The Savior's Reference To 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:
It is questionable whether they knew that "stars" were really "Suns" which were really far, far, far, far away!!!
And it is obvious that they did not know anything about any other planets in our solar system. Even today, in order to know where a planet is it takes a powerful telescope and time-lapse photography!!!
Yet in three places in the book of Matthew the term "Outer Darkness" is used which would not apply to any of these four types of celestial bodies!!!
First, Matthew 8:11-13:
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Second, Matthew 22:11-14:
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
It is interesting that the only "sin" of this person is that he was not wearing the proper wedding garment. Yet he was cast into outer darkness.
Third, Matthew 25:28-32:
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
The first instance is clearly the most serious and in this case the punishment could be an eternal punishment!!!
The second instance is a major social issue and clearly the man was not welcome at the wedding party. This seems like an extreme punishment for a social issue.
The third instance is all about money. Outer darkness seems to be an extreme punishment for a monetary issue.
In any case, we are not familiar with Jewish rules of ethique, so it is not clear.
Nevertheless, I will consider it a very, very serious punishment as I will discuss below.
The Book Of Mormon
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.
It is quite possible that the Savior was talking about the Millennium, which begins at His Second Coming. At the Second Coming the wicked are kicked off of this planet and they burn in hell for 1,000 years (i.e. the Millennium) on some other planet. At the end of the Millennium they are resurrected as Telestial beings. But the righteous (Celestial) and honorable (Terrestrial) are resurrected at His Second Coming and they stay on this planet which will be Celestialized. See this article:
The Resurrection Of The Wicked
The resurrection of the wicked happens 1,000 years after the Second Coming of Christ. This 1,000 year period is known as the Millennium. Only the righteous and honorable people are allowed on this planet after the Second Coming so those burning in hell for 1,000 years (i.e. the Millennium) suffer on another planet.
At the end of Millennium the wicked are brought to this planet to be resurrected (their body stayed in the grave until the end of the Millennium) and then they are taken to a "Telestial" planet assumedly forever.
I should note that the people who burn in hell for 1,000 years are precisely the same people who will be on the Telestial planet.
Those who qualify for the Celestial Kingdom or the Terrestrial Kingdom are resurrected at the time of the Second Coming and they live on this planet which will be "Celestialized" at the Second Coming of Christ.
So the question becomes, what might the Savior been talking about based on what astronomers know today???
Objects That Astronomers Know About, In Our Solar System, That Might Qualify For Being In "Outer Darkness"
When thinking about "outer darkness," it is important to realize that "outer darkness" has nothing to do with the distance from this earth because the Sun is our main source of light, and the Sun is still shinning brightly anywhere near our earth.
So "outer darkness" must deal with the distance of someone from the Sun!!!
In the prior section I did not say anything about the sons of perdition or the like unto the son or perdition (see 3 Nephi 29:5-7). The possible fate of the sons of perdition is largely what this article is about.
The four places in our extended solar system (i.e. the distance of someone in these places from the Sun) where the person would be in darkness would be the:
You might want to Google the first three phrases as I will not go into very much detail about them.
Here is a quote from Google about the five dwarf planets, which clearly could be "outer darkness" objects: There are 5 officially recognised dwarf planets in our solar system, they are Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris. With the exception of Ceres, which is located in the asteroid belt, the other dwarf planets are found in the outer solar system.
By the way, the Oort Cloud extends a very long ways away from our Sun and is essentially a bunch of rocks and ice and mountains which form a sphere around our Sun but very, very, very far away from the Sun.
Here is a quote from NASA about the Oort Cloud:
There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of "dwarf planets" (Pluto being one of them) which are in the Kuiper Belt. My point is that people could live (i.e. be banished to) almost countless icy rocks which would easily qualify as an outer darkness punishment!!! Certainly any object in the Oort Cloud would also be considered "outer darkness" and I suppose a person could be banished to an icy mountain in the Oort Cloud (where it would be really, really dark because everything is far, far, far away from the Sun)!!!
Note that these icy/rock objects are way, way, way outside of Neptune's orbit, especially on the Oort Cloud!!! Living by yourself on one of these icy rocks (which could be another punishment) would be a very serious punishment!!!
Here are five of the dwarf planets (I assume that most of them have not been named, but I don't know):
Here is an excellent article on the Kuiper Belt:
And remember the Oort Cloud is far far beyond the end of the Kuiper Belt!!
Let me say somthing about Pluto. While it is no longer considered a planet, it is essentially a perfect sphere!!! When we think about the Kuiper belt we do not think about perfect spheres, but Pluto, and perhaps many other objects in the Kuiper Belt are spheres. Furthermore there are five known moons which orbit Pluto.
Another option for "outer darkness" is called rogue planets!!! I will talk about them later.
