Eternal life and eternal punishment in Matthew 25:46 do not have an equal duration.

Augustine, an early church theologian, demonstrates a stubborn common fallacy in which he compared an adjective to an adjective. In other words he saw this Matthew 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." and concluded that the we must compare the eternals, if eternal in eternal life is perpetual, then so to is the eternal in eternal punishment.  On the surface such bold conclusion does seem completely logically and sense, though it is actually a fallacy. The comparison of adjectives, does not make the adjectives equal.

EXAMPLE 1

If everyone was asked to perform objective A. Those who did not, will go away to a huge loss, those who did to a huge gain.

Is the measurement of the adjective "huge" equal? If the loss was a million dollars, but the gain was a billion dollars, would both the loss and the gain still not be huge?

Let us get even deeper.

EXAMPLE 2

We live in a big solar system in a big universe.

Is the measurement of the adjective "big" equal? Is the "big" in "big solar system" equal to the "big" in "big universe"? Both our solar system and the universe is big, but our solar system is not as big as our universe.

Therefore we recognize that is it not true, an adjective does not equally apply across the board to it's usage to another noun. It is in fact the combination of an adjective & noun which needs to be compared. This is called a 'noun phrase'.

Matthew 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Revisiting the examples:

EXAMPLE 1

If everyone was asked to perform objective A. Those who did not, will go away to a huge loss, those who did to a huge gain.

Compare the noun phrase "huge loss" and "huge gain" and find they are not equal.

EXAMPLE 2

We live in a big solar system in a big universe.

Compare the noun phrase "big solar system" and "big universe" and find they are not equal.

CONCLUSION

The conclusion of the matter is the usage of the adjective "eternal" applies only the intrinsic nature of the noun it is describing otherwise known as a noun phrase and not to the "eternal" mentioned elsewhere. It is this concept which is applied to both words. Therefore eternal punishment is not equal to eternal life; the eternal sin is not equal to eternal kingdom; and so on.

Anyone who thinks differently is either deceived or purposely lying.

All this, and I haven't even touched definition of AIONIOS yet.

So speaking of definitions... Let us discuss them:

DEFINITIONS

What are AION and AIONIOS? In case you are not aware, these words are translated (sometimes erroneously) as forever, eternity, and eternal in Scripture.

Here are the definitions:

What is AION?

In Classical, Ancient, Higher and Lower forms of Greek have consistently defined AION as:

(A noun)

1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity.

2) period of time, age.

3) the worlds*, universe.*

*This one is contested

Now remember these definition of AION to find out what the definition of AIONIOS is. The adjective AIONIOS is the adjective form of the noun AION. Just like the adjective 'heavenly' is the adjective form of the noun 'heaven' or the adjective 'cicular' is the adjective form of the noun 'circle'. That means knowing the definition of AION, we know the definition of AIONIOS.

AIONIOS

(Adjective)

1) of or in the AION.

2) of, belonging to, or coming from the AION.

3) resembling or befitting AION.

CONCLUSION

AION may or may not mean indefinite time even up to perpetually; or may or may not mean definitive time with absolute beginning and end.

AIONIOS may or may not describe a noun as of, in, belonging to, coming from, resembling or befitting an indefinite time even up to perpetually; or may or may not describe a noun as of, in, belonging to, coming from, resembling or befitting a definitive time with absolute beginning and end.

NOW THE TRANSLATION

Now we know the logic of an adjective, and now know the definition of the adjective, now we can know what exactly is being said in Matthew 25:46 and other places where AIONIOS has been used.

A famous French theologian, at the end of his life wrote: AIONIOS is "An indeterminate duration of which the maximum is fixed by the intrinsic nature of the persons or things. Or they last ever so long - so long as they last!"  -Pitavel-Olliff, Emmanuel, (1836-1910), The Problem of Immortality.

We must conclude that AIONIOS means simply that, the AIONIOS is an adjective which explains a duration or quality dependent upon the noun it describes. In order to find out the duration or the quality of the noun AIONIOS describes, we need to know definition of the noun.

Matthew 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

There are two nouns in this phrase with the adjective AIONIOS preceding them,  they are punishment and life. These words in Greek are, KOLASIS and ZOE.

KOLASIS

What is KOLASIS

(noun)

correction, punishment, penalty

This is the simple one. KOLASIS a punishment for the purpose of correction. It is quite literally a corrective punishment.

How long does it last? It lasts as long as it lasts, until the individual subjected to it, is now corrected. Once correction has been established then KOLASIS ends.

ZOE

What is ZOE

(a noun)

1) life

....a) the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate

....b) every living soul

2) life

....a) of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature.

....b) life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.

Since there are other words used in Scripture to describe the state of one possessing vitality, that is called "BIOS" (good, life, living); and "PSUCHE" (breathe, life, vital force which animates the body of animals and men, living being, living soul, emotions) we must conclude that ZOE represents the second definition: The absolute fullness of life, life which is real and genuine with purpose. It is quite literally a life that belongs to God.

How long does that life last? It lasts as long as it lasts and if it is a life that belongs to God, it most certainly will exist far after we have expired and perished due to our mortality.

Craig Nolin

www.studentoftheword.com

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