Talk:Mystery:Did Eternity Originate With Christianity?

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This is an interesting idea but I'm concerned about the sources. The article by Eckerty seems to claim that the words aion and aionios in the New Testament don't mean eternal or eternity at all but only a long period of time and that aidios is the only Greek word in the New Testament that could signify eternity which would seem to conflict with the mystery. The writer is apparently a Universalist Christian and uses his conclusion to support the claim that punishment in Hell is not eternal but only temporary which is a doctrine that is rejected by most conservative Christians. The other one by Sielaff similarly claims that aion or the Hebrew word olam used in the Old Testament didn't originally signify something eternal but that Christians borrowed this concept from the Greek and Babylonian pagan religions which is exactly the opposite of what the article states. --OscarJ 07:20, 3 August 2009 (EDT)

Good points, but ones that suggest how more research will enlighten this mystery. I'll research further, and hope you do likewise.--Andy Schlafly 09:49, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
I had the same concern looking at the references. If Hell is not eternal, how can it be seen as a real punishment when compared to the glory of eternity in Heaven? Without eternal Hell, I fear moral relativity takes sway. DouglasA 13:50, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
the issue is what the Biblical language meant, not whether or not eternal hell is a good idea for God to implement.RJJensen 13:54, 3 August 2009 (EDT)

I don't think there is any doubt that Jesus was talking about real eternity, in the modern sense. Indeed, He is the source of the concept. The reference, which needs to be supplemented, illustrate how even the Greek language was inadequate to convey this striking new concept.

This is analogous to the invention of "0". Most are surprised to learn that no one had zero until the (Asian) Indians invented it many centuries after Christ.--Andy Schlafly 15:44, 3 August 2009 (EDT)

Actually the first recorded use of "0" was by the Mayas, a couple of decades before Christ. It is likely that they copied it from other Mesoamerican civilizations, and it was probably in use since five centuries before Christ. JosephJackson 21:50, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
I bet you figured out the date using that Carbon Dating process, right? I mean to be so precise and all......--ṬK/Admin/Talk 22:29, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
In reply to JosephJackson, I'd like to see support for your claim. It is widely accepted that the Indians, who also developed the "Arabic" numeric system, first discovered/invented zero.--Andy Schlafly 22:37, 3 August 2009 (EDT)
Any book on the Mayans will do really, but a good source for beginners is 1491 by Charles Mann, in which the earliest evidence of use of the zero is tracked back using the example of a gpyph from San José Mogote from the 8th century BC. And Conservapedia's Maya article mentions that they used it before the Europeans. JosephJackson 19:24, 4 August 2009 (EDT)
Our entry dates the Mayans from "A.D. 300 to 900" and does NOT say they had zero before the Indian mathematicians.
I'd like to see your best online support for your claim that the Mayans predated the Indians in inventing (discovering) zero, which should be easy if there are so many good sources.--Andy Schlafly 19:32, 4 August 2009 (EDT)
Ok: This one, this one, this one, this one and this one. The high point of the Mayan civilization was indeed from the 4th century onwards, but of course they did not suddenly rise out of nothing. The earliest Mayan city states arose several centuries before Christ. Oh, and TK, of course one doesn't need carbon dating for that. It's a calender (in fact, one that is still in use in several communities), you can just count back and convert to the Christian calender. After all, we don't need carbon dating in order to be able to calculate the day of Julius Ceasar's death either.JosephJackson 00:42, 5 August 2009 (EDT)
In fact, the zero can be used in two different ways: as a symbol indicating the lack of a positional value in positional numerical systems, or as a number properly speaking. An example of the first use is the number 101: The zero is there to express that there are no tenths in the number “one hundred and one”. The second use involves performing arithmetic with the zero as if it were any old number. Mayans, and Babylonians even before them, had a positional numerical system, so they needed a symbol to express that a certain positional value was void, centuries before the Indian mathematicians. This symbol is known as the “zero” of these cultures. However, they did not use zero as a number, since they did not perform arithmetic operations with it. The Indian mathematicians were the first to develop the now familiar rules of arithmetic with zero, and hence the first to use zero as a number.--Quetzalcoatl 16:52, 9 August 2009 (EDT)
I checked JosephJackson's first cite and it appears to be talking merely about positional zero. Obviously I'm talking about the number zero itself, and historians credit the Asian Indians for that.--Andy Schlafly 22:16, 9 August 2009 (EDT)