Wednesday, August 13, 2008
This last week’s Gospel Doctrine lesson was on the Plan of Salvation. It covered Alma 40 - 42, which is a great section for understanding the Plan of Salvation. But, for Latter-Day Saints it may settle some questions, and raise a few more. For example:
“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.” (Alma 40:11)
The chapter goes on to explain more about the spirit world, all of which aligns nicely with most LDS people’s views. In my Sunday School class, I asked:
“If we are taken “home” (sounds like a returning) to be with God, is the spirit world the same place as the pre-existence (pre-earth life)?”
The class was adamant that they are not the same place, but offered no explanation of how we go home to God, but only that it is not the same place as the pre-existence.
Our teacher, always prepared, was ready with a commentary on the topic. But frankly, all of the arguments in the commentary fell flat in my opinion. The commentaries basically said that God is not in the spirit world, that the spirit world is really just a place where you prepare to see God, a concept that I reject.
I believe that our usual shallow views on the Plan of Salvation pose many unavoidable questions, just from Alma 40.
We are taught that God was in the pre-existence. But for many, they are still in the pre-existence, is God there? Or has He left there and went to the Spirit World?
Is the spirit world the same as Kolob? Has He left Kolob for the Spirit World?
Is our pre-existence home the same as Kolob? Is the pre-existence a celestial glory?
If we are fortunate enough to go to the celestial kingdom, will God be there, or will He still be in the Spirit world, or the pre-existence? When will He come to the celestial kingdom?
Where is the Spirit World?
“When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world…Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes they do…. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not…. Can you see it with your natural eyes? No. Can you see spirits in this room? No. Suppose the Lord should touch your eyes that you might see, could you then see the spirits? Yes, as plainly as you now see bodies.” [Brigham Young, quoted by Widtsoe, pp. 376-77]
And in the resurrection, if we inherit the celestial kingdom, we are told we will reign forever on earth. But what about if we inherit the terrestrial, or telestial kingdom? Where will we reside?
I believe that all existence is stacked, one sphere, or dimension upon another. They all exist at the same time (relatively). I would also say at the same place, but dimension or glories divide space.
Of course the temple is the template of this whole thing of multiple glories or dimensions in creation.
I submit a couple of my prior writings towards the answers: HERE, HERE, and HERE.