Dr. Helena Keizer, may be the world’s greatest authority on the definition of aiōn in ancient Greek literature, including the Bible in the time of Christ. Keizer published a 315-page doctoral dissertation titled: “Life, Time, Entirety – A Study of Aion in Greek Literature and Philosophy, the Septuagint and Philo.” Presented on September 7, 1999 in Holland, at Amsterdam University. Keizer states:
“Olām and hence aiōn in the Biblical sense is time constituting the human temporal horizon.”32
“Our study has led to the conclusion that infinity is not an intrinsic or necessary connotation of aiōn, either in the Greek or in the Biblical usage (‘olām).”33
“To speak of ‘this aiōn’, its ‘end,’ and ‘the aiōn to come’ clearly lends to aiōn the meaning of a limited time.”34
“The following description of Gregory of Nyssa’s interpretation of aiōn makes a good finishing point for now: ‘Aeon designates temporality, that which occurs within time.’”35
Because of the emphasis defenders of everlasting punishment have placed on the word “eternal” (aiōn) in Scripture, no effort is too extensive to prove its accurate meaning. Thus, if you would like to pursue this further, I refer you to my website, under the sections titled “Eternity” and “Church History.”
In this chapter, we have examined the foundational pillars upon which belief in infinite punishment is based and found them wanting. How many Christians including pastors and theologians have critically examined these pillars in light of the evidence presented here? I would venture to say very few. Given this evidence, let us explore with a fresh and open mind, unshackled by a flawed system, and study the following chapters in sincerity and truth. Is there hope beyond Gehenna and the lake of fire? Might these judgments also have a positive purpose in God’s unfailing plan for man? The answer lies in the very nature of God Himself. Would a truly all-powerful and all-loving Creator bring into existence billions of people knowing full well they would suffer for eternity as a result? Would He really pay such a price to get a few to love Him forever? This is what our tradition has taught. Is it true?