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Question

 

Gramps,

I understand the Earth will be the Celestial Kingdom. It doesn’t seem there will be enough space for all those who are in the Celestial Kingdom or are there only going to be 7 billion who make it? If so then I’m wasting my time going to church. I am not in the top 7 billion.

Gael

 

Answer

 

Hello Gael,

I think your question presupposes a number of things that we cannot know for certain now, and that may not turn out to be correct at all.  For example–you assume that those who receive a celestial glory will be confined to this earth, or even spend the majority of their time there (my children still refer to Gran’s and my house as “home”; and they are always welcome here; but it’s not where they live and they rarely stay under our roof anymore).  You are also assuming that the earth is incapable of supporting seven billion (or any higher number) of immortal beings.

But, if you’ll excuse me for saying so:  There’s one assumption you’re making that worries me more than all the others; and that is the one that underlies your conclusion that “I am not in the top 7 billion”.  The important thing to remember, Gael, is that you–in fact, we— don’t have to “make it” into some sort of exclusive subset of the impossibly righteous; because we have a Savior who most certainly did.  And He has repeatedly promised that, as He puts it in Doctrine and Covenants 84:36-38:

 

For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

 

The requirement is that we receive (or try to pattern our lives after) Christ, and his servants–full stop.  We do not have to do it better than anyone else.  Exaltation is not a competition against anyone except against our own fallen natures; and as we strive to follow Christ (for, strive we must) we have divine assurance that “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”  (2 Nephi 31:20).  I have learned through my own experiences that we can rely on the Lord’s intent, and ability, to keep His promises; even if we aren’t quite sure scientifically how that will come to pass.

Now, just for fun, let’s assume that your assumptions are correct and that every exalted individual will spend eternity living on this earth–each with his or her own spouse.  Let’s also assume that traditional notions of housing occupancy apply.  Let’s also say–for fun–that there are no traditional densely-packed cities in heaven:  no tenements, no high-rises; every couple gets a lovely single-family home on a half-acre lot.  Now, scientists estimate that 108 billion humans have lived on the earth in its existence–pair them up and that’s 54 billion households; put them on half-acre lots and you need 27 billion acres to house all of these people.

We know that earth currently has a land surface area of about 57.5 million square miles (whether this will still be the case after the Millennium, of course, is another unknown).  There are 640 acres in a square mile; so by doing a little math it seems it would take 42,187,500 square miles to house all those people.  That’s definitely a lot of space–but you’ve still got over 25% of the earth’s land sitting completely vacant!  So any way you slice it, I think there will be plenty of room in the Celestial Kingdom for all who want such an inheritance and, through the grace of God and their own diligence and faith, have been prepared to receive it.

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.  D&C 104:17

 

Gramps

 

 

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