The Evangelical Universalist Forum


Found this website yesterday and wanted to share this link with you as it really helped with my understanding of the Hebrew “olam” often translated “forever” or “eternity” in our English Bibles. Please chime in if you have any information confirming or contradicting this understanding of the Hebrew. Thanks so much!

Thanks for posting this! I don’t know enough to critique his def of “olam”, except to say that it accords well with what I’ve read elsewhere.

I looked around this website several years ago, and got his emails for awhile, but then became busy with other things and forgot about it. I’m glad for the reminder; the site has developed a lot since then, and looks even more interesting!

On his Hebrew Word Meanings page he writes:

This is really important to keep in mind in translating meanings between words and cultures–something many are not even aware of if they have never learned another language or been much exposed to other languages and cultures.

I grew up in a mixed culture/language family, and even so, I forget at times that communicating meanings is not always a straightforward affair.

Hebrew is a fascinating language. An orthodox Israeli Jew once told be that if I wanted to understand the OT properly, I really needed to read it in Hebrew. :wink: Something I’d really like to be able to do … someday…


Very well done. Seems to retrieve the Hebrew organic sense of reality very well.

That was an excellent brief link to the term, HSM. Thanks!

(Note that it doesn’t necessarily rule out the concept of a never-ending “forever and ever” either.)

I came across this interesting website on OWLAM OLAM OLAWM

Sherman would be interested in this bit in particular, as “unseen”/“out of sight” very similar to “concealed”:

I appreciate the OP link. It’s a good review of olam. It’s also helpful to note that the concept of “seeing” or “sight” is metaphorical of understanding and persception. That which is in the distance is difficult to perceive, to understand, and that which is beyond the horizon is impossible to understand. The coming age is beyond our sight and understanding. If we do by the Spirit see into it, it’s hard for us to understand. I mean, exactly how does one explain green to a blind man! I often feel like we are blind men arguing over the difference between red and blue, or even arguing over the difference between Forest Green and Emarald Green. And it grieves me that the church is so divided over differing understandings or misunderstandings of scripture. I suppose our common love for God and faith in Christ is not enough to love one another. Well, I’ll get off my soap box and get back on my knees now. Thanks again for the links.

And Alex you are right, I do appreciate the reality that “aionios” was used in the LXX to translate “olam”. Thus to me “aionios” has the concept of being beyond site, beyond undestanding.

When i tried the OP link it was no longer working.

The following is from a Christian Forums Dot Com discussion re Olam:

So if an airline pilot announces “We are going to land in New York City, folks. We will be entering the USA”, according to you NYC = USA, eh. Gotcha.

A more literal & less misleading translation is:

Exo.3:15 And Elohim said further to Moses: Thus shall you say to the sons of Israel, Yahweh, the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac and the Elohim of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name for the eon, and this the remembrance of Me for generation after generation (CLV)

“generation after generation” does not equal “for ever for all generations”.

Your translation misrepresents the Hebrew. There’s no “all” in the Hebrew text, not that it would matter, since even that would not say ‘throughout all’ generations. Even yours says only “unto”, not ‘throughout’.

So if a passanger on an airline says “This will be a long trip and one that i shall never forget”, according to you “long” = “never”, eh. Gotcha.


Jer.23:40 “And I have put on you reproach eonian, And shame eonian that is not forgotten!”

Present tense “is”, not “shall” never.

So if a passanger on an airline says “This will be a long trip and one that i shall never forget”, according to you “long” = “never”, eh. Gotcha.

Jer.50:5 [To] Zion they ask the way, Thitherward [are] their faces:Come in, and we are joined unto Yahweh, A covenant eonian–not forgotten. (CLV)

Is “not forgotten” is not the same as “shall never be forgotten”.

So according to you one of “God’s acts” was parting the Red Sea & that means the act lasted “for ever”, eh. Gotcha.

The next verse states:

Eccl.3:15a That which is, it already was, And what is to come already has been…

And you think we should take everything this author says as the “gospel truth”. Gotcha.

“Ecclesiastes: The Inspired Book of Error”:

“The book of Ecclesiastes, or “the Preacher,” is unique in scripture…This book is filled with error. And yet it is wholly inspired. This may confuse some people,…”

Eccl.3:14 I know that all the One, Elohim, is doing, It shall be for the eon; Onto it there can be nothing to add, And from it there can be nothing to subtract; The One, Elohim, He does it that they may fear before Him. (CLV)

Nothing here states that each individual act of God lasts forever. Rather the idea seems to be that they are all perfect.

So if an airline pilot announces “We will be landing in New York City, folks. We will be entering the USA shortly”, according to you NYC = USA, eh. Gotcha.

Isa.51:6 Lift your eyes to the heavens, and look to the earth beneath. For the heavens, as with smoke, are full, and the earth, as a garment, is decaying, and its dwellers likewise, as a louse, are dying. Yet My salvation for the eon shall come. And My righteousness shall not be dismayed. " 7 Hearken to Me, knowers of righteousness, My people with My law in their heart. You must not fear the reproach of a mortal, and by their taunts you must not be dismayed." 8 For, as if a garment, eating them is the moth, and, as if wool, eating them is the roach. Yet My righteousness for the eon shall come, and My salvation for the generation of generations." (CLV)

So according to you if two different words are attached to “God” that proves they are synonymous, eh. Gotcha. So “God is love” & “God is light” proves that love = light, eh. Gotcha.

“The king of the underworld is immortal, cute, a killer, etc”. To use your type of faulty reasoning/logic, since “immortal” is paired with “cute”, cute must logically be defined as eternal. Wrong. And the king must be eternally cute. Wrong. And because immortal is paired with killer, the king must be eternally killing for all eternity. Wrong. And killer must be defined as eternal. Wrong.

In another post you committed the same error, saying: "Here Origen defines “aionios” as “eternal” by pairing it with “immortality.” ". Same idea as my example above with the king of the underworld. Faulty logic. Faulty reasoning. Hence an unproven, unwarranted assumption.

Examples of aionios as a finite duration in Koine Greek:

If Jesus wished to express endless punishment, then He would have used expressions such as “endless”, “no end” & “never be saved” as per:

Jesus didn’t use the best words & expressions to describe endlessness in regards to punishment, because He didn’t believe in endless punishment.

ENDLESSNESS not applied to eschatological PUNISHMENT in Scripture:

12 points re forever and ever (literally to/into “the ages of the ages”) being finite:

The very condition of a deconstruction may be at work in the work, within the system to be deconstructed. It may already be located there, already at work. Not at the center, but in an eccentric center, in a corner whose eccentricity assures the solid concentration of the system, participating in the construction of what it, at the same time, threatens to deconstruct. One might then be inclined to reach this conclusion: deconstruction is not an operation that supervenes afterwards, from the outside, one fine day. It is always already at work in the work. Since the destructive force of Deconstruction is always already contained within the very architecture of the work, all one would finally have to do to be able to deconstruct, given this always already, is to do memory work. Yet since I want neither to accept nor to reject a conclusion formulated in precisely these terms, let us leave this question suspended for the moment.

OK… so they met at the corner in the round room — Gotcha.

“…the eon [olam] and further.”…The Concordant Version Old Testament is consistent here. Consider two examples:

He [David] asked life from You; You will give it to him: Length of
days for an eon [olam] and further (Ps. 21:4 CVOT).

He has founded the earth on its bases. It shall never slip for
the eon [olam] and further (Ps. 104:5 CVOT)."

p.23 at