First of all, I need to say something about”end.” There are three, which follow in sequence: They are called the first end, the mediate end, and the final end; and they are also called the purpose, the means, and the result. These three must all be present in anything in order for it to be something, since no first end occurs without an intermediate and and a final one at the same time. This is the same as saying that no purpose occurs apart from its means and result, or no means by itself, without a purpose as its source and a result that contains it, or no result by itself without a means or a purpose.
You can see the truth of this if you consider that a purpose apart from its result or separated from its result is nothing that in fact comes into being, so it is nothing but a word. For a purpose effectively to be a purpose, that is, it must be defined, and it finds its definition in its result. That is where it is first called a purpose, because this is its purpose. It looks as though the active or effective element arose spontaneously, but this is an appearance caused by the fact that it is in its result. If it is separated from its result, though, it promptly dissipates.
We can therefore see that this trio of purpose, means, and result needs to be in every entity if it is to be anything.
We also need to realize that the purpose is the sum and substance of the means and also the sum and substance of the result. This is why we call the purpose, the means, and the result the first, intermediate, and final ends. For the purpose to be the sum and substance of the means, though, there needs to be something from the purpose in which it exists; and for it to be the sum and substance of the result there must be something from the purpose through the means in which it exists. A purpose cannot exist in itself alone, but must exist in something that takes place because of it, something in which it can dwell with its total being, something which it can accomplish by its effort as long as it lasts. The reality in which it “lasts” is that final end that is called its result.
from Divine Love and Wisdom, Sections 167-168