There are many things that need to be said about levels of life and levels of vessels of life before I can give an intelligible explanation of the fact that other things in the universe, things that are not like angels and people, are also vessels for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One—for example, things below us in the animal kingdom, things below them in the plant kingdom, and things below them in the mineral kingdom. Union with them depends on their functions.
All useful functions have their only source in a related union with God that is, however, increasingly dissimilar depending on its level. As we come down step by step, this union takes on a nature in which there is no element of freedom involved because there is no element of reason. There is therefore no appearance of life involved; but still these are vessels. Because they are vessels, they are also characterized by reaction. It is actually by virtue of their reactions that they are vessels. I will discuss union with functions that are not useful after I have explained the origin of evil (Sections 264–270).
from Divine Love and Wisdom, Section 58