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'eternal' - A Concept Wrested By Universalists


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:00 AM

Here follow a number of quotes usually presented by Universalists in their attempt to argue that the concept of eternality is not present in Scripture, and that the Greek and Hebrew words translated 'eternal' in many Bibles, have been translated incorrectly.

Let's go through these quotes one by one and examine them closely:

Dr. R.F. Weymouth, a translator who was adept in Greek, states in The New Testament in Modern Speech (p. 657), "Eternal, Greek aeonian, i.e., of the ages: Etymologically this adjective, like others similarly formed does not signify, "during" but "belonging to" the aeons or ages."


Etymologically it does, but we're not talking about the meaning of the etymological root, we're talking about the word itself.

This quote alone proves that insisting on the meaning 'age' or 'ages' is committing the etymological (or 'root word'), fallacy.

Dr. Marvin Vincent, in his Word Studies of the New Testament (vol. IV, p. 59): "The adjective aionios in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective in themselves carries the sense of "endless" or "everlasting." Aionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Out of the 150 instances in the LXX (Septuagint), four-fifths imply limited duration."


Firstly, Vincent makes assertions without evidence. Where is the data to support him? Secondly, what is to be done with the other fifth?

Dr. F.W. Farrar, author of The Life of Christ and The Life and Work of St. Paul, as well as books about Greek grammar and syntax, writes in The Eternal Hope (p. 198 ) , "That the adjective is applied to some things which are "endless" does not, of course, for one moment prove that the word itself meant 'endless;' and to introduce this rendering into many passages would be utterly impossible and absurd."

In his book, Mercy and Judgment, Dr. Farrar states (p. 378 ) , "Since aion meant 'age,' aionios means, properly, 'belonging to an age,' or 'age-long,' and anyone who asserts that it must mean 'endless' defends a position which even Augustine practically abandoned twelve centuries ago. Even if aion always meant 'eternity,' which is not the case in classic or Hellenistic Greek-aionios could still mean only 'belonging to eternity' and not 'lasting through it.'"


Farrar 'is probably best labeled a hopeful universalist', according to a site which explained his Universalist leanings. I note as usual the lack of evidence supplied for the conclusion.

Lange's Commentary American Edition (vol. V, p. 48 ) , on Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 4, in commenting upon the statement "The earth abideth forever" says, "The preacher, in contending with the universalist, or restorationist, would commit an error, and, it may be, suffer a failure in his argument, should he lay the whole stress of it on the etymological or historical significance of the words, aion, aionios, and attempt to prove that, of themselves, they necessarily carry the meaning of endless duration."


The lexical authorities (citing the relevant historical and textual data), do not support these conclusions. I see no evidence from Lange to support them either.

#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:01 AM

On page 45 of the same work, Dr. Taylor Lewis says: "The Greek aiones and aiones ton aionon, the Latin secula, and secula seculorum, the Old Saxon, or Old English of Wicliffe, to worldis or worldis (Heb. XIII 21), or our more modern phrase, for ever and ever, wherever the German ewig, was originally a noun denoting age or a vast period, just like the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew words corresponding to it."


Orginally they may have been. But they ended up with the meaning 'everlasting' by at least the time of the LXX.

The Rev. Bennet, in his Olam Hanneshamoth (p. 44), says, "The primary nature of olam is 'hidden,' and both as to past and future denotes a duration that is unknown." Olam is the Hebrew word for the Greek aion.


Is this all he wrote? If so, what evidence does he provide that there is no sense of eternality in the word?

The Parkhurst Lexicon: "Olam (aeon) seems to be used much more for an indefinite than for an infinite time."


I have a copy of Parkhurt's Lexicon (1809). Let's see what it has for aion:

It denotes duration, or continuance of time, but with great variety.


His first definition:

I.  Both in the singular and plural it signifies eternity, whether past or to come.


There follow the other definitions within the semantic range, with which I'm perfectly happy (such as 'an age' or 'this world'), but you can see for yourself what he thought the primary meaning was.

