Next, we have two more usages of aionios, the descriptive adjective. The usage in verse 25 is as past time periods or ages. The usage in verse 26 describes God as eternal. From the usage below in Romans 16:25 we see a mystery which was hidden or kept secret for long ages past. If this verse is telling us about a mystery kept in silence through times eternal, then the mystery would never have been made known. And in the next verse 26 seeing this mystery now is made manifest or known this clearly contradicts an eternal mystery. It was instead a mystery for ages or long periods of times past. And this is how the NIV bible below translates this.
In verse 26 we see another usage of aionios this time describing God as eternal. Since God is the creator of the heavens, the earth and all of life as seen in the first chapter of Genesis. Then God would be part of every age or time period and we can only refer to age or life as eternal as it relates to God. God is also the main part of the "ends of the ages" previously quoted here in 1 Corinthians 10:11. This is seen and understood in 1 Corinthians 15:24 when "the end will come" and all dominion opposing the Lordship of Jesus Christ is destroyed. And in verse 26, "the last enemy to be destroyed is death", which can tell us about eternal life for all of mankind. Then Jesus Christ will turn his authority back to God his Father "so that God may be all in all" as quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:28. In Romans 16:26 below we see the goal of "so that all nations might believe and obey him", which is met and finalized in 1 Corinthians 15. For these quoted verses in 1 Corinthians 15 in this article see teaching page 2.
25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages (aionios) past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal (aionios) God, so that all nations might believe and obey him.
Next is a usage of the Greek word aionios, which does not relate to God and eternal as it pertains to slavery which can involve punishment and torment. Paul here is writing to Philemon, on behalf of Philemon's former servant by the name of Onesimus. Paul is asking Philemon to accept Onesimus back, not as a servant or slave this time, but as a brother in Christ. The word forever at the end of verse 15 as used in this bible version would be nonsensical and incorrect as it relates to slavery, which would be for a period of time only. Obviously, people cannot have a slave or servant for eternity, only for a period of time called biblically an age. And in verse 16 it clearly states "no longer as a slave...a beloved brother". With Paul being a follower of Jesus Christ, a beloved brother, as it relates to eternal through Jesus Christ it would be for salvation. Eternal would not relate to slavery.
15 For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever (aionios), 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave — a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
New King James Version
The newer version of the bible, the New International Version sees that these verses do not relate to forever or eternal. They could have translated this with the word age or time at the end of verse 15, but they at least use common sense in their version for these verses.
15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good (aionios)— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord. NIV
Next is another usage of the Greek word aionios, which can often not be correctly understood. How can any physical object burn for eternity? If you are confused by an errant pagan religious belief, which is eternal torment, test it for yourself. Get yourself a piece of wood with paper, put it in a fireplace, light it with a match and see how long it burns. This will only burn for a period of time obviously. You would have to keep throwing in paper and burning it with a match around the clock in order to keep your fireplace burning inside. Are you willing to do that every hour of every day of every week for the next year even in a hot summer month to make sure it keeps burning? Can any physical object literally burn for eternity let alone an entire city? If any city burns for a long time at some point the city would cease to exist. The physical cities of Sodom and Gomorrha were on fire and smoldered only during the age or length of time that combustible materials remained to be burned there. And obviously today unless you have the equivalent of a garbage dump with people constantly bringing new combustible material to the dump with other people burning the material daily would you have remotely even close to an age of fire. In reality the physical place where Sodom and Gomorrha actually exists historically was destroyed by fire at the end of the Middle Bronze Age and remained uninhabited for centuries. For verification see this historical link.
7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal (aionios) fire (pur).
The above verse is stated as an example of cities that had a strong sin nature and the results of the sin nature. From a historical reality as seen above it simply resulted in the cities coming to an end and not being populated. We have seen this historically with the end of the Roman Empire and the military, economic and administrative factors that caused it, which you can look up on the internet. However, the same Greek word used above for fire (pur) is used in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, which as we previously saw clearly shows the goal of the purification of man's sin nature with a final goal of salvation. Also how can justice require eternal torment for a humanity born in sin through no fault of their own, prone to sin by an inherited weakness coming from the sin nature from Adam the original man? Also mankind today has imperfect knowledge, and in this world or age now we have deceiving or lying spiritual demons as part of it. Additionally, all this is in light of Christ's propitiation or payment for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
See the example below of Jesus Christ's forgiveness of the sins of humanity. Jesus here even prays out loud to God his Father for the forgiveness of the people who have just killed two other men and are about ready to murder Jesus for no crime. And today at God's right hand Jesus does even more with intercession between God and man. For this read 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus".
34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.