The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Everlasting Destruction

Dr. Marvin Vincent

olethron aionion in 2Th. 1:9:

‘Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle (peri ouravou, i. 9,15) says: “The period which includes the whole time of one’s life is called the aeon of each one.” Hence it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one’s life (aion) is said to leave him or to consume away (Iliad v. 685; Odyssey v. 160). It is not, however, limited to human life; it signifies any period in the course of events, as the period or age before Christ; the period of the millenium; the mythological period before the beginnings of history. The word has not “a stationary and mechanical value” (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many aeons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities.

There is one aeon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow’s life, another of an oak’s life. The length of the aeon depends on the subject to which it is attached.

It is sometimes translated world; world represents a period or a series of periods of time. See Matt 12:32; 13:40,49; Luke 1:70; 1 Cor 1:20; 2:6; Eph 1:21. Similarly oi aiones, the worlds, the universe, the aggregate of the ages or periods, and their contents which are included in the duration of the world. 1 Cor 2:7; 10:11; Heb 1:2; 9:26; 11:3. The word always carries the notion of time, and not of eternity.

It always means a period of time. Otherwise it would be impossible to account for the plural, or for such qualifying expressions as this age, or the age to come.

It does not mean something endless or everlasting. To deduce that meaning from its relation to aei is absurd; for, apart from the fact that the meaning of a word is not definitely fixed by its derivation, aei does not signify endless duration. When the writer of the Pastoral Epistles quotes the saying that the Cretans are always (aei) liars (Tit. 1:12), he surely does not mean that the Cretans will go on lying to all eternity. See also Acts 7:51; 2 Cor. 4:11; 6:10; Heb 3:10; 1 Pet. 3:15. Aei means habitually or continually within the limit of the subject’s life. In our colloquial dialect everlastingly is used in the same way. “The boy is everlastingly tormenting me to buy him a drum.”

In the New Testament the history of the world is conceived as developed through a succession of aeons. A series of such aeons precedes the introduction of a new series inaugurated by the Christian dispensation, and the end of the world and the second coming of Christ are to mark the beginning of another series. Eph. 1:21; 2:7; 3:9,21; 1 Cor 10:11; compare Heb. 9:26. He includes the series of aeons in one great aeon, ‘o aion ton aionon, the aeon of the aeons (Eph. 3:21); and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describe the throne of God as enduring unto the aeon of the aeons (Heb 1:8). The plural is also used, aeons of the aeons, signifying all the successive periods which make up the sum total of the ages collectively. Rom. 16:27; Gal. 1:5; Philip. 4:20, etc. This plural phrase is applied by Paul to God only.

The adjective aionios in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting.

They may acquire that sense by their connotation, as, on the other hand, aidios, which means everlasting, has its meaning limited to a given point of time in Jude 6. Aionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods. Thus the phrase eis ton aiona, habitually rendered forever, is often used of duration which is limited in the very nature of the case. See, for a few out of many instances, LXX, Exod 21:6; 29:9; 32:13; Josh. 14:9 1 Sam 8:13; Lev. 25:46; Deut. 15:17; 1 Chron. 28:4;. See also Matt. 21:19; John 13:8 1 Cor. 8:13. The same is true of aionios. Out of 150 instances in LXX, four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances see Gen. 48:4; Num. 10:8; 15:15; Prov. 22:28; Jonah 2:6; Hab. 3:6; Isa. 61:17.

Words which are habitually applied to things temporal or material cannot carry in themselves the sense of endlessness. Even when applied to God, we are not forced to render aionios everlasting.

Of course the life of God is endless; but the question is whether, in describing God as aionios, it was intended to describe the duration of his being, or whether some different and larger idea was not contemplated. That God lives longer then men, and lives on everlastingly, and has lived everlastingly, are, no doubt, great and significant facts; yet they are not the dominant or the most impressive facts in God’s relations to time.