Then, on aionios, he has:

I.  Eternal, having neither beginning nor end, Rom. xvi. 26 (comp. 1 Tim. 17.) Heb. ix.14.

II.  Eternal, without end.


There follow the other definitions with which I'm perfectly happy (such as 'the ages of the world'), but you can see for yourself what he thought the primary meaning was. He also notes:

The LXX frequently uses this Adj. for the Heb. olawm.


Still happy with Parkhurst as an authority? :book:

Dr. MacKnight: "I must be so candid as to acknowledge that the use of these terms 'forever,' 'eternal,' 'everlasting,' shows that they who understand these words in a limited sense when applied to punishment put no forced interpretation upon them."


This is mere opinion, and no corroborating data is cited.

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 4, p. 643, says, "The O.T. and the N.T. are not acquainted with conception of eternity as timelessness." Page 644: "The O.T. has not developed a special term for eternity." Page 645: "The use of the word aion in the N.T. is determined very much by the O.T. and the LXX. Aion means long, distant, uninterrupted time. The intensifying plural occurs frequently in the N.T. ...but it adds no new meaning."


This is mere opinion, and no corroborating data is cited.

Dr. Lammenois, a man adept with languages, states, "In Hebrew and Greek the words rendered 'everlasting' have not this sense. They signify a long duration of time, a period; whence the phrase, during these eternities and beyond."


This is mere opinion, and no corroborating data is cited.

#3 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:02 AM

There are a couple of professional email lists which deal with Biblical Greek, and with Bible translation. They are called 'B-Greek' and 'B-Trans' respectively. I have been a member of both of them over the years. I'm still on B-Trans.

You will find, if you search their archives, that the classic Universalist questions have been posted there, and answered. Let's see a few examples.

In this first example, someone has posted questions from their friend. I have placed them in italics. The answer given is in normal text:

And (even though my Hebrew is so poor as to not be worth mentioning, your friend's understanding of "Holy of holies" and "King of Kings" reflects complete ignorance of Hebrew idioms, IMHO.

> Hi, > > I have a friend.... > > 2. He says that AION cannot ever mean "eternal" in the NT – that it is > an AGE, with an unspecified amount of time, but having a definite > beginning and end. An example of his reasoning is the question that > the disciples asked Jesus: "What will be the sign of the end of the > age".

If this is translated here as "eternity/forever" (as it is in > many other passages in several popular translations), it would not > make any sense at all (what will be the sign of the end of eternity). > I think he has a good point with that word, but what I’m really > interested in are the phrases "AION of AIONS", or "AIONS of AIONS" > (note the plural for both aion's in the last one). My friend would say > these should be taken literally, like the Holy of Holies, and King of > Kings – that they should be understood as "an age apart from all the > other ages", and "two ages apart from all other ages".


"Holy of holies" does NOT mean "a holy place apart from all other holy places." It means "The Most Holy place" or "The Holiest Place.". Hebrew lacks adjectives, and uses construct chains as a way of expressing things like "holier," "holiest." Likewise, "King of Kings" means "The Greatest King" or "King over all other kings."

As I said, my Hebrew is very poor, but I believe this is somewhat correct. Either way (i.e., whether I'm right or wrong), these phrases are definitely IDIOMS and to translate/treat them "literally" is to mistranslate them.

Hebrew has a phrase AD OLAM ("to the age") which I believe idiomatically can mean what we mean by "forever" as opposed to "unto a definite/specific age." The NT translates this Hebrew phrase with the AIWN usages you mention.

Look at how various scholars/translators translate Hebrews 1:2 for the different possible meanings/understandings of AIWNAS (accusative plural of AIWN). Most translators who translate AIWN here do not have an agenda -- they seek as best they can to translate what they believe the Greek means, based on their decades of study of the language.

I was raised Jewish and many prayers begin: "Blessed are you, Lord, our God, king of HA-OLAM." There is no exact English equivalent to this word, just as there is no exact Greek equivalent. We used the words "universe," "eternity," "the ages," "Sovereign Lord" to translate "melech ha-olam"/"olam" in these prayers. Likewise, I don't think Greek had an exact equivalent for the Hebrew OLAM, but AIWN was their closest word to it.

The Greek AIWN loses some of the meaning of the Hebrew OLAM it's translating, but also adds some of the semantic range of AIWN in the uses/appearances of this word in the New Testament. This can complicate the translator's and the reader's task.

