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Difference Between Alpha and Omega

Alpha vs Omega

Even if one doesn’t know how to speak Greek, there is still a good chance he’d know and understand what ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ are. The terms, particularly popularized by the Christian faith, have been used in many different contexts. Alpha and Omega essentially pertain to the extremes. Alpha in layman’s term is beginning, while Omega is ending. They have been reputed with those respective meanings chiefly due to Christian scriptures and teachings. But more than that, they represent a vast, rather universal array of meanings.
In the Greek alphabet, Alpha would be the first letter. It has a value of 1 in the Greek numerals system. Alpha bears a symbol that is similar to ‘A’ in the English alphabet. Omega is the 24th and last letter. It has a value of 80.  It is symbolized by the majuscule letter Ω.
Used as one of the various titles of Jesus Christ, alpha and omega will be found multiple times in the New Testament of Bible. In this context, it means the beginning and the end, largely signifying God’s eternity. ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending said the Lord’, Revelations 1:8.  Most Christian denominations believe that it pertains to Jesus and God as they are one. ‘Alpha and omega’ is interpreted to mean that ‘Jesus Christ existed from eternity and will exist eternally.’ Most of it draws reference from the framework of the Trinity. Furthermore, the letters Alpha and Omega often appear in juxtaposition on Christian visuals and sculptures.
Alpha and Omega are casually used in everyday speech. Again the latter means the beginning, the first. The former means the end, the last. They are more often used together as a phrase, forming an idiom that simply means beginning to end, the basic meaning of something or the crucial part. For instance, ‘The apprentice had to know the alpha and omega of direct selling before he could even start working.’ In that context it may also mean ‘entirety’. Another example would be ‘This little scrap book here contains the alpha and omega of my college life.’
In the fields of math and science, alpha and omega symbols are almost ubiquitous. Alpha particularly represents a number of concepts in chemistry and physics. These include alpha particles, alpha radiation, alpha carbon, angular acceleration, thermal expansion coefficient of a compound (physical chemistry), quantities in algebraic equations, etc. It is also used to coin the dominant individual in a pack of canines. Conversely, Omega has its own set of representations including ohm, the SI unit for electrical resistance, angular velocity in circular motion, multiplicity in statistical mechanics, baryons in particle physics, density parameter in astronomy, longitude of the ascending node of an orbit in orbital mechanics, solid angle in a gyroscope, Chaitin’s constant and many others. Omega is also apparent as a commercial brand logo such as the case of Omega Watches and PlayStation’s God of War logo.
Summary

  1. Alpha and Omega are letters in the Greek alphabet. Alpha, symbolized by ‘A’ is the first, while Omega, represented by the majuscule letter Ω, is the 24th and last. The former has a value of 1 in the Greek numerical system, and the latter, 80.
  2. The words alpha and omega have been popularly attached to the Christian notions of the beginning and the ending respectively. The phrase alpha and omega has been used to refer to God’s eternal existence.
  3. Still retaining its Christian-inspired meaning, the phrase alpha and omega has been incorporated in everyday speech.
  4. Both alpha and omega are widely used in the fields of math, science, astronomy, and commerce among others.

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