God’s eternity does not stand merely or chiefly for a scale of length. It is not primarily a mathematical but a moral fact. The relations of God to time include and imply far more than the bare fact of endless continuance. They carry with them the fact that God transcends time; works on different principles and on a vaster scale than the wisdom of time provides; oversteps the conditions and the motives of time; marshals the successive aeons from a point outside of time, on lines which run out into his own measureless cycles, and for sublime moral ends which the creature of threescore and ten years cannot grasp and does not even suspect.

There is a word for everlasting if that idea is demanded.

That aiodios occurs rarely in the New Testament and in LXX does not prove that its place was taken by aionios. It rather goes to show that less importance was attached to the bare idea of everlastingness than later theological thought has given it. Paul uses the word once, in Rom. 1:20, where he speaks of “the everlasting power and divinity of God.” In Rom. 16:26 he speaks of the eternal God (tou aioniou theou); but that he does not mean the everlasting God is perfectly clear from the context. He has said that “the mystery” has been kept in silence in times eternal (chronois aioniois), by which he does not mean everlasting times, but the successive aeons which elapsed before Christ was proclaimed. God therefore is described as the God of the aeons, the God who pervaded and controlled those periods before the incarnation. To the same effect is the title ‘o basileus ton aionon, the King of the aeons, applied to God in 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 15:3; compare Tob. 13:6, 10.

The phrase pro chronon aionion, before eternal times (2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2), cannot mean before everlasting times. To say that God bestowed grace on men, or promised them eternal life before endless times, would be absurd. The meaning is of old, as Luke 1:70. The grace and the promise were given in time, but far back in the ages, before the times of reckoning the aeons.

Zoe aionios eternal life, which occurs 42 times in N. T., but not in LXX, is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or aeon, or continuing during that aeon. I repeat, life may be endless. The life in union with Christ is endless, but the fact is not expressed by aionios. Kolasis aionios, rendered everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46), is the punishment peculiar to an aeon other then that in which Christ is speaking. In some cases zoe aionios does not refer specifically to the life beyond time, but rather to the aeon or dispensation of Messiah which succeeds the legal dispensation. See Matt. 19:16; John 5:39. John says that zoe aionios is the present possession of those who believe on the Son of God, John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47,54. The Father’s commandment is zoe aionios, John 1250; to know the only true God and Jesus Christ is zoe aionios. John 17:3.

Bishop Westcott very justly says, commenting upon the terms used by John to describe life under different aspects: “In considering these phrases it is necessary to premise that in spiritual things we must guard against all conclusions which rest upon the notions of succession and duration. ‘Eternal life’ is that which St. Paul speaks of as ‘e outos Zoe the life which is life indeed, and ‘e zoe tou theou, the life of God. It is not an endless duration of being in time, but being of which time is not a measure. We have indeed no powers to grasp the idea except through forms and images of sense. These must be used, but we must not transfer them as realities to another order.”

Thus, while aionios carries the idea of time, though not of endlessness, there belongs to it also, more or less, a sense of quality. Its character is ethical rather than mathematical.

The deepest significance of the life beyond time lies, not in endlessness, but in the moral quality of the aeon into which the life passes. It is comparatively unimportant whether or not the rich fool, when his soul was required of him (Luke 12:20), entered upon a state that was endless. The principal, the tremendous fact, as Christ unmistakably puts it, was that, in the new aeon, the motives, the aims, the conditions, the successes and awards of time counted for nothing. In time, his barns and their contents were everything; the soul was nothing. In the new life the soul was first and everything, and the barns and storehouses nothing. The bliss of the sanctified does not consist primarily in its endlessness, but in the nobler moral conditions of the new aeon, the years of the holy and eternal God. Duration is a secondary idea. When it enters it enters as an accompaniment and outgrowth of moral conditions.

In the present passage it is urged that olethron destruction points to an unchangeable, irremediable, and endless condition.