Recommend to your friend that he take at least 1-1/2 years (i.e., 3 seminary semesters) of NT Greek before he makes the kinds of pronouncements about Greek that he seems to be wanting to make. If his commitment to integrity in teaching/preaching the Word of God is real, he should be willing to do this.

If he doesn't do this, but continues to make the kinds of statements you claim he is making, then he will more quickly and more greatly than he may realize end up teaching error -- the very thing he seems intent on exposing.



#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:03 AM

In the second example, someone asks the questions themselves (in italics), and receives the same kind of answers as we saw previously (in normal text):

Blair Neil Davis wrote;

>First I would like to say hello to the people on this list. I just >subscribed and have read several of the posts. Congradulations on the kind >mannor of discussion this list seems to maintain.

Thanks, we are trying.

>I have never had any formal training in NT Greek. I have been using >lexicons and comparing the use of Greek words in the NT using my >Englishmans Concordance.

> >This works well in most cases but I am having some trouble with >conflicting evidence on how AIONIAN ZOE can be translated. As I understand >the term it means exactly what the KJV translates "everlasting life".I am >finding some scholars that want to translate AIONIAN ZOE as "life of the >age [to come]". I am trying to find someone to explain this conflict at a >beginners level that I can understand.


I would say the word "well" may be strained in this paragraph. I would encourage you to work with a good beginning grammar and continue to master basics of Greek grammar.

>Question; >1. Is "life of the age" a possible translation for AIONIAN ZOE?

First the adjective AIWNIOS (see fac for transliteration scheme) is an adjective of the second declension only and rarely takes a first declension form (AIWNIAN see below) which you give. There are three places in the NT where it precedes the noun ZWH. Most often it follows ZWH as in Matt.19:29 ZWHN AIWNION. "Life of the age" would have to be written ZWH TOU AIWNOS. I don't think that that appears in the NT. I did not check.


Fortigun interjects: For the record, I checked. The phrase does not appear in the New Testament at all.

#5 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:03 AM

Continued:

The adjective is AIWNIOS. The noun is AIWN (nom) AIWNOS (gen).

>2. Is "of the age" a way of making AION into an adjective?[/]i

Yes, but it would mean something different from ZWH AIWNIOS.

> >3. How would "of the age" normaly be written in Greek.

TOU AIWNOS (using the noun)

[i]>4. Is AIONIAN a word that deals only with matters concerning the age to >come?


I haven't looked up the adjective AIWNIOS, but I really think that it deals more with the kind of life than just the idea of beyond death or futuristic. Also there are two places in the NT where you do have a first declension form of the adjective in the accusative, 2 Th. 2:16 PARAKLHSIN AIWNIAN and Heb. 9:12 AIWNIAN LUTRWSIN.

Grace and Peace, Carlton L. Winbery Fogleman Prof. of Religion Louisiana College Box 612 Pineville, LA 71359 winbery at andria.lacollege.edu winberyc at speedgate.net Phones 318 487 7241, Home 318 448 6103



#6 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:03 AM

In the third example, we find specific reference made to EIS TON AIWNA as an idiom:

On Fri 20 Jun 2003 (13:41:18), markosl80 at yahoo.com wrote: > John 8:51-52 [snippage] >

In both these passage there are Greek words untranslated in most > versions: "eis aion" never see death "for ever", never taste of death > "to the age". > > In your view.. > > What is the significance of these two words, in this passage, and also > John 11:26, in terms of .. translation > doctrine > idiomatic usage

In terms of Greek, EIS TON AIWNA in both verses 51 and 52 appear to be a Hebraism rendering `aD `oWLaM, "to eternity".

This adverbial phrase of time is found in Psalms 41:14, 90:2, 103:17, and 106:48. In Psalm 41:14 we have "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel Me`Ha`oWLaM W:`aD Ha`oWLaM 'aMeN W:'aMeN From [the] everlasting and to [the] everlasting Amen and Amen". The `oWLaM is "the age" or "eternity"; that is, eternity past and eternity future.

