491. That God has implanted freedom not only in man, but also in every beast, and an analogue of it even in things inanimate, enabling each to receive it according to its nature, as He also provides what is good for them all; but that the objects themselves turn the good into evil, may be illustrated by comparisons. The atmosphere gives to every man the ability to breathe, and in like manner to every beast tame or wild, also to every bird, the owl and dove alike; it also gives the ability to fly, and yet it is not the atmosphere that causes its gifts to be received by creatures of contrary genius and nature. The ocean furnishes in itself an abode and also offers nourishment, to every fish; but the ocean does not cause one fish there to devour another; or the crocodile to turn its food into poison with which it kills men. The sun provides heat and light for all things; but objects, such as the various vegetable productions of the earth, receive these diversely, a good tree and a good shrub in one way, and the thorn and thistle in another; or a harmless herb in one way, and a poisonous herb in another. The rain falls from the higher region of the atmosphere upon all parts of the earth; and the earth administers the waters therefrom to every shrub, herb, and grass, and each one of them takes to itself according to its need. This is what is called an analogue of freedom of choice, because they drink in the rain freely through their little mouths, pores, and ducts, which stand open in the warm seasons, the earth merely supplying the fluids and elements, and the plants partaking of them from a certain kind of hunger and thirst. The like is true of men, in that the Lord flows into every man with spiritual heat, which in its essence is good of love, and with spiritual light, which in its essence is the truth of wisdom; but man receives these according to whether he turns towards God or towards self. Therefore the Lord, in teaching about love towards the neighbor, says:
That ye may be the children of the Father, who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).
And elsewhere He says:
That He desires the salvation of all.