The Emperor Justinian

And still later the Emperor Justinian (A.D. 540) in calling the celebrated local council which assembled in 544, addressed his edict to Mennos, Patriarch of Constantinople, and elaborately argued against the doctrines he had determined should be condemned. He does not say, in defining the Catholic doctrine at that time "We believe inaionian punishment,: for that was just what the Universalist Origen himself taught. Nor does he say, "The word aionion has been misunderstood, it denotes endless duration," as he would have said had there been such a disagreement. But, writing in Greek, with all the words of that copious speech from which to choose, he says, "The holy church of Christ teaches an endless aionios (ateleutetos aionios) life to the righteous, and endless (ateleutetos) punishment to the wicked." Aionios was not enough in his judgment to denote endless duration. and he employedateleutetos to describe endless duration. This demonstrates that even as late as A.D. 540 aionios meant limited duration, and required an added word to impart to it the force of endless duration.

These and other testimonies (See Hanson's "Aion-Aionios,") prove that these words did not mean endless duration among the early Christians for about six centuries after Christ. To say that any one who contradicts these men is correct, and that they did not know the meaning of the word, is like saying that an Australian, twelve hundred years hence, will be able to give a more accurate definition of English words in common use today than we ourselves. These ancients could not be mistaken, and the fact that they required qualifying words to giveaionion the sense of endless duration—that they used it to describe punishment when they believed in the annihilation of the wicked, or in their restoration subsequent to aionion punishment, irrefragably demonstrates that the word had not the meaning of endless to them, and if not to them, then it must have been utterly destitute of it.

The uniform usage of these words by the early Church demonstrates that they signify temporal duration in the New Testament.

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