See also: D&C 88:10-20; Genesis 10:25
The book of Abraham makes another unique contribution to our understanding by explaining the physical location of the earth in the universe at the time this sphere was created, before the actions of Adam and Eve brought on the Fall. Note the references to time in the following verse:
“But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the time that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord’s time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning” (Abr. 5:13).
President Joseph Fielding Smith stated that in this verse the Lord “revealed to Abraham that Adam was subject to Kolob’s time before his transgression.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:79; emphasis in original.) According to President Brigham Young, Abraham 5:13 also means that before the Fall of Adam, the earth was near the very throne of God. But when the Fall occurred, the earth literally fell or moved from the physical presence of God to its present position in our solar system. When all the effects of the Fall of Adam are finally overcome, the earth will literally move back into the presence of God. Here are President Young’s words:
“When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven. . . . But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system. . . . This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth.” (Journal of Discourses 17:143) — The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 51
The end of the earth occurs when this earth is transformed into a celestial kingdom. President Brigham Young said: “When the Savior has completed the work, when the faithful Saints have preached the Gospel to the last of the spirits who have lived here and who are designed to come to this earth; when the thousand years of rest shall come and thousands and thousands of Temples shall be built, and the servants and handmaids of the Lord shall have entered therein and officiated for themselves, and for their dead friends back to the days of Adam; when the last of the spirits in prison who will receive the Gospel has received it; when the Savior comes and receives his ready bride, and all who can be are saved in the various kingdoms of God – celestial, terrestrial and telestial, according to their several capacities and opportunities; when sin and iniquity are driven from the earth, and the spirits that now float in this atmosphere are driven into the place prepared for them; and when the earth is sanctified from the effects of the fall, and baptized, cleansed, and purified by fire, and returns to its paradisiacal state, and has become like a sea of glass, a Urim and Thummim; when all this is done, and the Savior has presented the earth to his Father, and it is placed in the cluster of the celestial kingdoms, and the Son and all his faithful brethren and sisters have received the welcome plaudit – ‘Enter ye into the joy of your Lord,’ and the Savior is crowned, then and not till then, will the Saints receive their everlasting inheritances” (Journal of Discourses, 17:117). — The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 51
There never has been a time when there have not been worlds like this, and . . . there never will be a time when there will not be worlds organized and prepared for intelligent beings to dwell upon” (in Journal of Discourses, 8:81). And they are continually coming into existence, and undergoing changes and passing through the same experience we are passing through. . . . and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through (in Journal of Discourses, 14:71-72). — F. Kent Nielsen, “The Gospel and the Scientific View: How Earth Came to Be,” Ensign, September 1980, p. 72
Within this enlarged view of a celestial uniformity, the worldwide flood of Noah’s time, so upsetting to a restricted secular view, fits easily into place. It is the earth’s baptism. Brigham Young pointed out that the earth “abides the law of its creation, has been baptized with water, will be baptized by fire and the Holy Ghost, and by-and-by will be prepared for the faithful to dwell upon” (in Journal of Discourses, 8:83).
The law for a world such as ours closely parallels the law for its inhabitants. Like each of us, the earth existed for a time in the presence of God in a premortal, uncorrupted condition. Like each of us, it entered a fall, mortal condition. Like us, it must be sanctified by being born again, first of the water and then of the Spirit. The earth has been cleansed by water baptism, and its cleansing by fire associated with the last days will allow the Holy Spirit to dwell throughout the whole earth during the Millennium when the earth, not yet glorified, will be sanctified. For the earth, as for us, the work of salvation can only be completed through death, which will alter its mortal structure, followed by a glorious resurrection, which will establish it upon celestial principles that it may abide in that glory forever. — F. Kent Nielsen, “The Gospel and the Scientific View: How Earth Came to Be,” Ensign, September 1980, p. 72
When the time shall come that the Spirit of the living God shall be poured out upon all flesh, in a very few moments of time the Lord could unlock the mysteries and treasures of the earth, so that we could understand not only the geographical surface of the earth, but be able, by the power of vision, to behold every particle of it inside as well as outside, and also the law that governs its elementary portions, nearly all of which is now closed from our mortal vision.
We can only go about so far with our natural sight; but there is a faculty in every man and woman which is now sleeping in a dormant state; and as soon as it is touched by the Spirit of the Lord, we shall be enabled to see a new world of things as it were, mysteries will be opened up, and we will perceive naturally as if they were written, and in this way we shall be able to learn very rapidly indeed. If we want a knowledge of this world or of ourselves, when our spirits were born, or if we desire to know things that took place before the foundations of the world were laid or the nucleus was formed, when the sons of God shouted for joy, if we desired to know these things it would only be necessary for the Spirit of the Lord to touch the vision of our minds and light up our understanding, and we could gaze upon things past for thousands of generations of worlds before the earth was made, and we could see the succession of worlds that have been and were in existence long before this earth was formed; we could see the ordeals through which they had passed, see them brought into existence and passing through their several changes and finally become glorified celestial mansions in the presence of God. By this same Spirit . . . we could look forward into the distant future and behold new worlds formed and redeemed, and not only this, but see and understand the laws by which they were made, and the object and end of all these creations, being touched by the finger of the Almighty and lighted up by the Holy Ghost. — Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, December 2, 1877, 19:178
Sin is upon every earth that ever was created . . . consequently every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and every earth, and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:71-72