The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Scholarly EUs Assemble!

I think koine_lingua is currently about where I am on the topic

I’ve certainly been accused of being a pedant before, but I have to disagree with a few of the things you said here—just to be 100% clear about my positions.

the Greek adjective, and its related Greek prepositional phrases . . . have a variable-application meaning, which as Paidion likes to say, could be translated into English vernacular as “lasting”.

I think suggesting that trying to incorporate its various uses into a single meaning here runs into the same problems as when people try to say that the fundamental meaning of aion is “age” (and thus that the fundamental meaning of aionios must be “age-lasting”). But, again, “age” is not the fundamental meaning of aion. As I suggest, aion in face has no singular fundamental meaning. Even historically speaking, some of the absolute earliest Greek uses of the word are in the sense of “spinal marrow” or even something like “life-force,” which obviously bear little to no relationship to time whatsoever.

Of course, we don’t have any comparable use of the adjective aionios in the sense of “pertaining to spinal marrow” or anything like that. But 95%+ of the uses of aionios are used in the sense of permanence in particular. By contrast, if you analyze how aion is used in the first 3 or 4 centuries of ancient Greek, I’d imagine you’d find a fairly even split between “life” or “life-force,” “spinal marrow,” “age,” and “eternity.” (See also here Helena Keizer’s monograph on aion, which is entitled Life–Time–Entirety.)

This is why it’d be a mistake to try to reduce the primary denotation of aionios to “lasting,” based merely on the very few uses of it that don’t suggest permanence in particular. That is to say, I think there’s a real sense in which we can characterize some of the rare/idiosyncratic uses of aionios as more or less variations on its base denotation of permanence. But, again, the keyword here is “rare/idiosyncratic.” It’s pretty clear when it’s being used in a rare or unusual sense—like in Diodorus Siculus 17.112.2, in some of its Septuagint usage (especially when we can characterize it as a “mistranslation”), or in Romans 16:25.

Maybe you actually agree with me on some/most of these things; but again I just wanted to be very clear.

(Although I don’t think we can rule out the influence of Platonic thought in the NT usage for the adjective meaning something like “divine”, coming uniquely from God. The conceptual links would be overlapping anyway.)

I’m unaware of any evidence that it suggests anything even close to “divine,” Platonic or otherwise.

It’s permanent until when-if-ever it isn’t permanent, and that could be pretty quick (and depends on God typically), but it could also be ages of ages, and might be permanently forever. In effect, context determines how far the meaning goes, which is what I have always argued; and that neutral stance is plenty to allow universal salvation.

I mean, in some sense I’d agree with what you said here. I would disagree, though, in that I don’t think BIblical readers could have ever reasonably been expected to hear about “permanent/everlasting punishment,” but then to do complex exegetical connect-the-dots to somehow realize that God may bring this otherwise permanent punishment to an end (“permanent until when-if-ever it isn’t permanent”).

By the same token, I don’t see how anything in the Bible could be taken at face value, if someone could always say “oh but if you just look at this obscure passage in Ezekiel, you can see where [whatever] really means the opposite of what it appears to mean.”

So if they generally (not universally) use “eonian” as an adjective without a never-ending continuance meaning, which is certainly demonstrated by context (and a chief point to Dr. Ramelli’s tome), then that weight isn’t nothing.

I don’t think it’s fair to characterize the patristic usage this way (“an adjective without a never-ending continuance meaning”). For one, I’ve demonstrated in exhaustive detail that Ramelli (and Konstan) frequently misrepresents the patristic data, sometimes in a very egregious way. And this would be widely recognized if her studies were more well-known than they were.

There’s also something to be said about aionios being used “organically”—when early church writers use the word without self-consciously reflecting on what the word itself might signify, exegetically—versus when people are doing conscious, explicit analysis of the word (or using the word with an idiosyncratic meaning that they’re assigned to the word based on self-conscious analysis).

For example, when @Origen mentions how Chrysostom glosses aionios as something that implies “belonging to the present age” or whatever (Ὅτι καὶ αἰώνιος αὐτοῦ ἡ ἀρχὴ, τουτέστι, τῷ παρόντι αἰῶνι συγκαταλυομένη), he’s self-consciously reflecting on the components of the word here. In effect, he’s basically doing what we call “folk etymology.” (See his earlier comment ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ. In other words, Satan’s rule is called aionios because it’s “in this aion.”)

As another similar example, this is kind of like Philo of Alexandria’s interpretation of God’s ὄνομα αἰώνιον in LXX Exodus 3:15 (ὡς ἂν ἐν τῷ καθ᾿ ἡμᾶς αἰῶνι ἐξεταζόμενον, οὐκ ἐν τῷ πρὸ αἰῶνος)—where he understands this not in the sense of “everlasting name,” as is the true original meaning, but instead in the sense of God’s revealed name to the current “age.” Keizer translates Philo’s gloss here as “as it were in the aiōn related to us, not in that (which is) before aiōn.”

But again, this isn’t an actual “organic” use of the word, but a deliberately interpretive one. And for what it’s worth, elsewhere Chrysostom uses aionios in the true sense of “permanent, everlasting” any number of times.

Now this may sound really pedantic, but just to be completely clear—for those who may unsure of my position—the issue of what aionios signifies in the NT isn’t exactly synonymous with whether it teaches eternal torment or not. But yeah, I think there are indeed some passages in the NT that are more amenable to ECT than they are even to annihilationism, much less universalism. (Mark 9:43-48 is almost certainly one of those.)

And this despite the fact that I think annihilationism is the best represented eschatological perspective both in Second Temple Judaism and almost certainly in the New Testament more broadly, too.

As for universalism in the New Testament, there are very few passages that I find even remotely convincing in favor of this. I think most of the passages from Paul that are enlisted in support of it are largely misinterpreted. I also think there are some fundamental misunderstandings about Revelation here. Honestly, in some ways, one of the closest things to this may be something like Matthew 5:26/Luke 12:59—but even this most likely suggests just a limited purgatorialism for the elect in particular. (Especially if someone want to harmonize the data from the gospels more broadly.)

It might also be noted that Romans 11:26 seems to suggest a highly uncharacteristic “limited universalism” for Jews in particular.

A moderated debate between you and @JasonPratt for the Wondering Pilgrims show may be a great idea… Or not lol I’m not sure…maybe one day. You certainly keep me on my toes in my belief. You seem ironically enough to be a great and formidable devil’s advocate for those who believe unwaiveringly in ETC, makes me wonder why you’re not an Independent Baptist apologist or something dude :joy:

Also, what’re your thoughts on the Steve Rudd article I posted?

I don’t think it necessarily follows that aionios in Romans 16:26 means eternal just because it is associated with God. In fact it has been argued that it refers to a finite duration since it is in context with aionios in verse 25, which a number of scholars & lexicons consider to be a finite use of aionios. Also Greek scholar A Deissman uncovered a tablet from around the time of ECF Origen that spoke of God as aionion and epiaionion (more than/beyond aionion).

Regarding your comment “Thus the word cannot mean “enduring through or pertaining to a period of time”, even if aionios means eternal in Romans 16:26 or some other passages, i assume the author included in his understanding of a “period of time” both finite periods of time and infinite periods of time.

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Following is the first of my two consecutive posts re Jewish intertestamental writings in reply to a blog by an EO “father” Lawrence who is pro ECT: where did first century Jews learn about eternal punishment?

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If that is indeed Koine_LIngua’s position, or that aionios means eternal except when used figuratively or in hyperbole as with the English word “forever”, then i would ask what lexicons, Greek scholars, church fathers or even mere commentaries he can quote & reference that agree with such a position. Certainly the vast majority of Greek scholars either do not concur with such a position or often clearly oppose it, including the authors of BDAG, LSJ, Vine’s, & TDNT lexicons, to name a few. So even pro endless punishment biased sources oppose such a view.

Additionally, if one who supports biblical harmony & endless punishment extends such a view of aionios to olam in the OT, it faces the problem of the following passage:

Lamentations 3:22 and 3:31-33, The steadfast love of the Lord NEVER ceases, his mercies NEVER come to an end. . . .
Lam.3:31 For the Lord will NOT cast off FOR EVER:
32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness. 33 For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the SONS OF MEN.…

Which clearly opposes endless punishment.

BTW, speaking of “for ever”, here are my 12 points (in 2 consecutive posts) re the NT phrase “for ever & ever” being a mistranslation & referring to finite duration:

If true that is devastating to the endless punishment positions (ECT & CI).


In the forementioned linked to thread re Matthew 25:46 there is, if i recall, in the OP a reference to ECF Origen speaking of “after aionios life” & “beyond aionios life”. Such quotes as these & the Chrysostom quote are not cited let alone quoted in pro endless punishment biased lexicons & scholars writings. Their lexicons might not sell so well to the mostly pro endless punishment buyers if they did.

Why would that limit salvation to the Jews anymore than Mt.1:21+2:6, Isa.45:25 & similar passages or anymore than God being the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob limits Him to being God of only 3 people rather than the whole earth & all mankind.

I don’t recall anyone thinking “age” or “eon” is the meaning of aion throughout all ancient Greek literature. Applying the meaning “eon” to the NT would be, perhaps, more reasonable. Compare Greek-English Interlinears & literal translations of the NT. Also the LSJ lexicon entry on aion re NT references where it is defined likewise as “2. space of time clearly defined and marked out, epoch, age”:

If that is the meaning of the noun in the NT, we might consider what the probability is that the associated adjective, aionion, carries a different meaning. Or are they likely related as America is to American?

“In the Gospels there are instances where the substantive aion and the adjective aionios are juxtaposed or associated in a single image or utterance (most directly in Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30). This obvious parallel in the Greek is invisible in almost every English tanslation” (p.540, The New Testament: A Translation, by EO scholar David Bentley Hart, 2017).

Considering Lk.18:30 above, ECF John Chrysostom limits aionios to a specific age of finite duration:

“For that his[Satan’s] kingdom is of this age,[αἰώνιος] i.e., will cease with the present age[αιώνι] …” (Homily 4 on Ephesians, Chapter II. Verses 1-3).

Also another Early Church Father by the name of Origen spoke of what is “after” and “beyond” aionios life. As a native Greek speaker & scholar he knew the meaning of the word:

“…in the one who drinks of the water that Jesus gives leaps into eternal life.
And after eternal life, perhaps it will also leap into the Father who is beyond
eternal life.” (Comm. in Io 13.3)

N.T. Wright is considered to be a leading NT scholar & his translation renders “life aionios” as “the life of God’s coming age” (1 Jn.1:2, NTE). Compare:

Weymouth New Testament
the Life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and we declare unto you the Life of the Ages which was with the Father and was manifested to us–

Young’s Literal Translation
and the Life was manifested, and we have seen, and do testify, and declare to you the Life, the age-during, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us –

And the life was manifested, and we have seen and are testifying and reporting to you the life eonian which was toward the Father and was manifested to us. (CLV)

And, the Life, was made manifest, and we have seen, and are bearing witness, and announcing unto you, the Age-abiding Life, which, indeed, was with the Father, and was made manifest unto us; (Ro)

(and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and we bear testimony, and we declare to you the life the age-lasting, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us (Diaglott Greek-English interlinear)

…the AIONIAN LIFE…(Diaglott margin)

and announce to you the life of the Age…(The NT: A Translation, by EO scholar David Bentley Hart, 2017).

Indeed the Chayyei [Olam] was manifested, and we have seen it and we give solemn eidus (witness of testimony) and we proclaim to you the Chayyei Olam which was alongside with HaAv [Yochanan 1:1-4,14] and made hisgalus (appearance of, exposure of in revelation) to us [Shlichim]. (OJB)

Speaking of OLAM, we now turn to Dan.12:2-3, which also supports the above position:

The context suggests the view that both the life & the punishment referred to in v.2 are of finite duration (OLAM), since v.3 speaks of those who will be for OLAM “and further”.

2 From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life
and these to reproach for eonian repulsion." 3 The intelligent shall warn as the warning
of the atmosphere, and those justifying many are as the stars for the eon and further."
(Dan.12:2-3, CLV)

The Hebrew word for eonian (v.2) & eon (v.3) above is OLAM which is often used of limited durations in the OT. In verse 3 of Dan. 12 are the words “OLAM and further” showing an example of its finite duration in the very next words after Dan. 12:2. Thus, in context, the OLAM occurences in v.2 could also both be understood as being of finite duration.

