As Long as We Are Alive in This World, We Are Held Midway between Heaven and Hell and Kept in Spiritual Equilibrium There, Which Is Free Choice (Continued)

This spiritual equilibrium or free choice can be illustrated by earthly examples of equilibrium. It is like the equilibrium experienced by a person tied around the waist or arms between two men of equal strength. The person in the middle is pulled by one man to the right and by the other to the left. In that situation the person in the middle is able freely to pull to one side or the other as if not constrained by any force at all. If that person lunges to the right, the man on the left is actually dragged in that direction so violently that he falls to the ground. A similar situation would occur if someone, even a weak person, were to be tied to three men on the right and three equally strong men on the left. In fact, it would be the same if someone were tied between camels or horses.

This spiritual equilibrium or free choice can be compared to a pair of scales with equal weights on both sides; if even something small is then added to one side, the pointer above will wobble to and fro. The same responsiveness is true of a carrying pole, or a large beam balanced on its fulcrum. Each and every thing inside us, such as our heart, lungs, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidney, intestines, and the rest, is in an equilibrium like this. As a result, every part can perform its functions in a state of complete ease. The same is true of all our muscles; without the equilibrium that exists between them, all action and reaction would stop and we would no longer function as a human being. Given that all parts of our bodies are in an equilibrium like this, all parts of our brains have a similar state of equilibrium. As a result, so also do all the elements that are in our minds, which relate to our will and our intellect.

Animals, birds, fish, and insects also have freedom, although it is their physical senses that drive them, and their appetites and pleasures that point the way. It would be much the same for us, if we had the same freedom of action as we do of thought; in this condition the senses of the body would drive us as well, and our cravings and pleasures would point the way.

It is different for us if we absorb the spiritual teachings of the church and restrain our free choice accordingly. We are then led by the Lord away from cravings and evil pleasures and our native eagerness for them, and we strive for what is good and turn away from what is evil. The Lord then moves us closer to both the east and the south in the spiritual world, and we are brought into heavenly freedom, which is true freedom.

from True Christianity, Section 478

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