Where Did Rob Bell Get His Interpretation of Aion(ios)?


Bell’s basic premise is that the aion words refer to an “intensity of experience”. I have never heard this in the 30 some odd (and they were indeed odd) years of interest in these words.


Yeah, that’s one way to put it. The real definition is actually so technical and hard to grasp that putting it into layman’s terms is going to seem to diminish it a bit. Anyway, Tom does refer to it in the sense of intensity in his book (as in the common expression, “That took forever!” - even if that particular type of experience is an intensity of dullness).

Simply saying that it’s referring to intensity does water it down a bit but it’s not a fundamentally different definition from what others have given, and I think he does a good job of painting a good picture of the concept even if it may not totally stand up in the eyes of critics.


I would not say that it will convince one that highly values evidence, however. After all, where is such evidence?


From what I gather, Rob is emotionalizing the word and saying that AIONIOS refers to not a duration but a “duration or quality that is out of sight”. Which is what Aionios means anyways, it is a indeterminate duration or quality of an age. Though I find Rob Bell’s words to somewhat not always match up to what he meant or is rather ambiguous. I saw several videos and I understood what he was saying, but thought how those who didn’t study would understand what he is saying, and I think that is what his appeal is to the masses. “What does he mean!?”


Yeah, his evidence is more than a little shaky there, even though I thought it was an intriguing attempt and I appreciate what he’s going after.

(I finished reading LW last night, after finally starting it Easter Sunday; first book I ever downloaded for my Kindle. :mrgreen: I’ll have to write up some comments on it later.)


Jason, I found a pretty good challenge to the UR view of aion(ios). Hopefully I can hear some answers from the folks around here. Saying that aionios is irrelevant won’t fly for me!
garyeyates.blogspot.com/2011/04/ … pt-of.html


So that’s what the linchpin is for him here: clunky philosophy.

I would say that that most certainly is not true. To be “timeless” is to not suffer decay or decomposition. The key here is that this is something that is above the effects of death and decay which result from twistedness found in God’s creation. Therefore death and destruction are a part of time, while anything coming from God’s realm beyond would be from beyond that. To speak of “eternal death” or “eternal destruction” therefore could seem at first like an oxymoron, unless one looks behind the words to the implied meaning. It isn’t that the death or destruction itself is eternal, but that something eternal is accomplishing and completing them “once for all”. Thus these phrases probably favor annihilationism before ECT - unless we take into account the old creation vs. new creation paradigm in the NT. Saul–>Paul, Abram–>Abraham, “As all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.”


Who has ever said aionios is irrelevant??? Even Rob Bell has not said that! Not in the book I just got finished reading anyway; maybe he says it in an interview somewhere.

Gary Yates doesn’t say Rob treats that term as irrelevant either, so I honestly have no idea where you’re getting that notion from, Roofus.


Well, it is possible that I misinterpreted someone, but it seemed to me that the point was being made that even if aionios was proven to mean eternal in the punishment texts that it would not be a checkmate for non UR positions.

It can call into question whether one’s previous interpretation is accurate if there are verses utilizing such a word that don’t seem to fit said interpretation. The explanatory power of an interpretation is only as good as its ability to explain all of scripture. That’s my take.


So Roofus, if I can find one instance which does not accord with the meaning, “a permanently enduring time,” then you would conclude that the “explanatory power” of that interpretation has been defeated? This logic doesn’t make sense to me if this is like many terms that are used with variations of meaning in various contexts.


No, you would have to prove that it could only mean endless for there to be a checkmate. Notice that I said “proven to mean eternal”…


I confused about what’s at issue here. I was questioning your line that any interpretation would have to explain all Scripture and assumed that you meant that any particular definition must fit every text. I don’t think most of us would say that if aion meant endless in the punishment texts that it wouldn’t produce a conflict with EU. But I think Parry suggested one could think ‘hell’ was eternal, but ultimately evacuated, but said that was not his position.


I remember discussing Matt 25 with my Pastor and he explained how
the ‘eternal’ in eternal life and eternal punishment must be the same.

I then pointed out that 10 minutes before we had discussed Romans 5:18
where he insisted that the ‘all’ in ‘all men to condemnation’ and
‘all men unto justification of life’ must be different.

Anyway the real issue is who has a better way of reconciling these types
of versus together. I believe UR can provide a better explanation of
verses like Matt 25:48 than ECT can of verses like Rom 5:18.

William Barclay an excellent Greek scholar is worth reading on Matt 25