Tuesday, May 18, 2010

{Aidios} Means "Imperceptible" not Eternal or Everlasting


TWO distinct terms are translated {eternal} and {everlasting}. One
of these, {aioonion}, eonian, has already been fully discussed in
"The Eonian Times." It speaks of duration during the eons. The
other word, {aidion}, has no connection with the eons and must
present a different thought.

We have resolved {aioon-ion}. into its elements and found
that it was composed of two parts, {aioon}, an {eon}, and the
adjective ending {ion}, which corresponds to our {ian}. Thus we
have {eonian}.

Let us likewise analyze {aidios}. It is made up of three
elements: {a-id-ion}, UN-PERCEIVE and the same termination as
{eonian}. Its etymology yields the meaning {imperceptible}. It is
very closely related to the word for {hades}. In fact it is the
descriptive form of {hades}. Thus we could render +Jude 6
"{hadean} bonds" (not {chains}), but it is better to preserve the
real meaning of {hades} and translate {imperceptible} bonds. This
is in closest harmony with the succeeding phrase "under gloom." To
say that He has kept His deserting messengers under the gloom of
imperceptible bonds for the judgment of the great day makes no
demands on our credulity such as the binding of angels with
{chains} whose everlastingness terminates at the judgment of the
great day. Imperceptible bonds are well calculated to bind angels:
everlasting chains are hardly in keeping with such creatures. At
any rate the epithet {everlasting} is quite useless, since it is
immediately denied any force, for the chains are discarded at the
judgment. This corresponds with the truth that {hades}, the
imperceptible, comes to an

p34 {Aidios} means "Imperceptible"
not Eternal or Everlasting

end with the advent of the lake of fire. It finds its finish in
the second death.

The one other occurrence of this word is in Romans, first
chapter, verse twenty. The more this passage is considered the
clearer it becomes that {imperceptible} affords a far more
vigorous, harmonious and satisfactory sense than "eternal." The
whole passage is concerned with the evidence which the visible
world furnishes for the apprehension of the invisible. God's
"unseen attributes are made obvious from the creation of the
world, being apprehended by His achievements--His imperceptible
power as well as His divinity." God's imperceptible power and
divinity are the unseen attributes referred to which are apparent
from His achievements in creation. The literary setting is a
reversal, a common but striking device:

His unseen (attributes)
The creation
His achievements
Imperceptible power and divinity.

In the central members, "His achievements" is but an
amplification of "creation" and in the other members the phrase
"His imperceptible power and divinity" is but an amplification of
"His unseen" attributes.

The power and divinity of God cannot be perceived directly in
nature but can be apprehended through His creative achievements.
Every wind and wave is witness to an unseen force which impels it,
with a hidden power like the electric current, to fulfil His will.
Every living thing bespeaks a Living One Who is divine. This power
and this divinity is imperceptible to the physical eye. It must be
apprehended from the phenomena of nature.

{Aidion} is usually derived from another source than the one
we have suggested. It is usually traced back to {aei}, translated
"ever" (+Mark 15:8) and "always" (+Acts 7:51; 2 Cor.4:11; 6:10;
Titus 1:12; Heb.3:10; 1 Peter 3:15;

p35 {Aidios} means "Imperceptible,"
not Eternal or Everlasting

2 Peter 1:12). Not one of these passages can refer to eternity in
any sense. Pilate had not released a prisoner to the Jews
throughout eternity past or future. A dissection of this word into
its elements will guide us to its true meaning. It is from {a},
{un} and {ei}, {if}. Pilate had always granted a prisoner {without
an if}. It was a matter of course. So that, even if we are
inclined to follow the ordinary etymology and derive {aidion} from
{aei}, we must stretch the use of the words "ever" and "always"
altogether out of their proper limits before we get the thought of

In Greek, as in Hebrew, the most stable letters are the
consonants. The vowels vary much and form no sure sign of the
relationship of one word to another. It is a difficult matter to
see how {aidion} could ever be derived from {aei}. That the {a} in
one carries the same force as the {a} in the other is freely
admitted. But then the likeness ceases. {Id} cannot be found in
{ei} even if they have one common vowel. The only reason they were
ever associated was a supposed identity in meaning.

Thus we have expunged the words "everlasting" and "eternal"
from the sacred records. And is it not strange that they should
ever have found a place there? No human being knows aught about
eternity. We can go back, in spirit, to the past, but we can never
go so far back but that a shoreless ocean of time still lies
before us of which we know naught. And if we attempt to grasp the
eternity ahead we gaze into the future wholly unfitted to
comprehend its endless abyss of time. Within the realm of
revelation we are at home. We long for our Lord's advent, His
revelation, the long day of His righteous rule, the new heavens
and the new earth, and the grand consummation. These are revealed,
and we can readily read the future by their means. But when all
these waymarks have been passed we shall be content to walk the
eternal way without the need we now feel of knowing our future
path. Now the present is discounted: the future is filled with

p36 Eternity is Incomprehensible

Now faith and hope urge us to hasten to the bliss that lies ahead.
But then all will be changed. Love alone will rule our hearts. The
future will have no dread, neither will its hopes tempt us from a
delectable present. With God as our All, the past will fill our
cups with brimming bliss, the present will suffice to quaff its
unfailing fullness, and the future will be but another present
when we embrace it.

It is vain to tell the old man not to envy the days of youth;
it is futile to tell the youth not to wish for the days of
manhood; it is useless to ask a man to be satisfied with his lot;
for each finds his all in himself. But when God becomes All in all
His creatures the past and future are swallowed up in a blissful
unbroken present.

It is the part of Divine wisdom to give a revelation suited
to human need and capacity, and when endlessness is intended, to
employ the negative terms {no end}--the very method to which men
are forced when they seek to define "everlasting" and "eternal."
A. E. K.

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