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Old 06-25-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Germany
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this is an essay I wrote once, examining the use of this phrase in the Septuagint

eis ton aiõna“to eternity” or “for the age” or something else?

My secular Ancient-Greek dictionary (Langenscheidt Taschenwörterbuch Altgriechisch – Deutsch) gives following definitions (translated into English):

αιων: life, lifetime, generation, time span, (period of) time, age, eternity

Now there are an amazing variety of meanings, the difference between a generation and eternity is immense. There are two extreme opinions, the one - aiõn always means a (particular) age in the bible, e.g. the Millennium, the other more common view is, that it (always) means for eternity, at least the phrase eis ton aiõna in English bibles often translated with forever or never, however forever or never can be understood in a limited sense, forever until… or forever as long..., never until… or never as long…at least I would say so.

I will examine several verses in the New Testament, where age (in the sense of a particular age) makes no sense (though this doesn’t mean it should be understood as eternally), other verses in the Septuagint where this phrase can impossible mean eternity on the other hand and especially the verses where it seems to contradict the teaching of universalism.

The well known John Nelson Darby (1) for example defends the translation of aiõn with eternity arguing with Plato’s Timaios 37d; Plato wrote there:
Quote:
When the father creator saw the creature which he had made moving and living, the created image of the eternal (aidios) gods, he rejoiced, and in his joy determined to make the copy still more like the original; and as this was eternal (aidios), he sought to make the universe eternal (-), so far as might be. Now the nature of the ideal being was eternal (aiõnios), but to bestow this attribute in its fullness upon a creature was impossible. Wherefore he resolved to have a moving image of eternity (aiõnos), and when he set in order the heaven, he made this image eternal (aiõnios) but moving according to number, while eternity (aiõnos) itself rests in unity; and this image we call time (chronos). For there were no days and nights and months and years before the heaven was created, but when he constructed the heaven he created them also. They are all parts of time, and the past and future are created species of time, which we unconsciously but wrongly transfer to the eternal (aidios) essence; for we say that he "was," he "is," he "will be," but the truth is that "is" alone is properly attributed to him, and that "was" and "will be" only to be spoken of becoming in time, for they are motions, but that which is immovably the same cannot become older or younger by time, nor ever did or has become, or hereafter will be, older or younger, nor is subject at all to any of those states which affect moving and sensible things and of which generation is the cause. These are the forms of time, which imitates eternity (aiõnos) and revolves according to a law of number. Moreover, when we say that what has become is become and what becomes is becoming, and that what will become is about to become and that the non-existent is non-existent -- all these are inaccurate modes of expression. But perhaps this whole subject will be more suitably discussed on some other occasion. (2)
It seems Plato called time (chronos) an eternal (aiõnios) image of eternity (aiõn), I have no idea what Plato meant with that; and it doesn’t actually make sense for me. Plato also employs aidios (eternal) referring to the gods not aiõnios though Mr. Darby claims Plato used both words synonymous, aidios unlike aiõnios is the common ancient Greek word supposed to mean eternal, though I have read that even aidios could have been used in a limited sense.

Generally Plato seems to contrast time (chronos) with eternity (aiõn), keep this in mind.

Mr. Darby further quotes Aristotle to support his position; I do not really understand what Aristotle seems to say in the quotation Mr. Darby gives. However concerning Aristotle:

Quote:
Concerning Aristotle's use of the word in his famous sentence, "Life, an aiõn continuous and eternal," it is enough to say that if aiõn intrinsically meant endless, Aristotle never would have sought to strengthen the meaning by adding "continuous" and "eternal" (most probably aidios), any more than one would say, God has an eternity, continuous and endless. He has a life, an existence, an aiõn endless, just as man's aiõn on earth is limited; just as Idumea's smoke in the Old Testament is aiõnios. Nor, had Aristotle considered aiõn to mean eternity, would he have said in this very passage: "the time of the life of each individual has been called his aiõn." (3)
Quote:
"According to Aristotle, and a higher authority need not be sought, αιων is compounded of αει, always, and ον, being; that is, always existing,…interminable, incessant, and immeasurable duration." Clarke on Gen. 21:33. Others also compel Aristotle into the same service.

Now, a single passage from the same work in which Aristotle is represented as defining aiõn to mean radically and strictly endless, duration without end, will show the uncertainty of such criticism, and the folly of attempting to press the great philosopher into the support of endless punishment. The passage referred to (DE MUNDO; Greek: peri kosmou), has this expression: "from one interminable eternity to another eternity" - ex aiõnos atermonos eis eteron aiõna. (4)
Mr. Darby gives as an argument for example:

Quote:
So John 4:14, shall not thirst "for the age": is that the meaning? or never? John 6:51, 58, "live for ever"; John 10:28, not perish "to the age": is that the sense? John 13:8, thou shalt not wash my feet "to the age!" A multitude more may be quoted to the same effect; some with the modified sense I have spoken of above of absolute gift and calling never to be retracted. But eis ton aiõna never means "to the age" in any case.
Concerning John 13:8 as an example Mr. Darby is partly right in my opinion.

“Peter said to Him, You may in no way wash my feet to the age. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
(Green’s Literal Translation)

To the age or maybe better into the age, as Mr. Darby correctly observes makes no proper sense in my view as well, even if literally correct translated.

Mr. Darby translates:

“Peter says to him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, Unless I wash thee, thou hast not part with me.”

However, according to his understanding of the phrase eis ton aiõna he should have translated

“Peter says to him, you should not wash my feet to eternity.”

This would also sound a bit odd, most sense would make, “you should not wash my feet forever, as long as I live” – a limited forever or aiõn referring most probably to lifetime or indefinite time, not absolute unconditional endlessness.

The Tyndale New Testament from 1525 is interesting, having no reference to eternity:

“Peter sayd vnto him: thou shalt not wesshe my fete whill ye worlde stondeth. Iesus answered him: yf I wasshe ye not thou shalt have no part with me.”

This might be a proper definition:

Quote:
Theodoret (A. D. 300-400) “Aiõn is not any existing thing, but an interval denoting time, sometimes infinite when spoken of God, sometimes proportioned to the duration of the creation, and sometimes to the life of man.” (5)
eis ton aiõna referring to men as Peter in John 13:8 meaning most probably lifetime, perpetual continuance but within limits.

