aion and aionios

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by mman, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. mman

    mman
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    There has been much discussion as of late on these Greek words. I have being doing some additional study on this and these are some of my findings and conclusions.


    Notice how the following eminently respected Greek scholars have defined the two New Testament Greek words (aion and aionios) that commonly are translated “forever,” “eternal,” or “everlasting”:
    • The first two definitions of the word aion provided by Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich are as follows: (1) “a long period of time, without ref. to beginning or end” and (2) “a segment of time as a particular unit of history, age.” Three definitions are then provided for aionios: (1) “pert. to a long period of time, long ago;” (2) “pert. to a period of time without beginning or end, eternal of God;” and (3) “pert. to a period of unending duration, without end” (Danker, et al., 2000, pp. 32-33, italics in orig.).
    • According to Thayer, aion is used in the New Testament numerous times simply to mean “forever” (1962, p. 19). He then defined aionios in the following three ways: (1) “without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be;” (2) “without beginning;” and (3) “without end, never to cease, everlasting” (p. 20).
    • Of aionios (the Greek word used twice in Matthew 25:46 to describe both “punishment” and “life”), W.E. Vine wrote: “describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2; or undefined because endless as in Rom. 16:26 and the other sixty-six places in the N.T.” (1940, 2:43).
    • Of the word aionios, R.C.H. Lenski asked, “f this Greek adjective does not mean ‘eternal,’ which Greek adjective does have that meaning? Or did the Greek world, including the Jewish (Jesus spoke Aramaic) world, have no words for eternity or eternal?” (1943, p. 997).
      [*]According to A.T. Robertson: “The word aionios...means either without beginning or without end or both. It comes as near to the idea of eternal as the Greek can put it in one word”(1930, 1:202, emp. added).
    Paul made a contrast in 2 Cor 4:18 between the physical “things which...are temporary (proskaira)” and the spiritual things that are “eternal,” (aionios). Obviously the temporary are the things that will last during the present age, however, the spiritual things will last for ever and ever.

    Why have English Bible translators been consistently translating aionios as “everlasting” or “eternal” for the past four centuries? These are not casual Greek scholars and they consistently agree on the translation of the terms into English.

    I am extremely skeptical of anyone who must go and rely on evidence outside of the inspired scriptures as their basis for their argument. Furthermore, the word aionios is used in reference to God, who is in all aspects, eternal. Rom 16:26, “according to the commandment of the everlasting (aionios) God”, I Tim 6:16, “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting (aionios) power. Amen”, I Pet 5:10-11, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal (aionios) glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever (aion) and ever (aion). Amen” and Heb 9:14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal (aionios) Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    Is God only age-enduring or eternal is every aspect of the word? Is His power only age-enduring or eternal? Is His glory only age-enduring or eternal? If this word is used in reference to God or to one of His attributes, then it means more than just age-enduring, it means eternal.

    How ever long the reward for the righteous will last, the punishment for the wicked will last. Matt 25:46, “And these will go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment, but the righteous into eternal (aionios) life.”

    Based on my study so far, I am forced to conclude that eternal means, well, eternal or never ending and the terms are correctly translated in the KJV, NKJV, NIV, ESV, ASV, and NASB.
     
  2. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    HP: God is indeed age –enduring……..He endures this age, the age to come, and forever more! Eternal punishment will last this age, the age to come(whatever that might be) and forever more. Because something is said to be ‘age lasting’ in some contexts, does not necessitate or gender any notion that it ceases to exist at the end of any given age. It simply lasts for this age, and forever more if in fact it is ‘eternal.’

    Living in a finite world we often do, in common parlance, refer to some things that we understand as temporal, as eternal, but they just happen to be the best representation to our mind of never ending, such as the ‘eternal flame.’ Regardless of the actual time it will burn, it signifies to our finite minds in a finite world the idea or concept of lasting ‘forever.’



    HP: I agree.
     
  3. J. Jump

    J. Jump
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    This right here proves exactly what I was talking about. Somehow DAG would have us believe that aion means age and somehow the adjective can mean something completely different than the noun. That is linguistically an impossibility. And it shows the unbelievable lengths folks will go to to hold onto their man-made doctrines.

    If the noun means a period of time the adjective can not mean outside of time. That is just illogical.

    So basically this is going to come down to a battle of scholars, because there are just as many scholars that will say the exact opposite of what you have typed here. So either your research is not very exhaustive or you simply ignored the scholars that didn't agree with what you wanted the outcome to be.

    In the end to prove your case you are going to have to find the use of the Greek word aion where it is used to mean without beginning and end. If you can not find such a usage then it is impossible to have an adjective that exceeds the noun it is derived from.
     
  4. mman

    mman
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    The noun is used in the sense of eternal. I listed it above. It is used in reference to God. I Pet 5:11, "To Him be the glory and the dominion forever (aion) and ever (aion)." If that's not eternal, then I don't know what is. God's dominion is forever and ever, eternal.

    To further test your statement that the adjective cannot mean without end if the noun does not, then explain how the adjective form does NOT mean eternal in the following cases: Rom 16:26, “according to the commandment of the everlasting (aionios) God”, I Tim 6:16, “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting (aionios) power. Amen”, I Pet 5:10-11, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal (aionios) glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever (aion) and ever (aion). Amen” and Heb 9:14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal (aionios) Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

    I'm not sure what group of scholars that you are refering to? You cannot produce a list equivalent to mine, in terms of respect and acceptance, that state otherwise.

    Furthermore, to claim that it does not mean eternal (without beginning, or without beginning or end, or without end) is to say that the translators of the KJV, NKJV, ESV, ASV, NASB, and NIV ALL got it wrong.

    By the way, what Greek word do you think should have been used to convey the idea of eternal?
     
    #4 mman, Jul 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2007
  5. DQuixote

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    I'd love to see the same verses quoted here in Hebrew. Perhaps we have a linguist who can translate the English into Hebrew. How would the Hebrew language handle "eternal" or "eternity"? What words would be used, and how would they be analyzed? Just a thought. :type:
     
  6. mman

    mman
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    I am not a Greek scholar and I certainly don't understand Hebrew. That aside, I did find a Hebrew word for eternity, olam. It could mean either a period of time (length of one's days - Deut 15:17, "...and he shall be your slave forever" or it could mean eternal.

    Abraham called on the “Eternal” (olam) God (Genesis 21:33). The psalmist praised the God Who is “from everlasting to everlasting” (90:2). Solomon wrote that man was going to his “eternal home” (Ecc 12:5). When the psalmist wrote, “My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, oh Lord, shall endure forever (olam)” (Psalm 102:11-12), he quite obviously was contrasting the brief human life with the eternal existence of God.

    As for translating the other verses into Hebrew, my guess is that they would use the word "olam" for "aionios".

    I have enough trouble with English, so translating the verses into Hebrew would not do me any good. I'm not sure how it would help others, but I guess it could???

    My 2 cents.
     
  7. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    I lived through the 70's.

    That's a statement of fact.

    Does that mean that I'm not alive in the 2000's?

    Who is the god of this age?

    Who is the god of the age to come?
     
  8. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    BTW, I'll look it up later, but Hebrew has two words, one of which is limited in duration and one of which is not, which are translated into the LXX as aionios and aidios respectively, which aionios is limited in duration and aidios is not.

    But, there are other Hebrew words that they have chosen to translate as "eternal" as well, that are also limited in duration.

    Unless the hills will last forever and ever and ever.
     
  9. J. Jump

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    You are going to have to find another verse because this one doesn't meet the criteria. This is not a "single" use of the word, but a double use plus a plural of the word. It is a phrase meaning eternal not a single word. The phrase is and the dominion of the endless ages.

    There's not a test mman. It's simply the limits of the language. The adjective can not mean something different than the noun.

    I will PM you some material that you need to read through. Again obviously you either didn't look very hard or you simply ignored the group that didn't agree with your desired outcome.

    And popularity doesn't mean a hill of beans. That is one of the worst arguments you could make. People went with the more popular group when Jesus walked the earth and that wasn't a very bright decision.

    Very rarely has being in the majority been a good thing. God's Truth usually is entrusted to a remnant, not the majority, because it is usually the remanant that truly want to hear from God. The majority act like they do, but they really don't the same case we see if the Pharisees and Saducees.
     