You'll notice that Jesus starts his saying in John 8:51 AMHN AMHN LEGW hUMIN: the doubled Amen with which Psalm 41:14 ends. EIS TON AIWNA reinforces the double negative OU MH in verses 51 and 52: "No not for ever" or "never ever for all eternity". Doctrine is a No-no for B-Greek; I'll refer you to the commentators for that.

Idiomatic Usage is the Hebrew idiomatic usage, somewhat woodenly translated into Greek. Compare Psalm 41:14 (40:13 in LXX) EULOGHTOS KURIOS hO QEOS ISRAHL *APO TOU AIWNOS KAI EIS TON AIWNA*: GENOITO, GENOITO.

With GENOITO for 'aMeN, compare MH GENOITO in Romans 6:2, 7:7,13, 9:14, 11:1, 11:11 and elsewhere, rendered "God forbid" in the KJV and "by no means" in later versions. You can hardly get more idiomatic than that! The emphatic negative MH plus the Optative implies "may it never ever be even an option!".


As you can see, we're getting a very consistent set of answers here.

#7 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:04 AM

In the fourth example, we have another respondent replying to some of the same questions we read earlier:

> 2. He says that AION cannot ever mean “eternal” in the NT – that it is  an AGE, with an unspecified amount of time, but having a definite beginning and end. An example of his reasoning is the question that  the disciples asked Jesus: “What will be the sign of the end of the  age”. If this is translated here as “eternity/forever” (as it is in  many other passages in several popular translations), it would not  make any sense at all (what will be the sign of the end of eternity).  I think he has a good point with that word, but what I’m really> interested in are the phrases “AION of AIONS”, or “AIONS of AIONS” (note the plural for both aion's in the last one). My friend would  say these should be taken literally, like the Holy of Holies, and King  of Kings – that they should be understood as “an age apart from all  the other ages”, and “two ages apart from all other ages”. Most  translations use “forever” or “forever and ever” for these phrases.  Which is right? Are both translations legitimate (for the phrases)?  Bill Mounce makes reference to the Jewish concept of time in Basics of  Biblical Greek, but he doesn't go into detail. Did the Septuagint  translate Hebrew terms for "everlasting" as "age of ages",... or, in other words, is the phrase "age of ages" a Greek idiom meaning  forever? Does Koine Greek have idioms?

Of course Greek has idioms, and NT Greek includes idioms influenced Semitic modes of expression, not the least of which are those idioms including the word AIWN, as has been pointed out already.

While AIWN **may** refer to an age with a definite beginning and end, the context determines whether or not this is so. Apparently your friend would have us believe that the very fig tree Jesus cursed EIS TON AIWONA (Matt 21.19) will indeed grow fruit once this specified "age" comes to its conclusion!

Or that when Jesus promised the woman at the well that she would not thirst EIS TON AIWNA (John 4.14) he meant only for a limited time, after which she would be thirsty again!

Or that when Jesus promised in John 6.51 that if anyone ate the bread he was talking about he would live EIS TON AIWNA, he simply meant for a limited period of time, even though the context makes it abundantly obvious that this is not the case?

What can EIS TON AIWNA mean in John 6.58 if not "forever"? Is Jesus there saying that the fathers ate manna and eventually died, and whoever eats the bread Jesus offers will likewise eventually expire once this "age" is over?

Did the Jews indicate by EIS TON AIWNA in John 12.34 their belief that the Messiah would remain only for a specified age with a beginning and an end?

When Paul says in Rom 1.25 that God is blessed EIS TOUS AIWNAS does he really mean only for a limited number of ages? Or does he mean to tell his readers with the same prepositional phrase in Rom 11.36 that God deserves glory for a limited number of ages?

Or--silliest of all--should we take the angel of Rev 10.6 to mean by EIS TOUS AIWNAS TWN AIWNWN that God lives only for two ages apart from all other ages? We could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Let's look at this from another angle. Mark 3.29 says:

hOS D' AN BLASFHMHSHi EIS TO PNEUMA TO hAGION, OUK ECEI AFESIN EIS TON AIWNA, ALLA ENOCOS ESTIN AIWNIOU hAMARTHMATOS.

Note here that the person who commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not have forgiveness EIS TON AIWNA precisely because he is guilty of an eternal sin (AIWNIOU hAMARTHMATOS). Why would such a person have forgiveness withheld for only a limited period of time when his sin is an eternal one?

