Doctors can chronicle in great detail what happens to the human body when a person dies. But no one can say with certainty what happens to the person’s soul when the heart stops beating. Scientists tend to shy away from this topic because it’s hard to prove where the soul and essence of a person lies within the body, let alone if it really exists in the first place.
Yet, time and time again, people from different faiths and cultural backgrounds speak on these things in a spiritual sense. Those who have experienced near-death experiences often describe seeing a white light or tunnel. These individuals also describe a feeling of peace and calm and a desire to approach that light.
The closest we will get to understanding something so complicated and abstract as the soul or what happens to our spiritual being when we pass on is to hear the personal stories from people. Those who have come very close to the other side but made their way back to the world of the living.
Zack who lives in Brownwood, Texas, is a regular teen who is part of his high school's football team and loves to play video games.
Out of nowhere and without warning the Warrior Athletics student collapse on the football field. The principal, Gary Bay, used to be a volunteer ambulance crew. He got to work to help and save Zack.
Zack was transferred to the Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Zack had been dead for 20 minutes. Doctors were concerned of irreversible brain damage.
The teenager was put in a medically induced coma. His body temperature was lowered so his brain could recover from the cardiac trauma.
He shocked the staff who were worried he would be like other people who never wake up from a medically induced coma after such a traumatic experience.
Doctors admit they do not work on someone's body for that long. After a certain time when there is no pulse, doctors have no other choice but to call the time.
Zack said he had seen a man with a thick beard, blue eyes, and long, ruffled hair. He said Jesus was surrounded by angels.
"He put his hand on my shoulder and told me that everything was going to be all right. It made me feel like someone was watching over me and I was going to get through it," says Zack.
"Since it happened, I feel like I'm a stronger person," admits Zack.
Billy and Teresa have received a lot of love and support from complete strangers across the country. The family has also encountered criticism.
"People can argue science and logic, but they can't argue somebody's personal experience. They can't take that away from Zack," argues Billy.
He will be wearing a defibrillator vest that detects life-threatening heart rhythm. The vest is equipped to send a shock to the heart in such circumstances.
Everyone from first responders to hospital staff were invited to help Zack celebrate turning 17 and being alive.
"It's an uncomfortable thing. But somebody who is not clinically dead or has not been in that state cannot say what Zack did or did not see. He is somebody who, for 20 minutes, didn't have a heartbeat," explains Dr. Roten.