Heaven and Hell is Swedenborg’s most popular book and his fullest report of his experiences in the other world. In it he describes heaven, hell, and the world of spirits that lies between them, and he recounts in detail the process of passing from life to afterlife, as well as the subsequent experiences of the soul. He counters certain traditional views by maintaining that angels (and devils) are not a separately created genderless race but people (both male and female) who once lived in the physical world. These spirits end up either in heaven or in hell depending upon the lives they have led and the choices they have made on earth. Infants and children of any and all religious backgrounds—atheistic, agnostic, non-Christian, or Christian—enter heaven and grow up to young adult age after death, while adults maintain or regain a state of healthful youth. Swedenborg colors his account with abundant details concerning the nature of the spiritual world—having to do not only with angels and their powers, their language, their homes and clothing, but also with the circumstances of devils and evil spirits.
In many respects, Heaven and Hell is “the place to start” for those who wish to become acquainted with Swedenborg’s rich account of the afterlife. Over the years this volume has been much sought also by readers who have an interest in near-death experiences or who seek consolation for the loss of a loved one.