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#88 - MBE's use of Aeon and Logos

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.


Question/insight #88:

Can you comment on Mary Baker Eddy's use of the word Aeon in connection with Logos? The dictionary definition does not seem to make sense in this context.

Response #88 from

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (S&H 335:7), Mary Baker Eddy writes:

The English words, Aeon and Eon, come from the Greek word, aion (Strong's Greek #165). The Gospel of John uses that Greek word 13 times. In that gospel the KJV most often translates aion as "ever." (For example, Joh 4:14; 6:51,58; 8:35; 12:34; 14:16.) Aion also connotes "eternity." Aionios, the Greek adjective form of aion, is usually translated as "eternal," as in the phrase, "eternal life" or "life eternal." This is a phrase that appears 10 times in the Gospel of John.

Some insight may be gained by examining the pre-New Testament use of aion. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 3 (edited by Colin Brown, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1978, page 827, 830) explains:

In the Gospel of John, aion (Strong's Greek #165) usually refers to "eternal existence" or "timeless being." This coincides with the description of the Logos (Greek: logos, Strong's Greek #3056, English: Word) as having timeless being.

For instance, John 1:1-4 in the KJV reads as follows:

John 1:1-4 in the NRSV reads as follows:

The Greek word en (from the Greek word eimi) translated as "was" has a much richer meaning than the English word "was" indicates. Due to the form of the Greek verb that is used, en actually is a Greek "to be" verb that refers to timeless being. It is contrasted with another Greek word egeneto (from the Greek word ginomai). Egeneto is also a "to be" verb that is translated in the KJV as "were/was made" and in the NRSV "came into being." The emphasized meaning of those verses can be represented as follows:

When I took New Testament Greek in college, my brilliant professor spent quite a bit of time emphasizing the significance of the two verbs I described above.

My conclusion on Mrs. Eddy's words is that she is not indicating that Aeon and Word of God are synonymous, but that they share the context of eternal, timeless being. The substance of such being is of the Spirit, not "of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13, NRSV) The Aeon and Word of God are the context and timeless substance of all creation.


Copyright 1996-2002 Robert Nguyen Cramer