Can we Shift Between Kingdoms of Glory During the Eternities?
I've wondered a little bit lately about eternal progression in kingdoms. I've heard differing opinions on the matter and haven't been able to determine a clear cut answer either way. If you inherit the Terrestial Kingdom for example, is there only an opportunity to progress within that specific kingdom, or is there the opportunity for progression within kingdoms?
On the one hand the Scriptures plainly state that this earth time is the only time we get to make up our minds _
"For see, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yes, see the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said to you before, as you have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that you do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, look, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then comes the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed." Alma 34:32-33
Yet question is asked that as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us all, surely they would allow us to enter into the Celestial Kingdom by us repenting and changing; even long after this life is over?
This logic proposes that people can, and in fact will, change their minds about how they wish to spend eternity. It is true that many do change their minds about how to live our lives as we go along. However we reach a point where we have seen enough and considered it through. Some take longer than others. Those just after Adam needed longer to work it out.
"And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave to the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed to all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents." 2 Nephi 2:21
Can you imagine the problems that could arise if people changed their minds during the eternities? Firstly we could have God suddenly decide he's tired of doing all this work and getting no reward. And the Lord could suddenly decide he doesn't want to be the intermediary any more. And what if Satan decides he's not getting a good deal and wants to give up his dark ways?
The Scriptures set forth that there will be a choice made that won't be backed away from. In other words no one will change again once they have set their final course. Those who choose to live a Terrestial lifestyle (for example) won't convert to live a Celestial lifestyle.
"And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given to you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory. And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory" D&C 88:21-24
This statement pertains to all the kingdoms. If you can't abide the law of the Celestial kingdom then you will feel uncomfortable being there etc. So many talk of forgiving, for example. Yet they will forgive everybody except Mrs. Smith next door. They will forgive everybody but not sex offenders. They will forgive everybody but we must make evildoers suffer. "Adolf Hitler can't just repent and get away with it," they will say. They don't lust; too often. They aren't greedy; but would love to have a million dollars.
They will never make the Celestial with these attitudes. And will these attitudes just go away in the eternities? No. They will stay, because they have long ago chosen to keep them; during this time of probation.
How will these people suddenly change to become different to what they are in the midst of eternity?
The following must be remembered _
"And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding" D&C 76:89
So who would decide to work harder? Only those who have caught the vision of service will aim higher; and they will have already found that during this time. They aren't going to find it sitting around in the Telestial kingdom. We have an inner being that will find what we want to do. God has made sure that we will have the time necessary to make the changes we will make in the time allotted before the final judgment.
"You cannot say, when you are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. No, you cannot say this; for that same spirit which possesses your bodies at the time that you go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world." Alma 34:34
Alma is presenting the point that you won't change afterward because you are still the same person.
And God can't just change people. He lives by eternal rules that are as valid to him as they are to us.