Matthew 25:46

Eternal punishment (kolasin aiwnion). The word kolasin comes from kolazw, to mutilate or prune. Hence those who cling to the larger hope use this phrase to mean age-long pruning that ultimately leads to salvation of the goats, as disciplinary rather than penal. There is such a distinction as Aristotle pointed out between mwria (vengeance) and kolasi. But the same adjective aiwnio is used with kolasin and zwhn. If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin, we may likewise have only age-long zwhn. There is not the slightest indication in the words of Jesus here that the punishment is not coeval with the life. We can leave all this to the King himself who is the Judge. The difficulty to one's mind about conditional chastisement is to think how a life of sin in hell can be changed into a life of love and obedience. The word aiwnio (from aiwn, age, aevum, aei) means either without beginning or without end or both. It comes as near to the idea of eternal as the Greek can put it in one word. It is a difficult idea to put into language. Sometimes we have "ages of ages" (aiwne twn aiwnwn).

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