The relevant verses concerning the salvation of all are only Mark 3:29 and Jude 13

Mark 3:29

ς δν βλασφημσες τπνεμα τγιον, οκ χει φεσιν ες τν αἰῶνα, λλνοχς στιν αωνου μαρτματος.

os d an blasphêmêsê eis to pneuma to agion ouk echei aphesin eis ton aiõna alla enochos estin aiõniou amartêmatos

“…but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit has no remission unto the age, but is liable to eternal judgment…” (Green’s Literal)

Same Verse in Mr. Darby’s translation

“…but whosoever shall speak injuriously against the Holy Spirit, to eternity has no forgiveness; but lies under the guilt of an everlasting sin…”

It should be either into the age or into eternity, so both translations do possibly not translate the article entirely precise, the Apostolic Bible interlinear translation has into the eon. (6)

Jude 13

κματα γρια θαλσσης παφρζοντα τς αυτν ασχνας, στρες πλανται ος ζφος τοσκτους ες τν αἰῶνα τετρηται.

kymata argia thalassês epaphrizonta tas eautõn aischynas asters planêtai ois o zophos tou skoutous eis ton aiõna tetêrêtai

“…wild waves of the sea foaming up their shames, wandering stars for whom blackness of darkness has been kept to the age.” (Green’s Literal)

“…raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shames; wandering stars, to whom has been reserved the gloom of darkness for eternity.”
(Darby’s translation)

the Apostolic Bible interlinear translation has into the eon.

Mr. Darby says:
Quote:
A multitude more may be quoted to the same effect; some with the modified sense I have spoken of above of absolute gift and calling never to be retracted. But eis ton aiona never means "to the age" in any case.

Take 1 Peter 1: 23, 25, logou zontos theou kai menontos eis ton aiõna. Does it last only "to the age" (applying it to the logon, not to theou as some do)? So verse 25, rema menei eis ton aiõna. So 2 John 2, the truth shall be with us "to the age!" So Jude 13, wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness eis ton aiõna. Here again "to the age" has no sense.
I agree with Mr. Darby that into the age, as if a specific age would be meant, makes no sense for the phrase eis ton aiõna in almost all occurrences, especially in the Septuagint which I will show later, though I do not agree that eis ton aiõna means strict endlessness or even eternity, at least as long as not referring to God.

Mr. Darby does not deny, that aiõn also means age; in fact he translates aiõn several times with age, where the KJV translators failed, a few examples:

Revelation 20:10

“And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] both the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for the ages of ages.”

For ages of ages instead of forever and ever though Mr. Darby was surely no universalist.

Luke 1:33

“…and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for the ages, (F17) and of his kingdom there shall not be an end.”

Mr. Darby brings following footnote: F17 Or 'for ever;' but it is plural.

I regard Mr. Darby as an honest scholar, he seems to have thought eis ton aiõna means in eternity, but he realized here it is plural (eis tous aiõnas) and was honest enough to render it ages, at least here; in other occurrences he renders the plural with for ever though. Sometimes he translates with world or worlds as the KJV translators did.

1 Corinthians 2:7

“But we speak God's wisdom in [a] mystery, that hidden [wisdom] which God had predetermined before the ages for our glory…”

pro tõn aiõnõn, before the eons, the KJV does render it improperly before the world.

I will now come to the Septuagint, quoting the Apostolic Bible interlinear translation and the translation from Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton.

Exodus 15:18

κυριος βασιλευων τον αιωνα και επ' αιωνα και ετι
Kyrios basileuõn ton aiõna kai ep aiõna kai eti
The Lord reigning into the eon, and unto eon, and still

Into to the eon and still (or furthermore – kai eti), showing that eon itself is not endless, the Hebrew has something like olam va ed, forolam” and furthermore, showing that whatever olam means, it can hardly mean endlessness, cause nothing goes beyond an endlessness. The Latin bible (Vulgate) has AETERNUM ET ULTRA – in eternity and beyond, showing that even Latin aeternum did not (necessarily) denote endlessness in Jerome’s days.

Exodus 21:6

προσαξει αυτον ο κυριος αυτου προς το κριτηριον του θεου και τοτε προσαξει αυτον επι την θυραν επι τον σταθμον και τρυπησει αυτου ο κυριος το ους τω οπητιω και δουλευσει αυτω εις τον αιωνα

“…shall lead him then his master to the judgment seat of God, and then lead him to the door, unto the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him into the eon…”

Into the eon could at most mean for lifetime here, imagine how ridiculous it would be to translate or to understand, a slave shall serve his master in eternity. My Torah commentary (German version of the Plaut Chumash) says, that the Rabbis understood forever (Hebrew olam) as until the Jubilee year. Rabbi Ibn Ezra: – “Le’olam, ‘for ever,' merely means a long time, i.e. till the year of jubilee.” – On Ex. xxi. 6.; so eis ton aiõna would mean until the Jubilee year here. The Vulgate has in saeculum, meaning age.

Rashi:
Quote:
and he shall serve him forever: Heb. לְעֹלָם, until the Jubilee year [the fiftieth year of the cycle]. Or perhaps it means literally forever, as its apparent meaning? Therefore, the Torah states [in reference to the Jubilee year]: “and each man to his family you shall return” (Lev. 25:10). [This] informs [us] that fifty years are called עֹלָם. But [this does] not [mean] that he must serve him [his master] the entire fifty years, but he must serve him until the Jubilee year, regardless of whether it is near or far off. — [From Mechilta, Kid. 15a](7)

Exodus 40:15

και εσται ωστε ειναι αυτοις χρισμα ιερατειας εις τον αιωνα εις τας γενεας αυτων
And it will be so as to be them an anointing priesthood into the eon, unto their generations.

For me generations rather belong to time than to eternity, it is of course important what the Jewish translators had in mind here when they translated the Hebrew scriptures into Greek, but I can hardly imagine that they understood with eis ton aiõna here something literally everlasting without any end, especially as Hebrew olam had not such a meaning.

Deuteronomy 15:17

και λημψη το οπητιον και τρυπησεις το ωτιον αυτου προς την θυραν και εσται σοι οικετης εις τον αιωνα και την παιδισκην σου ποιησεις ωσαυτως

“…then thou shalt take an awl, and bore his ear through to the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever…”

This is a kind of parallel verse of Exodus 21:6 already mentioned, it’s interesting that the Vulgate has aeternum here while it has saeculum there, as if it were synonyms, as saeculum denotes limited duration, aeternum must do so as well to be a synonym, age and eternity would hardly be synonyms.

Again Rashi:
Quote:
[And he shall be] a servant [to you] forever: Heb. לְעוֹלָם. One might think that [לְעוֹלָם, “forever”] is to be interpreted literally. Therefore, Scripture states: “[And you shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a Jubilee for you;] and you shall return, every man to his property, and you shall return, every man to his family” (Lev. 25:10). Consequently, you learn that the term לְעוֹלָם here can mean only the period until the Jubilee. [This period is also called לְעוֹלָם.] - [Mechilta 21:6]

Deuteronomy 23:6

ου προσαγορευσεις ειρηνικα αυτοις και συμφεροντα αυτοις πασας τας ημερας σου εις τον αιωνα

You shall not address peaceable to them, nor be advantageous to them all your days into the eon.

All your days for eternity is hardly to imagine here – especially in a Platonic sense as days belong to time and not eternity, I guess a long continuance was in the mind of the writer.

