What does the Bible say?

"Aionios"  "αἰώνιος"




One of the essential disturbing factor in all the theology of heaven and hell is that it is simply built on a two age time frame.  According to this concept, there are only two ages - this age and the age to come.


In this eschatology, since there are only two ages, At the end of the first age,  "All things are reconciled, renewed and made whole" by the Messiah and the New Age starts.


This was essentially the Jewish approach.  As we have seen early in the history of Judaism the total emphasis was on the life here and now.  Hence we see no mention of heaven and hell in any of Moses' writings.  Only after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC and the emergence of the Prophetic Age did the idea of after death entered into Judaism. By the time of Jesus we have a profound theology though hazy in detail.  Even though Jesus and the Disciples seem to write in terms of the two age model, it is surprising that they went far beyond that basic stand to define not two ages but ages after ages.  The gospels and the New Testament as a whole were written in Greek.  Surprisingly when referring to the life after death and the age after that they never used the term which defined that age as eternal.  Even though the translators used the term eternal, Greek original differs and disagrees.  The theologians later forced the idea of a non-existent eternity and defined a convenient two age within the New Testament Theology. We will first have a look at these terms.

1.     The Greek word “aiōnios” is used an adjective for the life of the saved in the hereafter.
2. In the vast majority of the cases where it is so used, it has been translated as “eternal” or “everlasting”
3. So it came to mean that the life of the saved in the hereafter is eternal and life of unsaved in the hereafter is also eternal.


"Aionios"  "αἰώνιος"  NEVER means "eternal"


It only means age like or I would translate it as "ages after age" or as others define "age-long" which can be a long or short duration which at any rate has a beginning and an end.  We will see how the interpretations struggle over this.

Here are the details.  You make your own conclusion.  Does it mean eternal?  If not there will be more ages after that age and so on



The Greek word aion-aionios translated  Everlasting - Eternal in the Holy Bible shown to denote limited duration

By Rev. John Wesley Hanson,  1823-1901

The oldest lexicographer, .Hesychius, (A. D. 4oo—6oo,) defines aion thus: “ The life of man, the time of life." At this early date no theologian had yet imported into the word the meaning of endless duration. It retained only the sense it had in the classics, and in the Bible.


Theodoret (A. D. 300---400) “Aion is not any existing thing, but an interval denoting time, sometimes infinite when spoken of God, sometimes proportioned to the duration of the creation, and some-times to the life of man.”


John of Darnascus (A. D. 750,) says,“ 1, The life of every man is called aion. ..3, The whole duration or life of this world is called aion. 4, The life after the resurrection is called ‘the aion to come.’ ”

But in the sixteenth century Phavaorinus was compelled to notice an addition, which subsequently to the time of the famous Council of 544 had been grafted on the word. He says; Aion, time, also life, also habit, or way of life. Aion: is also the eternal and endless as IT SEEMS TO THE THEOLOGIAN.” Theologians had succeeded in addin an additional meaning.


Alluding to this Rev Ezra S Goodwin says: "Here I strongly suspect is the true secret brought to light of the origin of the sense of eternity in aion.  The theologian first thought he perceived it, or else he placed it there.  The theologian keep it there now. And the theologian will probably retian it there longer than anyone else"……………………


From the sixteenth century onward, the word has been defined as used to denote all lengths of duration from brief to endless. We record here such definitions as we have found.


Rost’.-(German definitions) Aion, duration, epoch, long time, eternity, memory of man, life-time, life, age of man. Aionios, continual, always enduring, long continued, eternal."


Hedericus .- “ An age, eternity, an age as if always being; time of man's life, in the memory of men, (wicked men, New Testa1nent,) the spinal marrow. Aionios, eternal, everlasting, continual."


Schleusner.- “Any space of time whether longer or shorter, past, present or future, to be determined by the persons or things spoken of, and the scope of the subject; the life or age of man. Ainios, a definite and long period of time, that is, long enduring, but still definite period of time.”

Passow.' “Aionios, long continued, eternal, everlasting, in the classics.”







166. aiónios ►Strong's Concordance

aiónios: agelong, eternal

Original Word: αἰώνιος, ία, ιον

Part of Speech: Adjective

Transliteration: aiónios

Phonetic Spelling: (ahee-o'-nee-os)

Short Definition: eternal, unending ( it is agelong whatever that length is - it can be long long or short)


Definition: age-long, and therefore: practically eternal, unending; partaking of the character of that which lasts for an age, as contrasted with that which is brief and fleeting. (practically can be eternal but not necessarily)


HELPS Word-studies

Cognate: 166 aiṓnios (an adjective, derived from 165 /aiṓn ("an age, having a particular character and quality")


properly, "age-like" ("like-an-age"), i.e. an "age-characteristic" (the quality describing a particular age); (figuratively) the unique quality (reality) of God's life at work in the believer, i.e. as the Lord manifests His self-existent life (as it is in His sinless abode of heaven).


