498. The conclusion from all this is that freedom of choice itself in spiritual things resides in the soul of man in all perfection, and from that it flows, like a stream into a fountain, into his mind, into the two parts of it, which are the will and the understanding, and through these into the bodily senses, and into speech and actions. For in man there are three degrees of life, the soul, the mind, and the sentient body; and all that is included in the higher degree is more perfect than that which is in a lower degree. It is this freedom of man, through which, in which, and with which, the Lord is present in him, and unceasingly urgent to be received; but He in no way sets aside or takes away this freedom, since, as said above, whatever man does in spiritual things, that is not done from freedom, does not endure. It may therefore be said that the Lord's abode in man is this freedom of man which is in his soul.
 It is evident without explanation that the doing of evil, in both the spiritual and the natural world, is restrained by laws, since otherwise society would everywhere cease to exist. Nevertheless, it must be made clear that without such external bonds, not only would society cease to exist, but the whole human race would perish. For man is enticed by two loves, the love of ruling over all, and the love of possessing the wealth of all. These loves, if uncurbed, rush onward to infinity. The hereditary evils into which man is born have arisen principally from these two loves; nor was the sin of Adam any other than a desire to become as God, which evil the serpent infused into him, as it is written; therefore in the curse pronounced upon him it is said:
That the earth should bring forth the thorn and the thistle to him (Gen. 3:5, 18);
which means all evil and falsity therefrom. All who are enslaved by these loves, look upon themselves as the one only object, in which and for which all others exist. Such have no pity, no fear of God, no love for the neighbor; consequently they are unmerciful, inhuman and cruel, and are possessed by an infernal lust and greed for robbing and plundering, and by craft and cunning in working out their purposes. Such evils are not innate in the beasts of the earth; these do not slaughter and devour each other, except from the love of satisfying their hunger or defending themselves. Therefore a wicked man, viewed with reference to these loves, is more inhuman, fiercer, and worse than any beast.
 That man is inwardly such, is manifest in seditious disturbances when the bonds of law are loosed, and also in massacres and pillaging, when the signal is given to soldiers that they are free to satiate their fury upon the conquered or besieged; from which scarcely anyone desists until the drum beats the order to do so. From all this it is clear that if no fear of legal penalties restrained men, not only society, but the whole human race, would be destroyed. But none of these evils can be removed except by the true use of freedom of choice in spiritual things, and this is done by directing the mind to reflection upon the state of life after death.