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And aivw,nioj is meant differently again when it is measured against present time, as when it is said: the sons of this aivw,n are wiser in their generation'; for the time that extends over the life of a human being is also called an aivw,n. Indeed, it is laid down concerning the Hebrew who did not wish to be freed in the seventh year, that he will be your slave unto the aivw,n: for no slave of a human being remains forever, even after his death. It is in this sense that Paul too writes 1 Cor 8:13: if flesh causes my brother to stumble, I shall not eat flesh through the aivw,n,’ using this term in place of throughout my life.’ The same awareness was present in many other patristic writers. Let us single out the conception of eternity and the relevant vocabulary at least in Clement, Origen and the Cappadocians. Clement’s use of aivw,n, aivw,nioj and avi dioj is especially frequent and is remarkably similar to that of Origen.
Aivw,nioj is clearly used in the case of biblical quotations, paraphrases or commentaries, very often in reference to life or salvation in the world to come zwh,, swthri,a aivw,nioj or equivalent expressions such as aivw,nioj repose, tent, and home or dwelling, as well as the aivw,nioj kingdom of heaven, and in connection with gnwsij, Riverside/San Bernardino Subway Map faith and ethical commitment, but also with God’s mercy and his economy of salvation and therapeutic effect: life in the world to come is provided by the Savior, through grace. This is the telos of the present life, Riverside/San Bernardino Subway Map and in turn this telos is explicitly identified with the avpokata,stasij; in two passages, avpokata,stasij is closely associated with the concept of eternity. In comparison with this abundant use of the adjective in reference to life, the two occurrences of the biblical pur aivw,nion, the fire in the world to come, seem sparse. Aivw,nioj, moreover, is often used in reference to God, to the three Persons of the Trinity, or to what pertains to God, in which case and exclusively in this case it acquires the sense of eternal, ab aeterno and in aeternum. VAi dioj too is amply employed in the sense of absolutely eternal, also to explain that the eternity of God is not an infinite extension into the past and future, but rather an avi dioj today. The same adjective is often found in connection with eternal life, zwh. avi dioj, as a parallel to zwh . ai vw ,nioj and zwh . me ,llousa, but the latter two phrases put the emphasis on the fact that this life pertains to the future aivw,n, whereas the former insists strictly on its eternity and absolute everlastingness.
The same is the case with swthri,a avi dioj, eternal salvation, and avi dioj u`gei,a, eternal health, granted by God the Physician, who cures with the goal of salvation. Important differences are evident when the subject is death and fire: we have only two occurrences of avi dioj death, but they are hypothetical and corrected by divine mercy, Riverside/San Bernardino Subway Map which acts in order to avoid the realization of an eternal death, and, in face of the two occurrences of aivw,nion fire, there is not a single instance of avi dion fire.
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