"Eternal (166 /aiṓnios) life operates simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time – i.e. what gives time its everlasting meaning for the believer through faith, yet is also time-independent. See 165 (aiōn).


 The Greek word “aiōnios” is the adjectival form of the word “aiōn”. Interestingly enough, this word has come into our English language from the Greek as “aeon”. In most dictionaries you will find that the meaning of the word is given as “an indefinitely long period of time, an age”, not “eternity”. So, if the noun means “age”, why should the adjective mean “eternal”? But, of course, this is no proof that “aiōnios” does not mean “eternal.” For it might just happen that in Greek, the adjective has a different meaning from the noun from which it is derived. But that isn’t the case. Abbott-Smith’s Greek lexicon not only renders “aiōn” as “a space of time, an age”, but also “aiōnios” as “age-long”.


Some say that in Greek the word “aiōnios” is used for “eternal” because there is no other Greek word available for the concept. Not so.


There is indeed a word which means eternal in Greek which is aidios, but it is never used in the bible in connection with life in heaven or in hell.


126. aidios

Strong's Concordance

aidios: everlasting

Original Word: ἀΐδιος, ον

Part of Speech: Adjective

Transliteration: aidios

Phonetic Spelling: (ah-id'-ee-os)

Short Definition: eternal


Thayer's Greek Lexicon

STRONGS NT 126: ἀΐδιος

ἀΐδιος, (for ἀείδιος from ἀεί), eternal, everlasting: (Wis. 7:26) Romans 1:20; Jude 1:6.
(Homer hymn. 29, 3; Hesiod scut. 310, and
from Thucydides down in prose; (frequent in Philo, e. g.de profug…….)

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

eternal, everlasting.

From aei; everduring (forward and backward, or forward only) -- eternal, everlasting.

see GREEK aei-

Forms and Transliterations

αιδιοις αϊδίοις ἀϊδίοις αιδιος αϊδιος ἀΐδιος αιδοία aidiois aïdíois aidios aḯdios


Which is eternal aidios: or aiónios?


The difference is clear aidios is eternal while aionios can be eternal since it is measured in ages or age-long or age after age.  Aionis can be short or long depending on the condition.but it does not actually mean eternal whereas: Aidios is always certainly non-ending, properly eternal.




 aion means "an age," a limited period, whether long or short, though often of indefinite length; and the adjective aionios means "of the age," "age-long," "aeonian," and never "everlasting" (of its own proper force), it is true that it may be applied as an epithet to things that are endless, but the idea of endlessness in all such cases comes not from the epithet, but only because it is inherent in the object to which the epithet is applied, as in the case of God.


Revisers have substituted for "everlasting" or "age-long"  the word "eternal" in every passage in the New Testament, where aionios is the original word.


 As a further illustration of the meaning of aion and aionios, let me point out that in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint)

(--in common use among the Jews in Our Lord's time, from which He and the Apostles usually quoted, and whose authority, therefore, should be decisive on this point -)  these terms are repeatedly applied to things that have long ceased to exist.



AARONIC priesthood is said to be "everlasting," Num. 25:13.
The land of Canaan is given as an "everlasting" possession, and "for ever," Gen. 17:8, and 13:15. In Deut. 23:3,
"for ever" is distinctly made an equivalent to "even to the tenth generation." In Lam. 5:19,

"for ever and ever" is the equivalent of from "generation to generation."

The inhabitants of Palestine are to be bondsmen "for ever," Lev. 25:46.
In Num. 18:19, the heave offerings of the holy things are a covenant "for ever."
CALEB obtains his inheritance "for ever," Josh. 14:9.
And DAVID'S seed is to endure "for ever," his throne "for ever," his house "for ever;" nay,
the passover is to endure "for ever;" and
In Isaiah 32:14, the forts and towers shall be "dens for ever, until the spirit be poured upon us."
So in Jude 7, Sodom and Gomorrah are said to be suffering the vengeance of eternal (aeonian) fire, i.e., their temporal overthrow by fire, for they have a definite promise of final restoration. -- Ez. 16:55.

And Christ's kingdom is to last "for ever," yet we are distinctly told that this very kingdom is to end. -- I Cor. 15:24.

