Every verb in Romans 8:30 is in the aorist:

οὓς δὲ προώρισεν, τούτους καὶ ἐκάλεσεν·
καὶ οὓς ἐκάλεσεν, τούτους καὶ ἐδικαίωσεν·
οὓς δὲ ἐδικαίωσεν, τούτους καὶ ἐδόξασεν.

Those whom he predestined, he also called;
and those whom he called, he also justified;
and those whom he justified, he also glorified.

This is a beautiful literary structure to express beautiful theology with. However, in the ordo salutis (order of salvation), glorification is normally considered something future. So why does Paul put it in the aorist, which has past time-significance?

  • For balance in the literary structure (don't read to much into it)?
  • Because in Christ, we already are (already/not yet)?
  • Because it is "as good as done" (but then I would except it to be perfect)?
  • Some other reasons?
  • 1
    The aorist has been historically mislabeled as "as good as done." The aorist is punctiliar, meaning that it deals with a point in time. However, this point in time varies greatly in scope. It could be a millisecond, or it could be an era ("a blimp's-eye view"). It is the most generic of the lot and all that can be gained from it is that it simply happened.
    – swasheck
    Apr 12, 2012 at 23:01

4 Answers 4


I have seen three very plausible answers to this. Since they are all different answers, I will go ahead and split them up. In reality it could be a combination.

One is that the aorist is used as a rhetorical device to emphasize the surety of the event. Wallace describes this category as follows:

An author sometimes uses the aorist for the future to stress the certainty of the event. It involves a "rhetorical transfer" of a future event as though it were past. (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 564)

As @swasheck noted in a comment on the question, the aorist does not mean "as good as done" but it can be used that way. Some other examples Wallace mentions are Mark 11:24 and John 13:31. He also says that this is a rare usage of the aorist. This category is not specific to Wallace (BDF, Grammar, 171; Fanning, Verbal Aspect in New Testament Greek, 269).

  • That's the way to rack up reputation fast, haha!
    – Kazark
    Apr 14, 2012 at 21:49
  • Well, you know, whatever it takes :)
    – Mallioch
    Apr 14, 2012 at 23:11
  • I'm accepting all three answers...
    – Kazark
    Apr 14, 2012 at 23:55

I have seen three very plausible answers to this. Since they are all different answers, I will go ahead and split them up. In reality it could be a combination.

One option is to say that the aorist is used to indicate that, from the standpoint of God's decree, this has already happened. So says Moo,

Most interpreters conclude, probably rightly, that Paul is looking at the believer's glorification from the standpoint of God, who has already decreed that it should take place. While not yet experienced, the divine decision to glorify those who have been justified has already been made; the issue has been settled. Here Paul touches on the ultimate source of the assurance that Christians enjoy, and with it he brings to a triumphant climax his celebration of the "no condemnation" that applies to every person in Christ. (Moo, Romans, 536)

He adds in a note that "Close to this is the idea that the tense, like the Hebrew 'perfect,' has a proleptic force; Paul is so certain that the glorification will take place that he writes as if it already had.", so he sees this as very similar as Wallace's position mentioned in one of the other answers.


I have seen three very plausible answers to this. Since they are all different answers, I will go ahead and split them up. In reality it could be a combination.

This answer is based on the very central idea of Paul that we are in Christ. Analogous to Ephesians 2:6, we are "seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Just as Jesus has been glorified, we are glorified. Contextually, these verses are about being conformed to the image of Christ, and part of that is to be glorified, i.e., to display the glory of God through our being a new creation. It has already happened in a real sense because we are in Christ, and Christ has been glorified, and we with him. To quote a representative of this view:

All these things, including "glorification", have happened already to and in Jesus, the Messiah; and what is true of the Messiah is true of his people. (N.T. Wright, Romans, 603)


Could the aorists be timeless, but representing actions in each case that are no less decisive and complete: "Those whom he justifies, these he also glorifes"?

  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the Tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Mar 21, 2021 at 14:06
  • This answer is extremely brief and does not quote any supporting references. Are you able to expand it into an answer?
    – Dottard
    Mar 21, 2021 at 21:36
  • I claim not asserting anything. I am asking: besides its other uses, can the aorist indicative be used of a timeless present?
    – John Rowse
    Mar 22, 2021 at 23:52
  • That should read, "I am not asserting ..." Sorry.
    – John Rowse
    Mar 23, 2021 at 0:03
  • I am not thinking of the use of so-called gnomic aorist for a general present, but the use of the aorist for something that is not necessarily present, but timeless as the English timeless present is. Does anybody know?
    – John Rowse
    Mar 24, 2021 at 6:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.