Date: Sun Mar 24 2002 - 00:50:19 EST
In a message dated 3/23/2002 10:46:41 PM Eastern Standard Time,
A preacher told me that this word meant
"in a time so small it cannot be divided
into two equal halves."
If A is the negative, does this not mean
that Jesus will return in "no time." As if
his return will be instantaneous.
If we were to judge solely by etymology and original usage, he would be
correct. We all know, however, that words do not remain static. Gay, which
once meant "happy, carefree" has now come to refer to the homosexual
lifestyle. "Bad" can be used to mean really good.
Originally the word comes form TEMNW "to cut" with the alpha privative
meaning "not", or "not capable of." Democritus used it to refer to what he
considered to be the smallest particles of matter.
There was a joke going around when I was in grad school that every Arabic
word had 4 meanings:
1. the normal meaning
2. the exact opposite
3. something obscene
4. something about a camel
This may not be totally true regarding Arabic, but it does illustrate a point
- there is more than one meaning to a word. Sometimes the meanings are
slight derivations from the original.
In regard to EN ATOMWi, I hardly think the intention was to specify a time
period so small it could not be further divided. It was rather to indicate a
very brief time - a logical derivation of the original concept. It's like
saying "I'll have that done in no time at all." Naturally, one wouldn't mean
that it would literally take no time - only a very short time.
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