The above statements (from Ben Swett's "Conversations in Silence" (used with permission)) are actually far more profound than they may at first seem. Though different from traditional Christian teachings on souls (that the lost will burn eternally in Hell, or whatnot), the resulting conclusion is the same:
Spirit: God established the way that leads to life and the way
that leads to death. Every soul is free to choose which he will
Ben: Doesn't God care which way a soul goes?
Spirit: Of course. But He loves each one too much to take away the freedom.
Ben: Even if they are about to die? Spiritually?
Spirit: Even then. Life and heaven would both be meaningless without the freedom. Souls would be no more than inanimate machines.
"Life and Heaven would both be meaningless without the freedom" .... Look at it this way: If every path led to the same place, what choice do we souls have about where we go? None! We are all stuck on a pre-set divine track that will definitely take us to God, no matter what we do or think or say. Maybe we can make ourselves some wiggle room, but at the end, we'll all get to the same place whether we want to or not ... because presumably all of us will want to be there by then. Pre-destination. Where is then free will?
Either our God loves us by giving us free will and the option to destroy ourselves, or our God loves us by giving us guaranteed safety and denies us free will. Which love is higher? Perhaps no one but God can say for sure, but it seems to me that the latter is not real love. As the spirit quoted above says, that kind of love makes us into mere machines, set to run on a cute little track like a toy train.
Many people argue that we are on reincarnation cycles, which, as we learn more and more and overcome our karma, will eventually lead us up to God. Well, OK, I don't have a big problem with that model until the statement is made that all people will be led up to God this way. What of people who go around in circles, over and over? What if they don't learn? What of those who learn to like violence, hatred, or who become addicted to food, drugs, sex, luxury, political power? How likely are they to proceed upward? Perhaps eventually many of them would ... unless you happen to believe that souls can burn out:
Christian writer C. S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, writes of ghosts who have so long let their selfishness or irritability overwhelm them, that nothing is left of the original soul. While his work is fictitious, it bears some thought.
Spiritualist/medium W. Stainton Moses' was told: "The miserable, abandoned spirits who sink down deeper and deeper, who become unable to rise, and who gradually lose their personality.... undergo what your sacred records name the second death. They do not emerge from the hell they have created. They are lost." (More Spirit Teachings, Part II.)
Ben's page speaks of souls that have burned out like cinders, and he will tell you himself of how souls can be drained of energy and grow increasingly apathetic ... to the point where some lapse into eternal apathy. These souls care less and less about everything, until they care about nothing. Chemically, such a soul would be considered non-reactive, inert. Spiritually, such a soul is dead.
Near Death Experiencer Howard Storm in his book My Descent into Death also writes of souls that, after an eternity spent avoiding God, burn out and die: "the ultimate annihilation of being." Such souls are in such torment they crave annihilation, but for whatever reason they turn further and further from love.
Astral travelers report finding areas where destructive spirits literally feed on each other, tormenting each other and draining the energy from each other. This would seem to confirm some of the above theories.
And what can make a soul care less and less, or lose all its energy? Consider addicts - to what they are addicted doesn't matter - who care only about enjoying whatever it is they are addicted to, and even their enjoyment starts becoming harder and harder to achieve with time. They only care about a fleeting pleasure: what a tiny, narrow field of interest! No wonder they become literally less and less alive.
Or consider the deeply depressed, who lack so much energy that they can hardly care whether they live or die. Consider the hypocrites, who are hemorrhaging within; they spend all their energy keeping up pretenses and protecting their egos from the truth. And all of these people may be the victim of discarnate or incarnate "psychic vampires" or parasites who are bleeding them dry, taking advantage of their weaknesses to siphon off energy. And of course, these "parasites" themselves are frequently those who are gradually dying, spiritually.
And if they will not listen -- refuse to listen -- to rescuers who tell them their ways need to change, will God force them to do so?
An unpleasant picture, but one that many will testify is true.
The dangers of sinking into selfishness, addiction, hatred, anger, pride, arrogance, hypocrisy, and so on, become that much more real. These vices aren't just illusionary: they can really kill, spiritually as well as physically. They can bring a true Second Death to those who let themselves be so ruled by destructive impulses that they cease to care ... and eventually cease to be.
Oh, and finally, I would prefer it if we did all return to God safely - I just am not sure that it is true.