This is something of a ramble through my etymology hobby.
Eternal is from ancient Greek, aeon-ternus, meaning age-lasting. We often use eternal as meaning no more than this, going on for ages, or as long as the universe lasts, but things have changed.
The discovery of the Big Bang in which the cosmos came into being at a finite time in the past, brings the need for a much wider definition as it implies the existence of something other than space-time for which we have no words. This is nothing new; a wider definition has been necessary for some millenia since the earliest descriptions of a being outside, other than time and space, but also from the invention of an obscure, ancient, grammatical concept.
The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.
But the aorist tense needs no companions – wherever it is, it is always tense. When God says, ‘I AM.’ it is a single, defining statement. The original is in the aorist tense, implies ‘I was, I am, I have always been and always will be.’ Or if you prefer, ‘I ETERNALLY AM’
This is far more than simply lasting forever; it is something other. It is more than time or space. It may give birth to time and space, but, Oh! Man! it is something else.
The Aorist does not walk into a bar, its spirit is suspended eternally in the optics.
So here is the problem. In an earlier post I wrote about something and nothing and came to the conclusion that we have no true word for nothing because nothing cannot exist. We see this in vacuum physics where it has been found that there is no such thing as the popular idea of a vacuum. Instead the more vacuous the space the more it teems with virtual particles or eddies popping in and out of existence, reacting and responding to each other. The word virtual, unlike its use in ‘virtual reality’ stems from vir, an Old Latin word for potency or Man.
To avoid confusion ‘Man’ above has a capital letter to identify it as a species word rather than gender. The male of the species Man is homo-man in which homo is Old Latin for humus or earth , not the Old Greek for self.
World comes from the Anglo-Saxon wer-alt meaning the age of a man. we still use wer today to mean man in werewolf (man-wolf).
There is no word for this full meaning of eternal. Eternal simply means ‘lifelong’, but we seek for more, even if life is taken as the life of the universe it takes no account of that Other, the Allos, outwith space-time.
Universe is from unus–versus ‘one turned’. It is tempting to think of this in terms of the universe seen as the turning stars, but it means turned into one in the sense, all there is, seen as one. And can we become one with that other One?
Cosmos comes from the Old Greek word for order. The reason I have not posted anything for so long is that for my wife and I the past year has been anything but cosmic. We have had a tough year. My posts will probably be monthly for a while.