We Are Not Life, but We Are Vessels for Receiving Life from God (Continued)

Why do we not know this from any light of reason? Because that light is overshadowed by our mistaken ideas, which arise because we trust what our outer physical senses tell us. We have the sensation that our aliveness comes from a life within us, because what is instrumental feels what is principal as its own; it cannot tell them apart. The principal cause and the instrumental cause together behave as one cause, according to a theory known to the world of learning. The principal cause is life; the instrumental cause is the human mind.

It also appears as though animals possess a life that has been created as part of them, but this is a similarly mistaken idea. Animals are organisms created to receive light and heat from the physical world and from the spiritual world at the same time. Every species is a form of some earthly love. It receives the light and heat of the spiritual world indirectly through heaven and hell—the gentle animals through heaven and the savage animals through hell. The difference between us and them is that only human beings receive light and heat (that is, wisdom and love) directly from the Lord.

from True Christianity, Section 473

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