The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Jhn 8:35 - And the servant abideth not in the house for ever (aion): but the Son abideth ever (aion)


I’m firm in the conviction that AION really does mean “AGE”…but how do we best understand this verse?


Jn.8:34 Jesus answered them, “Verily, verily, I am saying to you that everyone who is doing sin, is a slave of sin.”
35 Now the slave is not remaining in the house for the eon. The son is remaining for the eon. (CLV)

35 The but slave not abides in the house to the age; the son abides to the age. (Diaglott)

35 and the servant doth not remain in the house—to the age, the son doth remain—to the age; (YLT)

35 into the age (Greek-English Interlinear, “A Conservative Version Interlinear”)

35 to the age (Greek-English Interlinear @

“But what prospect is there before the slave of sin? Exclusion from the kingdom of the Messiah!” (Meyer’s NT Commentary)

The contrast in Jn.8:35 is between the slave of sin and the son. Compare:

1 Cor.6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

Jn.3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Rev.5:10 You have made them into a kingdom, priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.

Rev.20:4b And they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Rev.20:6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

“Spiritual regeneration, the one imperative condition, apart from which the kingdom cannot be entered…A new birth will fit them for a life on earth during the millennial eon.”

“the seventh trumpet which proclaims that the world kingdom became our Lord’s and His Christ’s. . . (Un.11:15). Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life.” (Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, John’s Gospel)


Thanks, I must be blind on your point…if “but the Son abideth for the age(s)”; what is this saying…is this expressing that yes it’s for an age ONLY…or for an age with no statemeny of limitation applied (in the since that God is the God of the ages (but not only 1 or a set number of them)?


You’ll notice all the translations i posted say “son”, not “Son”.

There were also variations of either “to”, “for” & “into”…“the eon” (or, “age”).

The verse does not say - only - for the age. It doesn’t address that issue one way or the other.

To illustrate with a hypothetical example, if someone said “Jesus is the God of the present age” that does not mean He is only the God of that age. Nor does it mean He didn’t live before that age. Neither does it deny He will live after that age. [BTW Scripture speaks of the god of this age (2 Cor.4:4), though i interpret that as referring to Satan.]

Likewise when we read that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, that does not mean He is the God of - only - 3 people & not the God of any others.

As i see it, John 8:34-35 is contrasting two different destinies in the next eon, namely that of a slave of sin (v.34) & a son. In the coming eon the slaves of sin will be excluded from the kingdom, while the sons of God will enter into it. Hence my references in the previous post to the kingdom of God & the future millennial eon.

“But what prospect is there before the slave of sin? Exclusion from the kingdom of the Messiah!” (Meyer’s NT Commentary)

Since there is more than one eon to come (e.g. Eph.2:7), the coming eon is finite. Therefore what transpires in it does not tell us about anyone’s final destiny. That is expressed by statements such as immortality, incorruption & God becoming “all in all” (e.g. 1 Cor.15:22-28).


George MacDonald has a great sermon on this. The sermon is called “Freedom” in his Unspoken Sermon Volumes. They are, of course, free of copyright issues due to their age.

The Truth shall make you free… Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. – John viii.32, 34-36.
As this passage stands, I have not been able to make sense of it. No man could be in the house of the Father in virtue of being the servant of sin; yet this man is in the house as a servant, and the house in which he serves is not the house of sin, but the house of the Father. The utterance is confused at best, and the reasoning faulty. He must be in the house of the Father on some other ground than sin. This, had no help come, would have been sufficient cause for leaving the passage alone, as one where, perhaps, the words of the Lord were misrepresented – where, at least, perceiving more than one fundamental truth involved in the passage, I failed to follow the argument. I do not see that I could ever have suggested where the corruption, if any, lay. Most difficulties of similar nature have originated, like this, I can hardly doubt, with some scribe who, desiring to explain what he did not understand, wrote his worthless gloss on the margin: the next copier took the words for an omission that ought to be replaced in the body of the text, and inserting them, falsified the utterance, and greatly obscured its intention. What do we not owe to the critics who have searched the scriptures, and found what really was written! In the present case, Dr. Westcott’s notation gives us to understand that there is another with ‘a reasonable probability of being the true reading.’ The difference is indeed small to the eye, but is great enough to give us fine gold instead of questionable ore. In an alternative of the kind, I must hope in what seems logical against what seems illogical; in what seems radiant against what seems trite.

What I take for the true reading then, I English thus: ‘Every one committing sin is a slave. But the slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remaineth for ever. If then the son shall make you free, you shall in reality be free.’ The authorized version gives, 'Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin; 'the revised version gives, ‘Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin;’ both accepting the reading that has the words, ‘of sin.’ The statement is certainly in itself true, but appears to me useless for the argument that follows. And I think it may have been what I take to be the true reading, that suggested to the apostle Paul what he says in the beginning of the fourth chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians – words of spirit and life from which has been mistakenly drawn the doctrine of adoption, merest poison to the child-heart. The words of the Lord here are not that he who sins is the slave of sin, true utterly as that is; but that he is a slave, and the argument shows that he means a slave to God. The two are perfectly consistent. No amount of slavery to sin can keep a man from being as much the slave of God as God chooses in his mercy to make him. It is his sin makes him a slave instead of a child. His slavery to sin is his ruin; his slavery to God is his only hope. God indeed does not love slavery; he hates it; he will have children, not slaves; but he may keep a slave in his house a long time in the hope of waking up the poor slavish nature to aspire to the sonship which belongs to him, which is his birthright. But the slave is not to be in the house for ever. The father is not bound to keep his son a slave because the foolish child prefers it…


The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. (John 8:35 ESV)

In a human household, no slave will continue with it permanently. The owner can send the slave away any time if he is dissatisfied with him. But the sons of the owner will be part of his household permanently. So in God’s house, Jesus, the Son of God can set free you who are slaves of sin.