Another possibility for "outer darkness" is Planet 9. Scientists know there is a "Planet 9" because they can see the effects of the gravity on other objects!!! But astronomers cannot "see" Planet 9 with their telescopes. There are multiple reasons which might explain why astronomers cannot "see" it with their telescopes.
While it is obvious that anything further from the Sun than Neptune would qualify as "outer darkness." Planet 9 is a different case for two reasons.
First, is the orbit of Planet 9. It is hypothesized to follow a gigantic elliptical orbit!!!!
Anyone living on Planet 9 (as the "outer darkness" punishment) would see our Sun much dimmer than almost anything outside of Neptune's orbit. At times it would be way, way further away than anything in the Kuiper Belt or Oort Cloud. But it is not clear to me whether it gets as far out as the Oort Cloud or even much further out than the Oort Cloud!!!
Even though Planet 9 is estimated to be about ten times bigger than Earth, NO OBSERVATORY has ever "seen" Planet 9!! I do not know if any space telescopes have tried to see it!!!
The only reason that astonomers know Planet 9 exists is because they see clear gravitational pulls from Planet 9!!! Maybe the new James Webb Space Telescope will be able to see it. Planet 9 may be one hundred times bigger than Earth.
Second, it is thought by some that Planet 9 is a gas giant, similar to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
If Planet 9 is a gas giant, anyone standing on the surface of Planet 9, and given its gigantic orbit aroud the Sun, and if it was a gas giant, would be in such darkness that they literally would not have a clue what direction the Sun was from them!!!!
The only way to replicate this darkness on Planet Earth (that is us) would be to be in a gigantic, winding cave, at least 1 mile from the entrance to the cave!!!
"Outer Darkness" Possibilities Relative To Planets And Other Objects Which Are Outside Of Our Solar System!!!!
"Space" outside of our Solar System (i.e. outside of the Oort Cloud) contains many, many other objects that could easily be classified as "outer darkness."
Heavenly Father is not limited to having the Sons of Perdition stay in our solar system. There are many other options outside of our solar system where sons of perdition would be very, very uncomfortable!!! So let's talk about other solar systems.
A planet called a "Hot Juipiter" is a gas giant (like Jupiter) but it is very, very close to the sun/star that it orbits and the surface of these planets get really, really hot because in some cases the side of the planet that faces the sun never changes!!! This is called being "tidal locked."
Obviously any person (spirit or otherwise) would not be in "outer darkness" on the front side of this Hot Jupiter but on the back side of the planet it might be dark.
I quote another website:
I should note that "Hot Jupiters" are normally, or perhaps always, much closer to their sun that Mercury is to our Sun. That would generate a massive amount of heat for anyone on one of these "Hot Jupiters."
Note that all of these explanations ignore God, who could move these planets by Himself!!! Astronomers never think about God even though there are now estimated to be one trillion galaxies!!!!
I do not know how dark being on the back side of one of these Hot Juipiters would be, but it would probably be very cold if the planet was tidally locked.
Moving on, some stars are giant X-Ray machines and you would not want to get anywhere near one of these stars!!! One these stars would get you fried in an instant!!!
One of the things that we would not normally even think about, when we think about outer darkness, is very factual: planets which do not orbit any sun!!! One estimate is that 100,000 planets may exist which do not orbit any star "for every main sequence star"!!!
Note the phrase "for every main sequence star"!!!! This means there could be billions or trillions or even higher of these wandering planets in our Galaxy.
The Spitzer Space Telescope is an infrared telescope in space that specializes in looking at exoplanets which, by definition are outside of our solar systems. It pretty much specializes in finding places that would make anything in our solar system seem cold.
By the way, you have no idea how many people are in the field of astronomy. I put this into Google: "PhD in Astronomy"
On the home page of this website are comments about Mercury, which has some interesting characterists for anyone who lives on that planet.
Final Comments About Our Solar System
The big question is this: why haven't astronomers been able to see a planet (Planet 9) which has about ten times the mass as our planet???
If Planet 9 is a "gas giant" like Juipiter, just much further away, it would be easy to figure out why astronomers cannot see Planet 9. The very dim light from the Sun (at this distance away from our Sun), would probably not penetrate the clouds surrounding Planet 9 to even get to the hard core of Planet 9.
To make things worse, what little, or no light, gets to the hard surface of Planet 9 would have to "bounce" off of the hard core of Planet 9 and AGAIN GO THROUGH THE GAS CLOUD (a second time) to get back to earth!!! Ain't gonna happen!!!!!
For reasons I just mentioned, very little light, if any, would get to the surface of Planet 9 because of the clouds PLUS the distance from the Sun!!! People on this planet would literally be in outer darkness!!!
