499. But this shall be still further illustrated by comparisons, as follows: Without some kind of freedom of choice in all created things, both animate and inanimate, no creation could have taken place; for without freedom of choice in natural things for beasts there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, and no propagation and preservation of offspring; thus, no beasts. If the fishes of the sea and the shellfish at its bottom, had no such freedom, there would be no fish or shellfish. In like manner, unless this freedom were in every insect, there would be no silk-worm yielding silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, no butterfly sporting with its consort in the air, feeding on the juices of flowers, and representing, after he has shed his exuviae as a worm, the happy state of man in the heavenly realm.
 Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in the earth's soil, in the seed sown in it, in all parts of the tree that has grown out of it, and in its fruit, and again in the new seed, there would be no plant life. Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in every metal, and in every stone both precious and common, there would be no metal or stone, or even a grain of sand; for even this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalations, throws off its worn-out elements and restores itself with new. From this there is a magnetic sphere about the magnet, an iron sphere about iron, a coppery one about copper, a silver sphere about silver, a golden one about gold, a stony sphere about stone, a nitrous sphere about niter, a sulfur sphere about sulfur, and a different sphere about every particle of dust. From this sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates; for without such an exhalation from every least particle of the earth's dust, there would be no beginning of germination and no continuance of it. How could the earth, except by what is exhaled from it, penetrate with dust and water to the inmost center of a grain sown in it, as into a grain of mustard seed, for example:
Which is less than all seeds, but when it is grown, it is greater than herbs, and becometh a tree? (Matt. 13:32; Mark. 4:30-32).
 Since freedom has been thus implanted in all created subjects, in each according to its nature, why should not freedom of choice have been implanted in man according to his nature, that he may become spiritual? This is the reason that free will in spiritual things is given to man, from the womb to the last hour of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity.