An Analytical Study of Words
Opinion of the Scholars
"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.'"
"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."
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."
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."
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.'"
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." 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."
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.
The Parkhurst Lexicon: "Olam (aeon) seems to be used much more for an indefinite than for an infinite time."
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."
Dr. Nigel Turner, in Christian Words, says (p. 457), "All the way through it is never feasible to understand aionios as everlasting."
The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 15, p. 485, says, "It is possible that 'aeonian' may denote merely indefinite duration without the connotation of never ending."
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."
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."