Additionally, the early church accepted the following Greek OT translation of the Hebrew OT of Dan. 12:3:

καὶ οἱ συνιέντες ἐκλάμψουσιν ὡς ἡ λαμπρότης τοῦ στερεώματος καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν δικαίων τῶν πολλῶν ὡς οἱ ἀστέρες εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας καὶ ἔτι[and further]

Notice the words at the end saying KAI ETI, meaning “and further” or “and still” or “and yet” & other synonyms.

eti: “still, yet…Definition: (a) of time: still, yet, even now, (b) of degree: even, further, more, in addition.” Strong’s Greek: 2089. ἔτι (eti) – still, yet

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας καὶ ἔτι means “into the ages and further” as a translation of the Hebrew L’OLAM WA ED[5703, AD]

So this early church Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures agrees with the above translation (& those below) using the words “and further”, “futurity”, “beyond” & similarly.

3 and·the·ones-being-intelligent they-shall- warn as·warning-of the·atmosphere
and·ones-leading-to-righteousness-of the·many-ones as·the·stars for·eon and·futurity (Dan. 12:3, Hebrew-English Interlinear)

2 and, many of the sleepers in the dusty ground, shall awake,—these, [shall be] to age-abiding life, but, those, to reproach, and age-abiding abhorrence;
3 and, they who make wise, shall shine like the shining of the expanse,—and, they who bring the many to righteousness, like the stars to times age-abiding and beyond. (Dan. 12:2-3, Rotherham)

2 And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life age-during, and some to reproaches—to abhorrence age-during.
3 And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitude as stars to the age and for ever*. (Dan. 12:2-3, YLT)

Dan. 12:2-3 was the only Biblical reference to “life OLAM” Jesus listeners had to understand His meaning of “life aionios”(life OLAM) in Mt.25:46 & elsewhere in the New Testament.

Verse 3 speaks of those justifying “many”. Who are these “many”? The same “many” of verse 2, including those who were resurrected to “shame” & “contempt”? IOW the passage affirms universalism?


To be completely clear, as I’ve said elsewhere in this thread, my real position is “95%+ of the uses of aionios are . . . in the sense of permanence in particular.”

This is unambiguously reflected in its entry in BDAG:

pert. to a long period of time, long ago χρόνοις αἰ. long ages ago Ro 16:25; πρὸ χρόνων αἰ. before time began 2 Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2 (in these two last pass. the prep. bears the semantic content of priority; on χρόνος αἰ. cp. OGI 248, 54; 383, 10).

pert. to a period of time without beginning or end, eternal of God (Ps.-Pla., Tim. Locr. 96c θεὸν τ. αἰώνιον; IBM 894, 2 αἰ. κ. ἀθάνατος τοῦ παντὸς φύσις; Gen 21:33; Is 26:4; 40:28; Bar 4:8 al.; Philo, Plant. 8; 74; SibOr Fgm. 3, 17 and 4; PGM 1, 309; 13, 280) Ro 16:26; of the Holy Spirit in Christ Hb 9:14. θρόνος αἰ. 1 Cl 65:2 (cp. 1 Macc 2:57).

