Hey, I’m just gonna be honest here. I was one of those people who wrote my whole paper in high school or college and only then looked up any sources or quotes to add “credibility” to what I said. Since you can find “authoritative” viewpoints that agree with just about anything you want to say, I never quite understood how peppering my paper with their opinions made my words any more valid or invalid than they already were.
Because the crux of Healing Hereafter is demonstrating what and then exploring why God says what he does in the Bible about the afterlife and human destiny, I didn’t research anything outside the Bible until after I had written the first draft. Although my own prior reading and experiences existed as I began to write, I wanted the answers in the book to arise from Scripture as primarily as possible. However, once such a draft was written, it was time to see what others had to say about these topics, both to discover any explanations that had not occurred to me and to expose myself to a wide variety of denominational and secular and popular and scholarly perspectives to make sure I had entertained questions and counterarguments from people who would ask different things about the hereafter than I would.
Around 20 books later—nearly all of which were chosen because they did not agree with major themes in the first draft—and after enduring a word-by-word analysis of the book by an editor with advanced education in biblical studies, I did end up with a better book. The questions were more diverse and the answers more in depth. But just like in high school, the research did not make the first draft more or less valid. Rather, it undeniably demonstrated that when you let the entire Bible say what it has to say, it will either be affirmed by the study of humans or it will offer something superior to those who attempt to derail it. I do not say this because I have already decided to believe the Bible no matter what, and I do not claim that reconciling all God says is easy. But I will say that of all the many experts, ideas, and sources I read and contemplated, none made more sense, answered more questions, and put more doubt to rest than the Bible itself. And that has done wonders for healing my hereafter!