Barnes’ commentary on the verse is as follows:

Verse 35. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever.

Ver. 35. The servant abideth not, &c. The servant does not, of course, remain for ever, or till his death, with his master. If he is disobedient and wicked, the master sells him or turns him away. He is not the heir, and may at any time be expelled from the house of his master. But a son is the heir. He cannot be in this manner cast off or sold. He is privileged with the right of remaining in the family. This takes place in common life. So said the Saviour to the Jews: “You, if you are disobedient and rebellious, may at any time be rejected from being the people of God, and be deprived of your peculiar privileges as a nation. You are in the condition of servants, and unless you are made free by the gospel, and become entitled to the privilege of the sons of God, you will be cast off like an unfaithful slave.” Comp. Heb 3:5,6.


Paidion, the point is that this verse shows that aion means forever, contrary to what universalists often claim.


I wouldn’t come to the same conclusion as QAZ did based on this verse, not when compared to the many verses have that show AION means age and aionios means pertaining to that age(s)…I’m 99% certain of that…but I must be missing the points of the replies here…I have to wonder…if this verse is not saying FOREVER then it is not saying it in both cases, right? …not only the last case, to be consistent…it’s the same Greek word…but “permanently” would not be in the picture in either the slave or the son remaining in the house, right?


Perhaps reading some commentaries on the verse will help clarify things:

The Greek word AIONA appears twice in the verse. It literally means “age”[eon], not forever:

In the millennial eon kingdom sinners (slaves of sin) will not live for the eon, but the sons of God will live for the eon(age):

Isa.65:20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

When Christ returns slaves of sin will go into eonian fire/chastening (Mt.25:41,46) while the sons of God will go into life eonian (v.46).


This perhaps is relevant here. It’s an article from today’s Patheos, Evangelical newsletter:

The Problems with Universalism and the Denial of Hell

The author talks about a Pentecostal minister who says:

Perhaps some of you have seen the recent Netflix movie Come Sunday and the subsequent TV interviews with the Pentecostal minister who was defrocked for his denial of Hell, based on his belief that the Holy Spirit told him there wasn’t such a place, that in the end ‘Love Wins’, to borrow a familiar phrase. The movie raises the question about the universal love of God, and the universal atonement of Christ, and how anyone could end up in Hell if both of those things are true.

The article is interesting to read. The author talks about 2 view of hell, that are good alternatives to ECT:

Maybe they cease to exist, or maybe Hell is the place where you experience the absence of God’s loving presence forever, and realize you’ve eternally blown, as the parable in Lk. 16 suggests.

One view he didn’t mention, was the Eastern Orthodox view at Heaven and Hell:

For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise, and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ “comes in glory, and all angels with Him,” so that “God may be all in all” (1 Cor 15–28). Those who have God as their “all” within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose “all” is themselves and this world, the “all” of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 8.21, et al.).

Only the exile view, annihilation view and the Eastern Orthodox view of hell - are worth considering for rme. Now as a Hopeful Universalist, I hope the view of hell is temporary.


Actually when coupled with the two words immediately before it, the phrase “εις τον αιωνα” is formed, which literally means “into the age.” In my opinion, this Greek phrase was used to express the idea of permanency.
“Permanency” can denote a lengthy period of time, but is not tantamount to “forever.” As a teacher, I obtained a permanent teacher’s certificate. But if I had blown it as a teacher, it would have been soon invalid.


Do you interpret “eis tous aiona” (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας) in Revelation 20:10 in the same way?

An eon(age) can be permanent, forever or finite.


I interpret Rev 20:10 to be for AGES and AGES. I don’t believe it ever means forever. God being the God of ages for example, doesn’t mean He dies at the conclusion of the AION in question…I think we need to be consistent or we are guilty of “picking and choosing” when it means age and when it does not. Don’t you agree?


We all pick and choose. Most of us just don’t realize it. Some more than others, to be sure.


Does this make sense:

"“Scholars have tried to insist that “the eon of the eons” is
not “idiomatic”. They stake their reputations on the assertion
that “ever and ever” is an idiomatic rendering of the Greek.
The facts are that “eon of the eons”, like “holy of holies” is
just as good English as it is Greek. It is unusual, not unidiomatic.
“Ever and ever” is not translation at all. It is
self-contradictory interpretation, without any support in fact,
depending entirely on prejudice and superstition for its ac
ceptance. It is idiotic, not idiomatic.”

“The translations forever, everlasting, eternal, for ever and
ever, are contrary to the idiomatic usage of the Hebrew and
Greek. There the holy of holies, is the holiest of all, not
holy place of infinite extent. It is sheer interpretation, and it
ignores the idiom of the original. If the holy of holies does
not include all space neither does the eon of the eons include
all time. They ought to call in the holy place of holy places,
“for universe and universe”. That is just as idio[ma]tic as “for
ever and ever”. The idiom of the English is just the same as
the Hebrew and the Greek in such phrases. “The holy of
holies” gives precisely the same impression as in the original
tongues. So with “the eon of the eons.” “For ever and ever”
is not idiomatic. It is contrary to Scripture. It is undiluted
error which men seek to force upon God’s revelation by
pretense of scholarship.”

"Idiomatic or Idiotic?

1.[The Bible is the] 2. book of books 3. book and book
1.[The Lord’s Coming is the] 2. day of days 3. day and day
1.shir eshirim 2. song of songs 3. song and song
1.qdsh equdshim 2. holy of holies 3. holy and holy
1.kurios kurion 2. Lord of lords 3. Lord and lord
1.basileus basileon 2. King of kings 3. King and king
1.aionos ton aionon 2. eon of eons 3. ever and ever"

from page 19 at: