The Savior And His Use Of The Phrase: "Outer Darkness"

When the scriptures were originally written, during the time of Christ, "scientists" in the days of Christ only knew four things about the Universe:
1) Our Sun,
2) Our Earth,
3) Our Moon
4) The Stars

It is questionable whether they knew that "stars" were really "Suns" which were really far, far, far, far away!!!

Yet in three places in the book of Matthew the term "Outer Darkness" is used which would not apply to any of these four celestial bodies!!!

First, Matthew 8:12:
Bible - Matthew 8:12

12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Second, Matthew 22:13:
Bible - Matthew 22:13

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Third, Matthew 25:30:
Bible - Matthew 25:30

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Book of Mormon also uses the term "outer darkness" in Alma 40:12-14:

12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this estate, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.

When these scriptures were originally written, in about the 6th century B.C. "scientists" in Israel or in America would only have known about the Sun, our earth, our moon and the stars. The term "Outer Darkness" would have meant nothing to them because they probably did not suspect that stars were really suns which were a long, long distance away.

Here is my point. In the church the phrase "Outer Darkness" is used to describe people in hell!!! When the scriptures were originally written, the people who followed the prophets would have had NO CLUE what the phrase "Outer Darkness" meant!!!!!

How Today's Astronomers Might Interpret The Phrase "Outer Darkness"

Now let's talk about what scienitsts today know which may explain what the Savior was talking about!!

I recently saw an amazing television show which talked a lot about the Kuiper belt. It was probably the discovery of this belt that got Pluto demoted to a dwarf planet. Google: Kuiper Belt

Here is a beginners guide to the Kuiper Belt!!!
Web Page: 10 Things To Know About The Kuiper Belt

The Oort Cloud extends even beyond the Kuiper Belt!!! Google: Oort Cloud

See this image to see the proportions of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud (read the entire page!!!):
Oort Cloud Facts

But I should also add that there are some planetoids whose orbit is elliptical and some orbits actually extend well into the Kuiper Belt and in some cases even into the Oort Cloud!! There are all kinds of weird things in our solar system which are far, far away from our Sun. I guess all of this creates full-empoyment for astronomers!!!

A Sample Of Weird Terms For Objects In Our Solar System

Here is a list of a sample of things that astronomers look at:
1) Scattered Disk Objects
2) Inerplanetery Cruise
3) Pluto - Charon or Pluto and Charon
4) planetesimals
5) Detached Objects
6) Ultima Thule

How We Might Interpret Outer Darkness Today

For astonomers today, the term "outer darkness" could mean several different things.

For example, standing on a rock or ice chunk at the far end of the Oort Cloud would fit this punishment perfectly!!! If a person were "living" on an object at the outside edge of the Oort Cloud (or Kuiper Belt), our Sun would look to them like a really bright star or a single match that is lit 1,000 miles away!!! Yes, it would be THAT DARK OUT THERE and people would be gnashing their teeth both because of the cold and their isolation!!!

In other words, the term "outer darkness" means something today because someone at the end of either the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud would look at our Sun as not much more than a dot in the sky!!! They would have thought they were in outer darkness!!!! Well, they would be!!!!

In addition, it would be really, really, really cold out there because it is so far from the Sun!!!

In addition to what I have already said, another option for "Outer Darkness" is Planet 9 or Planet X!!! Planet 9 is estimated to be about 100 billion miles from the Sun!!! Scientists are pretty sure this planet exists because they can see the effects of its massive gravity!!!

Planet 9 is somewhere in the Kuiper Belt, but astronomers can't find it!!! They think it is 10 times bigger than our EARTH and that it may be a gas giant like Jupiter based on its gravitational power. See:
Hypothetical Planet X (NASA)

Even if Planet 9 existed, and it probably does due to its gravitational affect on nearby objects, astronomers could not see Planet 9 with their telescopes very well for three reasons:
1) It is so far away that it would be very, very small (from our perspective) and very difficult to find,
2) There is almost no light from the Sun that far away, and that light would have to reflect off of a dark background (the surface of the planet) and then get back to earth,
3) If it is has a gas cloud surrounding it (like Jupiter) the clould would not reflect light at all!!! Planet 9 would essentially be invisible because what little light got out that far from the Sun would not reflect back to earth or anywhere else!!

Having said that, if Planet 9 existed, scientists would not see any stars behind Planet 9!!! In other words, there would be a small section in space where there was no light at all that reached Earth!!!

A spirit of a person on Planet 9 would not be able to see anything outside of the cloud which surrounds it. Furthermore, the Sun is so far away it would be very, very dark even if there was no cloud.

In any case, we don't really know how God uses the term "outer darkness!!!"

My point is that while in Bible times the phrase "Outer Darkness" would have meant nothing to them, today it is easy to comprehend someone as being in "Outer Darkess"!!!

Now I am not saying that the "Outer Darkess" the Bible was referring to is at the far side of the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud or anything else I have mentioned, all I am saying is that the phrase "Outer Darkness" would have been impossible to understand in the days of Christ, but today that phrase is easy to understand!!! There are many options we know about which could be described as being in outer darkness!!!

But we don't really know where the "Outer Darkness" the Bible refers to is located; all we know is that we know of a several options where "Outer Darkness" might be located!!!


Now let's change subjects and talk about Mercury, the planet closest to our Sun. Mercury is something else that the people in Bible times could not have conceived as existing.

The punishment for the Son of Perdition is also described, in other places, as being like burning in hell forever. This sounds like someone who is forced to live on Mercury which is the planet closest to the Sun. Mercury would be really, really hot!!!

In fact, Mercury orbits the Sun three times every two years. But that is so slow it wouldn't help someone living on Mercury very much!!! But the back side of Mercury (away from the Sun at any given time) is very, very, very cold

Heavenly Father has countless options for those in outer darkness or for those who will be in outer darkness or those who will burn in Hell or those who will freeze in hell, such as the side of Mercury on the back side of the Sun!!!

One general auhority, Theodore M.Burton, said this in 1981:

  • "I would like to speak about God’s realm of light in contrast to the dark realm of Satan. Those who follow Satan will be cast into outer darkness, “where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” (D&C 133:73.) How terrible to live in such a place of darkness and cold. It is entirely different from what we usually think of as “burning in hell.” That burning is the lasting regret one feels who has chosen the darkness of Satan in preference to the light of Christ."
    Light And Truth

So I don't really know where wicked people go, but there are plenty of places far, far, far away from the Sun that fit the "Outer Darkess" criteria and Mercury, which is close to the Sun, easily fits the "burning in hell" criteria for physical burning in hell!!!

My point is that whether someone "burns in hell" or is cast into "Outer Darkness," modern astronomy has given members of the church real places which meet either of these criteria!!!

But we do not know where God will put those in these two categories, all we know is that such places exist in the real world.

Just wait until the James Webb Space Telescope gets launched - WOW!!! It is set for March 30, 2021 - 2 years away. Well, it keeps getting delayed as you might expect. Here is the first of three very good YouTube videos of this new telescope:
YouTube: Seeing Beyond - The James Webb Space Telescope (Final Cut)

Here is another one:
YouTube: Why is the James Webb Space Telescope taking so long?

And a YouTube video by Northrup Grumman (I used to work for Northrup Grumman, but I was in their military section):
YouTube: James Webb Space Telescope Launch and Deployment

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