Buckle up amigos. I’ve been a thinkin’ again…
A few recent doctrinal discussions I’ve had raised a question in my mind: Are we participating in a “Council in Heaven” right this moment? I figured this would be a good place to explore the idea.
Let’s compare the things that have been revealed about our pre-mortal life to the things that have been revealed about our life to come:
1a. In the pre-mortal life a third part of the host of heaven chose not to follow God’s plan.
1b. In this life they scriptures say a third part of the folks here choose not to follow God and to be wicked. (The unrepentant murderers, liars, adulters, etc known as the Telestial group).
2a. In the pre-mortal life the third that rejected God and his plan did not get a body here.
2b. In the next life the folks that are the Telestials do not get a body until the second resurrection. We are told the second resurrection occurs “a thousand years” after the first resurrection. It is worth noting that “a thousand years” is often scriptural symbolism for “A really, really long time.”
3a. The scriptures tell us little about the fate of the third part that rejected God before this world. We are told that along with the devil they are assigned to hell without bodies.
3b. The wicked “third part” of humankind will also be assigned to hell (sometimes called prison) without bodies for a proverbial “thousand years”. After a really long time in prison/hell the wicked here will finally get a body back and have a Telestial glory somewhere.
Those of you that have followed along with me for some time know exactly what I’m getting at here. For the rest of you let me explain that I am very partial to a model of the eternities that was taught by several 19th century apostles and prophets. I sometimes call it the Heber C. Kimball model of eternity, but it is more commonly called multiple mortal probations. See this post for an overview of the idea or see this category of posts on the overall subject of eternal progression.
In my last post I pointed out some logical flaws in some traditional model of what happens in the next life. Among those flawed ideas are the notions that there are three completely separate places people must go for eternity. I think that this is false and that the “kingdoms” describe the character of people not the place where they will live next. I further believe that the three degrees of glory are symbolic of the continuum of glory that all humankind is on ranging from the dimmest star to the brightness of the sun. Indeed I think the evidence is very strong that our world is populated right now by people that were judged to be Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial beings prior to arriving here. The best chapter of scripture to support my theories is Abraham chapter 3. In that chapter we are given the continuum model of intelligences and Abraham is shown that he was a “noble and great one” that stood in the company of Jesus Christ himself prior to arrival here. That indicates to me that this “Telestial world” is populated by those that have already attained Celestial characters along with those that have attained Telestial and Terrestrial characters.
If that is the case then perhaps we are in the midst of a “council in heaven” that will be looked back to as we continue in another probation in the future. Somebody must inhabit the worlds without number that have been organized and will continue to be organized after all. If those inhabitants were not and will not be us then the vast majority of humankind will get shelved for all eternity while God moves on to the latest “batch” of children. I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe God would ever allow us to be discarded. Would you do that to your kids (even if they agreed to it)? I think that throughout all eternity “his hand is stretched out still” to us if we choose to repent and follow him.
As a parting tidbit or two, let me direct you to an excellent analysis by Jeffrey Giliam of the Garden of Eden narrative. He points to strong evidence that the garden story symbolizes our pre-mortal existence and fall from heaven to mortality. Let me also point out the teaching in the church that the new world Adam and Eve came to was modeled after the one where they used to live.
The brethren have never been hesitant to point out that the war in heaven continues here. But the war in heaven is just another name for the council in heaven. I’m starting to think we’re in that council choosing who to follow right now. (And that sure makes it a lot easier to understand why a third part chose Satan’s plan there – a third part chooses to do so all around us here too…)