SECOND EMAIL TO MR.SMITH
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
Even old Young knew that in some places context dictates that the word aion
and its cognates be translated differently than simply “age”. Why
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!