Defining Eternal/Everlasting

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by TCGreek, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
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    1. From another thread it became necessary to define "Eternal/Everlasting:"

    2. There are four words used in the OT to convey "Eternal/Everlasting." Context and theology will ultimately have to control meaning:

    a. Hebrew olam is found over 400 times with the primary meaning of a long, or perpetual, duration of time.

    i. Psalmist applies it to God (90:2) to refer to time without end.

    ii. But then olam is used of the Passover, which came to an end in Christ (1 Cor 5:7).

    b. So not the mere occurrence of olam, but the context controls meaning, as shown from the above.

    3. The next Hebrew word is ad and it is oftentimes used as a synonym for olam:

    a. Of God (Exo 15:18; Isa 9:6).

    b. Of mountains (Hab 3:6)

    4. The third word is Aramaic, alam:

    a. Of God (Dan 2:20)

    b. Of Babylonian king (Dan 2:4; 3:6).

    5. The Hebrew qedem (Deut. 33:27), the "eternal God."

    6. In the NT, we encounter three Greek words:

    a. aion-refers to "age," "world," or "ever."

    i. Of God (Eph 3:11; 1 Tim 1:17)

    ii. Of age (1 Cor 3:18; Matt 13:22)

    iii. Of world (Heb 1:2).

    b. aionios-an adjective derived from aion, meaning "eternal," or "everlasting."

    i. Of God (Rom16:26; Hebs 9:14; 1 Tim 6:16)

    ii. Of the gospel (Rev. 14:6).

    iii. Of glorified body (2 Cor 5:1).

    iv. Of a relationship (Phlm 15)

    v. Of Judgment (Matt. 25:41, 46; eternal life on the one hand and eternal punishment, on the other hand).

    c. Next the Greek adjective aidios:

    i. Of God (Rom 1:20)

    ii. Of fallen angels (Jude 6).

    7. Now, the above is what I have come up with. As you can observe context and theology would have to define meaning.

    8. The KJV's rendering of Matt. 25:46 is a bit misleading, for "eternal" as applied to "punishment" and then to "life" is the same word. Unless, there's a theological issue at hand here. At any rate, a faithful rendition of the word is in order.
     

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