If this be true, if olethros is extinction, then the passage teaches the annihilation of the wicked, in which case the adjective aionios is superfluous, since extinction is final, and excludes the idea of duration. But olethros does not always mean destruction or extinction. Take the kindred verb apollumi to destroy, put an end to, or in the middle voice, to be lost, to perish. Peter says “the world being deluged with water, perished (apoleto, 2 Pet. 3:6); but the world did not become extinct, it was renewed. In Heb. 1:11,12, quoted from Ps. 102, we read concerning the heavens and the earth as compared with the eternity of God, “they shall perish” (apolountai). But the perishing is only preparatory to change and renewal. “They shall be changed” (allagesontai). Compare Isa. 51:6,16; 65:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1. Similarly, “the Son of man came to save that which was lost” (apololos), Luke 19:10. Jesus charged his apostles to go to the lost (apololota) sheep of the house of Israel, Matt. 10:6, compare 15:24, “He that shall lose (apolese) his life for my sake shall find it,” Matt. 16:25. Compare Luke 15:6,9,32.

In this passage, the word destruction is qualified.

It is “destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,” at his second coming, in the new aeon. In other words, it is the severance, at a given point of time, of those who obey not the gospel from the presence and the glory of Christ. Aionios may therefore describe this severance as continuing during the millenial aeon between Christ’s coming and the final judgment; as being for the wicked prolonged throughout that aeon and characteristic of it, or it may describe the severance as characterising or enduring through a period or aeon succeeding the final judgment, the extent of which period is not defined. In neither case is aionios, to be interpreted as everlasting or endless.

If we cross-reference olethros with 1Co. 5:5, with its derivative olothrūo in He. 11:28, we will see that utter annihilation does not fit. For example, take the extermination of the “first-born” of Egypt (He. 11:28): Were all these innocent babies utterly annihilated before God? Also, though Satan destroys the flesh of the saved, we know God restores it in the resurrection (1Co. 5:5). Even were God to utterly annihilate someone, has He not the power to restore (De. 32:39; 1Sa. 2:6; Mt. 3:9)?

Also, if we cross-reference olethros with 1Co. 5:5, with its derivative olothrūo in He. 11:28, we will see that utter annihilation does not fit. For example, take the extermination of the “first-born” of Egypt (He. 11:28): Were all these innocent babies utterly annihilated before God? Also, though Satan destroys the flesh of the saved, we know God restores it in the resurrection (1Co. 5:5). Even were God to utterly annihilate someone, has He not the power to restore (De. 32:39; 1Sa. 2:6; Mt. 3:9)?

Interesting and detailed analysis, thanks. A couple of queries if I may:

First, zoe ainios, Not sure I understand your argument that ‘life may be endless…but is not expressed by aionios’. Are you saying eternal life is outside of time and so expressed by ‘e outos Zoe’? I’m struggling to see why ‘zoe aidios’ would not have been the better option. Generally, from your research, do you consider there to be a paucity of expressions that can be clearly translated as ‘eternal life’?

Secondly, you say the word destruction is qualified by ‘from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,’ and suggest this is by ‘severance’. My understanding is that the word ‘from’ is genitive of possession, which would suggest that it is from God’s presence and power that destruction proceeds ie His presence causes destruction. Would this affect your conclusion?

Timeless eternity is a philosophical concept that is nowhere suggested in the bible, aionios life is life in the future aions as I understand it, it might also have the connotation of divine life.

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Dear Ben: Aionios life is defined for us by the beloved John who leaned on the bosom of the Master in a union of exquisite fellowship. In a few short words he defines the scope of aionios as not duration, (although that cannot be excluded) but quality.

“This is zoe aionios that we may know You…”

You posted>>>

First, zoe ainios, Not sure I understand your argument that ‘life may be endless…but is not expressed by aionios’. Are you saying eternal life is outside of time and so expressed by ‘e outos Zoe’? I’m struggling to see why ‘zoe aidios’ would not have been the better option. Generally, from your research, do you consider there to be a paucity of expressions that can be clearly translated as ‘eternal life’?

Secondly, you say the word destruction is qualified by ‘from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,’ and suggest this is by ‘severance’. My understanding is that the word ‘from’ is genitive of possession, which would suggest that it is from God’s presence and power that destruction proceeds ie His presence causes destruction. Would this affect your conclusion?

