Bart D. Ehrman, Journeys to Heaven and Hell: Tours of the Afterlife in the Early Christian Tradition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2022), 235:
Whatever else [accounts of otherworldly journeys] are, they are literary productions, meant to entertain, provoke thought, inspire emotions, and – most important – affect the way life is lived. They are meant to inform and guide readers’ views, commitments, priorities, values, beliefs, interactions, and – and everything else involved with being human. For now, we live. We may not know for certain what will come after death, but whatever we imagine it will entail should direct us along our path getting there. Ancient otherworldly journeys are meant to spur our imagination and guide the way.