The Evangelical Universalist Forum

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This is what I find frustrating about certain doctrines of universalism… they make unnecessarily hard yards of God’s inclusive grace by messing with the meanings of certain words. From the pantelist perspective… the ‘permanence’ in question is relative to the outcome, i.e., either annihilation, thus the TOTAL PHYSICAL extinguishing of that life in view, aka PHYSICAL death, OR contrariwise to this… the continuance of that PHYSICAL life into that coming new age. As such the aiōnios of Mt 25:46 doesn’t touch postmortem — it was relative to the HISTORY that was to shortly play out on THEIR horizon in THEIR future — thus either the FULL measure of death OR the FULL measure of life.

Remember… Yahweh established circumcision as an everlasting covenant, i.e., permanence, BUT THAT was relative to and confined within the age wherein He was dealing with his people at a particular time in a particular way. IOW… said permanence was operative WITHIN an age or timeframe. We know from Paul that OT circumcision was but a foreshadowing of a greater work fulfilled in Christ etc.


Agreed Davo. I love Alf.

That’s not a problem if aionios were interpreted in line with the second proposed definition that I mentioned – “enduring for the amount of time it will endure,” or the amount of time appropriate for it to endure (“allotted time,” as you wrote).

But in terms of the first definition, if we’re talking about the longest amount time possible to endure, we’re talking about permanence.

And again, if we just look at how aionios is actually used throughout Greek literature, it’s clearly not just talking about “lasting for a little while” or whatever, but almost always refers to the fullest, most complete amount of time possible. So, relative to eschatological/afterlife punishment, this wouldn’t be “the amount of time appropriate for punishment” or anything like that, but rather “punishment to the fullest and/or longest degree,” whether this suggests genuinely everlasting torment or irreversible, permanent annihilation.

If aionios “always refers to the fullest, most complete amount of time possible”, that is, what is logically conceivably possible, then Satan’s aionion kingdom would be endless & not, as ECF Chrysostom said, one that is going to cease with the present aion. Similarly:

"St. Gregory of Nyssa speaks of aionios diastêma, “an eonian interval.” It would be absurd to call an interval “endless.”

Given that context defines the meaning of aionios in any given passage, & the inspired Scriptural contexts support universalism, any form of endless punishment is simply impossible.

Satan’s aionion kingdom would be endless

Satan’s kingdom being described as aionios isn’t Biblical. I’m assuming Chrysostom has misunderstood or creatively interpreted Ephesians 2:2 – which only uses aion. (I’m pretty sure that I talked more about Ephesians 2:2 somewhere earlier in this thread.)

Unsurprisingly though, things like 2 Peter 1:11 and Daniel 7:27 do refer to God’s kingdom as everlasting, aionios.

I’d suggest his “creative interpretation” is in accord with the many New Testament parallels between aionios & aion, as evidenced here, in post #30, in the following discussion:

As I’ve noted elsewhere… there is a strict literal meaning AND there can ALSO be if the context permits, an applied meaning — why do you keep ignoring this qaz? I’ve never seen you answer to it but simply dismiss it, why? Why do you ask so many questions and yet rarely answer mine? Thus you have your rendering the likes of…

Jn 17:3 And this is time/duration life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Your reading makes no sense at all, logical or otherwise.

Well there WERE indeed “permanent implications” — to the degree Israel refused to listen and heed their Messiah to that degree they perished (Jn 3:16), i.e., lost their lives in the war with Rome; even though Jesus came to spare them from this (Jn 3:17).

I have mentioned this many times. The only place in the Bible that defines aionios life is John 17:3 and it makes absolutely no sense to interpret it as a duration, long, short, infinite or otherwise.

I have mentioned this many times. The only place in the Bible that defines aionios life is John 17:3 and it makes absolutely no sense to interpret it as a duration, long, short, infinite or otherwise.

It makes perfect sense if you know a bit about creative glosses.

For example, the 3rd century Alexander of Aphrodisias once wrote τοῦτο ἐστιν ὁ θεός: ἡ αἰώνιος καὶ ἀρíστη ζωή. Literally this seems to make little sense: “this is God: the everlasting and great life.” But it’s almost certainly to be understood as something like “this is what it means to be divine: having life that’s everlasting and supremely great.”

Of course, is that all being divine is?

And we in fact do very similar things even today, when we say “this is [phenomenon/emotion/object/etc.],” followed by a clearly secondary gloss. For example, do a Google search for “This is happiness,” or phrases similar to this. I find a picture of a happy snowboarder captioned with this; I find a song lyric “This is happiness: to be everything at once”; and I find “happiness is a good bar of chocolate” and “happiness is when everyone loves your cooking,” etc.

Or search for “This is courage.” I find this as a caption of a picture of Caitlyn Jenner and of a Native American; I find a quote from Euripides (though almost certainly a misquote), “This is courage in a man: to bear unflinchingly what heaven sends.” But is this all that courage is? What about climbing a mountain or fighting in a war or standing up to a corrupt but powerful politician; or, you know, a much more general definition that doesn’t refer to such specific things, like “the ability to do something that frightens one” or “strength in the face of pain or grief,” etc.?

This is how we can still translate John 17:3 in its straightforward sense: “this is everlasting life, that they may know [God].” This is almost certainly just a creative way of saying that knowing God – believing in him, following his commands and so on – leads to eternal life.

If someone said “this is happiness: a good bar of chocolate,” no one would ever be forced to rethink their definition of happiness. And the same should go for “everlasting life” in John 17:3.

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I think the word ‘punishment’ needs to be transvalued. Punishing does little good, as our penal system illustrates all too well. A correction by a heavenly Parent, though perhaps unwelcomed at first, seems more in line with the revealed character of God in Jesus Christ. I think God has all the wisdom needed to bring around the most recalcitrant of rebels!

That is basically the same far fetched explanation (leads to eternal life…) you attribute to the Universalist. You explain this one away while not allowing them to do the same on other scriptures. What is plain to you is not plain to me and vica versa. That is not to say the above is wrong, it is no more wrong than mine and so on. Unless you know the mind of the author, you can’t know. Likewise, I can’t either.

Just like you, I have no motives for disproving or proving it, I mean. I am agnostic. So to me, I don’t say this to somehow cling to some idea for my own sake. You don’t believe in God at all, but that makes it easier to interpret the text in a much more disfavorable light, as it is much easier to reject something morally objectionable than something reasonable.

God saving all (Universalism) is hardly dependant upon a) aion alternate translations, and b) the scriptures themselves. Neither are needed like, to me clear. But the latter in no way makes the belief impossible.

George MacDonald clearly did no tampering with aion, and still expressed his belief that God is unworthy of such mean low notion of God. His unspoken sermons make that very clear.

So I am ok with your take on aion, but it hardly makes a dent into Universalism.

Typed on my cellphone and on the treadmill, yeah me!

Dude, that verse clearly has nothing to do with the afterlife.

Amen Gabe.

Leads to” hmm possibly… but even that in itself can be viewed as employing creative licence simply to bolster a given presupposition assumed of the text, not dissimilar to those who will add… “all kinds of men” to the text of 1Tim 4:10 in order to justify a doctrinal position already brought to and superimposed upon the text, etc.

Jn 17:3 can be viewed in its straightforward qualitative sense not dissimilar to the qualitative “eternal destruction” of 2Thess 1:9 that is a complete oxymoron WHEN considered as per its strict literal rendering, i.e., how is something or someone destroyed with endless duration? Destruction means termination, period!

No… what we have is a qualitative phrase indicative and descriptive of the magnitude and scope of said event — in this case their utter ruin and removal from the very presence of God — which for any devout Jew of the day was their cutting off from their Land, City and in particular, Temple.

Again… earlier in John Jesus expresses this same qualitative sense of FULLNESS of life when he says…

Jn 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

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Maybe… but it is NOT unreasonable to acknowledge Jesus’ understanding AND use of such in HIS defining “eternal” such as it is; and it certainly can be applied equally and in-kind to both sides of Mt 25:46 WITHOUT needing to get inventive with all sorts of IMO, stretched scenarios. The very logic ECT advocates bring against the universalist position holds logical weight, BUT just like universalists make the wrong assumption that this verse speaks to postmortem destinies etc… as a pantelist, I don’t think so.

So Dave… based on this above, can you maybe answer my unanswered question from over HERE where I asked…

From a biblical textual perspective… what actually constitutes a rebel against God — IOW, how according to the bible is such a one actually defined?

IOW Dave… what do you mean and what/who qualifies as “the most recalcitrant of rebels”?

Why is this important to you, Davo? Humor me - I really cannot see what in the world difference it makes, but obviously it’s pushed a button.

Well given you use this term and I guess not pointlessly… humour me with a thoughtful answer Dave.

Stalemate, mate. :wink:

Thanks mate… unless you care to elaborate that in itself actually speak volumes.