Comment: Great point...

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Great point...

...and it would indeed seem to undercut the ultimate hope we have if the life was not eternal.

The response I have seen on this point is:

- 'aionion' is not specifying duration, but in which age they occur
- so you have the 'death of the age to come' and the 'life of the age to come'
- both occur in the age to come
- you have to look then to other passages to understand the nature and context of the death vs the life rather than trying to squeeze more out of 'aionion' than that word alone is saying
- so then we find lots of other verses that explicitly couple the life to come with not perishing (John 10:28, John 3:16, Luke 13:3-5, etc.) ... can't be plucked out of the Father's hand, etc.
- we also find Pauline statements of victory over death (where is thy victory/sting)
- Revelation speaks of Death itself being cast into hell -- clear separation from the life to come
- on the other hand, I am having difficulty finding verses that the death to come is final, barring repentance and restoration
- and then Colossians 1 says all things in heaven and earth will be reconciled through Christ, peace having been established through Him; so an eternal pocket of non-reconciliation would not jive with this

Just as a final note, I know I sound pretty dogmatic here, and I am probably 99% convinced that this is correct. I am open and willing to have this hope for the gospel to be completely triumphant knocked out of me if it is untrue, though.

Oh...something else...
Even if it is insisted on 'aionion' meaning eternal, could it not be thought of in some other ways:

- unrepentance is unpardonable, and therefore carries with it an eternal sentence while it remains
- you can't come out of the outer darkness while being still defiant, and so in that state, it WILL be eternal
- but Christ still holds the keys to hell (Revelation), and don't think it says He locked the door and threw away the key
- if someone could truly repent in the outer darkness, why could He not commute and pardon the eternal sentence just as He has already done with you and I and Saul of Tarsus?
- if it does not violate His justice for Him to show mercy to us on this side of death, and to commute the eternal sentence, why would it arbitrarily violate His justice if He showed the same mercy towards (true) repentance on the other side of death?
- furthermore, is not our old nature permanently destroyed? In that sense there is also an eternal consuming of the old nature, which had been separated from our new natures -- the corruptible into the incorruptible

So I don't think the truth of Colossians 1 saying all the cosmos will be reconciled is contradicted, whichever way you want to interpret 'aionion'. God still has the keys to hell and can do as He will in showing justice and mercy, always driven by His Love