61. The reason why God from the things which are in accordance with order perceives, knows and sees everything down to the tiniest detail which happens contrary to order, is that God does not keep a person in evil, but holds him back from evil. So He does not lead him, but struggles with him. From that perpetual struggle, striving, resistance, repugnance and reaction of evil and falsity against His own good and truth, and so against Himself, He is able to perceive their nature and extent. This follows from the fact that God is omnipresent in all the details of His order, and also omniscient concerning every one of them. It is comparable with someone whose ear is attuned to harmony and concord, and can tell precisely how, and to what extent the sounds heard are inharmonious and discordant, or with someone experiencing pleasure, when an unpleasant sensation intervenes. Equally someone whose gaze is fixed on a beautiful object can form a precise appreciation of an ugly object set alongside, which is why painters have a habit of setting an ugly face next to a beautiful one. Likewise good and truth, when evil and falsity struggle against them, enable their opponents to be clearly perceived. For everyone under the influence of good can perceive evil, and everyone under the influence of truth can see falsity. The reason is that good is under the influence of the heat of heaven, and truth under that of its light, but evil is under the influence of the cold of hell, and falsity under that of its darkness. An illustration of this is the fact that the angels in heaven can see anything which goes on in hell, and what sort of monsters exist there; but on the contrary the spirits in hell cannot so much as glimpse what goes on in heaven, nor even see the angels, any more than a blind man can, or the eye gazing into the air and empty space.
 Those whose understandings are illuminated by wisdom resemble people standing on a mountain at mid-day and seeing clearly everything below them. If they enjoy even higher illumination, they can be compared to people who look through telescopes and see things around and below them as if near at hand. But those who by convincing themselves of false ideas have only the deceptive light of hell are like people standing on the same mountain at nighttime with lanterns in their hands, unable to see anything but the nearest objects, and unable to distinguish their shapes or their colours property. A person who has a little of the light of truth, but lives a wicked life, sees truth to begin with, when he is taking pleasure in his love of evil, rather as a bat sees washing hanging up in a garden, which it flies up to as if it were its roost. Later he becomes like a little owl and finally a horned owl. He then becomes like a chimney-sweep clinging to a dark corner of the chimney; when he lifts up his gaze he sees the sky obscured by smoke, and when he looks down he sees the hearth from which the smoke rises.