50. What the people of the earliest church meant when they spoke of the Lord's image involves more than can be put into words.
People have no idea whatever that the Lord governs them through angels and spirits, or that at least two spirits and two angels accompany each of them. The spirits create a link with the world of spirits, 1 and the angels create one with heaven. We cannot possibly live without a channel of communication open to the world of spirits through spirits and to heaven through angels (and in this way to the Lord through heaven). Our life depends totally on such a connection. If the spirits and angels withdrew from us, we would be destroyed in a second.
 As long as we are unregenerate, we are governed in a completely different way than the regenerate. Before regeneration we have with us evil spirits whose grip on us is so strong that the angels, though present, can achieve hardly any results. All they can do is head us off from rushing into the worst kind of evil and divert us toward some form of good. They even use our own appetites to lead us toward good, and the illusions of our senses to lead us toward truth. Under these circumstances we communicate with the world of spirits by means of the spirits around us but not so much with heaven, since the evil spirits are in charge and the angels only deflect their influence.
 When we are regenerate, on the other hand, the angels are in charge, inspiring us with all kinds of goodness and truth and instilling a horror and fear of evil and falsity.
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role, the words of this verse appear in the plural — "Let us make a human in our image." But since only the Lord rules and manages us, the next verse uses the singular — "God created the human in his image." The Lord states his role clearly in Isaiah:
This is what Jehovah has said, your Redeemer and the one who formed you from the womb: "I, Jehovah, make all things, stretching the heavens out on my own, spreading the earth out by myself." (Isaiah 44:24)
The angels themselves confess that they have no power but act only at the Lord's behest.