“It is important to know, though,” the voice continued, “that God is always present, constantly at work and making an effort in us. He even influences our free choice. He never violates it, however, because if he did, we would lose our dwelling in God; there would remain only a dwelling for God in us, as there is for all things on earth, all things in heaven, and even for the things that are in hell. From God we get our power, our will, and our ability to understand. There is no reciprocal dwelling for us in God, though, unless we live by the laws of the divine design given in the Word. Then we become images and likenesses of him; then paradise is given to us for a possession, and the fruit of the tree of life for food.
“The rest of us gather around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, speak with the serpent there, and eat. Later we are expelled from paradise. Nevertheless God does not abandon us; we abandon God.”
The people in hats understood this and gave their approval, but the people in caps denied it; they said, “In that case wouldn’t omnipotence be limited? But limited omnipotence is a contradiction.”
I replied, “There is no contradiction in acting all-powerfully with judgment in following the laws of justice, or the laws of wisdom inscribed on love. The contradiction arises when you think God can act against the laws of his own justice and love, which would not be acting with judgment or with wisdom. Your belief entails a contradiction like that: on the basis of grace alone, God can justify unjust people and bestow on them all the gifts of salvation and all the rewards of life.
“I will briefly state what God’s omnipotence is. God used his omnipotence to create the universe. As he did so, he built his own design into each and every thing. God also uses his omnipotence to maintain the universe. He forever guards its design and its laws. When anything falls away from his design, he brings it back into the design and reintegrates it.
“God also used his omnipotence to establish the church. He revealed the laws of its design in the Word. When the church slipped away from the divine design, he restored it. When it fell completely out of the divine design, he came down into the world. Through the human manifestation that he took on, he clothed himself with omnipotence and reestablished the church.
“God uses his omnipotence and also his omniscience to examine us all after death. He prepares the just, the sheep, for their places in heaven; by assigning them places he builds heaven. He prepares the unjust, the goats, for their places in hell; by assigning them places he builds hell. He arranges heaven into communities and hell into hordes according to all the different loves their inhabitants have. In heaven there are as many varieties of love as there are stars in the sky above the earth. He unites the communities of heaven so that they are like one person before him. Likewise he brings the hordes of hell together so they are like one devil. He separates hell from heaven with a great chasm, so that hell will not inflict violence on heaven and heaven will not inflict torment on hell. (The more heaven flows in, the more those in hell are tormented.) If God were not using his omnipotence in every moment to do all the above, so much wildness would come over people that they could never be restrained by the laws of any design and the human race would perish. This and more would happen if God were not the divine design and were not omnipotent in his design.”
When they heard this, the people who had been wearing hats left with them under their arms, praising God.
In the spiritual world the intelligent wear hats. The unintelligent wear caps because they are bald; their baldness means that they are dense. The people with caps went away to the left, but the people with hats went to the right.
from True Christianity, Volume 1, Section 74