The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Scholarly EUs Assemble!


If it’s the one on apokatastasis, you didn’t waste your money. It’s a helpful volume on the history of universalism, although not without problems.

If it’s the one specifically on aionios and aidios… well, I guess it’s also helpful in terms of compiling most early references to those terms all in one place; but her translations and general presentation are very sketchy.


That was me Dave. I appreciate Jason’s writings, but then I also appreciate other’s as well. From my viewpoint, this board is lucky and blessed to have all of it’s members. I don’t particularly believe in putting people on pedestals for the most part. I find that to be an argument of authority (loosely) and really looks more like cheer leading to me.

That said, Jason should be honored for his generosity towards paying the up front costs and maintenance of this forum. That, to me, is a much more praise-worthy type thing than his opinions on specific topics over that of others. I hope that Jason can come up with a good way for us to contribute, as I appreciate what he has done here.

The character of people matters much more to me than the position they hold.


That’s how many people see it. Did God expect everyone to have multiple PHD’s before they could know the truth? No, & Scripture makes that clear. The PHD’s of Jesus day, the Pharisees & scribes, largely missed the boat, while the unlearned disciples of Jesus had the truth revealed to them.


Well said!


Almost no one here, if any, are competent enough to judge between your opinions & the Ramelli/Konstan book re aionios on matters of Koine Greek translations.

Furthermore, their views re the translation of aionios in eschatoligical contexts (e.g. Matthew 25) don’t represent - the - universalist position on the subject, since there is no such thing.

Some universalists would translate the word as “lasting” in all contexts of the NT, others prefer the rendering “eonian” or “onian” (see the url below), others have left the word “aionion” in their English versions (IOW they didn’t translate the word), while others use “age- during” (YLT) or “age-abiding” (Ro). Greek scholar N.T. Wright’s version has “of the age to come” (Mk.10:30), “of God’s coming age” (1 Jn.1:2) & likewise in some other passages.

Curiously while you nitpick re the Ramelli/Konstan rendering of aionios, you try to justify the self-contradictory translation “for ever and ever”.


Almost no one here, if any, are competent enough to judge between your opinions & Ramelli/Konstans book re aionios on matters of Koine Greek translations.

I think people do have an intuitive sense of what are likely and unlikely interpretations and translations, though.

Like if we look at something like Mark 10:30, and compare different translations of this – the universalist’s “in the Age to come, life of the/an Age [to come]” versus the traditional “everlasting life in the age to come” – I think even the most dogmatic universalist will have a nagging sense that the latter is far superior to the former. (Also, David Hart’s recent translation of this, “in the Age to come, the life of that Age,” is objectively wrong, in the sense that there is no “the” or “that” or whatever in the Greek of the latter clause. Wright mashes ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον together into simply “the life of the age to come,” which is impossible too.)


You’ve basically repeated this over and over again – that the idea of “forever and ever” is self-contradictory. But to my knowledge you’ve still never answered as to why, if this is so nonsensical, it continues to be a common phrase (one which everyone understands) even in modern English.

I – along with everyone else I knew and still know – was certainly saying “forever and ever” from a young age, long before I even knew about Christianity or religion in the first place.


A somewhat related question to this, too: say we grant, for the sake of argument, that the Biblical authors truly didn’t mean to suggest “forever and ever” when they wrote the (mainly adverbial) Hebrew/Greek phrases in question here.

But imagine that they really did want to convey “forever and ever” using some adverbial clause. How would they have done this?


Well they could have just used the Queen’s English like the rest of us do!


Unsurprisingly, things like redundancy are part of what’s basically a global poetic register.


You could say that again. :wink:


Outside of a biblical context i don’t recall anyone ever saying “for ever and ever”. OTOH saying “forever” to mean a finite duration is quite common, such as in “I waited at the doctor’s office forever”.

In the biblical context the words “and ever” are added by translators, i presume, in order to make it conform more closely to the Greek which uses a form of the word aion twice. Otherwise the translation might be open more to questioning & criticism, despite the fact the addition makes it contradict itself, something far worse IMO than any of your criticisms of the Ramelli/Konstin interpretation of eschatological aionios. Yet here you are trying to justify it. And that based on a different language’s (English) usage many centuries later, not on the original (Koine Greek) of a dead lingo.


Were you a former theist? From the papers you wrote, it would appear so as it is pretty rare for an atheist to be interested in the Bible if one wasn’t brought up in it.


I have, but it definitely is more rare than your example. FoS were probably just as common then as they are now.