The destruction is qualified and comes from the God of ta panta whose ending is the beginning. The radical all begins in Him, the radical all ends in Him. Everything of our God has lasting effect, even destruction. He kills, He also makes alive!

I can think of nothing that changes the confidence I have in Him!

Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground…

Let’s pray in the hope that He who began a good work will finish it. Father, by your holy spirit you bring new life from still waters and see it is very good. You bind the heavens and earth with your word, the unshakable foundations of the world. You bring forth rivers from rock, fresh roots out of dry ground. You breathe life into dead bones, make the lame dance like deer, the blind see and the leper clean. Father renew our minds and make flesh our hearts by your true and perfect grace, your overcoming love that holds nothing back. Keep us from the power of the dog. Father we proclaim your awesome works and raise up your word to the nations, may all those captive blind and lost be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, give us the power to trample serpents and to bind strong men in serving the King, to become less as he increases, always striving to be the greatest in the kingdom. Father you know the end from the beginning, your salvation is the alef and the tav, for you have purposed it. To you may all creation return restored in spirit and in truth. We rejoice in the hope of your coming O Lord. In Jesus mighty name. Amen

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Dear Ben: Amen! A new day is breaking in this old realm of dismay. I wrote this some years ago when glimpses of lambent glow were breaking in upon me. It expresses today what I find harder and harder to express!

Is it not strange the long seasons that can elapse on the back-side of the desert?

Year by year falls into the great abyss, and at the juncture where we can no longer speak, and the great struggle to do the will of God vanishes into weakness and death, the Bush appears pulsating with Deity. It is there at the asamuth of death and weakness the Living One speaks.

“Take off your shoes from off your feet”

Holy ground!

The place where dust and Divinity meet! It is there in absolute weakness and inability, the Lord manifests Himself as the God who raises the dead. The road into the Tree of Life is by way of the flaming swords swirling in every direction. Those who reach for the Tree will suffer the loss of the hand, the fingers, the grasp of all they are! And as the process of the swirling swords rage upon these ones, great loss is inflicted, for nothing, no one, comes to the other side the same as it enters…NOTHING!..NOTHING!..NOTHING!

The great stages of the Living One’s glory must be in degrees of glory/doxa. We are changed from one degree of glory to another and another! It requires a thought beginning in the mind of the caterpillar that ultimately leads to the building of a cocoon from which caterpillars become butterflies, and dust moves from the road of life into the Divine One, described as “the Living”, the “I am”, not the I was, the I AM.

It is this Heavenly Road that grasps us, the Heavenly One, the Source leading to the Road, the sustaining Guide of the Road, and the Goal of the Road. All things lead to Him, through Him and for Him! And by Him all things consist. It has taken me over 76 years to go a journey that could be accomplished in 11 days, but dust and Divinity must meet; the goal is not all the story, the path is of equal value in the I AM!

Each of us are on different stages of our Father’s drawing hand, some so wrapped up in themselves they cannot see the bush that is aflame and is not devoured. It is just a common bush for many, but

"Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; and only he who sees takes off his shoes. -Eliz. Barrett Browning-

If that were the case, then the word could be translated as “temporary.”
However, in Romans 16:26, the word is applied to God, and God is eternal and not temporary.

In the Greek Old Testament we have: this translation:

As for the rich city, the houses are deserted; they shall abandon the wealth of the city, and the pleasant houses: and the villages shall be caves for ever, the joy of wild asses, shepherds’ pastures;until the Spirit shall come upon you from on high, and Chermel shall be desert, and Chermel shall be counted for a forest. Isaiah 32:14,15

How could could the villages be deserted forever until the Spirit comes upon the people? Obviously the Greek phrase “eōs tou aiōnos” does not mean “for ever” but rather refers to long period of time. This Greek phrase literally means “until the age.”

Yes, I agree with you that the word never means “eternal” though it can be applied both to things eternal and things temporary. I think the best translation of the word is “lasting.”

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Thank you Paidion.

