But if an aion be not infinite, 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?
e., endless duration. But so to render it would reduce Scripture to an absurdity. » We can comprehend what « eternity » is, but what are the « eternities? » You cannot have more than one eternity.
The doxology would run thus: « Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, ‘unto the eternities. »‘ In the case of the sin against the Holy Ghost, the translation would then be, « it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this eternity nor in that to come. » Our Lord’s words, S. Matt. xiii. 39, would then run, « the harvest is the end of (the) eternity, » i.e., the end of the endless, which is to make our Lord talk nonsense. Again, in S. Mark iv. 19, the translation should be, « the cares, » not of « this world, » but « the cares of this eternity choke the word. »
In S. Luke xvi. 8, « The children of this world, » should be « the children of this eternity. » Rom. xii. 2, should run thus; « Be not conformed to this eternity. » In 1 Cor. x. 11, the words, « upon whom the ends of the world are come, » should be: « the ends of the eternities. » Take next, Gal. i. 4: « That He might deliver us from this present evil world, » should run thus: « from this present evil eternity. » In 2 Tim. iv. 10, the translation should be: « DEMAS has forsaken me, having loved this present eternity. » And « Now once at the end of the ages has He been manifested, » should read, on the popular view, « at the end of the eternities. »
In the first place, you would have over and over again to talk of the « eternities
Let me state the dilemma clearly. Aion either means endless duration as its necessary, or at least its ordinary significance, or it does not. If it does, the following difficulties at once arise; (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. xv. 18; Dan. xii. 3; Micah iv. 5. (4) – How is it that we repeatedly read of the end of the aion ? – S. Matt. xiii 39-40-49; xxiv. 3 ; xxviii. 20; 1 Cor. x. 11; Heb. ix. 26. (5) – Finally, if aion be infinite, why is it applied over and over to what is strictly finite? e.g., S. Mark iv official website. 19; Acts iii. 21; Rom. xii. 2 ; 1 Cor. i. 20, ii. 6, iii. 18, x. 11, c., c. «
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. Take a few instances which show the force and clearness gained, by restoring the true rendering of the words aion and aionios. Turn to S. Matt. xxiv. 3. There our version represents the disciples as asking « what should be the sign of the end of the world. » It should be the end of the « age; » the close of the Jewish age marked by the fall of Jerusalem. In S. Matt. xiii. 39-40-49, the true rendering is not the end of the « world, » but of the « age, » an important change.