1 Samuel 27:12

και επιστευθη δαυιδ εν τω αγχους σφοδρα λεγων ησχυνται αισχυνομενος εν τω λαω αυτου εν ισραηλ και εσται μοι δουλος εις τον αιωνα

So David had the full confidence of Anchus, who said, He is thoroughly disgraced among his people in Israel and he shall be my servant for ever.

For ever or into the eon (eis ton aiõna) can at most refer to lifetime here, it is impossible to think of eternity here. The Latin has sempiternus, showing that to the ancients all these words had not such a strict meaning, as if they meant everlasting without any end but as it seems to me rather “everlastingness” as long as it lasts, but limited by the circumstances it refers to.

A Seventh Day Adventist who believes in the destruction of the unrighteous writes concerning the adjective aiõnios (referring to Matthew 25:46):
Quote:
It is important to note that the Greek word aiõnios, translated "eternal" or "everlasting," literally means "lasting for an age." Ancient Greek papyri contain numerous examples of Roman emperors being described as aiõnios. What is meant is that they held their office for life. Unfortunately, the English words "eternal" or "everlasting" do not accurately render the meaning of aiõnios, which literally means "age-lasting." In other words, while the Greek aiõnios expresses perpetuity within limits, the English "eternal" or "everlasting" denotes unlimited duration. (8)
Of course this man might not be the highest authority regarding questions on Greek language but for me it makes sense and seems to fit exactly to the meaning of the phrase eis ton aiõna, possibly expressing perpetual continuance but within limits according to the things, actions, circumstances or persons applied to, I will came back to this point at my conclusion.

Psalm 73:12

ιδου ουτοι αμαρτωλοι και ευθηνουνται εις τον αιωνα κατεσχον πλουτου
Behold, these are the sinners, and they prosper into the eon, holding wealth.

This is kind of my favorite verse, who would seriously claim that sinners prosper eternally?, this alone is striking proof that Hebrew olam does not mean everlasting, at least doubtlessly not in all occasions, eis ton aiõna could hardly have been intended to mean in eternity here.

Micah 4:5

QUIA OMNES POPULI AMBULABUNT UNUSQUISQUE IN NOMINE DEI SUI NOS AUTEM AMBULABIMUS IN NOMINE DOMINI DEI NOSTRI IN AETERNUM ET ULTRA

οτι παντες οι λαοι πορευσονται εκαστος την οδον αυτου ημεις δε πορευσομεθα εν ονοματι κυριου θεου ημων εις τον αιωνα και επεκεινα

“For all the peoples shall go each in his own way; but we shall call go in the name of the Lord our God into the eon (eis ton aiõna) and beyond (kai epekeia).”

This is also a most interesting verse, as Exodus 15:18, in eternity and beyond if this phrase would actually mean eternity, for me it seems impossible that the translators who made the Septuagint understood eis ton aiõna to express eternity in any case, when they render eis ton aiõna and beyond.

An interesting example from the New Testament is Luke 1:54.55

He helped His servant Israel in order to remember mercy, even as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed to the age (eis ton aiõna). (Green’s Literal)

While Jerome translated eis ton aiõna in many if not almost all occurrences with in aeternum, here he translates:

SICUT LOCUTUS EST AD PATRES NOSTROS ABRAHAM ET SEMINI EIUS IN SAECULA

I wonder why he used the plural in saecula (into ages) while the Greek is singular, it is interesting, to show how Wycliffe translated this from the Vulgate into English:

“He, hauynge mynde of his mercy, took Israel, his child; as he hath spokun to oure fadris, to Abraham and to his seed, in to worldis.”

Jerome could not meant eternity with in saecula, neither did Wycliffe mean eternity with in to worldis, which I will show:“…and thou schalt peerse his eere in the yate of thin hous, and he schal serue thee til in to the world, that is til to the iubilee, ethir fiftithe yeer; also thou schalt do in lijk maner to the handmayde.” (Deuteronomy 15:17)

Wycliffe added here something, in to the worlduntil the Jubilee year, he could never understood this to mean eternally. So Hebrew olam, Greek eis ton aiõna, Latin aeternum or in saeculo does mean here something like into the age or in perpetuity, until the Jubilee year (as already shown before).

But there are also examples where eis ton aiõna refers to God, one example:

Psalm 119:89

εις τον αιωνα κυριε ο λογος σου διαμενει εν τω ουρανω
Into the eon, o Lord, your word abides in the heaven.

Here we might understand eis ton aiõna as in eternity, but not because the phrase carries this meaning in itself but because applied to God, if we compare eis ton aiõna with the word lifelong we would have a similar effect, lifelong applied to men are only a few decades, but applied to God eternity.

I think I’m not the first one who came to this conclusion; for me eis ton aiõna seems to express perpetual continuance but within limits according to the things, actions, circumstances or persons applied to, not strict infinity or unconditional endlessness but “everlastingness” as long as it lasts, limited by the circumstances it refers to, or meaning simply unknown continuance.

It’s also interesting that the Latin words aeternum (eternal) and sempiternum (everlasting) are also used in a sense of only lifelong, and aeternum obviously as synonym of saeculum (age) in some occasions; it seems that all these words might have had a similar meaning to the ancients and I think this was not infinity.

This is the translation I would choose for eis ton aiõna:

“…then you shall take the shoemaker’s awl, and make a hole in his ear against the door, and he will be to you a servant in perpetuity [= until the Jubilee year].” (Dt. 15:17)

“You shall not address peaceable to them, nor be advantageous to them all your days in perpetuity.” (Dt. 23:6)

“So David had the full confidence of Anchus, who said, He is thoroughly disgraced among his people in Israel and he shall be my servant in perpetuity.” (1Sam. 27:12)

“Behold, these are the sinners, and they prosper in perpetuity, holding wealth.” (Psalm 73:12)

In perpetuity, o Lord, your word abides in the heaven.” (Psalm 119:89)

“For all the peoples shall go each in his own way; but we shall call go in the name of the Lord our God in perpetuity and furthermore.” (Micah 4:5)

I think in perpetuity makes good sense in all occurrences but factors out the idea of strict infinity or endlessness at least as long as not spoken from God (but only because it should be self-evident that God is infinite and not because this word has this meaning) and is thereby similar equivocal as the Hebrew and Greek expressions seem to be.

It’s a bit unlucky in my opinion that Mr. Darby used Plato as authority and did obviously not examine the use of this phrase in the Septuagint, as eis ton aiõna is the equivalent of Hebrew olam and as this word does not mean eternity, which I think all authorities agree, so eis ton aiõna does most probably express something similar as olam does.

There is one interesting verse, where Mr. Darby does translate exactly as the “universalist” translations, which supports my position concerning olam.