Kolasis aionion -Matthew 25:46-

Greek scholar William Barclay wrote concerning kolasis aionion (age-during corrective chastisement) in Matthew 25:46

“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. There is no instance in Greek secular literature where kolasis does not mean remedial punishment. It is a simple fact that in Greek kolasis always means remedial punishment. God’s punishment is always for man’s cure.”

Fifteen literally translated (not interpretively translated) Bibles that reveal what God will do with the sinners in Matthew 25:46

Concordant Literal, Young’s literal, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Rotherham’s Emphasized, Scarlett’s, J.W. Hanson’s New Covenant, Twentieth Century, Ferrar Fenton, The Western New Testament, Weymouth’s (unedited), Clementson’s, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Bullinger’s Companion Bible margins, Jonathan Mitchell’s translation (2010).

Concerning the duration of kolasis (literally - corrective punishment), Matt. 25:46 says (KJV),

“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”

Scarlett’s New Testament written in 1792 has “aeonian punishment” in place to “everlasting punishment.”

“And these will go away into aeonian punishment: but the righteous into aeonian life.”

The New Covenant by Dr. J.W. Hanson written in 1884 renders Matt. 25:46:

“And these shall go away into aeonian chastisement, and the just into aeonian life.”

Young’s Literal Translation first published in 1898 and reprinted many times since uses the following words:

“And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.”

Professor Young also compiled Young’s Concordance, where one can check the translation of each Hebrew or Greek word as translated in the KJV.

The Twentieth Century New Testament first printed in the year 1900 has:

“And these last will go away ‘into aeonian punishment,’ but the righteous ‘into aeonian life.’”

The Holy Bible in Modern English by Ferrar Fenton first published in 1903 gives the rendering:

"And these He will dismiss into a long correction, but the well-doers to an enduring life.

The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Dr. Weymouth, says:

“And these shall go away into punishment of the ages, but the righteous into life of the ages.”

Dr. Weymouth most frequently adopts such terms as “life of the ages,” “fire of the ages;” and in Rev. 14:6, “The good news of the ages.”

It is a matter to regret that the editors of the most recent edition of Dr. Weymouth’s version have reverted to the KJV renderings for the passages containing the Greek word aion, eon, or age.

The Western New Testament published in 1926 renders Matt. 25:46 as follows:

“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”

The translation, however, has a footnote on Matthew 21:19 on the word “forever” which is the same word for “eternal” which says: "Literally, for the age.”

Clementson’s The New Testament (1938) shows,

“And these shall go away into eonian correction, but the righteous into eonian life.”

Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott (1942 edition) translates the verse,

“And these shall go forth to the aionian cutting-off; but the righteous to aionian life.”

It should be noted that the “cutting-off” refers to pruning a fruit tree to make it bear more fruit.

The idea behind the word is not destructive but productive! Had Jesus wanted to emphasize a destructive end, He would have used the word “timoria.”

The Concordant Version (1930):

“And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian.”

The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Anointed printed in 1958 says:

“And these shall go away into agelasting cutting-off and the just into agelasting life.”

Joseph B. Rotherham, in his Emphasized Bible (1959), translates this verse,

“and these shall go away into age-abiding correction, but the righteous into age-abiding life.”

The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible copyrighted in 1976

has “age-abiding correction” instead of “everlasting punishment.”

Jonathan Mitchell’s translation (2010) has

"And so, these folks will be going off into an eonian pruning (a lopping-off which lasts for an undetermined length of time; an age-lasting correction; a pruning which has its source and character in the Age), yet the fair and just folks who are in right relationship and are in accord with the Way pointed out [go off] into eonian life (life which has it source and character in the Age; life pertaining to the Age)”.

Even some King James Study Bibles will show the reader in the margins or appendixes that the King’s translators were incorrect in their rendering of "eternal punishment.”

The great Companion Bible by Dr. Bullinger is an example of that.

Greek scholar William Barclay wrote concerning kolasis aionion (age-during corrective chastisement) in Matthew 25:46

“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. There is no instance in Greek secular literature where kolasis does not mean remedial punishment. It is a simple fact that in Greek kolasis always means remedial punishment. God’s punishment is always for man’s cure.”

