Mystery:Did Eternity Originate With Christianity?

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The term "eternity" rarely occurs in the Old Testament, and when it does occur it does not have the modern sense.

The Greek words for eternity, "aion" and "aionios", lack the full Christian meaning also.[1]

Jesus and his disciples mention "eternity" nearly 70 times in the New Testament. Was this a new concept that originated with Christianity?

Fundamental Point of Christianity

In Acts 13:46-48, both Paul and Barnabas discussed how acceptance of eternal life divided believers from non-believers:[2]

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.


Aristotle is credited with the narrow claim that matter and motion are eternal, but that does not represent the full concept of eternity in Christianity, as in one's "eternal life."

Further reading

  • David W. Sielaff in Associates for Scriptural Knowledge (Jan 2005) online edition


  2. NIV translation.[1]