I teach Gospel Principles. I was teaching on the atonement, and this convert had a really big problem with the concept of everyone receiving a body in the resurrection. She thought it was not fair that mean nasty people, murderers etc. got a body too. She doesn’t understand why we don’t believe that there is only a Heaven and Hell like other religions. She thinks that bad people should be punished really bad. When she has a struggle, it is hard for her and she tries to be nice, and she doesn’t think bad people should get a body like good people do. Could you please explain what I could tell her?
Before the resurrection of the Savior, nothing like that had ever been done before. There were two aspects to the results of the Savior’s great sacrifice. First, He suffered an infinite suffering.
In the words of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, former member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles —
“Several scriptures describe the essence of that glorious and rescuing Atonement, including a breathtaking, autobiographical verse confiding Mercifully, He did not shrink but finished [His] preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19:19). (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Plow in Hope, Ensign (CR), May 2001, p.59)
Second, so great was the power of His resurrection that it resulted in the resurrection of, not men only, but every thing!— and not just the things on this earth, but throughout all the universe! The inhabitants of other planets know about us, because their Savior was born here, and here He worked out the great universal atonement. We read from D&C 38:11-12—
For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven–Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained.
In the words of Bruce R. McConkie —
“Many among us have no difficulty envisioning that the Atonement is infinite and eternal and applies to all forms of life. They know that the revelations say in so many words that all forms of life both lived as spirit entities and will be resurrected-animals, fowls, fishes, all things are eternal in nature.
But some among us have not yet had it dawn upon them that all things fell and became mortal so they could be resurrected. The early Brethren of our dispensation wrote these words: “The word atonement signifies deliverance, through the offering of a ransom, from the penalty of a broken law …. As effected by Jesus Christ, it signifies the deliverance, through his death and resurrection, of the earth, and everything pertaining to it, from the power which death has obtained over them through the transgression of Adam …. Redemption from death, through the sufferings of Christ, is for all men, both the righteous and the wicked; for this earth, and for all things created upon it.” (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie , p.195-196)
That is why wicked men are resurrected. But the resurrection of the wicked will not be a blessing to them. As we read the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 3:25—
And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.
So your friend need not worry that the wicked are getting away with anything because they are resurrected, or that by their resurrection they are escaping a just punishment. Their punishment with a physical body will be much, much greater than if they did not have one.
Now the reason that we do not believe that there is only a heaven and a hell like the other religions believe, is simply that it is not true. The other religions are in error on this point, as their belief is in direct contradiction to the scriptures, both ancient and modern. In John 14:1-3—
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
I wonder how the sectarian world view this scripture? Perhaps they think that in that one heaven there are many mansions, and that the more luxurious ones are given to the more righteous people. If that is their belief, how do the rationalize the scripture found in 1 Cor 15:39-44?
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.
This scripture is rendered more accurately, and with less confusion, in the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, as—
40 Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another, where verse 40 cites all three of the kingdoms of glory, the celestial, the terrestrial and the telestial, accurately comparing them to the glories, or brightness, of the sun, moon and stars. In modern day scripture, Doctrine and Covenants, section 76, the Lord presents a detailed description of those who will inhabit each of these three degrees of glory in the eternities.
If your friend can be influenced by the Holy Spirit, when she reads them she will understand them and know that they are true. If that is not the case, your trying to convince her will do little good, for—
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, except he has the Spirit of God (JST 1 Cor 2:11).