Mark, please note that many other translations say “incorruptibility” rather than “immortality”. In fact it has been said by a number of Greek scholars that the word here, APTHARSIA, does not mean “immortal”, & there is another Greek word, ATHANASIA, conveying that idea. Also the same word is variously translated in the NT as “sincerity”, “integrity”, “purity”, “sincerity”, etc. Furthermore, Thayer gives “perpetuity” as one meaning. So, for your interpretation to be valid, you’ld need to prove that “immortality” is the only correct translation there.
Second, Paul can be interpreted as contrasting those who get aionios life with those who get wrath on a certain “day”, the “day of wrath” (Rom.2:5). Not ‘the eternity of wrath’. Endless wrath is not mentioned in this context, but “indignation… ,tribulation and distress” (v.8-9). BTW, those who have ceased to exist forever, as in Conditionalism theory, would not be in “distress”.
Also as regards a “day of wrath” (2:5), we understand that a “day” of punishment is not an endless punishment, though in Scripture a day can be 1000 years to the Lord (2 Pet.3:8). And 1000 years is the length of the millennial age eon kingdom of the Lord. So why couldn’t this passage be contrasting eonian destinies in the future millennium? The gift of eon-ian life [life in the millennial age eon] being to those who seek “glory, honor & purity” or incorruption (of soul & spirit, in this life).
Concerning your comment “but only God gives them life for a limited age. Not very encouraging!”, neither Paul, Scripture or Universalists use your word “only”. Not that anyone deserves a future life of endless bliss, or even for 1000 or 25,000 years, but there are many other statements in Romans, in Paul’s other writings & the NT as a whole in support of an endless life being the gift that Love Omnipotent shall grant to those who are His in this world, e.g. Romans 8:31-38. Ultimately, IMO, all shall obtain such a life:
Rom 5:18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for all mankind for life’s justifying."
Rom 5:19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just."
Rom.8:19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
Rom 5:18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for ALL MANKIND for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for ALL MANKIND for life’s justifying."
Rom 5:19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, THE MANY were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, THE MANY shall be constituted just."
Paul makes a parallel between “the many” who were condemned & sinners and those who will be justified & constituted just.
“In Romans 5, the justification is co-extensive with the condemnation. Since all share in one, all share in the other. If only a certain portion of the human race had partaken of the sin of Adam, only a certain portion would partake of the justification of Christ. But St. Paul affirms all to have been involved in one, and all to be included in the other.”
Therefore there is salvation after death. And corrective punishment.
Remember, Alexander, only one new thread per week, please. You had a new one already this week back on Jan 31st (Tuesday).
On immoratliy, beyond what Origen replied: the scriptural distinction between mortality and immortality involves a body that essentially rots and a body that doesn’t. God can keep a mortal body alive as long as He chooses, even into the eons of the eons, but that doesn’t mean the body is immortal; rather it would be dying into-the-eon. Relatedly, God can raise someone from death, whether they are good or evil, without necessarily resurrecting them, and their bodies will still be mortal, Lazarus being the classic but far from only example.
Eonian life and a transformed body are granted to those who seek it – although considering that a quest for immortality is a classical villainous goal, obviously Paul means more than merely seeking such a thing as his many contexts make clear – but annihilationists have a bad habit of foisting a false dichotomy between immortality and annihilation. Even an immortal nature does not self-exist once God confers it, but continues to exist by the action of God; so does a mortal nature. Rom 2 has nothing to say about whether God ever ceases keeping a mortal nature alive.
(Rom 2 does have something to say about those who despise God’s makrothumia for those who are perishing, however: they themselves are only storing up God’s wrath for themselves in the Day of the Lord to come!)
It seems that it is the day of the Lord, or his second coming, where he will be rendering every man according to his deeds. And, it seems that eternal life is a direct consequence of seeking glory, honor, and immortality. I don’t see how saying “Oh, but that’s just that age, there are ages after that” would world. It seems really weak and almost ad hoc.
Yes, Alexander–some of us (including me) do believe that believers can be “punished” or more to the point, “chastised” in the way a father chastens every son he receives. If we are not chastised, then are we not sons. This chastisement often comes during our mortal time on earth, but I believe that if we continue to rebel (which is our choice as free beings), then we must also have chastisement in whatever sort of situation we enter once our physical bodies die (or following resurrection if it’s the case that the dead do not exist as some say). This chastisement is for our benefit, not for revenge or because of some human concept of justice. If you punish your child (in whatever way you deem appropriate) you do it to teach him better behavior so that he and those around him can have a better life. God is like that.