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Volume 32 - Page 134 of 246 Index | Zoom | |
There is, in common usage, no evident connection between such English words as
"eternal" and "everlasting", on the one hand, and "age" and "world" on the other, yet,
once again, the differences are superficial, being the result of the passage of time, for, at
base, they are one. "Age", derived from the Latin aevum, "eternal", comes from
aeuiternus, "lasting for an age". "Everlasting" comes from the Anglo-Saxon aefre,
which is related to the Gothic aiw, which, in its turn, links on to the Greek aion. The
Revisers have retained most of the passages where the A.V. used "world" for aion, but
have placed in the margin the note "age", so that the English reader need not confuse this
word with kosmos.
However, we must still face the fact that present usage now makes "eternal" and
"everlasting" unfit translations for a word which means "an age", "The period of human
experience", therefore some modification is called for. If, however, in John 3: 16 we
substitute "age-enduring life" for "eternal", or "everlasting", life, we create another
problem as important to resolve as that included by the A.V.
Upon reading the translation: "Should not perish, but have age-enduring life" the
mind can hardly help thinking along the line suggested by the latter clause and, thus
started, arriving at the possible conclusion that at the end of this age, however long it may
endure, life will cease! At this point, the reader may appreciate the analysis of the terms
"life" and "Eternal life" found in John's Gospel and set out on page 227.
An examination of these references proves that "life", without limits, is the gift of God
to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. Within this all embracive "life" there will
be that special experience called "age-enduring" life, which will be enjoyed by those
whose resurrection precedes the end of the ages, but which cannot therefore be enjoyed
by those whose resurrection is most certainly unto "life", but life entered into only when
the ages have run their course.
There are various ways in which "eternal life" is used in the N.T. Sometimes it is
bestowed as a reward, either under law or under grace (Matt. 19: 16; Rom. 6: 22);
sometimes as an equivalent to entering into the kingdom on earth (as for example
Matt. 25: 46); sometimes, as in John 3: 16, or Rom. 6: 23, it is considered as a gift
in grace. These have been tabulated and examined in a series entitled "Eternal Life",
which may be found in Volumes VI, VII & VIII, and should be referred to by the
We conclude therefore that life, not only when time shall be no more, but life
abundant and rich in its association with the concluding phases of the Divine purpose, is
the blessing for all who believe the testimony of John 3: 16.