Indeed, quotation might be added to quotation, both from the Bible and from early authors, to prove this limited meaning of aion and its derivatives; but enough has probably been said to prove that it is wholly impossible, and indeed absurd, to contend that any idea of endless duration is necessarily or commonly implied by either aion or aionios.


1 -- How, if it mean an endless period, can aion have a plural?

2 -- How came such phrases to be used as those repeatedly occurring in Scripture, where aion is added to aion, if aion is of itself infinite?

3 -- How come such phrases as for the "aion" or aions and BEYOND? -- ton aiona kai ep aiona kai eti: eis tous aionas kai eti. -- See (Sept.) Ex. 15:18; Dan. 12:3; Micah 4:5.

4 -- How is it that we repeatedly read of the end of the aion? -- Matt. 13:39,40,49; 24:3; 28:20; I Cor. 10:11; Heb. 9:26.

5 -- Finally, if aion be infinite, why is it applied over and over to what is strictly finite? e.g., Mark 4:19; Acts 3:21; Rom. 12:2; I Cor. 1:20, 2:20, 2:6, 3:18, 10:11, etc. But if an aion be not definite, what right have we to render the adjective aionios (which depends for its meaning on aion) by the terms "eternal" (when used as the equivalent of "endless") and "everlasting?"

Indeed our translators have really done further hurt to those who can only read their English Bible. They have, wholly obscured a very important doctrine, that of "the ages." This when fully understood throws a flood of light on the plan of redemption, and the method of the divine working.


We find

FIVE different words (or phrases) to translate this one word, aion, e.g.,
Eph. i. 21; ii. 2,7; iii. 11, 21, e.g., "world," "course," "age," "eternal," "for ever." 

"The word by itself, whether adjective or substantive, never means endless." -- Canon FARRAR.

"The conception of eternity, in the Semitic languages, is that of a long duration and series of ages." -- Rev J. S. BLUNT -- Dictionary of Theology.


"'Tis notoriously known," says Bishop Rust, "that the Jews, whether writing in Hebrew or Greek, do by olam (the Hebrew word corresponding to aion), and aion mean any remarkable period and duration, whether it be of life, or dispensation, or polity."


"The word aion is never used in Scripture, or anywhere else, in the sense of endlessness (vulgarly called eternity, it always meant, both in Scripture and out, a period of time; else how could it have a plural -- how could you talk of the aeons and aeons of aeons as the Scripture does? -- C. KINGSLEY.

So the secular games, celebrated every century were called "eternal" by the Greeks. -- See HUET, Orig. ii. pg. 162.


Thus JOSEPHUS calls "aeonian," the temple of Herod, which was actually destroyed when he wrote. PHILO never uses aionios of endless duration.



In the New Testament the history of the world is conceived as developed through a succession of aeons.


A series of such aeons precedes the introduction of a new series inaugurated by
the Christian dispensation, and the end of the world and the second coming of Christ are to mark the beginning of another series. Eph. 1:21; 2:7; 3:9,21; 1 Cor 10:11; compare Heb. 9:26.

Paul includes the series of aeons in one great aeon, 'o aion ton aionon, the aeon of the aeons (Eph. 3:21);

and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describe the throne of God as enduring unto the aeon of the aeons (Heb 1:8).


The plural is also used, aeons of the aeons, signifying all the successive periods which make up the sum total of the ages collectively. Rom. 16:27; Gal. 1:5; Philip. 4:20, etc.

This plural phrase is applied by Paul to God only. Probably this implies that even God's Kingdom can be terminated by the freewilled sons causing deterioration and destruction.


The adjective aionios


The adjective aionios in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation, as, on the other hand, aidios, which means everlasting, has its meaning limited to a given point of time in Jude 6.


Aionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods.


Thus the phrase eis ton aiona, habitually rendered forever, is often used of duration which is limited in the very nature of the case. See, for a few out of many instances, LXX,
Exod 21:6; 29:9; 32:13; Josh. 14:9 1 Sam 8:13; Lev. 25:46; Deut. 15:17; 1 Chron. 28:4;.
See also Matt. 21:19; John 13:8 1 Cor. 8:13.

The same is true of aionios. Out of 150 instances in LXX, four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances see Gen. 48:4; Num. 10:8; 15:15; Prov. 22:28; Jonah 2:6; Hab. 3:6; Isa. 61:17.




Paul uses the word once, in Rom. 1:20, where he speaks of "the everlasting power and divinity of God."


