The Evangelical Universalist Forum

aidios in romans

I don’t ask the question to mister pratt first because he is probably busy .
He said me (if i understand well, i learnt english only at school) that aidios should be translated INVISIBLE in romans ,why?
i don’t speak greek but maybe another word means invisible in the same verse, is this true?
if aidios was translated by eternal in romans , wouldn’t it be a CONTRAST with aionios later in romans? mister PRATT said me that there is no contrast , why ?
thank you for your help

i wonder because in the young’s literal translation aidios is translated by eternal in romans and jude
so it seems that aidios can’t mean pertaing an age or aionian

Hi Erwan!

Two words can be translated as “eternal” without one contrasting the other. So if {aidios} means eternal either at Romans 1:20 or at Jude 6, that makes no difference whether or not {aiônios} ever means eternal anywhere else. On the contrary, Romans describes God as {aidios} at 1:20 and also as {aiônios} at 16:26. Both or either of those might mean eternal; or neither of them might even though God is in fact eternal. (Translators who insist ‘eonian’ never means eternal would say Rom 16:26 is talking about Jesus Christ acting as the visible God for everyone during the period in which He reigns until everyone submits to Him and in Him to the Father, at which time He gives up the kingdom and stops reigning in some way.)

What I actually wrote to you was that {aidios} could mean invisible at Rom 1:20 but probably as a pun if so: a double-meaning play of words (double entendre) where the same word does double-duty for two meanings, in this case “invisible” and “eternal”. Paul was a rabbi and they were famous (and sometimes notorious) for using double-meaning words in their teaching.

(Note: in my original answer to your question I think I said the other occurrence in the NT was at 2 Thess 1:9; but I was misremembering. I meant Jude 6, but since I debated both verses last year a neuron misfired in my brain and misconnected me to 2 Thess instead by association. Sorry! :slight_smile: )

I don’t recall if I’ve posted an article yet analyzing the meaning of {aidios} in Romans (and at Jude), but I discussed it in detail during my internet radio debate with TFan the thread of which can be found here (along with some further commentary from me on it later in the thread).

I’ll post it below in the next comment however.

Note: the following was the text I composed for discussing {aidios} at Jude 1:6 during my debate with TFan last year, which has strong relation to its other occurrence at Rom 1, so I discuss that, too. I’ve bolded the paragraph about Romans 1, because mostly the article is about Jude 1:6 (or Jude v.6, since it has no multiple chapters).

Looking back over it, I see I didn’t actually talk about Rom 1 much (because Jude 6 was much more important to the debate).

Paul’s writes about “that which is known of God is apparent among them, for God manifests it to them. For His invisible-things ({aorata}, invisible plural, literally “invisibles”) are observed from the creation of the world, being apprehended (or understood) by His achievements, besides His [X] {aidios} power and divinity”.

His point is that even though God Himself in His divinity and power is invisible to the pagans, they ought to have been able to recognize (and sometimes did recognize) from the characteristics of Nature, which they could see, that He exists. And so they ought to worship the Creator rather than the creation, but they worship the creation anyway putting its various characteristics up in the place of God. His invisibility per se is not an excuse for them.

In the quote (and summary) above from Rom 1:18-23, I left the disputed translation as [X] and only provided the Greek word. {Aidios} could mean “eternal” power and divinity there; but Paul’s whole point elsewhere in the sentence (to which this phrase is a parallel) involves detecting the invisible God and the invisible-things {aorata} of God by means of what they can observe and understand. The visible things include His achievements; the invisible things include His invisible divinity and His power; and His power happens to be described by {aidios}, which in turn can be translated “unseen”.

Thematically it’s appropriate to translate it as “unseen” in thematic parallel with {ta aorata} “the invisibles”.

But since we’re talking about God, and since {aidios} can (and outside the NT usually does) mean eternal or uniquely high and godly, and since after all His power and divinity are both eternal (and uniquely high-bright) and invisible, it is also appropriate to translate it as “eternal” (and/or maybe “Godly”)–much as “eonian” can sometimes mean.

Thus my inference in favor of {aidios} meaning “invisible” there, maybe also as a pun with “eternal”.

(The evidence in favor of “invisible” is, I believe, contextually much stronger at Jude 1:6; but even if St. Jude meant “invisible” that doesn’t necessarily mean St. Paul would use the term that way. From his sentence construction I expect he does, but I don’t think it’s strictly necessary.)