Does Paul ride the Greco-Roman (bi)cycle?

In Galatians 1.4 Paul writes,

τοῦ δόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, ὅπως ἐξέληται ἡμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος τοῦ ἐνεστῶτος πονηροῦ κατὰ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν,

What about this present age?

The common concept of conflagration would see ages recycle, usually accompanied by some sort of fire. Very mythological here. We should remember that Paul is not a dispensationalist. No, not because the term is anachronistic and created by a Darby, but because Paul is smarter than that. But, think about what this present age could me to Roman readers.

If there another age after this one where the blood of Christ is not sufficient, or perhaps done with?

I know… I know… But Paul was a Roman!

And, don’t give me that — heaven is an age garbage. Ages end, dude.


Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

One thought on “Does Paul ride the Greco-Roman (bi)cycle?

  1. Well, Jesus is recorded in all three synoptic gospels as contrasting “this age/time” with “the age to come” (Mark 10:30, Matthew 12:32, Luke 18:30). Maybe this reflects very early Christian teaching, even (gasp!) the words of the historical Jesus, which Paul also accepted. Indeed some would point to Ephesians 1:21 as proof that Paul had the same view, but I guess you would not accept that as genuinely Pauline.

    Of course “the age to come” is not heaven, as heaven is the abode of God and not (as NT Wright makes clear) the future hope of believers. It is a different question whether Jesus, as presented by the evangelists, or Paul, as presented by the author of Ephesians, expected that age to come to end.

Leave a Reply, Please!