pert. to a period of unending duration, without end (Diod S 1, 1, 5; 5, 73, 1; 15, 66, 1 δόξα αἰ. everlasting fame; in Diod S 1, 93, 1 the Egyptian dead are said to have passed to their αἰ. οἴκησις; Arrian, Peripl. 1, 4 ἐς μνήμην αἰ.; Jos., Bell. 4, 461 αἰ. χάρις=a benefaction for all future time; OGI 383, 10 [I b.c.] εἰς χρόνον αἰ.; EOwen, οἶκος αἰ.: JTS 38, ’37, 248–50; EStommel, Domus Aeterna: RAC IV 109–28) of the next life σκηναὶ αἰ. Lk 16:9 (cp. En 39:5). οἰκία, contrasted w. the οἰκία ἐπίγειος, of the glorified body 2 Cor 5:1. διαθήκη (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Lev 24:8; 2 Km 23:5 al.; PsSol 10:4 al.) Hb 13:20. εὐαγγέλιον Rv 14:6; κράτος in a doxolog. formula (=εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας) 1 Ti 6:16. παράκλησις 2 Th 2:16. λύτρωσις Hb 9:12. κληρονομία (Esth 4:17m) vs. 15; AcPl Ha 8, 21. αἰ. ἀπέχειν τινά (opp. πρὸς ὥραν) keep someone forever Phlm 15 (cp. Job 40:28). Very often of God’s judgment (Diod S 4, 63, 4 διὰ τὴν ἀσέβειαν ἐν ᾅδου διατελεῖν τιμωρίας αἰωνίου τυγχάνοντα; similarly 4, 69, 5; Jer 23:40; Da 12:2; Ps 76:6; 4 Macc 9:9; 13:15) κόλασις αἰ. (TestReub 5:5) Mt 25:46; 2 Cl 6:7; κρίμα αἰ. Hb 6:2 (cp. κρίσις αἰ. En 104:5). θάνατος B 20:1. ὄλεθρον (4 Macc 10:15) 2 Th 1:9. πῦρ (4 Macc 12:12; GrBar 4:16.—SibOr 8, 401 φῶς αἰ.) Mt 18:8; 25:41; Jd 7; Dg 10:7 (cp. 1QS 2:8). ἁμάρτημα Mk 3:29 (v.l. κρίσεως, κολάσεω, and ἁμαρτίας). On the other hand, of eternal life (Maximus Tyr. 6, 1d θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰ.; Diod S 8, 15, 3 life μετὰ τὸν θάνατον lasts εἰς ἅπαντα αἰῶνα; Da 12:2; 4 Macc 15:3;PsSol PsSol:3, 12; OdeSol 11:16c; JosAs 8:11 cod. A [p. 50, 2 Bat.]; Philo, Fuga 78; Jos., Bell. 1, 650; SibOr 2, 336) in the Reign of God: ζωὴ αἰ. (Orig., C. Cels. 2, 77, 3) Mt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mk 10:17, 30; Lk 10:25; 18:18, 30; J 3:15f, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2f; Ac 13:46, 48; Ro 2:7; 5:21; 6:22f; Gal 6:8; 1 Ti 1:16; 6:12; Tit 1:2; 3:7; 1J 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20; Jd 21; D 10:3; 2 Cl 5:5; 8:4, 6; IEph 18:1; Hv 2, 3, 2; 3, 8, 4 al. Also βασιλεία αἰ. 2 Pt 1:11 (ApcPt Rainer 9; cp. Da 4:3; 7:27; Philo, Somn. 2, 285; Mel., P. 68, 493; OGI 569, 24 ὑπὲρ τῆς αἰωνίου καὶ ἀφθάρτου βασιλείας ὑμῶν; Dssm. B 279f, BS 363). Of the glory in the next life δόξα αἰ. 2 Ti 2:10; 1 Pt 5:10 (cp. Wsd 10:14; Jos., Ant. 15, 376.—SibOr 8, 410 φῶς αἰῶνιον). αἰώνιον βάρος δόξης 2 Cor 4:17; σωτηρία αἰ. (Is 45:17; Ps.-Clem., Hom. 1, 19) Hb 5:9; short ending of Mk. Of unseen glory in contrast to the transitory world of the senses τὰ μὴ βλεπόμενα αἰώνια 2 Cor 4:18.—χαρά IPhld ins; δοξάζεσθαι αἰωνίῳ ἔργῳ be glorified by an everlasting deed IPol 8:1. DHill, Gk. Words and Hebr. Mngs. ’67, 186–201; JvanderWatt, NovT 31, ’89, 217–28 (J).—DELG s.v. αἰών. M-M. TW. Sv.

I think even the most passing glance here will show which usage dominates. (I don’t have TDNT in front of me right now, but from what I remember it suggests much the same.)

Also, for what it’s worth, χρόνοι αἰώνιοι in Romans 16:25, etc., is almost certainly a Semitism, and in any case is probably functionally equivalent to χρόνοι αρχαίοι: see, for example, the parallel in 1 Cor. 2:7 (πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων), and in 2 Timothy 2:9 and Titus 1:2, πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων.

Additionally, if one who supports biblical harmony & endless punishment extends such a view of aionios to olam in the OT, it faces the problem of the following passage

Harmonizers will always face problems. But that’s a two-way street. If Biblical texts supported both eternal mercy (for all) but also predicted true eternal punishment (for some), then the former would contradict the latter just as much as the latter would contradict the former; and there’d be no basis for choosing one over the other, other than which one is subjectively more pleasing to us.