Even in interpersonal relationships you see things like “you always…”, “you never…” So even in these examples the meaning doesn’t really mean what the person says. It is designed to convey perspective from the eye of the beholder.

To me the whole word is not truly understood. If it we’re, then we would not translate it so differently from one verse to the next.

Just grab an interlinear and watch how translaters approach the word and it’s derivatives.

I can see why an atheist might put more weight for it be eternal than not, as it is easier to reject an immoral God than one who actually may be reasonable. Don’t misunderstand me, there are many reasons to be an atheist, but it is definitely easier to reject the Christian God if you can present him as unreasonable. Right?


If God wished to express endlessness re such a horrible thing as endless torments, why not use the phrase “no end” as in Lk.1:33 & Psa.102:27? If such a horrific future awaited most of humanity, surely God would want to express it repeatedly in language that would be crystal clear & not in ambiguous language such as “ages of the ages”. The fact that He did not do so weighs heavily against endless torments.

Rather than use “no end” of torments, God chose the indefinite ambiguous “ages” of torments which are used of finite duration - e.g. Theodotian’s Greek translation of Dan.12:3, “the ages and beyond” - which when applied to all the expressions of the “ages of the ages” in the book of Revelation would make them finite.

Furthermore, it is not just the use of “ages” vs “no end” that weighs against endless torments, but that it is EIS (into/to) those ages, not necessarily even for/throughout them that the torments are to last, which would make them of indefinite duration. The torments could be over in 5 minutes for some, while lasting eons for others.

For further remarks on this topic…

12 points re forever and ever being finite:


The self-contradictory translation “for ever and ever” (Rev.20:10) is far worse, yet i don’t hear you criticizing that. There is no “and” in the Greek. The twice repeated “ever” is wrong & literally “ages”.

Generally translations are not like word for word ultra literal Greek-English Interlinears, but rather reflect the interpretations & biases of its authors. The very nature of translating a dead ancient lingo into another language of a radically different world 2000 years later allows the possibility that there may be some difficulties in translating words. Some translators, seeing a difficulty in translating the ancient Greek aionios into English, and/or not wishing to impose a theological bias (ECT or UR) into the text, just left aionios untranslated.

What do you think of this translation:

" and in the coming eon, life eonian" (Mk. 10:30, CLV)


The “annihilationism” I mentioned along with the likes of ECT etc, was that of evangelicalism, i.e., referencing postmortem calamitiesas a pantelist I DON’T believe “gehenna” speaks to postmortem at all, BUT simply to the coming judgement on that OC world which for many entailed their literal mortal demise, i.e., annihilation, with NO postmortem-ism in view.

I suspect THAT was how those ancients viewed annihilation… simply as death, the FULL STOP of THIS life. Thus αἰώνιος in relation to Mt 25:46 reflects the TOTALITY (qualitative) of the ruin or reward coming to all and sundry relative to THAT age and so carrying the same qualitative fullness in either direction, being pertinent to THIS life as they knew it and came to experience it through those perilous times.

Lol… did you just say all that with a straight face? :smile: I haven’t mentioned ANY of those texts and especially not in the way you suggest, and yet you did that very thing in the last 2 paragraphs of your post 129 — I like your sense of humour.

Again… my understanding as a pantelist sees BOTH of these (ECT / annihilationism) evangelical positions as being read into these texts, but this was NOT what Jesus was actually talking about, but rather… the coming judgement within their generation as leaving their world in-kind with the refuge tip that was endlessly smouldering outside that walls of the City in finality leaving that which was within the walls of the City in the same condition, i.e., utterly destroyed.

Well what I’m pointing to and to which maybe (??) you haven’t fully considered is that those 3 positions ALL treat the likes of Mt 25:46 in terms of POSTMORTEM, i.e., they’re all together in the same boat… my unorthodox position does not.

So HOW THEN as an avowed “non-believer” do you rightly rationalise that statement? As I see it… the ‘eschatological punishment’ played out exactly as Jesus forewarned… it was permanent in history.

Well… your thoughts there are rather moot in every and all directions possible given that as you say, you’re “a non-believer” — which is fine, but like what else could you possibly likely say?


There are pro ECT advocates who have interpreted “ages of the ages” that way.

Ages of ages, then, would refer to the greatest & most magnificent ages.

There are multiple self-contradictions there. I prefer a more literal, less paraphrased, less misleading, more honest rendering, such as:

44 And i shall guard your law always, into the eon, and into the eon of the eon


Ramelli and Konstan’s book shows how aionios was used around the time of the NT. Beyond the shadow of a doubt aionios signifies permanence.


Could you explain what that means as far as EU belief?