A standard rebuttal to EU


This must be covered in various places on here, but I would just like the response to an argument against EU I’ve heard a million times, which is that if you read the expression “eternal punishment” in such a way that it isn’t forever and ever, then you have to do the same thing for the expression “eternal life,” and that leaves us with a heaven that at least may come to an end, surely an unpalatable implication of universalist exegesis. Hell and heaven have to be of the same duration, since the word aionios is used for both.


Hi Vic! Glad to see you here!

(I’ve mentioned Dr. Reppert favorably in a few other posts here, as some people may recall. This is either him, or someone pretending to be him. Y’know, the internets etc. :wink: I have no reason not to believe it’s him, though, yet. Which probably has some relation to practical epistemology, Bayesian expectation building, and things of that sort. :mrgreen:

Dr. Reppert helped critique and edit at least one of Tom’s books, The Inescapable Love of God, back in the 90s. They’ve been friends for a while.)

Tom is out on sabbatical right now, and has been for all of April. (…and March? I need to look back and find out how long he’s been gone.) He was going to be doing some traveling in Europe. I hope he’ll be back soon. We miss him!

We’ve certainly discussed this topic more than a little; and I’m pretty sure Tom has said something on it, too. I’ll start looking around and see what I can find (from Tom first, if possible). If any other readers want to locate thread links, please do so!

I think Tom has said he’s okay (or even more than okay, if I recall correctly) with other people answering questions posed to him in his corner of the forum, but I’m leery about doing that when he hasn’t directly replied to a question from a particular person yet himself. So aside from hunting up links, I won’t be adding anything else to this thread myself.


Hm. Well, Tom’s opening paragraph in the first comment of this thread, seems to indicate that he’s pretty flexible about translating {aionios} (the adjective form of {aion}).

Ditto for the beginning of his discussion on GosMatt’s judgment of sheep and goats. However, during this detailed discussion Tom seems to express a preference for the position I strongly accept, that the adjective (not the noun and various noun phrases) refers to God in a sense roughly similar to the Platonic usage (but I would say more similar to the Jewish euphamism of calling God “the Everlasting”). He quotes a pretty good paragraph on this point, which he wrote for his entry in Universal Salvation? The Current Debate.

I think his lengthy comment in that thread is the most he has written on the topic for this forum. We went on afterward to have a good discussion on the notions he brought up, too. (He left for his sabbatical at about the time he posted his answer to James’ question, and hasn’t returned yet.)



Victor, welcome to the Forum. Jason has mentioned you and spoken very highly of you. Give the link a read and let us know what you think. I’ve read it and I’m sympathetic with the statement but not totally.



Roofus’ link is very topically appropriate, both to Tom’s (and even moreso my) position and to Victor’s important objection.

However, I do want to point out that strictly speaking Roofus’ link isn’t talking about Tom’s opinion, but that of Professor E. F. Stroeter instead. :slight_smile:

(Still a good link, Roofus; thanks!)


Hey Victor,

Fancy meeting you here! I think Jason gave the relevant link where I address on this forum your question. But here it is again:

Talbott on Matthew 25:41, 46?.