- Published: 12 December 2010
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Rotherham has translated everlasting or eternal life by the terms age-abiding life. The meaning is brought out by these terms better than eternal or everlasting. Actually it would be aionian life if we were to transliterate the Greek word.
The idea in the original is not so much the length of the life, but rather its quality. In fact an aion is not an eternity, but a span of time. It may be definite, as in the aion called the millennium (1,000 years in length), or it may be an indefinite length of time. It is something that has a beginning and an end, which is not true of our idea of eternity today.
The ages or aions are but a little parenthesis in eternity. If you would make a little scratch with a knife on the rim of a great wheel with a diameter as big as the diameter of the universe, that little scratch would indicate in scale the time of the ages. Of course it is not possible to measure the diameter of the universe, for if you start out in a straight line and keep on going you will finally return to the point where you started. Such is the vastness of the universe. You might just as well try to measure the love of God!
So far as we know, the ages began with the overthrow (not foundation). The ages will end when there is another overthrow, and there will be a new heavens and a new earth. We are living in the time called the ages or aions. Science has not been able to find any life that is age-abiding. All life that is known in creation has an end, a terminus. Protoplasm is temporary. It differs from lifeless matter only in that it has that indefinable quality called life. How life began, no one can find from the laboratory. And just how it ends, they have not found out. No one knows what life is. And no one but the Creator can generate life. It is His secret.
Man is no exception to this law of death that is in the creation. He too returns to dust, even as the animals and the plants. He was not endowed with a life any different from that of other living things on the earth. All, both man and beast, go to the same place at death. And the Word adds that there is no difference in their deaths.
But God, at the infinite cost of His Son, has provided an age-abiding life which man can lay hold on thru faith (John 3:16). This life is the only life that can abide during the ages. It is a part of the divine life. Man can partake of it. It guarantees him a resurrection. Nothing else can produce a resurrection. There is only One who could say, I AM the resurrection and the life.
There is life only in Christ. The Word says so. Then it is equally true that outside of Him there is only death. If otherwise, then His statement is not true. But we believe what He has said.
Age-abiding life not only results in resurrection, but also in immortality. No one but Christ has been resurrected so far. He alone has immortality. He is the First-born from the dead. All in Him will be made alive and immortal.