I made the point in my last blog that “aion” or “aionian” in the Greek New Testament never means endless or eternal, but always refers to an age or an eon … a period of time with a beginning and an end. Thus the “eternal torment” found in the Scriptures should more properly be translated “eonian chastisement.” This chastisement (or punishment if you will) has an end. It is not “forever and ever” torment. ALL will one day be reconciled to God, through the work of Christ.
It is even wrong to say that Christ will reign forever and ever. As we read in 1 Corinthians 15:25 Christ will reign UNTIL His work is accomplished. And once all enemies are defeated and all is subjected and reconciled to God, Christ subjects Himself to God the Father, and God becomes All in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).
A reader objected, fearing that if “aionian” never meant eternal, this would mean that God Himself is not eternal. And since we know, by God’s nature, that He is eternal … this would mean that “aionian,” at least when speaking of God, must mean eternal.
I recognize that God is by His nature eternal. But I contend that the Scriptures refer to God as “the eonian God” or “the God of the ages.” This does not mean God will cease to exist once the eons have ended. He is immortal.
But we must remember that God, through the Bible, has chosen to reveal to us certain things that pertain to this period of time in which we live … the eons. Therefore He is referred to as “the eonian God.” We might call Him “the eternal God” as most certainly He is … but the Scriptures speak of these eonian times, and God is referred to as the eonian God.
I have five children … Cris, Dusty, Chad, Kari and Scott. When talking with friends of Scott, I could be referred to as “the father of Scott.” Now it is true that I am the father of all five of my children, but in the context of talking with Scott’s friends I may be referred to as “the father of Scott.” Similarly, in the context of this time period referred to as “the eons” we could refer to God as the “eonian God.”
Very simply, if we look at every instance where the word “aion” appears in the New Testament, in all of its various forms, and the word “olam” in the Hebrew Old Testament … and if we discern the word’s meaning from the context, instead of injecting our own theological bias into the translation … we will see that the best, most consistent and most accurate translation would be eon or age. This takes nothing away from “the eternal God,” and enables us to truly understand the truths He has chosen to reveal in His Word.
A word about comments to this blog
I have received a number of comments to this blog, but have chosen not to post any … good or bad. If you wish to comment, feel free to drop me a note at bob@GraceEvangel.org and I will be happy to reply. But let me express why I have chosen not to post comments on the blog itself.
Some who have commented are earnest and fair in expressing their views. They may not agree with me, but they come with respect and provide comments that are thoughtful and logical.
But others come with comments that are incoherent, or sarcastic, or insulting.
So rather than be selective … I have chosen to post no comments. Matters concerning God should be taken seriously. I challenge my readers to think, and most certainly to disagree at times. But comments that are insulting, or sarcastic, or incoherent do nothing but add confusion to the discussion.
My daughter once worked for a large bookstore, and would say that the most difficult shift to work was Sundays when church let out. It was then that the “mean Christians,” as she would call them, would descend upon the store … dressed in their Sunday best as they treated the store clerks with impatience and often rudeness. This is not true of all Christians; but it is unfortunately true of many.
Let it not be so. Brothers and sisters; whether you are shopping, or eating out, or directing a comment to one who may differ with your interpretation of the Bible … do so with love and respect. Let our witness be one of love, patience, consideration and compassion. Even when we disagree, let us present our views carefully, and rationally, and with patience and love; allowing one another to ask questions or offer comments that may challenge us at times.
So to those wishing to comment on this blog … write to me at bob@GraceEvangel.org and I promise to consider what you have written. As I have done with comments received thus far, I will typically note the comment along with my response in a future blog.
And by all means … let the world know we are Christians by our love. Thanks for listening!
Church Softball League: Wilmore KY
If you are in the Wilmore, Kentucky area and would be interested in playing on our “body of Christ” team this summer, drop me a note at bob@GraceEvangel.org I believe the games will be on Thursday evenings. Being on the team does not mean you must agree with what I believe. Despite differing opinions at times, we who believe are all part of the one true Church, invisible and without denominations or even “church” names or buildings. We are the body of Christ.