Is Jesus really saying, "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, does not have forgiveness for a limited amount of time, but is guilty of an eternal sin"? What sense does ALLA ("but") make here if this is so? Or would your friend suggest that the cognate adjective of AIWN here, namely AIWNIOS, be taken to mean "lasting for an age with a beginning and an end."

If so, I wonder how the NT has anything at all to say about anything truly eternal. In this case we would have to assume that when the man of Mark 10.17 runs up to Jesus and asks him what he must do to inherit eternal life (ZWHN AIWNION), what he really had in mind was not everlasting life, but a temporary life confined to a limited age!

One more example taken from Luke 1.33:

KAI BASILEUSEI EPI TON OIKON IAKWB EIS TOUS AIWNAS KAI THS BASILEIAS AUTOU OUK ESTAI TELOS.

What is immediately apparent from this example is that when Luke says that the Messiah will reign into the ages (BASILEUSEI ... EIS TOUS AIWNAS) he means that his kingdom will have **no end** (THS BASILEIAS AUTOU OUK ESTAI TELOS). Thus, the reign that lasts EIS TOUS AIWNAS is the rule that will have no end.

Note how EIS TOUS AIWNAS is clearly characterized as being endless
.



#8 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:05 AM

From one Universalist:

The late and reputable Greek scholar William Barclay, for instance, didn't view the phrase as an idiom, but shared my understanding.


The late William Barclay was 'a convinced universalist', to quote the title of one of his works ('I Am A Convinced Universalist').

#9 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:06 AM

To continue our consideration of the word aionos, let's first investigate its meaning with a reputable lexicon, citing relevant historical sources:

aiônios , on, also a, on Pl. Ti.37d, Ep.Heb.9.12:--lasting for an age (aiôn 11 ), perpetual, eternal (but dist. fr. aďdios, Plot.3.7.3), methę Pl.R. 363d ; anôlethron . . all' ouk aiônion Id.Lg.904a , cf. Epicur. Sent.28; ai. kata psuchęn ochlęsis Id.Nat.131 G.; kaka, deina, Phld.Herc. 1251.18, D.1.13; ai. amoibais basanisthęsomenoi ib.19; tou ai. theou Ep.Rom. 16.26 , Ti.Locr.96c; ou chronię mounon . . all' aiônię Aret.CA1.5 ; ai. diathękę, nomimon, prostagma, LXX Ge.9.16, Ex.27.21, To.1.6; zôę Ev.Matt.25.46 , Porph.Abst.4.20; kolasis Ev.Matt. l.c., Olymp. in Grg.p.278J.; pro chronôn ai.2 Ep.Tim. 1.9 : opp. proskairos, 2 Ep.Cor. 4.18.

2. holding an office or title for life, perpetual, gumnasiarchos CPHerm.62.

3. = Lat. saecularis, Phleg.Macr.4.

4. Adv. -iôs eternally, nous akinętos ai. panta ôn Procl.Inst.172 , cf. Simp. in Epict.p.77D.; perpetually, misein Sch.E.Alc.338.

5. aiônion, to, = aeizôon to mega, Ps.-Dsc.4.88.


You can see that the meaning 'lasting for an age', whilst being noted, is by far the least common and least attested sense. The overwhelming usage refers to eternity, to eternality, to perpetuity.

#10 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:06 AM

You will note that the word aionios is described as having a sense which is the opposite to the word proskairos, which means 'for a time, temporary', and that it is used in this sense in 2 Corinthians 4:18.

Let's go there:

2 Corinthians 4:
18 because we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.


The contrast is manifest - that which is aionian here is that which is not temporary or limited in duration. It is eternal.

#11 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:07 AM

Now let's have a look at a couple of other passages in Scripture, and compare the English with the LXX and the Vulgate.

First the KJV and the LXX:

Genesis 9:

KJV:

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

LXX:

12 And the Lord God said to Noe, This is the sign of the covenant which I set between me and you, and between every living creature which is with you for perpetual generations.

