“When they look at caterpillars, too, all people can put the visible features of nature to use to strengthen their belief in the Divine. The delight of some love impels caterpillars to long and strive for a change from their earthly condition to something like a heavenly state. So they crawl into a suitable place, wrap themselves in a covering, and create for themselves a kind of womb in which to be reborn. In that womb they become chrysalises, pupas, nymphs, and finally butterflies. After they have undergone their metamorphosis and have been adorned with beautiful wings that reflect their species, they fly into the air as if it were their own heaven and cheerfully play there. They find a partner, lay eggs, and provide for the next generation. During their butterfly phase they nourish themselves with sweet and pleasant food from flowers. Surely all who use the phenomena visible in nature to strengthen their belief in the Divine see an image of our earthly state in the caterpillars, and an image of our heavenly state in the butterflies. Those who convince themselves in favor of nature do indeed see these phenomena, but because they reject the existence of a heavenly human state, they call these phenomena the mere workings of nature.
“By focusing on what is known about bees as well, anyone can use things visible in nature to strengthen a belief in the Divine. Bees know how to collect wax from roses and other flowers, and how to extract honey. They know how to build cells like little apartments and lay them out in the form of a city with passages for coming and going. From far away they smell the flowers and plants from which they get wax for their hive and honey for food. Once stuffed with these, they fly in a straight line back to their own beehive. By doing so they store up food for themselves for the coming winter as if they saw it coming. They set over themselves a female to lead them as their queen. She gives birth to the next generation. They also set over themselves a kind of court for her, complete with bodyguards. When the time comes for her to give birth, she takes an entourage of these bodyguards, called drones, and goes from cell to cell laying eggs, which her crowd of followers covers with daub to protect the eggs from the air. This results in new offspring. Later on, when they have grown to the age at which they can take on these tasks, the young bees are expelled from the hive. They first gather into a swarm in order to stay together and then fly to look for a new home. In the fall the drones are taken away because they have contributed no wax or honey. Their wings are removed to prevent them from coming back and consuming the hive’s food, for which they did no work. “All this and more besides serves to show that because bees are useful to the human race, a divine inflow through the spiritual world gives bees a form of government like the one among people on earth, and even like the one among angels in the heavens.
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 12