The Evangelical Universalist Forum

what does aionios means?

some people say pertaining an age and others pertaining ageS
is it plural or singular?
thank you for your help

Hi erwan,
It shows up in both singular and plural forms. It’s most commonly singular (at least in the New Testament).


You might find this helpful: … E%BF%CF%82

so the translator decides if it is a plural or a singular, is not it? is not it subjective?
thank you for your help

No, the translator doesn’t decide whether an adjective is singular or plural. Greek adjectives agree with the nouns they modify — in number, gender, and case.

As for the Greek adjective “αἰωνιος”, it means neither “everlasting” or “belonging to an age.” Indeed the meaning has no temporal implications whatever.

The word was used in koine Greek (the Greek that was written and spoken from 300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) to refer to anything which is enduring. The word was used by Diodorus Siculus to describe the stone used to build a wall. The word seems to have been used as meaning “lasting” or “durable”.

Josephus in “The Wars of the Jews” book 6, states that Jonathan was condemned to “αἰωνιος” imprisonment. Yet that prison sentence lasted only three years.

Jonathan’s imprisonment was not everlasting. Neither did it “belong to an age.” But is was “lasting”. Although “αἰωνιος” can modify or describe that which is everlasting, it does not mean “everlasting”. Although “αἰωνιος” can modify or describe that which is temporary, it does not mean “temporary”. It means “lasting”, and I think you will find that that meaning fits all contexts wherever you find the word in Koine Greek.

so if i see pertaining AN age in a literal translation :it is singular in original text ?

thank you for your help

Probably, but I would double check if I wanted to be certain. If you want to give us some specific verses, I’m sure people here would be glad to help you verify them.


thank you sLj it would be very nice
romans 2:7 : is it a plural or a singular?
1timothy 1:16?
hebrews 9:12 ?
thank you very much for your help

Rom 2:7 – singular, describing the singular ‘life’
1 Tim 1:16 – same as above
Heb 9:12 – singular, describing the singular ‘redemption’

I hope that helps,

thank you sLj but is it possible to know if it is life (or redemption) pertaining ageS or AN age ?
thank you for your help

I have come to believe that eon does not mean eternal, but how am I to understand verses like Gen 21:33, Psalms 100:5, and Deut 33:27? Thank you for any help you can give me.

The Hebrew word being poorly translating as everlasting or forever, conveying a meaning of eternity, is olam. The Hebrews did not have the abstract concept of eternity that modern Christians have acquired from Hellenistic influences.

Jeff Benner has a write up about this on his website:

In the ancient Hebrew words that are used to described distance and direction are also used to describe time. The Hebrew word for east is qedem and literally means “the direction of the rising sun”. We use north as our major orientation such as in maps which are always oriented to the north. While we use the north as our major direction the Hebrews used the east and all directions are oriented to this direction. For example one of the words for south is teyman from the root yaman meaning “to the right”. The word qedem is also the word for the past. In the ancient Hebrew mind the past is in front of you while the future is behind you, the opposite way we think of the past and future. The Hebrew word olam means in the far distance. When looking off in the far distance it is difficult to make out any details and what is beyond that horizon cannot be seen. This concept is the olam. The word olam is also used for time for the distant past or the distant future as a time that is difficult to know or perceive. This word is frequently translated as eternity or forever but in the English language it is misunderstood to mean a continual span of time that never ends. In the Hebrew mind it is simply what is at or beyond the horizon, a very distant time. A common phrase in the Hebrew is “l’olam va’ed” and is usually translated as “forever and ever” but in the Hebrew it means “to the distant horizon and again” meaning “a very distant time and even further” and is used to express the idea of a very ancient or future time.

And the word which the septuagint translators used to translate “olam” into Greek, is none other than “αιωνιος” (aionios).

{aiônios} (as in all three questions) is sometimes translated “pertaining to the age” (i.e. pertaining to the age to come) by some universalists and annihilationists (especially 17th-19th century ones) who (correctly) don’t want to acknowledge it always means “eternal” but who wanted to have it always mean something else instead.

Those particular translators would render “eonian life” and “eonian redemption” as “life pertaining to the age [to come]” and “redemption pertaining to the age [to come]”.

