BRISBANE, Australia - 28 March 2020
(Also posted on my Facebook Page)
Some commenters on my posts warn me that I’m in danger of suffering for “eternity” in Hell. Or in the “Lake of Fire” which is fast becoming a favourite place to toss me. A few even exhibit a very un-Christian glee at the prospect. Sorry to disappoint but, according to the Bible, we humans don’t possess immortal souls which are “eternally” rewarded in Heaven or “eternally” punished in Hell or the “Lake of Fire”. (Yes, I am human although some have suggested otherwise.)
Jesting aside, where does it come from, this belief that humans can spend “eternity” in some other place? Well, it comes from translators of some of the most popular English versions of the New Testament who put doctrinal conformity above honesty and seek to preserve the false teaching of immortal souls because they understand that you can’t have “immortality” (deathlessness) without “eternity” (timelessness).
These translators certainly know that the Greek word 𝑎𝑖𝑜́𝑛 (eon, age) always means a period of time with a beginning and ending. Despite this fact, they have chosen to dishonestly render all the derivatives of this Greek word into English with words and phrases such as “eternal”, “everlasting”, “endless”, and “for ever and ever”.
Perhaps they hope no one will notice that if the Greek word 𝑎𝑖𝑜́𝑛 did mean “eternal”, then we are faced with the absurdity of plural “eternities” since the plural derivatives of 𝑎𝑖𝑜́𝑛 are found in passages such as Revelation 20:10 (𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜̄𝑛) and Matthew 6:13 (𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑎𝑠). Knowing all this, they persist, as we can see by the following verse:
In the hope of eternal life (𝑧𝑜̄𝑒̄𝑠 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜𝑢), which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (𝑝𝑟𝑜 𝑐ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑜̄𝑛 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜̄𝑛) (Titus 1:2 NIV).
The NIV renders 𝑧𝑜̄𝑒̄𝑠 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜𝑢 as “eternal life” to keep up the pretense but then is forced to do a workaround for 𝑝𝑟𝑜 𝑐ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑜̄𝑛 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜̄𝑛 otherwise it would read the nonsensical “before times eternal”.
So, what’s the bottom line? What does the promise of “eternal life” actually mean? Well, let’s take a look at Luke 18:29-30 for example:
And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age (𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖) to come, eternal life (𝑧𝑜̄𝑒̄𝑛 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜𝑛).” (NASB)
Now we find out that the concept of “eternal life” actually means “age-life in the age to come”. To render 𝑧𝑜̄𝑒̄𝑛 𝑎𝑖𝑜̄𝑛𝑖𝑜𝑛 as “eternal life” in the full knowledge of the meaning of all derivatives of the Greek word 𝑎𝑖𝑜́𝑛 is to make utter fools of all who trust in them.
So, what’s the “age to come”? It’s the “resurrection” age, the age of the Kingdom of God on Earth, a millennial dream expressed in the synagogue liturgy at that time, “may it come soon—in your lifetime”.
If there is to be a new type of life for humans in the ”age to come”, it certainly won’t be lived in some other-worldly destination but right here on this Earth, as it always has been, and as it always will be. Whether above ground or below it, we’re all in this together and, in this case, we may use the word “eternally” correctly.
No need to take my word for it. Do some “fact-checking”.