Book Club Channel
What Eternity Looks Like: A Q and A with Albrecht H. Gralle
LOGOS: Throughout the book, you talk about spiritual questions that may lead people to question whether or not there is a God—for example, the leap of faith required to believe in something you can't see and touch. Have you had those same questions?
AHG: Of course! During my studies and even before, I allowed myself to ask all these doubting questions: Does God exist? Is life after death a fairy tale or not? Can we trust the Bible? . . . and so on. I found it refreshing that Swedenborg is so scientific in these matters and reasons everything through, very unlike a typical mystical author.
LOGOS: What audience did you have in mind when you wrote this book, and what do you hope they will get out of it?
AHG: My audience is readers who are open to spiritual questions in general—not only Christians, but also atheists who have a hidden longing for more, and people from other religions who still have questions.
I hope my readers will realize after reading the book that death is not terrible and frightening, but rather a door into another world. I got a letter from a woman in a hospital who knew that she would die soon. The book helped her in her dying process.
A young man told the publishing house [of the German edition] after having read the book: "All right, if the afterlife is really like this, why shouldn't I become a Christian?"
LOGOS: You've written many other books in German. Could you tell us a little bit about the other types of writing you do?
AHG: I've written historical novels that take place in the sixth and eleventh centuries AD in South Germany in Trier and Cologne. The titles of those books are The Taste of Miracles, Monk and Queen, and The Bishop's Bride. The sixth century is a time when the Roman Empire is fading and the Franks are coming to power, when there is still heathen magic, when the church is growing, and the Irish monks came to the Continent and built monasteries. An exciting time!
I've also written children's books about historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci; Albrecht Dürer, the painter (the title of that one was Der Löwe des Herrn Dürer or The Lion of Mr. Dürer). The children's books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. And I still love to write Christian short stories—kind of like parables—and fiction like Bertram & Co. I also like to write funny Christian books with a good portion of black humor in them, like Die Leiden des jungen Pastor W. (The Sufferings of Young Pastor W.).
This interview was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Logos, the newsletter about the Swedenborg Foundation's publications and programs on the spiritual basis of life.