Ecclesiastes 12:5

“Also of that which is high they are afraid, And of the low places in the way, And the almond-tree is despised, And the grasshopper is become a burden, And want is increased, For man is going unto his home age-during (olam), And the mourners have gone round through the street.” (Young’s Literal sometimes called a “universalist” translation)

Mr. Darby’s translation

“…they are also afraid of what is high, and terrors are in the way, and the almond is despised, and the grasshopper is a burden, and the caper-berry is without effect; for man goeth to his age-long home, and the mourners go about the streets.”

There is also another interesting expression in the Septuagint, remember Plato contrasted time (chronos) with eternity (aiõn).

Isaiah 34:10

…νυκτος και ημερας και ου σβεσθησεται εις τον αιωνα χρονον και αναβησεται ο καπνος αυτης ανω εις γενεας ερημωθησεται και εις χρονον πολυν

nuktoskai êmeras kai ou sbesthêsetai eis ton aiõna chronon kai anabêsetai o kapnos autês anõ eis geneas erêmõthêsetai kai eis chronon polun

“…night and day; and it shall not be extinguished into the eon of time. And shall ascend her smoke upward; unto her generations she shall be made desolate, and for a long time she shall be made desolate.”

While Plato contrasted chronos with aiõn, here the aiõn belongs to time (chronos), an eon of time, for me it seems obvious that they didn’t understand the phrase eis ton aiõna in a Platonic sense (whatever Plato meant with “time being an eternal/eonian image of eternity”).

According to Mr. Darby’s understanding one must translate, into the eternity of time but this would sound odd and contradict Plato’s definition of eternity I suppose, which Mr. Darby seems to see as kind of authoritative.

Again the translation in perpetuity of time would make the best sense like in the other occurrences, preventing us from such curiosities as in eternity and furthermore, eternity of time; the wicked prospering in eternity or a slave serving his master in eternity - until the Jubilee.

will continue it

Last edited by svenM; 06-25-2009 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Germany
1,647 posts, read 1,706,353 times
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I will now come to my last points, Mr. Darby though he agrees that aiõn means occasionally age insists that aiõnios means eternal.

Mr. Darby wrote:
Quote:
…and at the same time philosophical force of the word, aiõn, aiõnios. Eternity, unchangeable, with no 'was' nor 'will be,' is its proper force, that it can be applied to the whole existence of a thing, so that nothing of its nature was before true or after is true, to telos to periechon. But its meaning is eternity, and eternal. To say that they do not mean it in Greek, as Jukes and Farrar and S. Cox, and those they quote, is a denial of the statements of the very best authorities we can have on the subject. If Plato and Aristotle and Philo knew Greek, what these others say is false. That this is the proper sense of aiõnios in Scripture, is as certain as it is evident. In 2 Corinthians 4: 18, we have ta gar blepomena proskaira, ta de me blepomena aiõnia. That is, things that are for a time are put in express contrast with aiõnia, which are not for a time, be it age or ages, but eternal. Nothing can be more decisive of its positive and specific meaning.

"…But this does not alter the meaning of the word: aiõnios is properly the opposite to proskairos."

Mr. Darby refers here to 2 Corinthians 4:18, however proskairos is not time (chronos) itself but seems rather to be a period, Plato did not contrast a period (proskairos) with eternity but time itself (chronos) with eternity (aiõn), so Mr. Darby is wrong here in my opinion.

The word proskairos also occurs in Matthew 13:21, Mark 4:17, and Hebrews 11:25

I’ll show these verses now in several translations, before I turn to 2 Corinthians 4:18 in detail:

Matthew 13:21

“But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time (Gr. proskairos). When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. (New International Version)

“Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (King James Version)

Mark 4:17

But they have no roots. So they last only a short time (Gr. proskairos). They quickly fall away from the faith when trouble or suffering comes because of the message. (NIRV)

“And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended”. (King James Version)

Hebrews 11:25

“Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Gr. proskairos);…” (King James Version)

“He chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” (New International Version)

In all these occurrences proskairos rather seems to mean a short time, a season or a while.

An online dictionary, it seems to be the Liddell Scott; gives the following meaning for proskairos; for a season, temporary (9)

“season” is defined in an English dictionary: A period of time not very long; a while; a time.

Before I turn to 2 Corinthians 4:18, remember Mr. Darby wrote, “But this does not alter the meaning of the word: aiõnios is properly the opposite to proskairos.”

But what is the opposite of a period of time not very long? Of course eternity would be the opposite of such a period, but also one or several long ages, or even a single century would be the full contrast to a short season, while the contrast of eternity is time and not a season.

The verse of interest is:

2 Corinthians 4:18

μσκοποντων μν τβλεπμενα λλτμβλεπμενα· τγρ βλεπμενα πρσκαιρα, τδμβ λεπμενα αἰώνια.

mê skopountõn êmõn ta blepomena alla ta mê blepomena ta gar blepomena proskaira, ta de mê blepomena aiõnia.

“For tho thingis that ben seyn, ben but durynge for a schort tyme; but tho thingis that ben not seyn, ben euerlastynge.” (Wycliffe)

“So we don't spend all our time looking at what we can see. Instead, we look at what we can't see. What can be seen lasts only a short time. But what can't be seen will last forever.” (NIRV)

As I said proskairos is not time itself, this would be chronos, but rather a (shorter) period as already shown, you can contrast strict opposites or things that are related to each other, you can contrast a lake with a desert and you can contrast a lake with an ocean; one might suppose here is contrasted time with timeless eternity in a Platonic sense, but you can also contrast something which lasts only a short present period with something that is yet future and will last for ages, as I already said.

If Paul would have contrasted time with eternity I think he would have written,

“For the things which are seen are ‘chronikos’ (temporary, in the sense of pertaining to time); but the things which are not seen are eternal (pertaining to eternity).”

But Paul did not usethe adjective of chronos - time, which I think he would have done, if he had intended to contrast time with eternity here, but he used proskairos, which is not related to time (chronos) itself, but rather means a season as shown. I think this verse proofs in no way that aiõnios should be understood as infinite, because it does simply not say so. It might be the perfect definition of Hebrew olam which means something like hidden time as far as I know:

Things that are seen last only for a (short present) period (Gr. proskairos), but (things yet future), not seen (yet and with an unavowed end), are lasting for [a] (long future) age[s] (Gr. aiõnios).

This might be a possible interpretation without any relation to a supposed infinity, endlessness or timeless eternity as Mr. Darby and others suppose.

