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Exposing L. Ray Smith

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MY SECOND EMAIL TO MR.SMITH

 

(ME)

I hoped you liked my previous email.  This one will probably be the last one for a while unless you respond (I have a lot of work to do!)

 

Concerning your interpretation of aion (and its cognates): 

 

I’ve read where you stated that, The words "everlasting" "evermore," "forever," "for ever AND EVER[?]," and "eternal" are nowhere found even once in any Hebrew or Greek manuscript from which our modern language bibles are translated.

 

While at first that sounds extremely profound, what then are the Hebrew and Greek words for “eternity”, etc.?  If you say that you don’t know of any, are you saying that the ancient Hebrews and Greeks didn’t think in those categories?  If you answered yes to the second question, wouldn’t you be in error?

 

Plato himself distinguished between aionion and chronos, the former being the timeless and ideal eternity.  However, some in his day and later did not make this distinction between the words.  For example, Aristotle used aion (and its cognates) more in the sense of “age” (which you seem to prefer), or more specifically, “the time allotted to a specific thing”.

 

Nevertheless, during the Hellenistic age, the word aion actually became the name of the god of eternity (Aion) and so began to carry heavy religious significance among other things.  So much for the word not carrying the connotation of eternity!  It seems to have actually embodied the word!  Some more background research shows that behind the Greek word aion stands the Persian Zrvan akarana, which means something like, “unlimited time”.  This word definitely did not simply mean “age”.  A lot of ancient writers just didn’t use it that way.  See for yourself!  Go check out the primary sources!

 

The above should be enough to show that the word aion (and its cognates) DID mean different things at different times, however, when a distinction was made, the word aion (and its cognates) seems to have carried the connotation of “eternity”.  All of this relates to the idea of semantic domains (of which I am unsure if you are familiar).  The issue of semantic domains actually seems to be one of the major flaws of the so-called Young’s Literal Translation.  Over and over again Young translated the word aion (and its cognates) as “age” or his typical “age-during” and thereby seems to have ignored any surrounding context.  Context (literary and historical) dictates meaning whether we like it or not!

 

I would agree with you that there are many places where the word aion (and its cognates) are used in the sense of “age”.  But obviously that can’t be the meaning ALL THE TIME.  Most words—if not all words—don’t mean the same exact thing every time they’re used (look at the English word “run” for example, or really almost any—if not all—Greek words.  Just take the Greek prepositions as a case in point!)  This is the reason why there are multiple entries in dictionaries under any given word.  Words have usages, not simply meaning.  With so many ancient authors using the word aion, it would be extremely odd if aion was one of the only words (if there are any) that always meant the same exact thing every single time it was used!

 

Some things to consider:

Why in Romans 16:26 would God be described as “the age-during God” (YLT).  (I picked that one just because it sounded so funny; Young really stuck to his guns sometimes!)

 

Young translated the Hebrew`ad or, if you prefer, the LXX aion, in Isaiah 57:15 as “eternity”.

He also translated Exodus 15:18 as “Jehovah reigneth -- to the age, and for ever!”. 

Even old Young knew that in some places context dictates that the word aion and its cognates be translated differently than simply “age”.  Why don’t you?

 

I could go on with examples but that is enough for now.  I just don’t think limiting the usage of the word aion and its cognates fits the evidence.  Let me know what you think though!

Oh, and I forgot to tell you last time, if you respond, try to make your responses as concise as possible!

 

Sincerely,

 

John

 

 

MR.SMITH'S SECOND RESPONSE

(SMITH)

Dear John:

There is nothing in this email that is true. Your statements aren't true, nor are they historical. I have already disproven every thing you suggest here. I won't do it again in an email. Read the first ten pages of my letter to John Hagee and read my new post: "Is EVERLASTING Scriptural." Then, if you can prove one word of what I teach wrong, get back with me.

Ray

 

 

MY RESPONSE

 

(ME)

 

(Thank you for keeping your responses short.)

 

Maybe you don't understand, so I will put it as bluntly as I can.  YOU NEED TO GO READ THE PRIMARY SOURCES THEMSELVES!!!

 

Most of the books and Bible translations you always reference aren't exactly what most scholars would call 'up to par' (I hope that isn't as silly sounding as your "pipe" phrase).

 

If you read my email, you would see that I did prove what you teach concerning the word aion (and its cognates) is incorrect.  You just don't seem to want to hear the truth.  All of my statements are extremely rooted in history and it is a shame that you continue to believe that you are correct when you can't seem to prove me wrong. 

 

What you just can't seem to grasp (again, I'm not sure if you actually read my email) is that a word doesn't always mean the same thing.  It means different things at different times, like the word "love".  It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to see this truth. 

 

My suggestions for you:

Consult better sources. 

Consult a wider range of sources.

And most importantly, go learn Greek and read the documents for yourself (you seem to talk a lot about a bunch of texts that you probably can't even read, which by the way, doesn't make you out to be a very trustworthy source).

 

I think that the above will help you out tremendously.  Let me know how it goes.

 

On a more personal note, you remind me a lot of my dad.  Are you an ex-hippie?  What about NASCAR, did you ever like that?  I saw you wrote to someone one time something along the lines of "you don't know what I've been through"?  What have you been through.  Drugs?  Women?  Abuse?  What was it?  How are things now?  Let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you, and if you're feeling up to it, tell me a little about yourself.

 

Sincerely,

 

John