Final Comments About The Phrase "Outer Darkness"
When the Savior was talking about "Outer Darkness" He could have been thinking about:
For item #4, rogue planets, it gets worse!!!! These are thought to be GAS GIANTS!!! This means there is a thick cloud above the surface of the rogue planet. You cannot conceive of anything so dark as a rogue planet that is a gas giant!!!!
Also regarding item #4, the Milky Way galaxy alone may have billions of rogue planets!!! You don't want to live on one of those planets as it would be very, very, very dark, very very cold, and if you were the only person on that planet you would be very, very lonely!!!!
See this amazing Scientific American article on rogue planets:
This article indicates that there may be a smaller number of the gas giant rogue planets than thought, but there are likley a far larger number of smaller castaway worlds than thought. To put it mildely, there are lots of these rocks!!!
A major hot planet would be a Hot Jupiter which was Tidal Locked to the Sun it is orbiting!!! "Tidal Locked" means the same side of the planet is always facing the Sun it is orbiting meaning this side is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HOT!!!
Being on a Hot Jupiter, which is tidally locked, would only be in "outer darkess" if anyone on that planet was not allowed to be on the side facing the star!!! We do not know if "outer darkess" is very cold or very hot, all we know is that it is dark.
In short, there are quite a few options that the Savior might have been thinking about!!!
But perhaps the worst punishment of all would be living on a rogue planet wandering around in outer space!!! You cannot imagine how dark it would be and how lonely you would be if no one else was near you!!! Which is worse: burning in hell with other people like you or being lonely in space?? I hope I never know.
But even if you were living on something in the Oort Cloud, from that viewpoint our Sun would look slightly larger than a star!!!
Both Planet 9, if it had thick clouds and was outside of our solar system much of the time (if it had a giant elliptical orbit most of the time it would be far, far away from our Sun), or deep, deep, deep into the Oort Cloud or being on a rogue planet would all be classified as unbelievable darkness!!!
And I should add that the Oort Cloud, way, way, way, way away from the Sun would be very, very, very cold!!!! Remember, the Oort Cloud has a lot of ice in it!!! In the Oort Cloud, millions of different people could live alone on their own private, frozen icecube!!!!
Don't forget loneliness as a punishment!!!
And if you did live with other people, who are also in outer darkness, think what kind of people they would be!!!
This is the key to me: it seems to me that God intentionally and carefully designed Planet 9 to be HELL for special people who were worse that many others!!!!!
Five of the worst options would be to live on:
These five options make living on an object in the Oort Cloud seem like a vacation in a resort!!!
Note that Mercury didn't even make the list, but Venus did make the list!!! Thick clouds on Venus trap the heat from the Sun making it much worse than living on Mercury, which is closer to the Sun.
To Whom Might The "Outer Darkness" Punishment Apply???
Remember what started all of this discussion, the Savior talking about "outer darkness."
It is not exactly clear who might fit into the category of "outer darkness," but I would assume it would be sons of perdition or perhaps the "like unto the son of perdition" which is mentioned in 3 Nephi 29:5-7 in the Book of Mormon
Basically, anything in our solar system which is outside of the orbit of Neptune could be considered to be in "outer darkness" because the Sun would be so far away.
Pluto was demoted from being a planet to being a "dwarf planet" so it is no longer considered a "planet." Pluto is now rated as just another Kuiper Belt object.
It is not clear as to who would end up in "outer darkness," or exactly why they will be sent there, but it is clear that some people will go there or the Savior would not have mentioned it!!! Sons of Perdition would be the prime candidate because we don't know where the Telestial Kingdom ends and the Son of Perdition begins. "Outer darkess" itself sounds like Son of Perdition, but we just don't know.
Back To The Time Of Christ
The people in Jerusalen in the time of Christ did not have a clue what the Savior was talking about!!! But the aposles would clearly have known that outer darkness was not a good thing!!!
Here is my point, when the Savior made his comments, no one, not even His disciples, would have had a clue what He was talking about!!!
But today we know many options that the Savior could have been thinking about.
But perhaps some people will end up on Planet 9 and others may end up way, way, way, way out on the Oort cloud where it is lonely or on a rogue planet. I just hope I am not in any of the places I have talked about!!!
Something That Astronomers Talk About But They Know Nothing About It!!!
When listening to astronomers talk you frequently hear them say something like this: "in this situation (very hot or very cold) life could not have formed." As smart as these people are, they don't know anything about "life"!!! Life starts with a single cell!!! They have have no clue how sophisticated even a bacteria is!!! It takes a heck of a lot more things to create life than just a moderate temperature and an atmosphere with oxygen!!!
An Article About Astronomy On This Website
While there are countless articles on the Internet about astronomy, I also have a short article on astronomy:
Where Did God Come From?? (i.e. What Was The First Cause Of All Things??)
I have an article that includes a discussion of the "first cause of all things" where the primary quote comes from Brigham Young. Read the entire first quote or you will miss the point of the quote: