous Ian MacCormack was stung by a group of box jellyfish. Given that the venom of one can kill a person in four minutes, by the time the ambulance came for Ian, his body was completely paralyzed, and necrosis had started to set into his bone marrow.

Travelling to hospital in the ambulance, McCormack saw his life flash before him. Realising he was near death and remembering how he had rejected God and the afterlife, he suddenly saw a vision of his mother –  the only Christian in the family –  praying for him. Encouraged to cry out to God to her and that God would hear and forgive him, Ian attempted to pray but didn’t know what to say. Crying out he asked God to prove he was real and God reminded McCormack of the Lord’s Prayer.

At the  hospital, they rushed Ian inside where doctors tried to save his life by injecting anti-toxins into his body, but nothing worked and within a few minutes, he was dead.

As his body lay lifeless on the bed, McCormack found himself in a very dark place. Unaware of where he was, he reached out and found himself unable to touch anything. If he tried to touch his face, his hand would go through it. MacCormack began to sense that he wasn’t just in a physically dark place but surrounded by a spiritual darkness. Moreover, he had an eerie feeling there was something else there that was watching him.

The same moment,  a bright beam of light radiated through the darkness and started to lift him upward into it. MacCormack  entered through an opening and found himself inside a long narrow tunnel. At the far end of the tunnel he could see the source of the light. Then he watched as a wave of the light broke away from the source and moved up the tunnel towards him. This light passed through McCormack, and he could feel a wave of warmth and comfort flood his soul.

We’ll continue the story in next week’s post? In the meantime, what do we make of the way hell is described as a dark place without form? (It is certainly different to the one that Dante imagined).

What of the grace afforded to McCormack who as an atheist yet is in the last minutes of his life afforded this opportunity to be forgiven and lifted out of darkness into light

– Is it in keeping with scripture?

– Is it fair on the many who are devout Christians their whole lives and not making a death bed confession?

I look forward to your answers posted on the Tough Questions FB page …til next week