By this they would either mean a single age not to be confused with ages afterward, namely the age of Christ’s millennial reign before the lake of fire judgment (but then they have to explain why apparently the Bible never talks about real eternal life and real eternal redemption even when they themselves believe in these things); or they would mean the Great Age of the Day of the Lord which in itself contains innumerable ages of ages and which is never-ending (but then by reference to that never-ending Great Age the objects of the adjective would seem to be never-ending, too, whether never-ending life or never-ending punishment.)

This is why I don’t think “pertaining to the age” is a valid contextual translation in every situation, although I acknowledge it technically could be for some occurrences of the term. (Also a few occurrences make no sense as pertaining literally to any kind of an age at all, although there are many occurrences in the Greek OT that could pertain to a sub-age other than Christ’s millennium reign: the sub-age of the Levite priesthood for example.)

Anyway, people who translate it as “pertaining to the age” don’t have to be talking about only one sub-age. Paidion’s “lasting” is a much better attempt at a one-translation-fits-all, though. :slight_smile: There are still a few places where such a translation wouldn’t make much sense, such as when Paul talks about the revelation of a secret hushed in lasting times but manifested now and through prophetic scriptures. (Rom 16:25-26) But I don’t know of any single-option translation yet that cleanly fits all examples, including my own preferred single-option translation (if one has to be made): Godly, uniquely from God. Multiple translations according to context makes more sense to me.

“Eon” per se never meant eternity per se; it only meant “age”. Phrases and terms built from “eon” might (by metaphorical application) mean eternal or eternity, but context has to indicate whether or not they do on a case by case basis. The same is true for the adjective “olam” as noted by DaveF; and there’s another less frequently used term with much the same meaning in Hebrew, AHD (I don’t recall the vowel pointing). Both are used in reference to something not only definitely less than eternal (hills both created and flattened by God) at Habakkuk 3:6, but also in contrast to something truly Olam namely God in the same verse.

So Olam actually does mean everlasting sometimes, most appropriately when talking about God.

Thank you all for your help. well this guy says differently can anyone give me a few hints to prove him wrong

Don Hewey (who wrote the article) has some problems with his article:

1.) trivially (but tellingly), (almost?) none of his examples support the contention of his thesis, that {aion} specifically always means “eternity”. Every example is about the adjective “eonian” or about prepositional phrases which end in “eon” or “eons” like “into the eon”. This is obscured by his translations, such as (a semi-random example from the text his site is named after) 1 John 2:17b, “but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever[aion]”. What’s translated “for ever” isn’t the term {aion} but the phrase “into the eon”. One wonders why he doesn’t bother to spell that out?–because his opponents routinely do!

2.) His argument only works against those universalists (not the majority of us) who insist that phrases and cognates (especially the adjective) of eon always only refer to a temporary period of time. Even those universalists would be able to answer many of his contentions by reference to Jesus Christ reigning until He hands over the kingdom to the Father, although not all his examples could be answered that way (which is why I and many other universalists, probably the majority, don’t go this route). His argument is worth nothing at all to those of us (such as myself) who recognize multiple translations possible to the meanings of the phrases and the adjective; or to those of us (such as Paidion earlier in this thread) who use a broad widescale translation that still allows variable meaning in reference to the object (for example “lasting”). We don’t regard God as eternal because the term “eonian” is used of God: otherwise we would have to regard Jonah’s imprisonment as eternal by the same token (it wasn’t even remotely eternal without beginning or end, nor remotely never-ending) or else we would have to regard God in the same way DH is so eager to avoid based on comparison with temporary usages!

3.) His argument completely fails to mention the occasions when the adjective and the phrases cannot possibly mean never-ending and/or eternal. Possibly because that would blow his thesis. :wink: (But maybe he tries to account for that on another page.)

You said me that the word can change the sense of the adjective: GREAT footbal player : an important footbal player but not a infinite person
GREAT god: the eternal and unending GOD , the creator
so aionios means aionian or age lasting , pertaining an age (it is clear that there is a beginning and an end) when the context doesn’t mean clearly that it’s unending, endless