I was once shown the way to heaven and the way to hell. There was a broad path leading off to the left or north. There seemed to be a great many spirits traveling along it. In the distance, though, I could see a fairly large boulder where the broad path ended. Then two paths led off from the boulder, one to the left and the other, on the other side, to the right. The path to the left was narrow and confined, leading around through the west to the south, and therefore into the light of heaven. The path to the right was broad and open, leading obliquely down toward hell.
At first, everyone was clearly following the same path as far as the large boulder at the fork; but at that point they parted company. The good turned to the left and started along the confined path that led to heaven. The evil did not even see the boulder at the fork but fell over it and hurt themselves. When they got up, they rushed along the broad path to the right that led toward hell.
Later, the meaning of all this was explained to me. The first path, the broad one where so many good and evil people were traveling together, chatting with each other like friends with no visible difference between them, pictured people who live similarly honest and fair outward lives, with no visible difference between them. The stone at the fork or corner where the evil people stumbled, from which they rushed along the path to hell, pictured divine truth, which is denied by people who are focusing on hell. In the highest sense this stone meant the Lord’s divine human nature. However, people who acknowledge divine truth and the divine nature of the Lord as well were taken along the path that led to heaven.
This showed me again that both evil and good people live the same life outwardly, or travel the same path, one as readily as the other. Yet the ones who at heart acknowledge the Divine, especially those within the church who acknowledge the Lord’s divine nature, are led to heaven; while those who do not acknowledge it are led to hell.
Paths in the other life picture the thoughts that flow from our aims or intentions. The paths that are presented to view there answer exactly to the thoughts of our aims, and our course follows the thoughts that flow from our aims. This is why you can tell the quality of spirits and of their thoughts from their paths. This also showed me the meaning of the Lord’s words, “Enter through the narrow gate, for broad is the gate and open the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who walk along it; confined is the path and narrow the gate that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13–14). The way that leads to life is not narrow because it is difficult but because so few people find it, as stated.
The boulder I saw at the corner where the broad, common path ended and the two ways seemed to lead in opposite directions showed me the meaning of the Lord’s words, “Have you not read what is written, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the head of the corner’? Whoever falls over this stone will be shattered” (Luke 20:17–18). The stone means divine truth, and the rock of Israel means the Lord in regard to his divine human nature. The builders are the people of the church. The head of the corner is where the fork is, and to fall and be shattered is to deny and perish.
from Heaven and Hell, Section 534