Praise the Lord! He takes pity on us for He knows our frame and remembers we were dust. He who is in us is greater than he who’s in the world. We affirm our faith in His promises to restore the years the locust has eaten, to burn up the chaff without silencing even the dimmest candle, and transform us back into His likeness, where by His grace we proclaim our true identity as sons and daughters of the one true living God.

Amen! Miracles are commonplace in the Kingdom. How much wonder is there in seeing His hand in even the lowliest of creation, the mysteries of the coherence of creation that natural science can never grasp.

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Hi Fine Linen.

You’ve clearly spent a great deal of time on this particular area of theology. I’m edified by your posts on this and other threads, praise God.

Would you say there’s an argument to be made for the use of ‘aionion’ when in conjunction with either a noun or adjective, to denote ‘age of [X]’? For example, this present age of evil (Ga 1:4), the age of life (Jn 3:16, Mt 25:46), age of punishment/ remediation (id), an age of destruction (2 Th 1:9), age of contempt (Dan 12:2) etc.

It appears there’s some confusion as to the scope of the term as it’s essentially a metaphor and rendered figuratively, and also hyperbolically in prophetic and laudatory rhetoric to connote eternal, forever etc (eg Live forever O King - kayeem olam).

But an ‘age of life’ is by its own logic an eternal age is it not, because it’s devoid of death? It lacks the means to end it from within, and only God can end it from without. But He has married heaven and earth and dwells in all, so there is no externality. It is perfect and timeless, world without end.

Dear Ben: Thank you for your kind comments.

Aionios is clearly linked with aeon/aion and is rooted in the Old Covenant with the Hebrew Olam. I know of no word in koine that has the scope of eternal except aidios. Certainly aionios can take the scope of everlastingness (our new word for the day) in conjunction with the Aidios One who alone is in the everlastingless Realm.

Find Paidion when you can find him and pick his brain and spirit for further allumination. Bless you and yours!

To get another perspective, ask @koine_lingua

Or find Sven

The meaning of Aion is not as simple as many here see it, Aion is rather time than eternity, but time as a whole can be everlasting as well and so can Aion be everlasting, however I consider the meaning of olam more important than the notion of Aion in Greek thought. Interesting literature on the topic, partly difficult to understand:

https://books.google.de/books/about/Life_Time_Entirety_A_Study_of_AION_in_Gr.html?id=l-SmshbeyUsC&redir_esc=y

Thanks Fine Linen, I’ve asked Paidion on another thread if he can give us the benefit of his wisdom here.

Meantime thanks also for the link - certainly looks to be a comprehensive study!

In an attempt to pull the eyes from her conclusions on the OT usage on pp.200-204, the author says that:

  • Aion(ian) is used differently in the Biblical context to that of secular Greek.

  • Aion should be interpreted in the Biblical context ‘along the lines’ of olam, the Hebrew word it represents in the LXX. Aion is the standing representative of olam.

  • 'when aion/ ainios are combined with time words, ‘Aion refers to the whole of time, while the other nouns describe parts (certain quantities) of time’.

  • ‘Life’ in the Biblical context is only ever qualified by aion(ios)/ olam, which has an elaborating function of life as it is intended to be, referring to restored life after death.

  • ‘In summary, olam = aion designates what constitutes the temporal horizon inside of which we, created beings, have our postion; it denotes time, always bound up with creation, reaching as far as we are able to envisage.’(p.204). Humans are aware that there is more. The first olam in Genesis shows life having full force impliedly without death.

  • 'Thus, it is due not to the very nature and definition of olam/aion but to the prospect of extinction of death when olam/aion represents ‘world without end’.

She draws further conclusions on the NT on pp.251-3, including that their findings on the OT meanings are supported by the NT usage.

So it appears broadly that my earlier post may not be too far removed from the more diligent and rigorous work done here, viz that aion is better rendered as ‘age’, and where it refers to life, is deductively a timeless/ eternal state.

