Thursday, May 5, 2016

Restoration of the Earth – Part I

Recently I was asked a question by a reader who is reading our book “Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths,” who asked about whether or not the Earth would be returned to its state before it was broken up at the time of the crucifixion mentioned in Helaman 14-21. 
    First, it should be kept in mind that all things are subject to change based on the commands of the Lord:
Yea, behold at his voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; Yea, by the power of his voice, do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth -- Move -- it is moved. Yea, if he say unto the earth -- Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours -- it is done; And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep -- Be thou dried up -- it is done. Behold, if he say unto this mountain -- Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up -- behold it is done” (Helaman 12:9-17)
    In order to answer the question, let’s first discuss the fact that the Earth will be restored in total:
• “And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new” (Ether 13:9)
• “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (10 Article of Faith)
• “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited” (Ezekiel 36:35)
• “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1)
• “Now in time past this earth had a paradisiacal glory, and then came the fall, bringing a change, and that change has been upon the earth in the neighborhood of 6,000 years. What is meant by the restoration of the earth? This earth is to be renewed and brought back to the condition in which it was before it was cursed through the fall of Adam. When Adam passed out of the Garden of Eden, then the earth became a telestial world, and it is of that order today. I do not mean a telestial glory such as will be found in telestial worlds after their resurrection, but a telestial condition which has been from the days of Adam until now and will continue until Christ comes. (Jospeh Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:85)
• “The Resurrection is a reality. Activity to help promote our Father's work is going forward among the disembodied spirits who have left this life. It will continue to go forward until every one of God's children has had an opportunity to receive the gospel, to hear it and to have it explained to them. And then at the end of that millennial period we will all stand judgment. There is a partial judgment before, but the final judgment will be at the end. Then this earth will undergo a change and receive its paradisiacal glory and will be made a fit abode for the celestial beings. Those who live to inherit the celestial kingdom will live on this earth eternally. This is made very clear in the scriptures. (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.38)
• “We are approaching the day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. By earth we mean this planet, this orb, this abiding place for mortal men; we mean the lands and the seas, the ground whereon we walk, and the pleasant valleys and towering mountains; we mean the great rivers and small streams, the Edenic gardens and the desert waste lands; we mean all of the places where the soles of our feet have trod. By heaven we mean the atmospheric heavens, the layers of air and moisture that surround the earth, the clouds of heaven and the free-moving breezes; we mean the life-giving breath that is breathed into the nostrils of living creatures; we mean the blue skies and the rainbow-hued panoramas of color that attend the rising and setting sun. And when we say the heavens and the earth shall be made new, we have in mind changes so dramatic and alterations of such giant proportion that things as they are now will scarcely be remembered or brought to mind. .
• "We believe" - it is an official, a formal, a canonized pronouncement - "that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory." (10thA of F) All things when first created - the earth and all forms of life -- were paradisiacal in nature and were pronounced by their Creator as "very good." (Moses 2:31.) There was no sin, no sorrow, and no death in that day. And the Great Creator blessed the earth and all things on its face. Then came the fall, and the earth which God had blessed was cursed. "Cursed shall be the ground for thy sake," he said to Adam; "in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field." (Moses 4:23-24.) To Cain the Lord said: "When thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength." (Moses 5:37.) And later, with reference to all men, the divine account says: "And God cursed the earth with a sore curse, and was angry with the wicked, with all the sons of men whom he had made." (Moses 5:56.) That curse now prevails; it is in full operation, and it will continue so to be until the millennial day. Then the earth and all things that remain after the day of burning will return to a paradisiacal state, a state in which all things will be blessed and prospered as they were in the primeval day. A thing cannot be renewed unless it was new in the first instance. The earth was paradisiacal once, and it will become so again. (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, pp.613-616)
• “This earth was created in a new or paradisiacal state; then, incident to Adam’s transgression, it fell to its present telestial state. At the Second Coming of our Lord, it will be renewed, regenerated, refreshed, transfigured, become again a new earth, a paradisiacal earth.Its millennial status will be a return to its pristine state of beauty and glory, the state that existed before the fall” (Mormon Doctrine,795–96; italics in original).
    President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “all of this is to take place in the Dispensation of the Fullness of times, in which we live. When this is accomplished this earth will again appear as it did in the beginning. The sea will be driven back to the north; the islands will be joined to the mainland and the lands will be brought together as they were before the earth was divided (D&C 133:22-24).” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:231).
    It appears, then, that the reconfiguration of the earth will occur with much upheaval, which will combine all the oceans surrounding the earth, will serve to return the earth to the condition it was originally before it was divided. When Adam and Eve dwelt on earth all the land was in one place, and all the water was in one place. There was no Atlantic Ocean separating the hemispheres as it is today. Perhaps this is due, as Isaiah says, tahat the earth is utterly broken down, the earth the earth is clearnly dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” (Isaiah 24:20). Isaiah also said, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:4). Or, as Luke said, “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth” (Luke 3:5). While this may sound like the mountains will be lowered (made low) and the valleys made higher (exalted) so that a smooth or level path is created, such as indicated in Isaiah’s full comment: “A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain”—this may only mean that a path is being prepared for the Messiah and has nothing to do with raising topography up or cutting it down, but when combined with other statements, it would appear it is, indeed, connected to the Earth’s topography.
    Now, having said all that, let me address your comment regarding Helaman 14-21.
(See the next post, “Restoration of the Earth – Part II,” for more regarding the restoration of the Earth to its previous condition)


  1. One comment Del. One of the things about the scriptures the Lord speaks in metaphor. Unless you understand the metaphorical language it is very difficult to understand what the scripture is trying to say. Case in point John in Revelation 21:1 said that when he saw a heaven and a new earth there was no more sea. In other words the seas in all the earth are gone during the millennium. How does that square with the sea is driven back into the north country in your quote from D&C 133? The answer is it's a metaphor. Water is people in the metaphorical language. I can show you lots of examples of that. Sea means a large population. North is also a metaphor in this case and means the spirit world. Putting it all together - before the millennium the population of the earth will be driven into the spirit world. Section 133 is very metaphorical and doesn't make much sense unless you understand the metaphors. Once the metaphors are understood then a great message is revealed.

    Good stuff! Ira

  2. Thank you. Excellent comment. At some point in time, I suspect that we will come to realize that the scriptures tell us a lot of things we are barely scratching the surface of today.