In Sacred Scripture we find several references to God being compared to a potter. This is to be understood as a metaphor or symbolic message that God reforms us and makes us anew (spiritual rebirth) like a potter does with a lump of clay (worldly or earthly traits given a more exalted or heavenly form.). Theologically speaking, this molding process of the human mind and spirit is called Reformation.
Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg conveyed and emphasized another important aspect of this sacred process—an aspect that should be obvious. While clay can be formed into something more valuable, it has no permanency until it is baked in a kiln.
So “fire” is important to the process of spiritual transformation as well.
When we are being remolded to heavenly ideals, the fire needed to provide fixity to this sacred process is provided by personal challenges and opposition (through personal misfortune, temptation and worldly allurements). In our everyday language we even call this procedure a “trial by fire.” In other words, in the same way a kiln makes the form of a piece of clay permanent, personal challenges in our lives creates a “friction” or psycho-spiritual heat that forges our individual values and beliefs into becoming a permanent part of our character (and spirit). Theologically speaking, this second phase of the process is called Regeneration.
The first part, or reformation, changes the mind. The second phase, or regeneration, changes the heart.
This second part of the process is certainly much more uncomfortable. But we cannot assume we are becoming more angel-like without going through a real test. Our actual religion is not simply what we call ourselves, or what we say we believe, it is what we do and inwardly intend!