Wondrous rebuttal my brother. I’m doubly adamant that we should let words be transliterated and let context determine whether they are literal, figurative, both, etc. Not to mention, there being a clear distinction between aionian life, immortal life/being resurrected < being vivified (which StudyShelf and Co. do a great job at rightly dividing), contrasts between “aidios timoria” vs “aionion kolasis” and issues revolving around the interchangability/flexibility of ancient koine Greek though I’ll leave it to you, koine_lingua & others to dispute those concerns. Grace and peace to both of you, and I pray we all may one day, charitably reach the same conclusion, in the joy of the Lord. Blessings.

Cool, I never knew about this usage of ἐπαιώνιος. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the ἐπαιώνιος in αἰώνιος καὶ ἐπαιώνιος here is rhetorically intensive—probably not dissimilar from, say, the way ἐπέκεινα function in the adverbial clause εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ ἐπέκεινα in LXX Micah 4:5 (Hebrew לעולם ועד). In other words, it’d be basically the exact equivalent of our modern phrase "forever and ever.” (Or “eternity and beyond.”)

Again though, the main principle of lexicography is that we determine a word’s meaning based on its contextual sphere: its immediate syntactical and literary context, its broader sociohistorical context, etc. Saying “look, here’s an instance where aionios is used in conjunction with something that turned out to be finite,” or pointing out the existence of a hapax epaionios, doesn’t help much when these are pretty distant from other, more relevant uses of the word. (Though as for the former, note again what I said earlier about gymnasiarchs, etc.)

And this is especially the case in light of what I’ve said about the predominant denotation of aionios, which again always hangs around the meaning “permanent”—the usage that dominates Greek literature as a whole.

I’ve commented on Mark 10:30 in particular before (actually in the post linked at the beginning by @marcthedawn ); and in my view this is one of the clearest examples of a significant contrast in meaning between aion and aionios in the New Testament. And it has significant implications, too. Here’s what I wrote, only slightly edited:

The final words here [in Mark 10:30] are καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον. For those with a knowledge of Greek, the serious problem here might also be realized: if, as Ramelli and Konstan suggest, aiōnios is to be understood as “pertaining to the age to come,” then the saying of Jesus here is suggesting that his followers will receive “life of the age to come in the age to come”; and this is plainly redundant if not nonsensical. (Even if – taking a clue from Ramelli and Konstan – we were to gloss aiōnios not as the clunkier “pertaining to the age to come” but as the more concise “eschatological,” this does little to relieve the problem here.)

On the other hand, that they will receive “everlasting life in the age to come” is perfectly concise and sensible.

As I go on to note, there’s some sort of relationship between everlasting life and the “age to come”; but only in the sense that people enjoy everlasting life during that age. But there’s no semantic relationship between “age” and “everlasting” here. (This is even more so the case in Jewish eschatology, where עולם can attain a meaning more like “world/realm” than “age.” Funny enough, I’m pretty sure that some uses of aion, e.g. particularly in the Epistle to the Hebrews, also show the same shift in meaning.)

In truth, there are really any number of parallels we could point to, throughout both Greco-Roman and Jewish literature, where the blessed/righteous dead enjoy everlasting life in another realm or time.

Again, why you’re not a Christian ETC apologist, I’m hard pressed to guess why as you’d probably make more millions (than I’m assuming you already do as an agnostic/secular Biblical scholar) from the ministry in donations alone. Your sermons would be internationally known and translated into every tongue. Your warnings of ET would make an athiest shake in his boots, and make a Christian reevaluate his sincerity. You could resell copies of Johnathan Edwards’ famous sermon with your abridged scholarly commentary in favor of irrefutable, objective, unbiased Biblical (OT, Apocr., NT) and linguistic proof for each paragraph, seriously. Bravo for your rigorous studies buddy and firm integrity to hold your position unwaiveringly. Keep it up dude. You’ve got the gumption. Now we need you to investigate the evidence for the Resurrection with that same valor and tenacity and then I think we could call you a brother in Christ. But, if you never become a believer, I think according to Paschal’s wager and your accountability (which is shooting through the roof based on your knowledge), would most certainly place you in one of the more merciless tortures/torments in Hades and one of the more red hot molten ponds in the Lake of Fire. Thankfully, from my POV, you’d be delivered from even that. But if I’m wrong, you wouldn’t. Either way God gets the glory and I guess we have to deal with that as it stands.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate your thoughts on the following Steve Rudd articles by stating what premises you agree with or not:



  • I’m sure you can take it down in no time. Btw, I wanted affirm that there is no sarcasm or antagonism in my last post (though it may be read that way initially) but rather a true (though hyperbolically expressed) adoration for your earnest studies, but likewise an equally concerning, inconvenient, uncomfortable, probable truth to consider if in the course of your life you never become a believer and submit to Christ – at least from the POV that you defend (for good reason of course), and that most evangelical Christianity stands on. I know there are genuine followers of Christ who believe in ETC so my curiosity on how you have more Biblical knowledge than reputable Christian (particularly nondenominational Protestant) scholars is baffling, unsettling, and quite frightening for many reasons; one bc of the eschatological position I hold but more importantly is your endorsement of a default and otherwise fixed fate of men’s souls that by proxy includes you in that bunch. It’s like Alexander Scourby who read the KJV so powerfully and eloquently but never believed in a lick of it. That concerns me as a believer and prompts me to pray for you bc if what you say is true, you’re theoretically in as bad shape as us who believe, although wrongly.

Hey… marcthedawn, don’t marchthesunset with wrath… koine_lingua is only putting a position forward, that’s all.

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Understandable but he’s doing it on a forum with believers (and nonbelievers) of all creeds so as objective and scholarly dialogue ensues, it does follow that even vague forms of evangelism will cross his path. I apologize if I crossed a fine line of forum rules but I just wanted to make a point. I’m not angry at all, just sincerely perplexed and want to make that known to Mr. Lingua. I know that I am and could be wrong about a lot of things but regardless, my eternal soul is not something I’m willing to take a risk at losing nor can I let anyone else without considering the irrevocable implications of that; a fear that has gripped me since a child and still does Ik none of us are strangers to that. I know I can’t be alone but I will proceed in silence and subjection since I have a hard time trying to explain myself out of things especially sensitive, passionate subjects. I apologize all (@davo @koine_lingua, etc.). You all may carry on w/o me.

As for the first link: one problem is that I don’t think I see universalists suggesting that aionios in Matthew 25:46 actually has two different meanings. For example, I think Ramelli and Konstan (who wrote a semi-scholarly book on aionios) would say that aionios here suggests something like “of/in the age to come”—so that Matthew 25:46 means that the wicked will go to “punishment of the age to come,” and the righteous “life of the age to come.” Here the two uses of aionios obviously still mean the same thing, even if it’s not the traditional “eternal.”

Of course, there are all sorts of problems with Ramelli and Konstan’s suggestion, and this was exactly what my main big post that you originally quoted was concerned with. (For what it’s worth, Rudd’s post was largely concerned with Habakkuk 3:6, which I’ve also written about at length here.)

I’m not even sure what all your second link was trying to say. I’m not opposed to the idea that various texts and traditions in the New Testament envision differing degrees of punishment (or reward) in the afterlife—but I don’t think the NT is anywhere near as specific about these things as Rudd suggests. I also disagree that annihilationism is unbiblical.

As for the third link, on Hades and Luke 16:19-31: I’m not exactly sure where I come down on this. For one, I’m note sure that all of those quotes support the original claim (“the temporary two part receptacle of the conscious dead who are awaiting judgment”). To be sure, there were several prominent Jewish traditions in the centuries leading up to Christianity where the unrighteous dead are being temporarily punished, until the day of the final eschaton (which usually ended with their annihilation). But I’m pretty sure that there are also some interesting close Jewish and even Egyptian parallels to Luke 16:19-31 where the unrighteous aren’t just being temporally punished, but where this is their eternal fate.

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It doesn’t need to be a said “problem”… reading certain presuppositions into it might be. There is no necessity to read ‘age to come’ in terms of postmortem (customarily done in evangelicalism). It can indeed be viewed as eschatological and seen on THEIR OWN historical horizon, and survival or deliverance into that age be reward in itself. On Mk 10:30 N.T. Wright has this to say…

The same theme, once again, surfaces in the discussion which, in all three synoptics, follows the incident of the rich young ruler:

There is no-one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or fields, for my sake and the gospel’s, who will not receive a hundred times over, now in the present age: houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields — with persecutions; and, in the coming age, the life of the new world.

N.T. Wright: Jesus and the Victory of God p. 402

The coming age= post AD70 DoJ… where thereafter the gospel of the new age in Christ went forth.