17 And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.
18 Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. (D&C 88:17-20)
To me, the neat thing these verses do is explode the notion that exalted man’s final place in the eternities will be out in space somewhere in an undefinable heaven after they have been raptured away. Instead, the earth itself will be exalted and sanctified and celestialized. Then, all those who are celestialized themselves will inherit it as their eternal place of abode. It is those who can’t live up to the celestial law who will have to be placed elsewhere. (No doubt a place is prepared, and we have to remember that even a telestial place will be more glorious than this earth is now.)
When I look out my window at the brightness of the day and see how beautiful the earth is, I have a hard time imagining how a celestial earth could be better than this. But that is only the fault of my imagination. Likely everything will be lots brighter and luminous. I so look forward to that day.
Further, these verses give an even broader view of redemption than just the redemption of man. It is also the redemption and sanctification of the whole of creation! That’s huge. And the earth will be redeemed for sure because it fills its measure of creation and faithfully obeys the celestial law. It is we mortal humans whose exaltation remains in question. The implied question in these verses to me is, “Will you obey like the earth and be sanctified with it, or will you remain in your sins and have to be sent elsewhere?”
Umm, I’d like to stay here, thanks. I’m working on that.