The Christian Fathers

That the words "Eternal," etc., did not denote endless duration at the time of Christ is demonstrated by the usage of the Christian fathers. Justin Martyr and Ireneus believed in punishment to end in annihilation, and Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and others were Universalists, and yet they all employed the Greek words aion-aionios, to denote their ideas of the duration of future punishment. This proves that from A.D. 115 to A.D. 400, these words meant limited duration when applied to punishment. (See Beecher's His. Fut. Ret.)

The fact that Origen and others taught an aionion punishment after death, and salvation beyond it demonstrates that at that time the word had not the meaning of endless, but did mean at that date, indefinite or limited duration.

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