In Rom. 16:26 he speaks of the eternal God (tou aioniou theou); but that he does not mean the everlasting God is perfectly clear from the context. He has said that "the mystery" has been kept in silence in times eternal (chronois aioniois), by which he does not mean everlasting times, but the successive aeons which elapsed before Christ was proclaimed. God therefore is described as the God of the aeons, the God who pervaded and controlled those periods before the incarnation.


To the same effect is the title 'o basileus ton aionon, the King of the aeons, applied to God in
1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 15:3; compare Tob. 13:6, 10.
















The phrase pro chronon aionion, before eternal times (2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2), cannot mean before everlasting times. To say that God bestowed grace on men, or promised them eternal life before endless times, would be absurd. The meaning is of old, as Luke 1:70. The grace and the promise were given in time, but far back in the ages, before the times of reckoning the aeons.


Heaven and Hell are never eternal they are age-long depending on the person.  Sons of God always will have freedom of will and there stay home or go out on holidays and it depends on the sons.  If they want to leave, God will not stop them. This is the parable of the two sons.  That does not mean God is not concerned and pained.  He waits for their return.


 Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

So also those who are eternally in hell, they are there because they are demons who does not have eternal life (Adam could not eat the fruit of the tree of life - i.e. they can die - their life in hell can terminate.  Again it depends on them.  Salvation is open for them even in hell.  Jesus did go to hell and proclaimed it soon after his resurrection.  In fact he took some of the Captives Captive and took with him to heaven.


Zoe aionios life age after age (translated eternal), occurs 42 times in N. T., but not in LXX, is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or aeon, or continuing during that aeon.

John says that zoe aionios is the present possession of those who believe on the Son of God, John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47,54. The Father's commandment is zoe aionios, John 1250; to know the only true God and Jesus Christ is zoe aionios. John 17:3.

Life may be endless. The life in union with Christ is endless, but the fact is not expressed by aionios. Christ is Aidios but it is not so stated anywhere.  This is probably because his eternity is beyond time and depends on the oneness within the Holi Trinity.  The Holy Trinity is the beginning of Time when the unknowable God, took qualities and comes into existence we have the Trinity.  Aidios applies to God alone in his indescribable, unknowable form.


Thus through the analysis we arrive at the idea that Kolasis aionios, rendered everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46), is the punishment peculiar to an aeon .


In some cases zoe aionios does not refer specifically to the life beyond time, but rather to the aeon or dispensation of Messiah which succeeds the legal dispensation. See Matt. 19:16; John 5:39.


Rewards and Punishments are all Temperal



"When Jesus spoke of “everlasting punishment” (in Matthew 25:46), the terms used in this statement reflect God’s viewpoint of punishment as correction or training for the individual concerned. The translation of “punishment” (for the Greek kolasis) does not convey the full meaning, which is better expressed in the following definitions


“Pruning, restraint, restraining” (Young’s Analytical Concordance)


Correction,  punishment, penalty… [SYN. kolasis, timoria: the noted definition of Aristotle which distinguishes kolasis from timoria as that which (is disciplinary and) has reference to him who suffers, while the latter (is penal and) has reference to the satisfaction of him who inflicts…](Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)


The above definition mentions the Greek word timoria (to punish), which emphasizes the satisfaction of the one inflicting punishment (as when Paul, before his conversion, was “punishing” Christians). But Jesus’ concept of punishment was not a vengeful thing (timoria) but was kolasis – the kind of “punishment” that restrains evildoers while at the same time providing them with the correction and pruning they need to cause them to change and grow in the right direction.

So if we combine kolasis (God’s view of punishment) with a truer understanding of the word “everlasting”, we might re-phrase “everlasting punishment” as “a period of training upon entrance into the Afterlife for those whose earthly lives were not lived in accordance with God’s ways”.



The penalty of God's law is thus stated by Moses:
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.  Deut. 28:15-26.


 Here is an enumeration of curses, but where is the curse of endless woe?


Then follows a series of curses all of which are of this world and temperal.  But then Moses never knew of a heaven nor a hell


Thus, Bishop Warburton says:
"Both rewards and punishments promised by Heaven were temporal only."

Dr. Paley says: "This dispensation dealt altogether in temporal rewards and punishments."

The same opinion was entertained by Grotius, Episcopius, Dr. Campbell, Bishop Burnett, Dr. Burnett, Dr. Hey, and Mr. Ludliem.


The concept of ages and ages after ages only indicate temperal reward and temperal punishment also.  As long as the sentient sons of God are given the freedom of will (which is a condition for sons unless they are made robots in heaven and hell) they will be the same and they will change history by their action whether they are in heaven or in hell.