Mr. Darby further claimed that Philo of Alexandria, also known as Philo Judæus, who was contemporary with Christ, used aiõnios in the meaning of everlasting or at least the noun aiõn in a Platonic sense, using him as authority to support his opinion, however:
Quote:
Philo, who was contemporary with Christ, generally used aidios to denote endless, and always used aiõnios to describe temporary duration. Dr. Mangey, in his edition of Philo, says he never used aiõnios to interminable duration. He uses the exact phraseology of Matthew 25:46, precisely as Christ used it.
Quote:
"It is better not to promise than not to give prompt assistance, for no blame follows in the former case, but in the latter there is dissatisfaction from the weaker class, and a deep hatred and everlasting* punishment [kolasis aiõnios] from such as are more powerful."
Here we have the exact terms employed by our Lord, to show that aiõnios did not mean endless but did mean limited duration in the time of Christ. Philo always uses athanatos, ateleutêtos or aidios to denote endless, and aiõnios for temporary duration. (10)
*this was also quoted on other pages, in the context it seems to be about several years of imprisonment:

Quote:
“It is better absolutely never to make any promise at all than not to assist another willingly, for no blame attaches to the one, but great dislike on the part of those who are less powerful, and intense hatred and long enduring punishment (kolasis aiõnios) from those who are more powerful, is the result of the other line of conduct.” Dr. Yonge translated the phrase “aiõnios kolasis” as “long enduring punishment.”
Quote:

Given the context of Philo’s passage, the length of the punishment would be a few years to about a decade. Below I’ve copied the primary definition of each Greek word from perseus.org. Notice that Dr. Yonge’s translation is fully consistent with both the primary definition of each word, and the context of Philo’s passage. The passage of Philo containing the phrase is preserved in a Greek fragment found in The Parallels of John of Damascus. (11)
The last point, three verses where Mr. Darby was kind of inconsequent

Titus 1:2

“…on hope of eternal life which the God who does not lie promised before eternal times” (Green)

“…in [the] hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time,...” (Darby)

2 Timothy 1:9

“…the One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times…(Green)

“…who has saved us, and has called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to [his] own purpose and grace, which [was] given to us in Christ Jesus before [the] ages of time…” (Darby)

In both verses pro chronõn aiõniõn, before eonian times, having a beginning they can hardly be eternal, Mr. Darby knew this quite well I suppose, therefore translating with ages, showing that at least here he understood aiõnios as pertaining to ages. The Vulgate has ante tempora saecularia, something like before times age-abiding, as saeculum means age, saecularia should mean age-abiding, however in later times saecularia seems to have been understood as pertaining to the world (modern secular), probably therefore does for example the King James Version following the Vulgate, translate before the world began.

Romans 16:25.26

…kata apokalypsin mysteriou chronois aiõniois sestigêmenou, phanerõthentos de nun dia te graphõn prophêtikõn kai epitagên tou aiõniou Theou …

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel, and the proclaiming of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery having been kept unvoiced during eternal times, but now has been made plain, and by prophetic Scriptures, according to the commandment of the eternal God, made known for obedience of faith to all the nations;…” (Green’s Literal)

“Now to him that is able to establish you, according to my glad tidings and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to [the] revelation of [the] mystery, as to which silence has been kept in [the] times of the ages, but [which] has now been made manifest, and by prophetic scriptures, according to commandment of the eternal God, made known for obedience of faith to all the nations …“ (Darby)

The eternal times (chronois aiõniois) had an end; Mr. Darby translates aiõnios here with of the ages.

Beside the point that the phrase eternal times is a contradiction in itself, how would this fit to the Platonic view of time contrasted with eternity?, if Plato separates time from eternity (though I’m not 100% sure), but Paul calls times “eternal”, than I think Paul didn’t use aiõnios in a Platonic sense, as did not the translators of the Septuagint as I’ve shown; but Paul mention eternal times 3x where they had either beginning or end and most probably both which also proves Strong’s definition of aiõnios wrong (Strong number 166).

A good translation of aiõnios in the Bible might be perpetual, I will show why; for me being German, it helped me to do this examination partly in English, we use our German word ewig meaning eternal, often in a loose sense, e.g. “Ich habe schon ewig auf dich gewartet”- meaning “I’ve been waiting for you eternally”, we do not say so as a hyperbole, it is just the sense we often use it in common language, meaning a long time, however in spiritual matters, we’re lead to suppose it means eternal in its strictest sense. As in English eternal seems to be used in a stricter sense, this helps me to see where infinity was impossibly in the mind of a writer while in German I would not see it, because German ewig is kind of obscure.

I hope you understand what I want to say, as some scholars seem to acknowledge, the idea of strict infinity or eternity was foreign to the ancients. I will again show a verse from the Latin Vulgate:

1 Samuel 27:12

CREDIDIT ERGO ACHIS DAVID DICENS MULTA MALA OPERATUS EST CONTRA POPULUM SUUM ISRAHEL ERIT IGITUR MIHI SERVUS SEMPITERNUS

“Therfor Achis bileuyde to Dauid, and seide, Forsothe he wrouyte many yuelis ayens his puple Israel, therfor he schal be euerlastynge seruaunt to me.“ (Wycliffe bible)

Everlastingly (sempiternus) can only mean for lifetime here, aeternum (eternal) was used in the same sense (e.g. Deuteronomy 15:17), it somehow helped me to understand how loose the ancients might have used these words when infinity was not yet so much in their mind.

Now I will show why perpetual might be the proper translation of aiõnios in all occurrences, a dictionary gave me following German meanings for perpetual: andauernd, fortwährend (lasting, continuing), immerwährend (everlasting), ewig (eternal)

These various meanings of this one word further helped me to understand how the ancients might have understood aiõnios, I’ll quote Green’s Literal Translation - altered according to my understanding:

Romans 16:25.25

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel, and the proclaiming of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery having been kept unvoiced during perpetual (aiõnios) times, but now has been made plain, and by prophetic Scriptures, according to the commandment of the perpetual (aiõnios) God, made known for obedience of faith to all the nations;…”

The perpetual times had an end, perpetual times is not such a curiosity and contradiction in terms as eternal times, the perpetual God is of course eternal, but not because He is called perpetual but because it is self-evident. However the times are never as long-lasting as God, though described with the same term applied to God (I think this shows that Paul didn’t want to tell us that God is eternal when he called God eonian but wanted to tell us something different, it is kind of stupid in my opinion to want to prove with this verse that aiõnios means eternal when in the same sentence passed by times are called aiõnios as well).

Titus 1:2

“…on hope of perpetual (aiõnios) life which the God who does not lie promised before perpetual (aiõnios) times…”

It is not wrong to suppose a perpetual life promised by God to be everlasting though not necessarily (but the bible also speaks about immortality); again before perpetual times is not such a curiosity as before eternal times, again no reason to suppose that perpetual times last as long as perpetual life given as a gift from God, though appointed with the same adjective.

Matthew 25:46

“And these shall go away into perpetual (aiõnios) chastening,
but the righteous into perpetual (aiõnios) life.”

Again the same words applied to both, again we can suppose a perpetual life given as gift from God to the righteous is indeed everlasting (though it must not necessarily be endless - what if one of them would apostatize in future times?), however a perpetual chastening of a just and merciful God, why should we suppose it, to be never-ending torment or even utter destruction if the adjective does not in itself express infinity?

