No discussion on miracles, especially regarding perspective on healing, would be complete without touching on near-death experiences. Judy Siegel, in an article for The Jerusalem Post, tells of a baby girl born premature, “during the 23rd week of gestation,” who is declared dead after a lengthy struggle by the medical staff. And yet, five hours later, when the child’s body is brought from the morgue for the mother to say a loving farewell, the girl begins to breathe. Even the medical professionals are awestruck. Dr. Moshe Daniel, the deputy director of the hospital, a physician for 35 years, claimed he had “never heard of such a case. It was like a medical miracle” (Siegel). And even when considering the possibility of the refrigeration process aiding the reanimation of the child, Daniel made it clear that, although there have been some rare cases of people nearly frozen coming back to life, there has never been a case of a baby doing so. Unfortunately, even when the attending physicians; who know far more about anatomy, and life and death than most skeptics; claim it is a “medical miracle,” they do so to deaf ears. The skeptics pull out the old stand-by, probability. The argument being, that if any human has ever been revived after freezing conditions lowered the metabolic rate, than there is a statistical probability of it happening again: whether adult or child. Obviously, they are forgetting the vast differences between what a grown person can endure compared to a premature infant.
Therefore, let’s remove the freezing element from the equation. Since most scientific or logic minded skeptics claim the freezing element is the key factor to all recorded incidents of near-death experiences, if that key element is removed we should find no other near-death events outside that statistical probability. Fortunately, for the individuals brought back to life, the skeptics are wrong on that assumption as well. Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall IV, a renowned Palm Beach cardiovascular surgeon, testified before 120 doctors representing 50 countries, as they “sat in stunned silence” while he “produced evidence” of praying for “a patient who had died and was being prepared for the morgue,” and the patient came back to life (Wooding). The patient revived without the cooling element, without being shocked with the electrical paddles, and without the use of medication. Crandall simply prayed for him in the presence of the nurse who was preparing the body for the morgue: and the nurse was a non-believer. Of course, skeptics, who will clutch at any straw no matter how thin, may contend the patient was never really dead. And that might be a valid argument if ordinary citizens made the claim, but not top level medical personnel. Even Crandall’s description of the patient prior to his prayer confirms death:”There was no life in the man. His face and feet and arms were completely black with death” (Wooding). This is not something a respected cardiologist and the surgical team are going to misdiagnose. So do miracles happen? Most rational and open-minded individuals would at least acknowledge the possibility of the miraculous in the above situations. However, for the sake of the die-hard skeptic, let’s review another case that will have everyone scratching their heads.
For the hard-line skeptic, with the “deny at all cost” mentality, see if you can find the probability in this next case. Daniel Ekechukwu, a Nigerian pastor, died after sustaining traumatic wounds when his vehicle slammed into a concrete pillar (Servant). He had been rushed to the nearest hospital, a small third world hospital in the country that was ill-prepared to handle massive trauma cases such as this. So they sent him by ambulance to a larger city hospital, but Ekechukwu died in-route. Since he was D.O.A., and it was late at night, they shipped his body to the Federal Medical Center where “he was confirmed to be dead by Doctor Josse Annabunwa,” and a “death certificate was issued at 11:30 P.M.” (Servant). The body was then sent to Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, where the resident mortician, Barlington Manu, began to prepare the corpse by injecting embalming fluids into the hands and feet. This was done because it was a small country mortuary that had no refrigeration units to store the body in. However, the pastor’s wife received a vision that told her to take her husband’s body to a specific church that was having a special service. The mortician prepared the body for transport. He even had to cut the clothes to get them on because rigor mortis had already set-in, and the cadaver was stiff. When he finished he placed the body in the casket, which, ironically, the guards at the church would not allow at the service when they arrived: believing it might hold explosives. So Ekechukwu’s body was carried to the basement where sometime during the prayer and healing service taking place upstairs, between “3:50 and 5:15 P.M. on Sunday afternoon,” Ekechukwu abruptly “sneezed and arose with a jump” (Servant). It had been over 42 hours since his death, the body was never medicated or placed in cold storage, and the mortician had already begun to inject the body with formaldehyde. Therefore, when you consider a body is, for all intensive purposes, both physically and clinically dead within two hours of it ceasing to function, this case, along with the prior two, fall way outside any contention of probability for natural law: whether skeptics want to admit it or not. And to add to the preponderance of evidence, this last case was witnessed by hundreds of people: medical professionals and laypersons, atheists, theists, and agnostics alike.
[*The final thoughts tying the various points together come in Part 5.]