The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Eonian Kolasis again in the judgment of the goats

Jason said [most recently back in [url=]this thread, as well as elsewhere previously] : “1.) the word for ‘punishment’ in the Judgment of the Sheep and Goats, is a term borrowed from agriculture to mean a brisk hopeful cleaning. The same concept is frequently used elsewhere in scripture in positively hopeful or at least non-hopeless fashions, such as in Rom 11 where St. Paul talks about branches being grafted out of the vine and then being grafted back in.”

I have read that “kolasis” (is that the word you are speaking of) came to be used for punishment without correction as its aim. I think that this was discovered (though I am not sure) in the papyri.

This link proposes a different view from the one you presented: … alism.html

From the article:
"At this point, since I am no Greek scholar, I will quote from a correspondence I have had with N.E. Barry Hofstetter, Ph.D. candidate: Westminster Theological Seminary, and Professor of Theology and Biblical Interpretation at The Center for Urban Theological Studies, Philadelphia, PA:

“One of Barclay’s failings is making secular Greek determinative of the meaning in the biblical context, even when the meaning that he wishes to impart does not fit that context. There are several problems:

  1. In general, Barclay is guilty of the genetic fallacy, assuming that the use of the word in later Greek must be the same as the use of it in earlier Greek.
  2. To a large extent, the theological use of terms in the NT is determined by the Greek OT. In LXX, the term kolasis is used in contexts which do not imply corrective punishment. Cf. Jer 18:20; Wis 16:24; 19:4. Barclay simply ignores the Septuagintal background, as though it did not exist or have any meaning for him
  3. The LSJ (Liddell & Scott), the standard classical lexicon, admits the meaning of “divine retribution” and cites Matt 25:46.
  4. Bauer (BAGD) simply defines the word as punishment, and cites a number of instances in Greek literature where it is used of divine retribution.
  5. In the structure of the sentence, “eternal punishment” lies in direct contrast to “eternal life.” The term aionios is particularly eschatological, and refers to the eternal state. The two are meant in parallel fashion, so that the contrast for eternal life is eternal punishment. I had meant to add also that these balanced, parallel clauses suggest an absolute contrast, not a limited one, so that eternal punishment and eternal life must be co-extensive of one another.”

I took a brief look at kolasis in the Septuagint in the interlinear Apostolic Bible. The text uses kolasis only in Ezekiel 14:3, 4, 7; 18:30; 43:11; 44:12. Other Septuagint texts also use kolasis in Jeremiah 18:20, but I focused on the available interlinear text and translation.

The literal translation of kolasis in Ezekiel from the Septuagint is always “punishment” in the context of punishment for iniquity. However, various English translations such as the NIV and NASB translate kolasis into “fall” in the context of “fall into sin”, which is always in the context of sin that results in punishment. And Ezekiel 44:12 uses kolasis in a context of eventual redemption.

Below is Ezekiel 44:12 in the Apostolic Bible translation from the Septuagint, Ezekiel 44:12 in NASB, and Ezekiel 44:10-14 in NIV.

Because they ministered to them before the face of their idols, and it became to the house of Israel for a punishment of iniquity. Because of this I lifted my hand against them, says the Lord the Lord. (Ezekiel 44:12 Apostolic Bible Septuagint translation)

*But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 44:12 NASB) *

[10] " 'The Levites who went far from me when Israel went astray and who wandered from me after their idols must bear the consequences of their sin. [11] They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. [12] But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign LORD. [13] They are not to come near to serve me as priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices. [14] Yet I will put them in charge of the duties of the temple and all the work that is to be done in it. (Ezekiel 44:10-14 NIV)

I show the paragraph context of kolasis (Ezekiel 44:10-14) only in NIV to make this a little less tedious. And we see that Ezekiel 44:10-14 teaches that the Levites will get punished for their sin and they get restored to Levite temple duties, but not the Aaronic temple duties.

We see an example in the Septuagint where kolasis is used in the context of restoration. And we know that Jesus used aionios in John 17:3 not in the context of time but in the context of relationship to God. And aionios can also refer to long indefinite period of time. And as Talbott noted, an everlasting change is not a process of change that lasts forever but a change with an everlasting effect.

One one hand, perhaps Barry Hofstetter has a strong argument that first century AD Common Greek never used kolasis in the context of pruning, despite the claims of various Greek dictionaries. On the other hand, Hofstetter failed to present a solid argument that aionios kolasis must mean everlasting torment with no chance of liberation.

Just a note reminding myself that I want to write up a reply to this (in my list of things to do). :slight_smile: James’ reply is a good start, but more could be said.

Hey Jason,

Think you could write up that reply now? haha. This issue has suddenly come up with a fierceness on an FB group, and I’d like to see what further arguments could be made for this.

If you got the time – thanks, dude! :smiley:

Just another thought on “eternal” whether life or punishment is this… eternal can be understood in a qualitative sense speaking of totality NOT longevity. I have more on this here… HERE.