(The Greek word kolasis seems to have meant corrective, remedial punishment in ancient secular Greek; I hope chastening fits this meaning) Once again, if perpetual times are not lasting as long God lasts, why should then perpetual chastening last as long as perpetual life?

Matthew 18:8.9

“And if your hand or your foot offends you, cut it off and throw it from you; it is good for you to enter into life lame or maimed, than having two hands or two feet to be thrown into the perpetual (aiõnios) fire. And if your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you; for it is good for you to enter into life one-eyed, than having two eyes to be thrown into the fiery valley of Hinnom (lit. Gehenna of fire; see Joshua 18:16 in the Septuagint: gaienna there).”

I often wonder if Gehenna has any eschatological meaning, this is the only verse where Gehenna is called aiõnios fire, Matthew 25:41 must not necessarily refer to Gehenna, also I doubt if the lake of fire refers to Gehenna.

The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus called the temple of Jerusalem aiõnios when it had already been destroyed (12), if the Jews in Jesus' time actually kept alive a continuing fire burning in Gehenna (maybe for decades???), Jesus might have referred to this earthly fire, calling it aiõnios, meaning nothing but the real, literal and perpetual fire, burning and kept alive unquenched in the real literal valley of Hinnom.

Philemon 15.16

“For perhaps for this he was separated for an hour, that you might receive him perpetually (aiõnios); no longer as a slave, but beyond a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, and how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

It seems few translations have understood aiõnios her as if here is thought of receive him for all eternity in the future life, the New International Translation has “…perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good…”

But for me it is not sure whether here is meant for lifetime or also in the future life, again perpetually preserves the dubious meanings of aiõnios and olam as it allows both interpretations either lifetime or maybe only a few years or literally everlastingly though I think it means for lifetime here.

Generally we should not forget that the writers of the New Testament were Jews, Hebrews and not Platonic philosophers.

According to a secular ancient Greek dictionary online, perpetual is actually a meaning of aiõnios, the primary meaning is given as lasting for an age (13).

I came across another interesting thing; an archaic English translation of the bible (14),

where John 3:16 is rendered the following:

"God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he seade his an-cennedan sunu, dat nan ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe dat ece lif."

About this word I’ve read something interesting:


Quote:
Old English versions were made not from the Greek, but from the Latin Vulgate, between the years 680 and 995. The four Gospels were done, and probably other parts. The Latin adjective aeternum (which Jerome used for eonian) is always rendered by the little word ece. Where Jerome for the noun has seculum, the Old English uses worulde (world) in all sixteen cases. Where Jerome has in aeternum, the Old English eight times has ecnysse, five times never (with a negative in the Latin), and once ever. The two words, ece and world, will amply repay a little investigation. The once very common English word ece, which can be traced down till about 1260 (although it disappeared as an adjective soon after that), is stated to come from the Old English verb ecan, meaning to "prolong, augment, increase." The word survives as a verb, to eke, meaning to add, lengthen, and as an adverb, meaning, also, in addition. A nickname was originally "an eke name," that is, an added name. In Scottish Law, an eik is an addition to a legal document. The reason why the simple word ece was forced out of English probably was that it was too equivocal. Theology was trying to make it stand for "everlasting," whereas it only meant "lasting." These latter terms were to take its place, as in Cursor Mundi (The Course of the World, a metrical version of Bible history, written about 1320), which has the line, "Through Jesus come to life lasting" (Thoru Jhesu com to liif lastand). Soon after this time, the word everlasting took the place of ece and lasting, a transition which made a very great deal of difference. (15)

I came across another significant fact, there are Greek words that unlike aiõn and aiõnios actually seem to mean eternity and eternal. They are aidiotês (aιδιοτης)or aidiotêtos (ϊδιτητος) and the adjective aidios (aιδιος). The later is found in the New Testament only but twice (Romans 1:20 and Jude 6, in Jude 6 it might be limited unto the Day of Judgment).

These terms are also found in the apocrypha:

Wisdom 2:23 (KJV)

“For God created man to bee immortall,
and made him to be an image of his owne eternitie (aidiotêtos).”

Wisdom 7:26 (KJV)

“For she is the brightness of the everlasting (aidios) light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.“

I've read that both the ancient Greek philosophers and the church fathers never applied aiõn or aiõnios to God’s eternity, but used aidiotêtos or aidios.

4 Maccabees 10:15

ma ton makarion tôn adelphõn mou thanaton kai ton aiõnion tou turannou olethron kai ton aidion tõn eusebõn bion ouk arnêsomai tên eugenê adelphotêta

No, by the blessed death of my brothers, by the eonian (aiõnios) perdition of the tyrant, and by the eternal (aidios) life of the pious, I will not renounce our noble brotherhood. (16)

I was made a bit insecure as the term eonian torment (aiõnios basanos) is found in 4Macc. 9:7 if it means actually everlasting torment there; but here we have eonian desctruction (or perdition, the same word as in 2Thess 1:9) applied to the tyrant but eternal life (aidios bios) for the pious. For me it actually seems so, that they ascribed the tyrant a temporal (aiõnios) doom while an everlasting (aidios) life awaits the righteous.

This fits very well with all the sources who say that the Jews contemporary with Christ used aiõnios in a limited sense and aidios or other terms to denote infinity. If the Jews also used aiõnios referring to future punishment, we might assume they meant a limited punishment, unlike if they employed such terms as aidios. It seems often hard to tell what has been in a writers mind when using such equivocal terms, eternity is an abstract and vague idea, the idea of an immense but finite duration can easily mingle with the idea of infinity, so it is not apparent even in context whether a writer meant strict infinity or immense but ceasing perpetuity.

I will bring an example to show this:

Enoch 10:10

kai pasa erõtêsis ouk estai tois patrasis autõn kai peri autõn, oti elpizousin zêsai zõên aiõnion, kai oti zêsetai ekastos autõn etê pentakosia

“They shall all entreat you, but their fathers shall not obtain their wishes respecting them; for they shall hope for an eternal (aiõnios) life.”

Now if we would read only this, we might suppose an endless life is meant, however this verse is not complete:

“They shall all entreat you, but their fathers shall not obtain their wishes respecting them; for they shall hope for perpetual (aiõnios) life, and that they may live, each of them, five hundred years.”

In the context aiõnios life can only mean life for five hundred years, this shows how hard to tell it is, what has been in a writers mind when words with so dubious and various meanings are used, I personally hardly believe aiõnios ever meant infinite duration. Plato also used the term diaiõnios as far as I know, I don’t know what it means, but it seems to strengthen the meaning, now, who would strengthen the meaning of a term meaning already infinity?

Perpetual might again be the best translation, as it is dubious, but by the context clearly limited to 500 years as it seems so me.