LXX:

12 kai eipen kuriov o yeov prov nwe touto to shmeion thv diayhkhv o egw didwmi ana meson emou kai umwn kai ana meson pashv quchv zwshv h estin mey umwn eiv geneav aiwniouv

KJV:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

LXX:

13 I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of covenant between me and the earth.

LXX:

13 to toxon mou tiyhmi en th nefelh kai estai eiv shmeion diayhkhv ana meson emou kai thv ghv

KJV:

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

LXX:

14 And it shall be when I gather clouds upon the earth, that my bow shall be seen in the cloud.

LXX:

14 kai estai en tw sunnefein me nefelav epi thn ghn ofyhsetai to toxon mou en th nefelh

KJV:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

LXX:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you, and between every living soul in all flesh, and there shall no longer be water for a deluge, so as to blot out all flesh.

LXX:

15 kai mnhsyhsomai thv diayhkhv mou h estin ana meson emou kai umwn kai ana meson pashv quchv zwshv en pash sarki kai ouk estai eti to udwr eiv kataklusmon wste exaleiqai pasan sarka

KJV:

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

LXX:

16 And my bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look to remember the everlasting covenant between me and the earth, and between every living soul in all flesh, which is upon the earth.

LXX:

16 kai estai to toxon mou en th nefelh kai oqomai tou mnhsyhnai diayhkhn aiwnion ana meson emou kai ana meson pashv quchv zwshv en pash sarki h estin epi thv ghv



#12 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:07 AM

Now note the translation of Jerome's Vulgate (5th century):

[12] God said, "This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

[16] The rainbow will be in the cloud. I will look at it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."


The Latin word used by Jerome to translate olam and aion here (he put together his text using both Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament), was sempiterni. No prizes for guessing what it means - it means eternal, everlasting, perpetual.

Let's examine another passage:

Exodus 27:
Vulgate:

[21] in tabernaculo testimonii extra velum quod oppansum est testimonio et conlocabunt eam Aaron et filii eius ut usque mane luceat coram Domino perpetuus erit cultus per successiones eorum a filiis Israhel

Vulgate:

[21] In the tent of meeting, outside the veil which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it in order from evening to morning before Yahweh: it shall be a statute forever throughout their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

KJV:

21 In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.

LXX:

21 in the tabernacle of the testimony, without the veil that is before the ark of the covenant, shall Aaron and his sons burn it from evening until morning, before the Lord: it is a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations of the children of Israel.

LXX:

21 en th skhnh tou marturiou exwyen tou katapetasmatov tou epi thv diayhkhv kausei auto aarwn kai oi uioi autou af esperav ewv prwi enantion kuriou nomimon aiwnion eiv tav geneav umwn para twn uiwn israhl


I believe this speaks for itself. Note Jerome's translation of olam and aiwnion with the Latin perpetuus, from which we derive our English word perpetual.

#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:07 AM

Now a couple of historical sources for the use of the word aion:

Time is the number of movement, but there is no movement without a physical body. But outside heaven it has been shown that there is not, nor possibly can come into existence, any body. lt is evident then that there is neither place, nor void, nor time outside.

Wherefore neither in place are things there formed by nature; nor does time cause them to grow old; neither is there any change of any thing of those things which are arranged beyond the outermost orbit; but unchangeable, and subject to no influence, having the best and most independent life, they continue for all eternity [AIWNA].

For this expression has been divinely uttered by the ancients; for the completeness which embraces the time of the life of each outside which there is nothing, according to nature, is called the AIWN of each.

According to the same word the completeness of the whole heaven, and the completeness which embraces all time and infinitude is AIWN, having received this name from existing for ever [APO TOU AEI EINAI], immortal [ATHANATOS], and divine.

Aristotle, De Coelo, I, 9, c. 350 BC


You will note, of course, that Aristoteles identifies aion with existing forever, and with being immortal.

#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 29 July 2004 - 11:08 AM

Ok, so that was 350 BC. Let's skip forward to the first century AD, and see if the word is still being used in the same way:

But in eternity nothing is passed, nothing is about to be, but it exists only.

EN AIWNI DE OUTE PARELHLUTHEN, OUTE MELLEI, ALLA MONON hUPSESTHKEN.

Philo, De Mundo, 7, 1st century AD


Yes it is. Note Philo's use of aion to denote eternal existence. Josephus also used the word to denote eternality.




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