Dear Ben: Dr. Barclay is a calibre representative of scholarship. His many books speak for themselves.

My personal friend, Jonathan Mitchell has taken over 22 years translating the koine into his remarkable translation. He has also written regarding the subject at hand. I trust you will get some time to explore his thoughts.

Hi Fine Linen,

Reading through that page makes me feel that I’ve been reading scripture carelessly and that the usual translations are somewhat shallow, even if vaguely accurate (in the verses cited)! The fastidious degree of detail certainly adds a richness - that may have been taken for granted if not well-understood by early Bible exegetes. Thanks, I’ll have a closer look when time permits.

Off-topic a bit, but re the foot of your friend’s linked webpage, he lists a few different Koine words often translated as ‘judge’. The different emphases or purposes he identifies appear to overlap in some regards:

Krinō – to separate off, divide out, in order to evaluate, determine and make a decision; to

   judge

   Krisis – the process or action of evaluating, determining and making a decision; judging

   Krima – the result or effect of making a decision and judging; judgment

   Katakrinō – to decide against, to make a down-judgment; to condemn

   Katakrima – the result or effect of having been judged against or condemned

In today’s criminal jurisprudence, we’re used to the categories of verdict (guilty or not), decision (ie reasoning) and sentence. Civil law comprises judgment (orders eg compensation), reasons and enforcement. (I accept these are just conventional and somewhat arbitrary categories, but helpful nonetheless.)

I’ve always felt these elements were unclear in the general run of translations, while suspecting they are not entirely alien as categories in the Biblical context/ ANE history. The incautious approach to divine judgment seems to be a major reason that believers often fail to see that destruction in not an end in itself, but rather instrumental in the plan of ultimate restoration. You could say demolition is an interlocutory order, whereas the final judgment is restoration by means of cleansing and healing.

It’s interesting to see how the western legal system is built on black-letter law (transgression-based), which is subject to equity jurisdiction (discretionary, founded in conscience and mercy). So at least in principle mercy boasteth over judgment, the spirit gives life over the dead letter. This was the first impression I had reading the Book of Romans, that Paul was describing the new principle of justice which fulfils and overflows the old without negating or undermining it.

Dear Ben: thank you for your comments. I am convinced every one of us skip through the Scriptures with a very limited grasp of what our poor blind eyes are attempting to grasp. It is the very reason the Master of Glory declares>>>

“He opened their minds that they might understand the Scriptures.”

2000 years have not helped to eradicate the situation within each and every one of us. ONLY the anointing of the Holy Spirit of the Living God can, and will, alleviate our dire need of Him and His exceeding love & patience!

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Yes, there are many different Greek words that are translated as the verb “judge” or the noun “judgment.”
There are shades of difference in the meanings of these Greek words, but I don’t think there’s a drastic difference.

κριτης—one who passes judgment
κρινω— I deem, I think, I resolve, I assess (this is probably the most prevalent of the words used)
διακρινω— I discern
κριτικος— I assess
κρισις— an opinion, a decision, a sentence of condemnation

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Hi Paidion, sorry the discussion had moved on a bit from the point I dropped in the post on the other thread.

My question is above, Fine Linen kindly supplied a link to a 300-odd page word study on ‘Aion’(!), which was illuminating. I summarised in dot points above a few of its conclusions.

Your view is basically that ‘aion(ion)’ means ‘lasting’, is it not?

Are you having an each way bet on whether this refers to finite duration or context-dependent, or perhaps intentionally open-ended?

I hope my question is sufficiently clear.

As I see it, the noun “aiōn” definitely means “age”. So what would the adjective “aiōnion” mean? “Agey”? That doesn’t make much sense to people of our day. The meaning in English seems to be “lasting.” So I suppose that which lasts could be said to be “agey.”

The meaning of the adjective is not time-related. Thus its meaning is neither “eternal” nor “temporary.” However, in New-Testament writings, the word is applied both to that which is eternal and that which is temporary. For many temporary things are lasting, and all eternal things certainly are lasting.

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