I also found the term hyperaiõnios in the online dictionary, meaning “more than eternal” (17)

Emperor Justinian wrote:
Quote:
But writing in the very expressive Greek language, Justinian says, "The holy church of Christ teaches an endless eonian (ateleutêtos aiõnios) life for the just, and endless (ateleutêtos) punishment for the wicked." Justinian knew quite well that by itself eonian did not signify endless, and he therefore added a word the meaning of which is quite unequivocal, a word not found in the Scriptures. This letter of Justinian, which is still in existence, ought to convince anyone who is in doubt, regarding the true scriptural meaning of the word eonian. (18)


(1) On the Greek words for Eternity and Eternal
(2) Classics in the History of Psychology -- Plato's Timaeus Part 1 (chapter 7 there
(3), (5), (9), (11) AIÓN -- AIÓNIOS
(4) The Words Eternal, Everlasting, Forever, etc.
(6) The Apostolic Bible Polyglot - an interlinear Septuagint and Greek New Testament.
(7) The Complete Tanach with Rashi - Classic Texts - Torah - Bible
(8) Hell: Eternal Torment or Annihilation
(9), (11) Search Tools
(11) http://thejeromeconspiracy.com/pdf/The_Jerome_Conspiracy.pdf (broken link) (page 39 there, pdf file, might slow down your pc)
(14) http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-en...ory/index.html
(15), (18) Whence Eternity? How Eternity Slipped In by Alexander Thomson
(16) Bible, Revised Standard Version
(17) English-to-Greek Word Search Results

Last edited by svenM; 06-25-2009 at 10:28 AM..
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Germany
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For ages of ages (eis tous aiõnas tõn aiõnõn) - a last expression to examine

Commonly translated for ever and aver, but this is actually no translation at all but rather an interpretation, it would then be for the evers of evers. The Latin has it right, SAECULA SAECULORUM, meaning literally ages of ages.

The only verses of relevance for the teaching of universalism are

Revelation 14:11

“… and the smoke of their torment doth go up to ages of ages; and they have no rest day and night, who are bowing before the beast and his image, also if any doth receive the mark of his name.” (Young’s Literal)

Revelation 20:10

“And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] both the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for the ages of ages.” (Darby translation)

Basically only Rev. 20:10 is of importance, as Rev 14:11 is only speaking about smoke rising up, not actually about people being tormented for so long.

Now ages of ages in itself does not express eternity, it is a Hebrew idiom, like song of songs, it is an enhancement, but in quality not quantity, many universalists say, ages of ages mean the most important (future) ages (Eph. 2:7), I was insecure as I thought these expressions also occur in the apocrypha, where they could not have the same meaning, as these writers were not inspired, however I might have erred there, in the verse where I thought it would occur, it doesn’t (Sirach 39:20). However I came across an interesting statement:
Quote:
So the frequent ledori doroth of the Rabbis (“to generations of generations”), the equivalent of eis tous aiõnas tõn aiõnõn of the New Testament, meant a finite period. – WINDET, De Vita functora statu, p. 170. (18)
Generations of generations would basically be the same idiom as eons of eons.
Quote:
The English phrase, "for ever and ever", actually makes no sense when you pause to think about it. 'For ever' is, by definition, eternal. So how can there be more than 'eternal'? Some translators do a song-and-dance routine, attempting to show that the phrase is an idiom meaning "forever and ever". They say it signifies ages tumbling upon ages. If that were the case, then the Holy of Holies ought to be idiomatic of "Holy and Holies" which is nonsense. The Song of Songs should then be idiomatic for "Song and Songs". Or perhaps they want us to believe that the Holy of Holies is a Holy Place tumbling upon countless other holy places. Then the Song of Songs would be a Song with an infinite number of stanzas which is just as absurd.

No, we have to dismiss this foolishness and call the translators to repent for trying to twist scripture to fit in with their traditions and preconceived doctrines. The Word of Yahweh must be allowed to speak itself through its own Hebraic lenses. Let's also stick to the principle of Occam's Razor which says that the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. So, the Bible talks about the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) and the greatest Song and the greatest of the Ages. If we accept the plain truth, then everything harmonises, confusion vanishes, and we arrive at a state of echad - oneness. So how did this confusion arise in the first place? (19)
Back to the New Testament, the phrase ages of ages is also used referring to God:

Revelation 15:7 (Darby)

“And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls, full of the fury of God, who lives to the ages of ages.”

Two verses are interesting when compared with a third verse:

Revelation 11:15 (Darby)

“And the seventh angel sounded [his] trumpet: and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world of our Lord and of his Christ is come, and he shall reign to the ages of ages.”

Revelation 22:5 (Darby)

“And night shall not be any more, and no need of a lamp, and light of [the] sun; for [the] Lord God shall shine upon them, and they shall reign to the ages of ages.“

Notice what I emphasized in bold type and compare it with


1 Corinthians 15:24:25:

“Then the end, when he gives up the kingdom to him [who is] God and Father; when he shall have annulled all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he put all enemies under his feet.”

Whatever ages of ages means, it seems they’ll come to an end, how else could anyone reign forever and ever without end, if one day, there will no more rule?

It is interesting what St. Augustine wrote about this phrase (in Latin language), St. Augustine the “champion” of promoting the doctrine of endless torment, would surely used the phrase ages of ages (Rev. 20:10) to support his doctrine which I think was solely based on Matthew 25:46, if it would have had actually that meaning, being an idiom for literally “forever without end”.

Quote:
I do not presume to determine whether God does so, and whether these times which are called ages of ages are joined together in a continuous series, and succeed one another with a regulated diversity, and leave exempt from their vicissitudes only those who are freed from their misery, and abide without end in a blessed immortality; or whether these are called ages of ages, that we may understand that the ages remain unchangeable in God's unwavering wisdom, and are the efficient causes, as it were, of those ages which are being spent in time.

Possibly ages is used for age, so that nothing else is meant by ages of ages than by age of age, as nothing else is meant by heavens of heavens than by heaven of heaven. For God called the firmament, above which are the waters, Heaven, and yet the psalm says, Let the waters that are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord.

Which of these two meanings we are to attach to ages of ages, or whether there is not some other and better meaning still, is a very profound question; and the subject we are at present handling presents no obstacle to our meanwhile deferring the discussion of it, whether we may be able to determine anything about it, or may only be made more cautious by its further treatment, so as to be deterred from making any rash affirmations in a matter of such obscurity. For at present we are disputing the opinion that affirms the existence of those periodic revolutions by which the same things are always recurring at intervals of time.

Now whichever of these suppositions regarding the ages of ages be the true one, it avails nothing for the substantiating of those cycles; for whether the ages of ages be not a repetition of the same world, but different worlds succeeding one another in a regulated connection, the ransomed souls abiding in well-assured bliss without any recurrence of misery, or whether the ages of ages be the eternal causes which rule what shall be and is in time, it equally follows, that those cycles which bring round the same things have no existence; and nothing more thoroughly explodes them than the fact of the eternal life of the saints. (20)
For me it seems St. Augustine hat actually idea what it is supposed to mean, if he would understand it, as meaning literally everlasting, he would have used this for his argumentation I suppose.