  10. J. Jump

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    So this guy is going to be his slave even after death?
     
  11. mman

    mman
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    Believe me, I understand about being in the minority. The majority are lost. I have never followed the majority. I didn't say they were popular. I said they were respected and accepted Greek Scholars. Can you tell me why they should be ignored??? What in their credientials is suspect? Where is the list of scholars you claimed to have?

    I understand that there are many "so called", self-proclaimed scholars. I am talking about real scholars that are universally accepted as such.

    As for the noun sense, if you double something of limited quantity, then you still have a limited quantity. If I said, "God abides for years and years", then that would indicate that His existance is long, but limited.

    If I say, "God abides forever and ever", does that mean something different to you than "God abides forever"? Unless aioin means forever, then using it twice would still not mean forever. When a term is used twice, it is usually for emphasis sake. The first time gets the point across, while the second time emphasizes it.

    You cannot simply dismiss the adjective form when the meaning is clear.
    The adjective absolutely means eternal in Rom 16:26, “according to the commandment of the everlasting (aionios) God”. I know I presented several other cases, but just deal with this one.

    Explain how this doesn't really mean everlasting God? What word should have been used if they wanted to convey the idea of everlasting God?

    Do you have any rationale as to why the NIV, KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASB, and ESV all got it wrong???

    To be honest, after studying this from more than one angle, I am completely uninterested in what man has to say about this. I can see from scripture how the term is used and that is enough for me to form what I believe on this subject. Thanks for the offer though.
     
  12. mman

    mman
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    Hello.....Re-read what was written. The context in which it was written determines the meaning. As stated, it could mean, in that case, all the days of the slaves life. It can also mean, eternal as shown in the other post.

    From my study, when the word is used in conjunction with the physical, it usually means "a long time", but when it is used in conjunction with the spiritual, it means forever.

    Anyway, that was the Old Testament Hebrew word olam, not the New Testament word aionios.
     
  13. J. Jump

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    Sorry but there is no connection there. The term always means a length of time. And I believe in the Septuagint olam is translated as aionios, but I may stand corrected.

    As far as the other post I never said there was anything wrong with their credentials. And just because they are well respected doesn't make them right. The Pharisees were well credentialed and well respected as the teachers of that day, but they were wrong. Dead wrong. And so were the Saducees.

    And we're not talking about the majority of people. We're talking about the majority of the "religious" meaning Christendom. Just as back then the "majority" of the religious were not right, especially regarding the kingdom, but a number of other things as well. The same holds true today. History simply repeats itself.

    I did forget to PM you the material I was going to have you read, so I will get that done now. Hopefully you will read it. As far as other experts go again just Google aionios and you can have a list as long if not longer than yours saying exactly the opposite of what your scholars say.

    I'll send you the PM.
     
  14. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Except, "from the ages unto the ages" is an idiom in Greek and Hebrew that means forever and ever and ever without end.

    However, some, such as universalists see only the "age-lasting" aspect, and interpret this literally as to be only a really, really long time.

    So, do you go with the one that is an idiomatic use (aionios is not an idiom anywhere in Greek literature that I've seen that means "forever") or do you go with the literal?

    Well, that would be an appropriate use of context.

    Besides, if "aionios" means forever, why in the world would he have to use the plural upon the plural of it?

    One thing that we often forget (myself included) is that "god" is a title, not a name. One thing that I've been looking at are the instances of "god", and which ones refer to the God. Jesus, who is deity, is the God of the age to come. Satan is the god of this age. Etc.

    We tend to always apply divinity to the word "god", even though it's not inherent in the word.

    But, no matter what, "forever" is used in verse 27.

    Romans also has one of the only two times that eternal (without beginning or ending, or existing outside of time; often translated as "imperceptible") occurs. It's in Romans 1:20, and it's the power that's eternal and his divinity.

    Do you have any rationale why the CLV, YLT, REV, & WNT (all literal translations) say otherwise?

    Now, I'm off to bed a couple hours late.
     
  15. mman

    mman
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    I sent you one back.
     

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