I will close now, as there have countless articles been written on this subject, but had I doubts especially concerning the phrase eis ton aiõna what it does actually mean.

There is also an interesting opinion concerning aiõnios, if it would actually mean eternal:

Wilhelm Barclay, I think a Greek scholar and bible translator wrote:

Quote:
Second, one of the key passages is Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. The word for eternal is aiõnios. It means more than everlasting, for Plato - who may have invented the word - plainly says that a thing may be everlasting and still not be aiõnios. The simplest way to out it is that aiõnios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give. (21)

Though I do not share this view personally, it shows that the teaching of universalism does not stand or fall with the translation of the word aiõnios, while the doctrine of endless torment can only be proven true if it can be shown, that aiõnios means strict infinity or endlessness in all occasions or at least in Matthew 25:46 (and even then would annihilationism not have been refuted, eternal punishment still could be utter destruction and not everlasting punishing).



(1) On the Greek words for Eternity and Eternal
(2) Classics in the History of Psychology -- Plato's Timaeus Part 1 (chapter 7 there)
(3), (5), (10), (12) AIÓN -- AIÓNIOS
(4) The Words Eternal, Everlasting, Forever, etc.
(6) The Apostolic Bible Polyglot - an interlinear Septuagint and Greek New Testament.
(7) The Complete Tanach with Rashi - Classic Texts - Torah - Bible
(8) Hell: Eternal Torment or Annihilation
(9), (13) Search Tools
(11) http://thejeromeconspiracy.com/pdf/The_Jerome_Conspiracy.pdf (broken link) (PDF file, might slow down your pc!, page 39 there)
(14) http://www.greatsite.com/timeline-en...ory/index.html
(15), (18) Whence Eternity? How Eternity Slipped In by Alexander Thomson
(16) Bible, Revised Standard Version
(17) English-to-Greek Word Search Results
(18) Mercy And Judgment by Canon F.W. Farrar
(19) Olam, Aeons and Eternity
(20) CHURCH FATHERS: City of God, Book XII (St. Augustine)
(21) I AM A CONVINCED UNIVERSALIST
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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Thank you for the excellent study. God bless.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Germany
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Default on the ages of ages

found something interesting, a German book, it seems about Orthodox liturgy, has nothing to do with universalism, it contains this explanation:

[Für die Äonen der Äonen,] diese wörtliche Übernahme aus dem Griechischen entspricht dem lateinischen "in saecula saeculorum" [für die Zeitalter der Zeitalter]. Es ist damit nicht die "Ewigkeit" (aidiotes, aeternitas) als unbegrenzte, unvergängliche Zeit gemeint, die nur dem dreieinigen Gott Selbst zu kommt, sondern die Summe aller begrenzten, vergänglichen Zeiträume. Die Übersetzung von "Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit" oder "in alle Ewigkeit" ist daher mindestens mißverständlich. Theologisch schwerwiegender jedoch ist, daß durch diesen Gebrauch von "Ewigkeit" nicht mehr deutlich zu werden vermag, daß Gottes "Ewigkeit" von anderer Art ist, als die "Fülle der Zeiten", die den Geschöpfen geschenkt ist.

[For the eons of eons,] this literal translation from the Greek corresponds with the Latin "in saecula saeculorum" [into ages of ages]. Thereby is not meant the "Eternity" (aidiothV, aeternitas) as infinite, unfading time, that only applies to the triune God Himself; but the sum of all finite and fading periods of time. The translation from "Eternity to Eternity" [the English "forever and ever"] or in "all Eternity" is at least misleading. Theologically more of relevance is, that by this use of "Eternity", it's no longer possible to conceive that God's "Eternity" is of different kind from the "fullness of times", given as gift to the creatures.


Source (in German):

Christus in euch: Hoffnung auf ... - Google Bücher
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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Time is an element of the physical universe or the creation.

There is an eternal state, which is spiritual and which the element of time itself is absent.

From the human perspective, the essential element of time is the observed movement of one physical body in relation to another physical body. Differences in the observation of the sun and other physical bodies, along with the regularity of those differences, give us an accute sense of time.

I am very confident that there is an eternal state and also a temporal state and that the current universe will one day soon cease to exist, leaving all persons in the eternal state of everlasting life or everlasting damnation.

The difference is wether one recieves JESUS CHRIST or rejects Him. He is the Door open to eternal life!
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:23 AM
 
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Quote:
That He is the "eonian God" (Rom.16:26) is a distinct and added revelation. Just as evil is a special feature of the eons, so God is seen as the "eonian God" during the same time. While it is not possible for God to be more than eternal, He is more than eonian. Upon a lead tablet found in the necropolis at Adrumetum, in the Roman province of Africa, near Carthage, belonging to the early third century, the following inscription is scratched in Greek, "I am adjuring Thee, the great God, the eonian and more than eonian (epai αιωνιον) and almighty, the One up-above the up-above gods." Deissmann requires to render this as follows: "the eternal and more than eternal and almighty, who is exalted above the exalted Gods."

"Christ is the very God of the aeons, and may be called the aeonian God and King, not on account of his eternal nature, but because he shall reign aeonianly, as universal king; and because he is most strictly speaking the God of the aeonian life....and also because the ages or aeons are all under his government and direction" "In this view of things death, and hell, and pain, and sorrow, appear to be (not as usually looked upon, accidental creatures that stole into existence by a sort of chance, or some kind of inadvertency in God, but) the provisionary creatures of God's wisdom, and goodness; preordained, by reason of a fitness in their nature, to produce, in the contingent casualties fore-seen, the great events of his benevolence, and communicative inclinations; which, when they shall have fully served (being creatures of a temporary, and aeonian consistence) they must vanish and be no more."
http://ccofal.org/ministry/free_bibl..._eternity.html

I have been looking for this reference, but could not find the source in my notes. Thanks! God bless.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Germany
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the whole post as a pdf.file, I think it's better to read that way
Attached Files
File Type: pdf age or eternity.pdf (206.5 KB, 780 views)
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Old 02-09-2010, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Germany
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I came across another most interesting verse

I Maccabees 14:41

καὶ ὅτι οἱ Ιουδαῖοι καὶ οἱ ἱερεῖς εὐδόκησαν τοῦ εἶναι αὐτῶν Σιμωνα ἡγούμενον καὶ ἀρχιερέα εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἕως τοῦ ἀναστῆναι προφήτην πιστὸν

Also that the Jews and priests were well pleased that Simon should be their governor and high priest for ever [eis ton aióna], until [eós]there should arise a faithful prophet

hardly anything could be more decisive that the phrase eis ton aióna cannot denote infinity than this - "to eternity, until" - this would totally subtract the idea of everlastingness from the term "eternity".
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